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Highlights from the November/December 2010 Faculty Newsletter

The November/December 2010 edition of the Faculty Newsletter (FNL) reported on several items relevant to the broader MIT community. Several highlights from the issue are summarized below. More information on all pieces is available at http://web.mit.edu/fnl.

Stellar Next Generation: IS&T will be implementing a “limited evaluation” of an updated version of Stellar, known as Stellar Next Generation, for the Spring 2011 term. New features include streaming video, video conferencing, image handling, and Google Docs integration.

From a Whistle to a Hum: Facilities Upgrades Enhance the Resilience of the Campus Steam Distribution System: The Department of Facilities is upgrading MIT’s steam distribution system in response to a steam pipe explosion that occurred in Building 66 in late 2008. In addition to replacing some pieces of the infrastructure, Facilities is testing new pipe monitoring software for the high-pressure steam traps in Buildings 66, 68, 56, and 54.

Maintaining Our Resolutions: Implementing the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy: The Faculty Committee on the Library System and the Libraries staff have been working to implement a policy passed by the faculty in March 2009 to make their scholarly articles available freely online. Currently, 30 percent of the 6,000 scholarly papers faculty publish each year are being collected. The Libraries staff is developing collection methods with a few departments and hopes to later put these methods into use across the Institute.

Student Support Services: Reorganized, Reviewed, and Redefined: A number of changes to Student Support Services (S^3) have been implemented in response to the recommendations of a December 2009 S^3 Task Force report. The protocol for getting an excused absence from class was clarified and available appointment times were extended by seven hours each week. Furthermore, “a recommendation was made to provide additional resources to support graduate students via the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education,” wrote Dean for Undergraduate Education Daniel Hastings in the FNL article.

Natasha Plotkin