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MISTI, HASS changes in Faculty Newsletter

The September/October Faculty Newsletter (FNL) is out, opening with an editorial calling for the scientific community to speak “more clearly, more loudly, and more effectively” to counteract the “deeply disturbing” scientific skepticism of some presidential candidates.

The newsletter also contains responses to President Susan J. Hockfield’s New York Times op-ed on “Manufacturing a Recovery” and perspectives on the divide between faculty and administration in higher education. Closer to home, the FNL addresses Institute programs like MISTI and HASS Exploration.

In 2010, MISTI received 112 requests for funding and awarded a total of $903,912 to 46 projects, and decided to expand its faculty seed funds. MISTI also launched the new MIT-Chile program, making Chile MISTI’s 11th partner country. The newly established MIT-Chile Seed Fund provides funding for projects through any Chilean institution, with two funds specifically designated for projects at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and at Adolfo Ibáñez University.

The HASS Exploration (HEX) program is also entering a new phase, according to Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support Diana Henderson. The Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement, chaired by Political Science Associate Professor Andrea L. Campbell, is looking to expand its roster of “foundational subjects” that would fulfill HASS requirements, seeking existing subjects and encouraging faculty to create and teach new subjects.

The newsletter also reprinted an article, “Faculty Fallout,” by Johns Hopkins University Professor of Political Science Benjamin Ginsberg that originally appeared in the August issue of The Scientist. Lambasting the imbalance between faculty and administration in higher education, Ginsberg’s statements — such as, “Administrators have taken over U.S. universities, and they’re steering institutions of higher learning away from the goal of serving as beacons of knowledge” — serve as a counterpoint to Faculty Chair Samuel M. Allen PhD ’75’s note, which says that MIT faculty have not been taking full advantage of opportunities to communicate their views to the administration.

—Anne Cai