Professor Albert Meyer will succeed Dean of Undergraduate Education Dennis Freeman as the new undergraduate officer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6). As the undergraduate officer of MIT’s largest department, he is responsible for overseeing the undergraduate curriculum, handling MEng admissions, and maintaining the quality of education.
His biggest concern is making sure that each Course 6 student has adequate advising. The EECS department was responsible for advising 894 majors during the 2012–2013 academic year, according to the Registrar. This number is expected to increase even more over the next term. “The faculty is immensely busy doing research teaching and lots of other things and they acknowledge that they value advising, but when they set priorities, not enough of them are taking on advising responsibilities,” Meyer told The Tech. He plans to reach out to staff and former students to advise the new incoming Course 6 students.
Students should not worry about any changes to MEng admissions. “MEng admissions have pretty straightforward criteria. The majority of the decisions can really be made automatically based on grade point average,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t get in if your GPA is low. If there’s some persuasive reason of why it was low, that would persuade us that you’d do fine in the MEng program, then we’ll let you in.”
The undergraduate curriculum will also see little change. Although some of the foundational courses will be redefined and more advanced classes will be added next term, other changes to the curriculum will take time, with a committee chaired by Professor Leslie Kaelbling leading the way. “That’s a complicated task that’s going to go on for a while, but it’s in good hands,” said Meyer. “I am happy to say that I don’t have to manage that. I just have to throw in my two cents.”
With years of undergraduate teaching experience and supervising PhD students, Meyer is confident he will be an excellent undergraduate officer succeeding Dean Freeman. “The one thing that is most daunting about taking this job on is that it’s always a bad move to take on a job previously done by really capable people, because you’re bound to look worse by comparison,” he joked. “But I stuck my neck out following Denny, who was as good an undergraduate officer as we’ve ever had. So I hope I can measure up to those standards.”