Final Report by the DUE Working Group on Increased Enrollment

Summary of Final Report Issued on February 18, 2011

The DUE Working Group on Increased Enrollment was charged by Dean Hastings in late September 2010 as a step toward assessing how an increased enrollment might impact DUE Offices in the short and long terms. The group included representation from each of the offices in DUE that would be impacted by a larger student body. The Group issued their final report in mid-February 2011.

As a foundation, the working group identified a set of fundamental principles of educational delivery against which possible impacts would be considered:

  • Access to the same quality education/experience, faculty mentorship, is key
  • Maintain quality of academic experience (seminars/FASs, UROP, GIRs, etc.)
  • Maintain caliber of entering students
  • Maintain quality of transitional programming (Interphase, FPOPs, Orientation, Majors Expo, Sophomore Standing, Graduation…)
  • Maintain access to and quality of supportive services (SFS, GECD, Registrar, etc.)
  • Maintain need‐blind admissions and meeting full need

The group met with Office Heads from across DUE, to expose impacts — both positive and negative as well as short‐ and long‐term — of the increased class size. While the DUE Office Heads had been asked to analyze the impact of the increased enrollment during the summer of 2010, the Working Group analysis took this process further with the goal of flagging gaps in the earlier analysis or new developments that had emerged.

As the Group synthesized the feedback from the Office Heads, five major points of consensus were identified:

  • Increased enrollment brings more “talent” to MIT, and consequently more interest in MIT undergraduates from public and private sectors.
  • Student access to a quality MIT educational experience should — to the best of our abilities —not be compromised by limited resources, such as funding.
  • Integration and streamlining of information systems and data management — along with automation of administrative processes where possible — could potentially improve efficiencies in advising and service delivery to undergraduate constituents.
  • Availability and conditions of classrooms and other spaces should be such that students have satisfactory access to learning and related services.
  • Adequate numbers of staff (existing or new) should, based on skills sets and competencies, be committed to those areas where delivery of instruction, services, and support to students is most critical.

Through an analysis of these points, the Group concluded that the challenges raised by the increased enrollment were not new to DUE and are well understood by the leadership team. At the core, the increase exacerbates existing challenges related to the availability of adequate technology, facilities and staffing to support the principles of educational delivery described above. As such, the Group recommended that DUE remain vigilant in the ongoing analysis of DUE programs and services and in determining how resources can be maximized to properly support our infrastructure. DUE must remain positioned to deliver to our undergraduates the top quality educational experience promised upon admission.

In light of these conclusions, the Working Group asked DUE Leadership to consider the following:

  • Ensure that DUE budgets, to the greatest extent possible, are constructed so that student access to curricular and co‐curricular learning opportunities is not compromised by an increased undergraduate population. Particular attention should be paid to the areas where capacity for students is already strained.
  • Support and advocate for the development, enhancement, and integration of technologies that not only improve delivery of services and information to students, but allow staff effort to be refocused more appropriately on other activities. Consider a division‐wide re‐examination of DUE IT needs and determine if increased enrollment warrants reprioritizing existing needs.
  • Keep continued focus on the capacity, functionality, and appearance of DUE‐managed classrooms and other student‐centric spaces. Review DUE office space and layouts to ensure that reception and advising areas properly accommodate constituents.
  • Remain committed to deploying DUE staff where need is most critical, based on skill sets and competencies. Periodically review possibilities for staff redeployment within DUE offices, as well as opportunities for sharing staff between offices. Ensure access to staff training, retraining, and cross‐training keeps DUE Offices nimble and responsive to Institute changes. When possible, consider requests for additional headcounts where warranted.