News on New Leadership at MIT

Dennis Freeman, Dean for Undergraduate Education

Since the October announcement that Eric Grimson was assuming a new fundraising role and Chris Kaiser was returning to a faculty role, DUE had been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new Chancellor and Provost. Earlier this month, we got the news that Cindy Barnhart and Marty Schmidt were named to these roles. While DUE interacts with many of the senior-most leaders of MIT, we work very closely with the Chancellor and the Provost, who shape the direction of the work we do through priorities and budget.

I was pleased at the appointment of Cindy Barnhart as the new Chancellor.  As Associate Dean in the School of Engineering, Cindy chaired the School of Engineering Education Council. I had the opportunity to work with her in my role as the EECS Education Officer and Undergraduate Officer. My impression of her was that she was deeply interested in addressing educational issues and compassionate to the needs of the students. This was evident last week as we worked with the UA to address the closing time of CPW student-led events. She was eager to hear the UA’s perspective and develop a policy that was consistent with Institute policies yet responsive to student preferences.

As Cindy begins her tenure, she is planning to meet with students, faculty, and staff, including DUE staff. She wants to gain insight on the organizations that comprise the Chancellor’s office – who we are, what we do, and our priorities. She also wants to understand the issues and challenges facing students, faculty and staff.  In her first letter to students, she noted, “We must work together to understand challenges, define solutions that incorporate and address multiple points of view, and affect positive change.” I am looking forward to working with her.

I was also delighted that Marty Schmidt, who was the Associate Provost since 2008 and the Acting Provost since last fall, was named the permanent Provost.  During the past six months, Marty has been a partner in the challenging task of space planning for building 12. Throughout this process, he was not only fair, but always willing to listen to other perspectives and consider alternative ideas. During the recent FY15 budget review, he clearly understood and supported DUE’s priorities. I was very happy with the outcome. I know our relationship with Marty and his office will be a collaborative one.

A MIT Community Welcome to the Provost and Chancellor is planned for Tuesday, March 4, from 3-4pm in lobby 7. I encourage you to come and meet both Cindy and Marty.