DUE News - 2007

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  • W1, one of MIT's oldest and most cherished buildings, will be given new life under a major renovation plan announced this month, and students, faculty and staff will play key roles in shaping its future.

    Also known as Ashdown House after a popular former housemaster, W1 is MIT's oldest graduate residence hall and arguably the cultural center of the Institute's graduate community. Its dining room has been a focal point of the MIT graduate experience, serving as a meeting place for faculty and their students.

  • In mid-November, two very talented MIT students were chosen as winners of the prestigious and highly competitive Marshall and Rhodes scholarships. Ali Alhassani was selected as a Marshall Scholar and Melis Anahtar was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. Kim Bernard, Program Advisor in the Distinguished Fellowships Office, advised all the major scholarship participants as they worked through the application and interview process.

  • MIT has a well established system of external feedback for its various units. This is through the existence of external "Visiting Committees". These committees are composed of individuals who care about MIT. These include members of the MIT Corporation, alumni of MIT and other external national experts. These committees, usually about 15 people strong, gather every eighteen months to two years to examine a unit. Visiting Committees play three major roles:

    • They provide an external perspective on the needs and issues of the unit for the senior administration (they report to the President and Corporation).

    • They can, on occasion, articulate the needs of the unit.

    • They can provide external insights to force internal change in a unit.

  • The MIT Careers Office is pleased to provide the results of the MIT Class of 2007 Graduating Student Survey, providing information about the immediate post-graduation plans of all graduating MIT students. 1,432 of the 2,110 June 2007 graduates responded, representing 68 percent of the graduating class. This report represents a collaborative effort between this office, IS&R, and Institutional Research. I particularly want to thank John Nonnamaker, Associate Director for Graduate Student Career Services, for his leadership of this survey. The results reflect a strong job market for MIT graduates, as shown in the following highlights:

  • On November 6th, 35 students attended “Doctoring Policy: Understanding the Intersection of Health and Law”, a speaker-event jointly organized by Preprofessional Advising in the MIT Careers Office (MITCO) and the Public Service Center (PSC). Two authoritative speakers discussed their career paths in the legal and medical professions and their current work affecting change in health policy- an area of growing interest for MIT students. The event also highlighted opportunities for students to engage in health policy work.

  • On October 26, the Office of Faculty Support hosted “Redefining the MIT Classroom: Award-Winning Experiments in Curricular Change” at Bartos Theater. The event was the first in what is planned to be a series of events to celebrate curricular innovation made possible by the Alumni Class Funds http://web.mit.edu/alumnifunds.

    The Funds are sponsored by the classes of 1951, 1955, 1972, and 1999 and assist MIT faculty as they develop creative curriculum and pedagogical innovations that improve the quality of teaching and enrich students’ learning experiences. Over the past thirteen years, more than 120 projects have received support from these funds, resulting in many noteworthy improvements to the quality of undergraduate education at MIT.

  • The Teaching to Learning (T2L) theme’s primary objective is to shift the focus of the MIT instructional staff (i.e., faculty, instructors, teaching assistants) from teaching to learning. This implies a shift in the classroom from what instructors do or put in, to what students absorb and take away from the experience. T2L initiatives aim for classroom approaches that revolve not only around what topics the instructor covers, her or his lecturing skill and the ability to impart a set of facts, but also on helping students understand important ideas, master crucial skills and be motivated to learn.

  • StarBiogene is a web interface to a set of software tools from the Broad Institute for analyzing genomics data via the web. It enables the user to take part in the analysis of microarray gene expression data without the operational fog of installing, configuring, and loading datasets into the software. Entirely from the web interface, students can select how they want to visualize the data (microarray, heatmap, or clustering views) and also choose from a set of prepackaged datasets to be automatically loaded into the software. StarBiogene then delivers the visualizer along with the requested dataset and launches the software on the client's machine using Java Web Start (tm).

  • The Office of Educational Innovation and Technology presented “Being online: Purposeful narration of professional life” as part of OEIT’s popular CROSSTALK colloquium. Jon Udell, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, spoke to a full house in the Bush Room on December 5th. His premise is that you and many others will be able to contribute to the story of your professional life which, from now on, will be written online.

  • Four MIT UROP students were selected to participate in the 18th annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduate in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Argonne National Laboratory http://www.dep.anl.gov/p_undergrad/ugsymp. This symposium offers undergraduates an opportunity to present their research results to their peers as well as Argonne scientists and university faculty. The goal of the symposium is to encourage science careers. The Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S.