DUE News - 2008

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  • Approximately 30 cadets from Detachment 365 came together with staff and students from MIT for a pandemic flu exercise at MIT Medical on 11 March 08. The exercise served for the 365th Cadet Wing as an opportunity to practice real-world leadership skills, said Cadet Wing Vice Commander Paul Estrada. But David M. Barber, MIT’s Emergency and Business Continuity Planner, saw the exercise as something more—a proving ground for the concept that ROTC cadets could be used by university administrations during a time of crisis. Barber, after observing cadets take part in the drill, stated, “we’ve got a valuable resource here.”

  • On March 26, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) launched their new website at http://web.mit.edu/oeit/. Check out the site and learn more about OEIT services, programs, and projects.

  • The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) has recently kicked off a series of dinner events aimed at encouraging students to reflect on their experiences as MIT undergraduates.

  • Five MIT faculty members were named MacVicar Fellows for their excellence in undergraduate teaching on March 7th. MacVicar Day is an annual celebration which recognizes contributions to undergraduate education at MIT. The program began with a lecture on science education by Nobel Laureate Carl E. Wieman ’73, and was followed by a faculty reception hosted by President Susan Hockfield at Gray House.

    At the reception, the awards were presented by the Provost to the 2008 MacVicar Faculty Fellows – Biology Professor Tania Baker, Materials Science and Engineering Professor Craig W. Carter, Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Sanjay E. Sarma, Literature Professor Stephen J. Tapscott, and Physics Professor Barton Zwiebach.

  • infinite mile awards

    On June 11, eighteen members of DUE were awarded DUE Infinite Mile Awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions and dedication to MIT. During the award ceremony, Dan Hastings noted that all the individuals who were recognized “went above and beyond the call of duty.”

  • Anyone who’s walked by the entrance to 10-250 recently will have noticed a posted sign that reads “Construction area do not enter”. 10-250, the second largest lecture hall in the Registrar’s Office inventory, has been off-line since the beginning of this year. The 450 seat lecture hall has been home to many core subjects such as 3.091 and 18.02, but is now undergoing a sorely needed renovation. As one of the most requested spaces on campus, 10-250 supports not only classes but various colloquiums, seminar series and lecturers such as Nobel Prize recipient Professor Wolfgang Ketterle and Ground Zero architect Santiago Calatrava.

  • Rany Woo, Brain and Cognitive Sciences ’08, was recently named a Merage Fellow. The Merage American Dream Fellows program selects 15 students nationally and provides them a $10,000 stipend annually for two years ($20,000 total) to help students pursue their American Dream.

    Cecilia Scott, Mechanical Engineering ’10, was the first MIT student ever to be named a Udall Scholar.  In tribute to the work of Congressman Morris Udall, the Morris K. Udall Foundation annually awards 80 undergraduate scholarships of up to $5,000 in fields related to the environment, and to Native American and Alaska Natives in fields related to health care or tribal policy.

  • On April 2 and 3, we had a very interactive and productive “visit” from the DUE Visiting Committee.  The purpose of this external committee is to provide advice and guidance to the DUE leadership and the senior leadership at MIT. The discussions and subsequent advice were based on four key areas:

    • Supporting curriculum innovation, learning assessment and underlying infrastructure for student information

    • Developing a coherent institutional vision and strategy for diversity to achieve positive educational outcomes for all undergraduates

    • Recognizing that to develop leaders who will solve the world’s biggest problems, we must increase our emphasis in global education.

    • Facilitating the development of cross-disciplinary and transferable knowledge and skills and perspectives for MIT undergraduate students.

    In addition to presentations on each of these topics, we also presented on the state of DUE as well as our progress on previous recommendations from the committee. I was pleased that many of you were able to come and hear the presentations. The committee specifically commended us on the usefulness of the background materials we provided. These materials were reports/documents which many of you contributed to during the past two years.

    I wanted to share the preliminary set of findings from the Visiting Committee which are as follows:

  • Under the guidance of Professors Dava Newman and Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Sheehan of OEIT worked with graduate students Lasse Linqvist (Aero Astro), Joe Essenburg (Mechanical Engineering) and postdoctoral fellow James Waldie to produce a GIS interface to the Java based Path Planner software that was previously developed at MIT. This software calculates metabolic costs and travel time for astronauts' Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA) on the moon and on Mars.

  • The Task Force theme is inseparable from DUE’s central mission of improving the undergraduate educational experience at MIT. Diana Henderson, Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Support, leads this theme.

    To summarize the context: “In response to globalization, advances in science and technology as well as the changes in the preparation and learning style of incoming students, the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educations Commons called for the transformation of the MIT curriculum into a curriculum for the 21st century, in its report released in October 2006. It was recommended that this transformation include increased flexibility in the core requirements, definition of a new core SME requirement and HASS first year experience, as well as promotion of collaborative learning and improving advising, assessment and other key aspects of undergraduate education.”