The Role of Visiting Committees at MIT

By Daniel Hastings, Dean of Undergraduate Education

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.

Of course an indirect benefit of the visiting committee is that they force the unit to plan for their visit. As Gen. Eisenhower once said, the planning can be as important as the plan.

The DUE Visiting Committee is scheduled to visit us in April. They will expect to hear what we have accomplished since 2006, in terms of their last set of recommendations. They will also expect us to discuss the current issues we are facing and expect us to put these issues into a national context. For example, they will want to understand how MIT is responding to the national discussion on learning assessment. Finally, they will want to hear our MIT unique issues such as how we plan to update the Student Information System.

All the DUE leadership will be involved in the planning and presentations to the Visiting Committee. The insights of these national experts are very valuable to us and we are looking forward to their visit. The members of the 2008 DUE Visiting Committee are here:

2008 DUE Visiting Committee Members (as of December 6, 2007):

Professor Edie N. Goldenberg ’67 PO, Chair Professor of Political Science and Public Policy University of Michigan

Nancy Weiss Malkiel** Dean of the College Princeton University

Professor John C. Bravman** Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Stanford University

Lissa A. Martinez* ’76 OE, TPP’80 Early Stage Investor

Mr. Sudeb C. Dalai ’02 PS Student Stanford University School of Medicine

Sanjay K. Rao ’02 EE, EE ’03 Associate McKinsey and Company

Dr. Norman L. Fortenberry ’83 ME, ME ’84, ME ‘91* Director of the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

Peter Salovey** Dean of the College Yale University

Professor Prabhat Hajela** Vice-Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Eric J. Sheppard* ‘AA 85, AA’94 Dean, School of Engineering and Technology Hampton University

Mr. John W. Jarve ’78 EE, EE ‘78 Managing Director Menlo Ventures

Martin Y. Tang GM ‘72 Chairman, Asia Spencer Stuart

Mr. Howard W. Johnson President Emeritus, Former Chairman of Corp. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matthew J. Turner** ’96 ME, ’99 PO Manager, Corporate Initiatives Group General Electric

Stephen P. Kaufman* ’63 EC Senior Lecturer Harvard Business School

Barrie R. Zesiger Managing Director Zesiger Capital Group LLC

Maria M. Klawe** President Harvey Mudd University

Names without asterisks indicate nominees from the Corporation
* Nominees from the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT
** Nominees from the President