FNL speaks on Kendall design plan
The newest edition of the MIT Faculty Newsletter includes an editorial and article addressing the East Campus development process — both in response to the update on the plan from this summer broadcast by Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88. The article, written by Architecture Department Head J. Meejin Yoon, outlines the heavy involvement of the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), in developing a revised vision for the design project.
Plans for academic entity move forward
Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 announced last week plans to move forward to create a new institutional entity at MIT. The entity will incorporate values from several programs, including the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) and Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), to create a new center focused on complex and socio-technical systems, information and decision systems, and statistics.
February FNL released
The January/February Edition of the MIT Faculty Newsletter opens strongly with Prof. Hal Abelson PhD ’73, Nathan Matias G, and Ethan Zuckerman’s open letter to President L. Rafael Reif regarding Tidbit alongside Reif’s response.
Our campus in scaffolding
In addition to recommendations to demolish Bexley and the several capital projects ongoing in Kendall and Central Square, MIT started several renovation projects of its own over the past year — including renovations on Building 2 and E52, the demolition of Building 12, and the opening of the new Koch Childcare Center adjacent to Simmons.
Building 12 could be demolished by Summer 2014
Turning left off of the infinite corridor at Cafe Four could soon lead to a new destination. Director of Campus Planning, Engineering & Construction Richard L. Amster, confirmed that Building 12 could be demolished as early as this summer, pending approval by the City of Cambridge. The removal of the building will make way for the Nano-Materials, Structures, and Systems Lab (nMaSS), which is projected to be completed in 2018.
Bexley demolition sought
Yesterday, at a meeting with the advisory group for the future of Bexley Hall, the Department of Facilities and the Division of Student Life put forth a recommendation for the demolition of the building. Formerly an undergraduate dorm, Bexley Hall was closed after commencement this past year after inspections revealed a myriad of structural issues. If the recommendation is accepted by senior MIT administrators, the proposal will go to the City of Cambridge to acquire the necessary permits to evaluate and demolish the historic building.
Institute reactions to the federal shutdown
On Monday at midnight, the U.S. Congress remained deadlocked on passing this fiscal year’s budget, causing the federal government to partially shutdown starting on Tuesday. Many non-essential federal employees across a wide number of agencies have been furloughed, some to the point of complete cessation. The webpages of several of these agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have been replaced with landing pages stating that the website cannot be maintained during the shutdown.
Administration reflects on the future of dining
Now that the new dining plan has been in place for almost four semesters, how could it improve? Although the House Dining Program is unlikely to change in the short term, the system will be evaluated after next year in an assessment driven by student opinion and data that Residential Life & Dining can gather about usage of the plan, feedback about the quality of food, and other metrics, says Henry J. Humphreys, senior associate dean of Residential Life and Dining (RL&D).
The prefrosh perspective
I really like it! I’m surprised that Maseeh is as big as it is. I’ve toured other campuses and their dorms are tiny.
IAP Subcommittee report proposes minor changes
“One overarching message emerged from student and faculty feedback: ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,’” the report reads. The IAP Subcommittee of the Faculty Policy Committee has released its final report following a “thorough review of IAP and its evolution in the last 40 years,” as stated in its charge. The report contains 10 recommendations in response to seven questions the committee was asked to consider, as well as an additional recommendation regarding campus community during IAP.
Three student deaths hit MIT in 2012
In 2012, the MIT community was saddened by the deaths of three members: Brian G. Anderson ’13, Heng “Nikita” Guo G, and Allison Tovo-Dwyer G. Guo’s death was ruled a suicide, Anderson’s was due to an opiate overdose, and Tovo-Dwyer passed away after a year-long battle with cancer.
Seven dorms receive RLADs this year
This year saw the implementation of Residential Life Area Directors (RLADs) into most west campus dormitories. The RLADs — an extension of the previous Residential Life Associates (RLA) position — are meant to provide support for students, housemasters, and Graduate Resident Tutors (GRTs). They joined the communities of Maseeh, McCormick, MacGregor, Burton-Connor, New House, Next House, and Simmons at the start of the Fall term.
Meet the RLADs
When the Residential Life Area Director (RLAD) position was announced via a leak from one “Tim Beaver” this summer, students and GRTs alike were up in arms about the impending addition of an administrator to the dorms without prior notification. The RLAD of each dorm is meant to work as both an administrative assistant to the housemaster as well as a source of support for students and GRT. The seven RLADs, two of whom were previously Residential Life Associates (RLAs), started their new jobs in August and moved into the spaces created for them in their respective west campus dorms.
A Hunt of Epic Proportions
At 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Mystery Hunt team Sleipnir’s Wranglers was prepared for the long haul. Their classroom in Building 12 was outfitted with snacks, caffeine, a chalkboard, and even a webcam so their remote solvers could join the atmosphere of the live hunt. As they excitedly opened the first puzzle, little did they know they would be a part of the longest hunt in history.
650 accepted into MIT Class of 2017
Over the winter break, 650 students received MIT admissions tubes filled with confetti in the mail. These new students, accepted into MIT’s undergraduate Class of 2017, were selected from a total of 6,541 early action applicants. Another 4,397 applicants were deferred to regular action while the remaining 1,494 were denied. (MIT does not admit international students in early action.) Decisions were released online on Dec. 15.
An interview with admissions blogger Lydia K.
Admissions blogger Lydia A. Krasilnikova ’14 is no stranger to life as a hosed MIT student. Her Oct. 29 admissions blog post “Meltdown” quickly went viral, with over 4000 likes on Facebook and coverage by WBUR (Boston’s NPR branch). The Tech sat down with Lydia to ask her what she thought about stress and her additional reflections after writing the piece.
Colleges in area partner with edX for class credit
EdX now has now broken into the community college sphere. President of edX, Anant Agarwal, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced yesterday at a press conference that students at Bunker Hill and Massachusetts Bay Community Colleges would be able to take an adapted version of 6.00x for credit starting in Spring 2013. This is the first partnership of edX with a community college and one of the first times a private institution (such as MIT or Harvard) has collaborated with a public institution to improve the quality of class content, according to Paul Reville, Massachusetts secretary of education.
Career fair features 370+ companies
The inauguration of President L. Rafael Reif didn’t stop the students from scrambling to talk to companies at this year’s Career Fair on Friday. Johnson Ice Rink and the 3rd floor track were still packed with students hoping to network with the 370+ companies that attended this year’s fair.
MacGregor RLAD leaves role
Where there once was seven, there are now only six. Tamika Smith, one of the seven new Residential Life Area Directors (RLADs), is no longer employed by MIT, citing personal reasons. Dean of Residential Life and Dining Henry J. Humphreys says that he hopes to find a new person for the position of MacGregor RLAD as quickly as possible.
Memorable Fourth of July show!
Earth, wind, rain, and fire were on the menu for this July 4th. I gathered my blanket and camera, donned my backpack, and was ready to sit on the esplanade through the weather to see the fireworks spectacular that so many people descend upon Boston to get a glimpse of. As someone who spent their life watching fireworks on TV, I was more than excited to see the Boston Pops Fireworks spectacular on July 4th.
Sal Khan gives a Commencement speech of love, empathy, and optimism.
The following is a transcript of the speech given by Salman Khan on June 8, 2012 during MIT’s Commencement.
“There and back again:” From home to home
If there’s one thing everyone seems to get excited about at the end of the semester, it’s about going away. Although no one likes moving, whether to go home or travel to some foreign land for an internship, the vast majority of people are ecstatic about getting out and away.
UA Council holds inaugural meeting
The first meeting of the newly formed UA Council convened on Tuesday with nearly all of the expected members in attendance. Though they expected to pass their constitution at this meeting, those present decided it would be best postponed until next week .
Questions raised over 2030 in FNL
Unlike previous iterations, the faculty newsletter (FNL) from November/December had several clear themes. It outlined a number of issues, including a faculty commentary of the MIT 2030 plan that covers concerns about faculty involvement and where academics fits into the plan, the report of the Stellar next-generation pilot on the blackboard platform, and updates on the committees for graduate admissions and undergraduate orientation. The MIT 2030 initiative was announced by MIT President Susan J. Hockfield last year as a vision of MIT for the future; in terms of how current real estate will be used and what new developments may occur. The opening editorial, written by the FNL editorial board, criticizes the MIT Investment Management Company’s (MITIMCo) role in the development of the plan. It stated that although they are positioned to evaluate the financial implications of the plans for future use of MIT real estate, they are “not in a position to balance the financial implications of long-term planning with the future academic needs of MIT.”
Walker assessment is still not complete
Although the building has been under assessment since Oct. 2010, the 95-year-old Walker Memorial will see no changes for the rest of the academic year. Plans to repurpose the space for the Music and Theater Arts (MTA) department remain unsettled, with no set deadline for completion.
Walker Memorial’s future is unknown
The future of Walker Memorial remains a mystery to administrators and student groups alike. In October 2010, members of the administration, including Associate Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88, announced that plans were in the works to assess the feasibility of a project to repurpose and restore Walker Memorial for use by the Music and Theater Arts department (MTA). Although progress has been made on the project over the summer and this past semester, there is no clear end in sight.
Next, New Houses see renovations
Even for students who will not be moving into Maseeh Hall, coming back from summer vacation might mean returning to a new and improved dorm space. Both Next House and New House saw major changes over the summer while other dorms, both undergraduate and graduate, have been subject to other smaller improvements.
New UA VP appointed
Last night, the Undergraduate Association Senate swore in President Allan E. Miramonti ’13 and confirmed vice presidential appointee TyShaun Wynter ’13. Wynter was one of seven students that applied for the position following the resignation of former Vice President-Elect Alec C. Lai ’13. Wynter is currently New House President, and has not had any previous experience with the UA.
Engagement on Walker continues
The relationship between student groups in Walker Memorial and the administration has improved in the past few months with the formation of the Walker Memorial Assessment Team. In late March, the Graduate Student Council Task Force on Walker Memorial formally joined with the administration to form the team, chaired by Associate Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88. Representatives from the Undergraduate Association, the Music and Theater Arts faculty, Dean of Student Life Costantino Colombo, Dean of Graduate Student Education Christine Ortiz, and several faculty support staff are also part of the coalition.
Artist Jason Derülo to headline Spring Weekend concert
R&B will be the musical style of choice at this year’s annual MIT Spring Weekend Concert. Jason Derülo, known for his hits “Ridin’ Solo” and “Whatcha Say,” will headline the concert. Contemporary R&B artist Janelle Monae will be opening. The concert will take place on April 29, 8 p.m at Johnson Ice Rink.
Walker Memorial future an unknown
After Monday night’s Walker Memorial community meeting, the fate of Walker Memorial as a student space is still unclear. Associate Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88 addressed the concerns of student groups whose space in Walker may be affected by a potential renovation and repurposing of the building.
At Walker, students to hear about renovation
Student groups affected by the potential restructuring of Walker Memorial may soon learn more about the plans for the future of the space. The administration is hosting an open meeting on Monday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. in Morss Hall to provide information and updates on the current status of the Walker review process. The meeting will consist of a presentation by Associate Provost Martin A. Schmidt PhD ’88, a question-and-answer period, and a tour of the facilities.
Economy Hardware will remodel, CCTV moves in
Economy Hardware, a store frequented by members of the MIT community, closed its doors earlier this winter to undergo renovations. Economy Hardware owner Larry Friedman confirmed that the store will reopen sometime in mid-spring at a reduced capacity, sharing the space with Cambridge Community Television. CCTV has also signed a lease with the MIT Investment Management Company on the space formerly occupied by Economy at 438 Massachusetts Ave.
Tweeting at the ’Tute
It’s no surprise that Facebook accounts make up 78 percent of total social networking usage online, according to marketing firm Social Twist — but what about Twitter? An update of 140 characters or less may seem like an unlikely news source, but more and more companies and organizations, including media outlets, are jumping to add Twitter to their methods of reaching the masses.
CAC, Walker groups to talk
This morning, several design and construction firms will be taking a tour of Walker Memorial to evaluate the building’s potential to support MIT’s Music and Theater Arts programs. Although Campus Activities Complex Director Phillip J. Walsh has said “no decisions have been made and cannot be adequately addressed until the feasibility and assessment reviews are conducted” in regards to the project, the action of the Facilities department in hiring these architects and contractors comes as an alarm to several student groups housed in Walker.
Fires an ongoing vexation at MacGregor and other dorms
Wednesday night marked the fourth time this month and the second time within 10 days that the fire alarms in MacGregor House have gone off, forcing residents to evacuate the building. The reason, according to MIT’s director of housing, is that the building’s new fire alarm system is too sensitive.
Spacetime ripples, full of secrets MacArthur winner studies gravity’s waves
When she was contacted by the MacArthur Foundation, Professor Nergis Mavalvala PhD ’97 couldn’t believe it. “I really thought it was a prank call,” said Mavalvala. “I expected at any moment one of my friends was going to jump in on the other side of the line.”
Bacteria and bat sex at Ig Nobels last night
Have you ever wondered if bats fellate each other?