Excellence in Challenging Times

A Message from Department Head – Eric Grimson

This past year has been an unusual one for the department, both unusually good and unusually challenging. We have many successes and accomplishments to report, and our commitment to excellence remains as strong as ever.

EECS Department Head Eric Grimson, the Bernard M. Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering

EECS Department Head Eric Grimson, the Bernard M. Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering

At the same time, the ongoing financial crisis faced by MIT, as well as our peer institutions, poses unique challenges to the department and the Institute. Our faculty and staff have risen to the demands of these times, providing thoughtful suggestions on cost-cutting opportunities, and devising and implementing more effective ways to teach, conduct research, and administer our infrastructure. The amazing level of support from alumni/ae since the onset of the national economic crisis has been both heartening and inspiring. So many friends of the department have affirmed their continuing support in spite of obvious challenges to individuals as well as institutions. For this we are extremely grateful. Your continued support, both in moral and financial terms, truly helps us to weather these stormy times. In what follows, I would like to provide selected highlights from the past year, which illustrate how the department continues to strive for, and achieve, excellence.

Students make final preparations in 6.141J, Robotics: Science and Systems I, spring 2009

Students make final preparations in 6.141J, Robotics: Science and Systems I, spring 2009

Our undergraduate program has shown growth along many dimensions. The number of new majors in the department increased by 10% over the previous year, and the percentage of women undergraduates in the department is now roughly 32%, up from 28% in 2007. Our new curriculum is now firmly in place, with new introductory courses in computation and control, and in communication and devices; new header courses in software engineering, algorithms, and applied electromagnetics; new lab courses in human-computer interfaces, multi-core systems, compilers, microfluidics, energy systems and other areas; and significant revisions to many senior level courses. Student reaction to the new curriculum is also positive, as students are finding it provides more flexibility in designing their particular course selection, which they can tune to their own career goals. Outside interest is also growing, as several other universities have expressed interest in using lessons from our revision to guide their own changes in curriculum. If you are interested in some of the details, please visit the new curriculum website.

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One Response to “Excellence in Challenging Times”

  1. Jonny Bones says:

    It’s interesting (in a disturbing sort of way) to see how the financial crisis is affecting everyone. Before reading this I wouldn’t have really thought about how it would affect a university. I guess I’ve been too busy worrying about how it was directly affecting me.

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