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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Task Force on Student Life and Learning records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0509

  • Staff Only
  • Select item to request

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Task Force on Student Life and Learning (TFSLL), 1996-1998, document the activities of the committee from its creation in July of 1996 until its final report was issued in the summer of 1998.

The background information gathered by the committee is a highlight of the collection. Among the data collected are photocopies of MIT financial documents dating back to 1860. Other documents examined by the committee are the MIT charter and mission. The collection also contains meeting minutes and notes of the Task Force, as well as minutes of the Task Force sub-group, the Student Advisory Committee. Also in the collection are data collected in surveys and questionnaires, including surveys on housing and classrooms, and comments from parents, faculty, alumni, and students. The data cover the Institute’s evolution and represent the committee’s vision of the future of MIT.


  • Creation: 1860 - 1998
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1996 - 1998


Access note

This collection must be reviewed to identify any restricted material before access can be granted. Please submit your requests at least ten business days before your desired visit to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within five business days to let you know whether your requested material is open. For complete information on this policy, see our Statement on Accessing Institute Records.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

In July of 1996, President Charles Vest appointed the Task Force on Student Life and Learning to undertake a comprehensive review of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's educational mission and student life as the Institute approached the 21st century. The last review of this scope was carried out in 1948 and 1949 by the Committee on Educational Survey, known as the Lewis Committee, which examined MIT’s educational system in the aftermath of World War II .

The Task Force on Student Life and Learning was modeled after the Lewis Committee and, like the Lewis Committee, it looked back to the earliest years of MIT’s existence to study its founding principles as outlined by the Institute’s first president, William Barton Rogers.

The Task Force held meetings with MIT administrators, sponsors, and faculty members, and conducted surveys of students, staff, alumni, and parents to gather opinions on strategic issues related to student life and learning. The Task Force also met regularly with the Student Advisory Committee, obtaining substantial information and feedback from the students’ perspective. The collected data enabled the committee to identify the elements of the MIT “educational triad”: research, academics, and community interaction.

Some of the recommendations made by the Task Force included the expansion of UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) and the creation of Freshman Advisory Research subjects (FARs) to make participation in Institute research activities an integral part of undergraduate education. A recommendation to house all freshmen in residence halls on campus was immediately implemented.

The Task Force published a final report titled Task Force on Student Life and Learning ( The Task Force recommendations guided many decisions at MIT after its issue.

Members of the Task Force: Co-chairs: R. John Hansman, Jr. (Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Robert J. Silbey (Professor of Chemistry) Jesus del Alamo (Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) Sallie W. Chisholm (McAfee Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering) Iddo Gilon (Graduate Student) Hermann A. Haus (Institute Professor) June L. Matthews (Professor of Physics) Mario Molina (Institute Professor) Luis A. Ortiz (Graduate Student) Jeremy D. Sher (Undergraduate Student) Charles Stewart III (Associate Professor of Political Science) Marcus A. Thompson (Taylor Professor of Music and Theater Arts)

J. Kim Vandiver (Professor of Ocean Engineering) Rosalind H. Williams (Metcalfe Professor of Writing; Dean for Students and Undergraduate Education)

Members of the Student Advisory Committee: Erik Balsley ‘96 Alexander Cahill ‘01 Ernest Cuni ‘98 Jason Dailey ‘99 Michelle Evans ‘99 Iddo Gilon G Arlene Hahn ‘97 John Hollywood G Anders Hove ‘96 Kai-Yuh Hsiao ‘99 Anthony Ives ‘96 Steven Jens ‘98 Timothy K. Layman ‘97 Michele Micheletti ‘00 Amalia Miller ‘99 Paul Njoroge ‘00 Luis Ortiz G Jacob Seid G Jeremy Sher ‘99


6.3 Cubic Feet (19 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Guide to the Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Task Force on Student Life and Learning
Ready For Review
Silvia Mejia
Copyright 2002
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US