Communication Requirement Sees 15% Cuts, Not 5%

2024 communicationcuts
Writing tutor Susan Spilecki works on an essay with graduate student Masafumi Hashimoto on April 16. Institute-wide cuts could affect communication departments at MIT.

The department in charge of the Communication Requirement will experience over a 15 percent decrease in its budget this year, according to Daniel E. Hastings ’78, dean for undergraduate education. Administrators are now discussing how to implement the cuts, which may involve staff cutbacks.

The Communication Requirement has traditionally operated over budget, according to Kathleen MacArthur, assistant dean for the Communication Requirement. It has always relied on supplemental funds from the Provost. Next year, the Communication Requirement will still receive its full base budget but will not receive supplementary funds, so it is being forced to cut back spending.

The Provost’s extra funds have in the past allowed for “more instructional support in the CI-Hs and CI-Ms from Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) staff and more sections of CI-HWs,” according to Hastings.

The Communication Requirement receives part of its funding from other departments, which hire faculty and teaching assistants. The majority of the support, though, comes from the Writing Across the Curriculum program, according to MacArthur. Both of these areas will be affected by the budget reduction: Departments’ contributions will fall, and the Office of Writing Across the Curriculum is also getting less funding.

“We have had to reduce levels of TA support as well as reduce the amount available to the Writing and Humanistic Studies Program’s part of the [Communication Requirement] support budget,” said Hastings.

A final budget will not be completed until early May, according to MacArthur, though human resources guidelines have compelled administrators to notify staff who may be laid off or have their hours reduced in the coming year. These faculty were told in a letter that “if funding became available, there is a possibility” they will retain their current positions, said MacArthur.

Beyond that, MacArthur said it “would not be appropriate” to detail the current discussions about budget allocation.

Les Perelman, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, had no comment, and Thomas Levenson, Interim Head of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, reiterated that the distribution of next year’s budget is as of yet undecided.