Opinion

Welcome, Chancellor Grimson

Opening a new chapter in student engagement

Today is the first day of the chancellorship of W. Eric L. Grimson PhD ’80. The Tech applauds his selection, and is excited to see the new ideas and perspective that he brings to the position. Student leaders have voiced strong support for the new chancellor, based on Grimson’s past service with students and faculty members on numerous committees. Grimson has also received praise for his work as a professor and academic advisor, and through his experience as a graduate student here, we feel that he is well positioned to understand and support the unique culture of the Institute.

With Susan J. Hockfield’s notably outward-facing stance as president, students have come to view the chancellor as the individual most responsible for their welfare. We look to Grimson to fairly balance the needs of students with those of other stakeholders at MIT ­— faculty, administrators, staff, parents — and to do so transparently. We ask that he and the offices he oversees extend graduate and undergraduate students the same courtesies they would give to others at MIT. As such, we look for transparency in his decisions and direct lines of contact to students, perhaps through office hours. Wherever possible, we expect that he will solicit and incorporate student input into his decisions.

We also expect the new chancellor to help resolve any conflicts between students and administrators. As the supervisor of the Divisions of Undergraduate Education, Graduate Education, and Student Life, he is uniquely positioned to serve as an arbitrator and set a vision for academic and student life at MIT. When misunderstandings and disagreements arise over that vision, we hope that Grimson will help both sides find the best solution, using the reasonable and level-headed attitude that won him praise on the Committee on Academic Performance, among others.

Above all, we look to Grimson to act as a responsible, communicative, and conscientious steward of student life, well-being, academics, and the undergraduate and graduate community. The official description of the chancellor position describes “responsibility for graduate and undergraduate education at MIT, student life, and student services.” We expect Grimson to lend his experience and judgment to these tasks, and we are confident that his chancellorship will represent a successful, beneficial, and lasting relationship between students and administrators.

1 Comment
1
Milan Moravec almost 7 years ago

UC Berkeley lessons learned for Chancellor Grimson.UCBerkeleyNews. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, mens, and womens gymnastics, womens lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion mens rugby team, the chancellor sighed, Sorry, but this was necessary!

But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $7.2 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) to pay the consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.

Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during UCBerkeleyNews

which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bains recommendations are implemented (They told me to do it, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.

Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

UC Berkeley reprimand, censure: NCAA places Chancellor Birgeneaus mens basketball program on two years probation.

Let there be light for transparency to UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneaus leadership

.