In a move that consolidates administrative responsibility for research and graduate education, Provost Joel Moses has announced that Professor J. David Litster, vice president and dean for research, has agreed to assume additional responsibility as Dean for Graduate Education.
Professor Litster, a physicist recognized internationally for his pioneering experimental and theoretical studies of phase transitions in unusual states of matter, will hold the title of vice president for research and dean for graduate education.
The provost also announced that Dr. Isaac M. Colbert, associate dean of the Graduate School since 1988 and acting dean since September, will become Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education, and will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Graduate Education office. Currently, 5,302 of the 9,744 students at MIT are graduate students.
"Our thanks to Ike for his willingness to take on the added duties of acting dean during the fall term," Professor Moses said. "I am sure that he and Dave will be an outstanding team in the coming years."
The appointments were effective January 1.
"Professor Litster has all the needed characteristics of a dean of graduate education," the provost said. "He has done great research, has had many graduate students, and has enormous management experience. Over the past several months, we have come to the conclusion that the common US model of combining research and graduate education under one roof is a good one for MIT at this time, particularly given the importance of securing appropriate funding for graduate education. President Vest and I are certain that Professor Litster will maintain and enhance the excellence of graduate education at MIT."
The provost also announced that, in a related organizational change, the summer session will move from the Graduate Education Office to the Center for Advanced Educational Services "with the expectation that remote education [a major function of the CAES] and the summer session activities will fit well together."
Dean Litster, who joined MIT's Department of Physics in 1965, succeeds Professor Frank E. Perkins, dean of the Graduate School since 1983, who announced several months ago that he would return to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
From 1988 to 1992, Professor Litster was director of the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory. He became vice president and dean for research in 1991.
Professor Litster received the BEng degree (1961) in engineering physics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and the PhD (1965) from MIT. A faculty member in the Department of Physics, Dean Litster is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Solid State Sciences Panel of the National Research council and the recipient of the 1993 Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics.
Dr. Colbert, a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University, also holds the MA and PhD degrees in experimental psychology from Brown University. He joined MIT in 1977 and held several administrative positions before his appointment as associate dean of the Graduate School in 1988. Dr. Colbert is a director and past co-chairman of the Cambridge Partnership for Public Education and a trustee of the Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham.