SPEC Kit 330: Library Contribution to Accreditation · 137
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institutional Self-Study Prepared for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Chapter 7:
Library and Other Information Resources
Chapter 7: Library and Other Information Resources
Chapter 7 Page 91
MIT Student Information System
The MIT Student Information System (MITSIS) comprises more than 100 administrative systems that
serve all of the student services at MIT, including registration and academic records, student financial
services, academic departments, housing, and medical.
MITSIS provides information and curriculum planning tools to aid students and their advisors in selecting
courses and planning for the upcoming semester and future years. Using MITSIS tools, students can
search online for subject offerings that meet their interests and degree requirements. They can then select
subjects for pre-registration and view potential class schedules to identify time conflicts.
Advisors can view advisee information online to learn about their students and prepare for their advising
discussions. Information available to advisors includes each advisee’s pre-registration subjects, academic
record, status of registration, degree audit, student photo, and other biographic information. Advisors use
this information to stay up to date on their advisees’ progress and plans, and to help students map out their
curricula and activities.
As described in Chapter 4, MITSIS is also being piloted by faculty and students for online evaluation of
subjects at the end of each term. Over the next few years, MIT intends to move away from paper-based
forms and toward a central system of online evaluation. Parallel efforts will be taken to improve data on
the quality of teaching and the ease with which it is collected. The Office of Faculty Support (under the
direction of the dean for undergraduate education) administers the Institute’s subject-evaluation process.
The office is using MITSIS to improve this process and to provide meaningful data for the intra-
departmental and cross-departmental evaluation of MIT’s teaching. Sixteen departments pilot the system,
and more are scheduled to come on board in the coming year.
Envisioning a new student-information system
While MITSIS is meeting the day-to-day needs of faculty and students, it was designed nearly 20 years
ago. It was originally intended primarily for administrative use, but today’s students and faculty expect a
more student- and faculty-centric system. To plan for needed changes, MIT initiated the Student System
Vision (SSV) study in 2007. The dean for undergraduate education, the dean for graduate education, the
dean for student life, and the vice president of IS&T are sponsoring this collaborative project led by
Information Services and Technology.
Understanding the needs of all constituents who work with student systems is of the utmost importance
and requires Institute-wide collaboration. The SSV project team hosted workshops, meetings, focus
groups, and presentations that involved faculty, staff, and students from across the Institute. These
activities tapped into MIT’s collective intelligence to ensure an in-depth understanding of immediate
needs and long-term expectations regarding student systems. An SSV Faculty Advisory Group with
participants from MIT’s Council on Educational Technology joined the effort, and an outside consulting
firm facilitated the overall process. MIT wanted to ensure that the recommendations coming out of the
study represent a broad consensus on where MIT would like to be—a true vision of student systems in the
In spring 2008, the SSV team presented its findings, along with a plan for implementing the next-
generation MIT student-information system. The team’s report is now being evaluated by various faculty
committees and the administration. Additional planning and analysis are continuing, and the
implementation likely will span many years.