MASS INST. TECH.
OCT 31 1972
The Management of Education
The Management of Education
Arnold E, Amstutz
Katherine A. Moore
Thomas F. Riesing
This report was prepared for the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher
Education and the Ford Foundation. The authors acknowledge their indebtedness
to these foundations for their support of this research. This document is
prepared for limited distribution and shall not be reproduced or referenced
without the explicit permission of the authors.
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We are indebted to many individuals who have contributed
to the research and management activities reported in this
book. Specific contributors are noted throughout. However,
it is a pleasure to acknowledge the help of the following
people who made it all possible.
Special thanks are due the administrators at the colleges
and universities cooperating in the research: The Reverend
George Lawlor, Dean Maffei and Kathleen McKenna at Boston
College; Dean Matthew Sgan at Brandeis University; Dr. Charles
Dailey, Dr. Mado MacDonald and Diane Harper at Dartmouth
College; Deans William Pounds, Thomas Hill and Abraham Siegel
of the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management; Dr. Lou Cunningham
at Muskingum College; Dean James Hekemian and Associate Dean
John Palmucci at Northeastern University; Dean C. Jackson
Grayson and Dean Bobby Lyle at S.M.U.; Professor William Massy
at Stanford University; and. Dean Melvin and Mrs. Janet Giele
of Wellesley College.
We are particularly indebted to the efforts of Lawrence
Birenbaum, Sharon Marecki, Niels Larsen, James Rand and
Srinivas Sundara-Ra j an who served as research assistants on
the project staff. The M.I.T. Information Processing Center
programming assistants and their Director, Richard Steinberg,
offered invaluable advice, consultation and commiseration
during the development and operation of our information system
Equally magnificent support was provided by the staff of the
Sloan School computer facility.
The energies and indulgence of the Sloan School Master's
Program Committee are gratefully acknowledged with particular
thanks to Peter Gil, Mason Haire, Gerald Pogue, John Rockart,
Irwin Rubin, Edgar Schein, Miriam Sherburne, Benson Snyder,
Lester Thurow, Glen Urban, Leon White and three student
representatives, Karen Mathiasen, James Monk and Paul Pureka,
who actively participated in the often frustrating and at
times infuriating model design and measurement formulation
We would like to acknowledge the generous advice of
Bill Kennedy, Charles Myers and Zenon Zannetos at the Sloan
School, Clark Kerr, Chairman of the Carnegie Commission on
the Future of Higher Education, and Joseph Kershaw of the
The care and perseverance of Janet Allen and Marilyn
Kinkead who prepared this manuscript, and Margaret Bryant who
edited our drafts are much appreciated.
We are indebted to Gertrude Burns for guiding us through
the M.I.T. accounting labrynth and maintaining our fiscal
integri ty .
Finally, we recognize that this study would have been
impossible without the participation and cooperation of the
hundreds of students and faculty members who painstakingly
completed the batteries of questionnaires on which this
research is based
To each of them our sincere thanks
Table of Contents
Chap ter 4
Introduc t ion
A Framework for Analysis
The Measurement Process
The Data Base and Data Structures
The Undergraduate Experience
The Graduate Admissions Process
The Entering Graduate Student
Measurement of Change
Measuring the Educational Product
Prediction of Change
Program Management - Experiences and Recommendations
"'Good teaching is not only a relatively private
perfornance, but it resists measurement '"■'-
This book is an outf»rowth of a cocktail party or, more correctlv,
one of the last vestiges of genteel student faculty interaction — a sherry
hour. The occasion was the final dinner honoring some one hundred students
who had completed the two year Sloan School of Management Master's Program
in the Spring of 1967. As the evening progressed, conversation turned from
future student plans (who had been offered how much, by whom, to do what,
and where) to retrospective assessment of the last four terms that students
and faculty had shared.
Emboldened by the certainty of graduation, the sherry, and the man
to man ambiance encouraged by the faculty members present, a few students
began to comment rather specifically on perceived weaknesses in the program.
As the conversation became more intensely man to man, some faculty members
began to react with less than total enthusiasm and a dark cloud of mutual
recrimination started to form over the increasingly noticeable group of
Just as some group members were beginning to despair at the outcome
of this frank and friendly discussion. Bill Pounds, Dean of the Sloan
School, entered the fray, agreed with the students that "We certainly do
have some important things to learn from these experiences..." and
skillfully recast the conversation in a positive vein.
It seems that no less august a body than the Sloan School Policy
Committee had been considering just those issues which most concerned the
■'■Quoted from a recent report of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching in Arthur E. Lean, And Merely Teach. Irreverent Essays on the
Mythology of Education , Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale,
Illinois, 1968, page 15.
students. Their deliberations had concluded that change was required -
change in the direction of "increased intra-group communication and manage-
ment oriented course content"!
Later that evening Dr. Amstutz commented to Dean Pounds that it was not
at all clear that the school faculty or administration possessed the goal-
setting mechanisms, measurements, or organizational structure necessary to
support orderly movement toward the Policy Committee's objectives. Shortly
after embarking on his "as a school of management we do a leas than admirable
job of applying what we teach" speech. Dr. Amstutz was abruptly silenced
by the suggestion that he assume the chairmanship of the Master's Program
Committee to see what he and the other committee members could do
to manage this portion of the Sloan School educational process.
After discussing the Policy Committee deliberations and past Master's
Program Committee activities with other faculty members, Dr. Amstutz wrote
Dean Pounds summarizing his conclusions that effective management of the Master's
Program was dependent on overcoming three fundamental obstacles:
1. Faculty members were unable to agree on consistent and
explicit objectives for the program; and progress was
often stymied by faculty who refused to work toward goals
they did not share or undermined programs designed to
achieve results they questioned.
2. In the absence of explicit criteria and consistent
measurement procedures, it was impossible to determine
what actually happened in the program, much less evaluate
the impact of selected pedagogical innovations or assess
the extent to which specific goals had been achieved.
3. Since resources were controlled and allocated by discipline-
oriented departmental groups, the Program Committee had
neither fiscal nor administrative authority and depended
totally on good will, persuasion, barter, intimidation, and
organizational coercion to obtain the personnel and
facilities required to achieve their goals.
He also suggested that these obstacles might be overcome if management
of the Master's Program were approached using techniques similar to those
diligently promoted to students and non academic managers. The following
excerpts from this memorandim are indicative of his thinking in August 1967-
I would be pleased to assist in the implementation
of programs proposed by the Policy Committee. However I
question the validity of change oriented activity in the
absence of explicit program objectives and measures,
however crude, of the efficiency and effectiveness of
existing and alternative educational procedures.
I therefore propose that we attempt to establish;
Current faculty objectives for the Master's Program and
operational definitions of desired change;
Models of educational and social processes associated
with the Master's Program;
Measures of student predisposition, capability, knowledge,
skill acquisitTTon, and management performance;
Criteria for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency
of alternative educational activities and classroom
procedures in achieving specific educational goals.
This activity will establish a basis for program manage-
ment by providing the models and measures requisite to system-
atic planning and control. The integrating mechanism will be
a process flow model of the Master's Program encompassing
those aspects of the program the faculty considers significant
and actionable. At the current time the following factors
appear to be worthy of serious consideration.
The Application/Admissions Process
The prospective Sloan School Master's candidate receives
information from the Sloan School as well as other universities
offering a Master's Program in Business. He may apply to and
be accepted by several other schools in addition to M.I.T.
Several questions should be answered by research
focusing on this application and admission process.
. What are the determinants of the decisions to apply for
id, if accepted, to enter a particular Master's Program?
How do students applying to M.I.T. differ from those
applying to other major programs?
What are the characteristics of the entering Sloan School
Master's candidate and how do these differ from candidates
entering other major institutions? Can those entering
the M.I.T. program be differentiated on the basis of:
Image of or information regarding M.I.T. or
the Sloan School,
Attitudes toward real or assumed attributes
of the Sloan School, and
The answers to these questions should provide a basis
for communication and recruitment policies directed toward
increasing application and acceptance rates from those
students best qualified to benefit from and contribute
to the Sloan School program.
The First Year
The first year Master's student brings a specific comple-
ment of attitudes, skills, and knowledge to the Sloan School
where he interacts with other students, faculty, administra-
tion, and staff. By the end of the first year he has
acquired new knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Our objective
in examining student experiences during the first year should
be to determine:
The impact of prior experience, capabilities and
background on performance;
Changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes during
the first year;
The importance of selected environmental factors
in affecting noted changes;
The efficiency and effectiveness of alternative
educational approaches in producing specific changes.
The Second Year
Evaluation of the second year program should parallel the
first year study with added emphasis on processes associated with
career selection. This analysis might be extended to include
assessment of terminal student capabilities and orientation
in context of admissions and application procedures.
Since several experiments in the use of advanced technology
( e.g. , computer consoles and videotape equipment) are now in
progress, classes employing these approaches might be compared
to traditional lecture, discussion, or project courses and
evaluated against previously established educational objectives.
In September 1967 the Master's Program Committee began a series of
frustrating and at times divisive meetings. The intent of these sessions was
to set objectives for the Program and for specific core courses and to
establish priorities and criteria for program evaluation.
The first meeting focused largely on the "problem of formulating
objectives for the program in operational terms and on prospects for
implementing recommendations for program change which may result from the
committee's research." Two tenured professors with previous Master's
Program Committee experience noted that earlier committees had become
"bogged down in the formulation of program objectives and made most of their
progress on specific program- directed changes."
More detailed assessment of material developed by earlier program
committees revealed that the basic issues of concern to the 1967 group had
been considered if not "resolved" by their predecessors.
"Major issues" before the Masters Program Committee in 1964 were
summarized by one of its members as follows :
What are our goals in the Master's Program?
Are we training future enterprise managers, consultants,
candidates for the doctoral program, or some unknown quantity?
Consensus on this question has been most difficult to
achieve because we differ in how one defines "enterprise
manager"; we differ in our conception of what such a person
should know to be effective in his role; we differ in our
philosophy of hew best to teach whatever it is he should
know; we differ in our own clarity of vision on all of the
above questions; and we differ on whether it is important or
not to achieve consensus on any of these basic questions.
What are the dimensions of the Sloan School Masters Program
which we consider legitimate to change ?
In other words, what parts of the system should we analyze
as a legitimate part of our mission? Several such dimensions
or parts of the system can be identified:
Minutes of the September 18, 1967, Masters Program Committee Meeting.
1. The number of required courses
2. The content of the various courses taught
3. The structure of the curriculum in the sense of balance
between required and elective courses, when they have to
be taken, how many at a time, etc.
4. The method by which courses are taught
5. Faculty attitudes toward the teaching process
6. The reward structure of the Sloan School in regard
to relative importance of teaching
7. The image of the Sloan School in regard to relative
importance of teaching
8. The student input in terms of the kind of applications
we stimulate and the admissions criteria we use
9. The teacher training system in the sense of feedback
loops to faculty about their teaching
10. The new faculty input
Who and what are we, at the present time ?
What is our current philosophy? What sort of a faculty are we?
What are our assumptions about teaching and learning, and about
content of the curriculum? Do we see ourselves as scientists,
researchers, practitioners, or what?
One year later, three members of the 1965 Committee provided the
following "nutshell assessment of what's wrong with the program now":
We perceive that the master's students are imbued with less
entrepreneurial spirit than is desirable. Also we sense that
the program is too scholarly in content; that symptomatic of
this, too many students wish to continue for a Ph.D. rather
than going out and doing something immediately. Our program
is too much of a junior Ph.D. program.
All of these facets reflect a conflict between appropriate
(terminal) master's degree education and our own research
interests (and probably the reward process which guides it).
Our research calls for interest in those things which are
"far out"; the obligation to the master's student is to
present material which is "far in".
Assuming that this conflict exists, our basic view is that
the master's program is too large relative to the Ph.D. program.
As to the Input
First, we feel that insufficient attention is paid to the non-
academic aptitudes of prospective students. Students are
admitted who have almost no potential for becoming effective
operators by virtue of narrowness of interests, gross person-
ality defects, or general lack of savoir faire.
Second, we feel that the very high geographical concentration of
students (over 80 percent of domestic students from Northeastern
schools) is poor in that it may lead to solidification of
highly provincial ideas.
As to Curriculum and Course Content
We agree ... that there are too many required courses".
Furthermore, there is, as the curriculum stands now, too
little "brass tacks", i.e. , management problems material
in the first year. A negative way of stating this is that
there is too much material in the first year which is
peripheral to management, with the net result that the
student is "overtooled", "overliberalized" and undermotivated
to management. More specifically, there is too much pure
math and too much "environmental" material.
During 1966 the Committee's attention was focused on several related
issues which two of its members summarized:
CThere is) no reason why we cannot give the student a minimum
exposure to the entire range of disciplinary material in one
year. Further, our knowledge of absolute business needs is
too flimsy to insist that he should know more than that
One reason we think we need as much as we do is because of
inefficiency and overlap due to present autonomy and past
historical accident. It is stodgy of us to believe (insist)
that things cannot be made more efficient.
Another aay be our slack adherence to present admissions re-
quirements ( re : economics and math) or we may want to review
minimal admisisons prerequisites.
Repeat: Some continuing mechanism for supervision is
necessary. It cannot be done once and for all.
These Master's Program Committee discussions took place at a time when
other programs and the entire university were questioning the meaning and
implications of the M.I.T. experience. The following comments regarding a
study of the Class of 1965 made by Dr. Benson R. Snyder in 1967 are indicative
of this concern.
A talk presented to the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology by Benson R. Snyder, Wednesday, November 15, 1967.
These students [the Class of 1965] come to us at a time
when higher education in America is faced with a major crisis.
The rate of change between the generations has accelerated.
Many of the skills, the ideas, and even the institutional
structures of the preceding generation may be useless or inept
for today or for tomorrow's generation.
One way we can summarize our findings is to say that the
M.I.T. education, for some students, extends their capacity to
adapt to a range of stimuli, while for others this same en-
vironment locks the student into the mastery of one narrow skill.
The most challenging and serious general finding from our work
speaks directly to this issue. In the process of achieving
mastery over our specific educational tasks here at M.I.T. , which
for many students is getting A's, some of our students' cognitive
and adaptive styles become so fixed — so locked — that their ability
to cope with altered circumstances in the future appears to be
seriously compromised. At the very least, severe restriction in
their ability to adapt to new and different tasks may be a price
that is paid for an immediate success in education at M.I.T.
When the student is seen only as he sits in class, his
faculty, understandably, is not in a position to see where the
student has been, or where he is going. This is a descriptive
statement about the majority of encounters between faculty and
students. There are, obviously, exceptions. However, it is
important for you to hear again that the overwhelming perception
of the students is that their faculty simply do not know them
and that there is no time to know them. I am not urging that
we increase the amount of time but be concerned with the quality
of time spent with them.
Our effort has always been to place the various pieces of
evidence about our students against the background of the
institution as a whole. How many students moved out of or into
a given course? When did the movement occur? What were the
academic, social or emotional characteristics of these students?
When did they come to the helping services, if they came? And
so on. A Psychological Inventory Test was given to substantially
the entire class upon entrance, to sli^tly fewer than half of
this same class as seniors . The approach that we chose was de-
rived from the study of ecology. We saw a number of things that
we could not understand and had not expected. We found that
unravelling the reasons for a given phenomenon is often slow,
sometimes uncertain, and an always exciting process.
Using the ecological and epidemiological approach we inferred
the incidence and prevalence of strain in the student population.
This data served as the further basis for inference about the
occasion, the nature, and the intensity of stress on students
taking various paths through the institution, and we were able
to locate the time and place of seme of the more salient stresses.
This put us in a position to consider how the student re-
sponded to these stresses and how it affected his passage
through the Institute. We found that one group, a substantial
ntimber of students, opens up to the range of choices and be-
come responsive to a wider scope of intellectual and emotional
experiences, as well as educational experiences. The stress
for this group was not crippling.
Another large group of students tended to close down the
range of experiences to which they could respond. Their response
to the stress was to accentuate one or two specific adaptive
positions, such as putting on intellectual or emotional blinders
and denying much of the dissonance around them.
Students with different psychological characteristics have
different academic fates. This can be illustrated by considering
the relationship between two groups of students chosen by psycho-
logical criteria. Academic failure or withdrawal from M. I.T. in
each group was determined. The first group showed a desire to seek
out new, complex social and cognitive experiences. We concluded
that these students would enjoy playing with ideas. This group
was contrasted with another group: well-ordered, careful, they
appeared to take very few intellectual risks, and they avoided
ambiguity when they could. The proportion of disqualified
students and students who withdrew among the students who were
seeking new and complex experience is more than three times as
high as the proportion of students who either disqualified or
withdrew from M.I.T. among the well ordered and careful non-risk
When a similar comparison was made when we looked at grades,
rather than at failure or withdrawal, we found that the students
who relied heavily on set schedules, orderliness, and convention-
ality in attitude, had a significantly higher first term rating
and final cumulative rating after four years at M.I.T. There
was no difference in the scholastic aptitude on math between
these two groups .
The conditions, opportunities, the talents and knowledge
here at M.I.T. are indeed unique. Most important, we are not
caught up in a tradition but we are open to change, we are, in
general, a risk-taking institution. That the colleges and
universities may be becoming increasingly irrelevant for the
training of the youth of today for tomorrow stands for us
as a challenging thought and not as occasion for despair.
During the 1967-68 academic year the Master's Program Committee con-
tinued to grope with three basic problems:
(1) Describing and evaluating student characteristics at the time of
admission, experiences within the Sloan School, and performance upon
(2) Establishing an effective administrative structure to support
program implementation and coordination; and
(3) Selecting and motivating faculty with desired capabilities,
experience, and interests.
Student related characteristics and processes were discussed in terms of
"knowledge acquisition; development of frameworks for analysis and synthesis;
examination of attitudes; recognition of the limits of one's cwn training;