Message :: Fall 2008

Welcome to the Fall 2008 term.  With this issue of Soundings we are introducing both a fresh design and a new editorial approach to our School's primary publication. As part of our communications effort, we will be revamping Soundings over the coming year, creating a publication able to provide in-depth articles, faculty and program profiles, and other features that capture the "great ideas" swirling around the School.

In this issue, we focus on the School's vital role in shaping MIT's international education agenda. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of MISTI (the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative), we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of faculty, staff, and students who create and sustain a distinctively MIT approach to merging technical expertise with global education. In addition, we highlight some of the tremendous international research projects that engage our School's faculty across the globe.

With a historic Presidential election just around the corner, we also profile Charles Stewart (Head of the Political Science Department), and his innovative project to research, evaluate, and improve the quality of the American election process—a project engaged with the very infrastructure of democracy.

Finally, we explore how new media is changing the way citizens participate in elections and other public referenda. How does digital technology expand our ways of communicating and organizing, and supporting emerging ideas? At the Center for Future Civic Media, scholars are shaping the ways we will participate in democratic forums in the years ahead.

I hope you enjoy the new Soundings. We will welcome your comments—and your ideas for future explorations. Stay tuned as we introduce more materials for the School, and more exciting evidence that great ideas do change the world.

—Dean Deborah Fitzgerald

Soundings, Fall 2008