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Human Resources Department

The Personnel Office was the name of the department from 1943 to 1995

Heads of the office

Name Dates Title
Robert M. Kimball 1943-1945 Advisor
Ruth C. Glynn 1944-1947 Personnel Officer
R. Colin Maclaurin 1948-1958 Personnel Officer
Robert J. Davis 1958-1963 Personnel Officer for Union Relations
H. E. Dreyer 1958-1963 Personnel Officer for Personnel Services
Al F. Sise 1958-1963 Personnel Officer for Salaried Personnel Relations
Robert J. Davis 1963-1972 Director
James J. Culliton 1973-1976 Director of Personnel Services
Robert J. Davis 1973-1977 Director of Personnel Relations
Robert K. Weatherall 1973-1974 Acting Director of Personnel Development
F. Adam Yagodka &
Maureen M. Yagodka
1974-1978 Co-directors of Personnel Development
Claudia B. Liebesny 1976-1979 Director of Personnel Services
James J. Culliton 1978-1984 Director
Isaac Colbert &
P. Bell Scott
Assistant Director/Equal Opportunity Officers
Joan S. Rice 1985-1994
Vice President for Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Officer
Laura Avakian 1999-2006 Vice President for Human Resources/Equal Opportunity Officer
Alison Alden 2007-2014 Vice President for Human Resources
Anthony P. Sharon 2014-2015 Deputy Executive Vice President and Interim Vice President for Human Resources
Lorraine Goffe-Rush 2015- Vice President for Human Resources

The Personnel Office officially opened on 1 July 1943. The Executive Committee of the Corporation had considered the need for such an office as early as 1914, but decided it was not necessary, and non-academic personnel matters remained the responsibility of the Bursar’s Office. It was established upon the recommendation of the MIT Wage Board, which consisted of the treasurer, the bursar, assistant bursar, and an assistant to the president. At first the office was temporary, created to respond to wartime difficulties in securing personnel and to the myriad state and federal regulations that required detailed documentation of compensation and hiring practices. The purpose of the office was to procure applicants for available non-staff (non-academic) positions; manage all matters relating to employment; set the starting wage rate; confer with department heads regarding salary increases; maintain personal history data of each employee; and serve as liaison between non-staff employees and the administration.

Robert M. Kimball, assistant to the president and a member of the Wage Board, set up the Personnel Office and served as its official head, in an advisory capacity, from 1943 until 1945. In 1945 the Executive Committee decided to continue the Personnel Office as a permanent division of the Institute’s administration. The office continued to operate under the auspices of the Wage Board which was reconstituted in 1946 as the Personnel Board to include representatives of various administrative offices plus the personnel officer. The board met at least quarterly to review salary recommendations and policy changes.

In 1946, Ruth C. Glynn, who had managed the office for two years, became the first personnel officer of the Institute. The office was responsible for assuring fair and equitable treatment of all employees and served as liaison between the employees and the administration. The Personnel Office was intended to be the central office for all non-staff activities.

The activities of the Personnel Office focused on labor negotiations with the unions for the maintenance, food service, and laboratory staff; codifying existing personnel policies and procedures in the form of employee manuals for the three largest groups of employees: laboratory, maintenance, and office staff; and involving representatives from unions, academic departments, and research projects in the development and implementation of new policies, in an attempt to foster uniform application of Institute policy.

In 1958 the office became the Office of Personnel Relations, composed of three divisions with three officers: Personnel Services, Salaried Personnel Relations, and Union Relations. In 1963, the office was again reorganized to include an employment office, benefits officers, and training consultants. These changes, and the appointment of tuition assistance officers in 1968, reflect efforts on the part of the Institute to use less traditional forms of compensation to attract and retain qualified personnel.

In 1969, as a result of MIT President Howard Johnson’s 1968 mandate to increase minority representation at MIT, the Office of Personnel Relations hired a minority recruiter, two minority counsellors and a training specialist for minority group employees. The office underwent significant restructuring in 1973 when it was again named the Personnel Office and divided into three sections, each with its own director who reported to the Institute vice president for administration and personnel, John M. Wynne. The Office of Personnel Development was responsible for special services, tuition assistance, and training. The Office of Personnel Relations was responsible for union negotiations, wage and salary administration, benefits, and unemployment compensation. The Office of Personnel Services was responsible for information services and employment.

Budget pressures at the Institute resulted in the consolidation of the Personnel Office in 1978 with a single director, who then organized the office into four sections in 1980: Compensation and Employment, Faculty and Staff Information Services, Labor Relations, and Personnel Services and Development. It was during this period that the office gained responsibility for faculty administering personnel matters. The general focus of the office did not significantly change, and meeting employee needs through development and benefits services remained a high priority.

The Personnel Office assumed responsibility for the Office of Child Care in 1985. In 1990 the Office of Community Services, later named the Office of Special Community Services, was created. The Office of Special Community Services included such offices as the Child Care Office (renamed the Family Resource Center in 1992), MIT Activities Committee (MITAC), and the MIT-Cambridge Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons. The Office of Special Community Services further expanded the office’s role in administering employee benefits and services. The Office of Special Community Services was disbanded in July 1994 and the Family Resource Center ceased reporting to the Personnel Office. The Personnel Office has reported to one of the offices of the vice president of the Institute since 1962.

With the promotion of Joan F. Rice to vice president for human resources in 1995, her office assumed responsibility for matters of personnel, equal opportunity, family and work, and general management of MIT’s human resources. The office was subsequently renamed the Human Resources Department.

In February 2015, Lorraine Goffe-Rush, Vice President for Human Resources, assumed leadership of the department, which is composed of six units: Benefits, Compensation, Labor and Employee Relations, Operations, Organization and Employee Development and Staffing Services.

Prepared by the Institute Archives, MIT Libraries
Updated 2010l February 2015