MIT News - Administration - MIT Administration MIT News is dedicated to communicating to the media and the public the news and achievements of the students, faculty, staff and the greater MIT community. en Mon, 09 Mar 2020 14:48:39 -0400 Events postponed or canceled as MIT responds to COVID-19 Changes follow new Institute policies on travel, events, and visitors; some large classes to move online. Mon, 09 Mar 2020 14:48:39 -0400 MIT News Office <p>MIT schools, departments, labs, centers, and offices have acted swiftly to postpone or cancel large events through May 15 in the wake of the Institute’s <a href="">announcement last week</a> of new policies&nbsp;regarding gatherings likely to attract 150 or more people.</p> <p>To safeguard against COVID-19, and the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, many other MIT events have been modified both on campus and elsewhere, with increased opportunities offered for livestreaming.</p> <p>The guidelines put forth last week have also now been expanded to include some large classes: The Institute will move classes with more than 150 students online, starting this week.</p> <p><strong>Impacts on classes and student travel</strong></p> <p>Following consultation with senior academic leadership and experts within MIT Medical, the Institute has suspended in-person meetings of classes with more than 150 students, effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10. The approximately 20 classes impacted by the decision will continue to be offered in virtual form.</p> <p>“We are being guided by our medical professionals who are in close contact with state and national public health officials,” Ian Waitz, vice chancellor for undergraduate and graduate education, wrote today in a letter to deans and department heads. “They have advised us that while the risk to the community is low and there are no cases on campus as of now, we need to move quickly to help prevent the potential transmission of the disease and to be ready if and when it impacts our campus.”</p> <p>“Our approach is to be aggressive, but to move forward in stages,” Waitz added, “while keeping in mind that some individual faculty and departments may be moving faster than others, that the level of comfort with remote teaching varies, and that some classes may translate better than others to alternative formats.”</p> <p>As of now, midterm examinations will proceed as scheduled, but the plan for large courses is to run midterms in several rooms simultaneously so the number of students in each room remains well below 150. The Registrar’s Office is working on room scheduling strategies to best accommodate that approach.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Institute has also decided that all MIT-sponsored student domestic travel of more than 100 miles will have to go through the Institute’s high-risk travel waiver process.</p> <p><strong>Impacts on undergraduate and graduate admissions</strong></p> <p>As shared in President L. Rafael Reif’s <a href="">letter of last Thursday</a>, MIT’s new policy on events will apply to <a href="">Campus Preview Weekend</a>, ordinarily an on-campus gathering for students admitted to the incoming first-year undergraduate class. In the coming weeks, the Admissions Office will be connecting with admitted students, current students, and campus partners to discuss what to do instead of a conventional CPW. For more information, please see:&nbsp;<a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>The Admissions Office will not host any programming for K-12 students, including admitted students and their families, between now and May 15, regardless of the size of the event.&nbsp;All scheduled admissions sessions and tours have been canceled between now and May 15, and MIT Admissions is canceling all scheduled admissions officer travel to domestic and international events in that time window.&nbsp;</p> <p>Additionally, all graduate admissions visit days have been canceled, effective immediately.&nbsp;“Based upon reducing risk, we ask all departments to cancel all remaining graduate open houses and visit days, and to move to virtual formats,” Waitz says. “Many departments have already done this.”</p> <p>Despite the cancellation of these formal events, the MIT campus currently remains open for visits by prospective students. However, in keeping with suggested best practices for public health, visitors from countries that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds&nbsp;<a href="">have “widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission” of COVID-19</a> cannot visit campus until they have successfully completed 14 days of self-quarantine.</p> <p><strong>Impacts on major campus events</strong></p> <p>The <strong>MIT Excellence Awards and Collier Medal</strong> celebration, scheduled for this Thursday, March 12, has been postponed; a rescheduled date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed. The Excellence Awards and Collier Medal recognize&nbsp;the work of service, support, administrative, and sponsored research staff. The Excellence Awards acknowledge the extraordinary efforts made by members of the MIT community toward fulfilling the goals, values, and mission of the Institute. The Collier Medal is awarded to an individual or group exhibiting qualities such as a commitment to community service, kindness, selflessness, and generosity; it honors the memory of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier,&nbsp;who lost his life&nbsp;while protecting the MIT campus.&nbsp;<a href="" title="">A full list of this year’s honorees is available</a>.</p> <p>Career Advising and Professional Development is working on plans to change the format of the <strong>Spring Career Fair</strong>, previously scheduled for April 2, to a virtual career fair for a date to be announced in April. All other large-scale employer engagement events — such as career fairs, mixers, symposiums, and networking events — will also be canceled; adopt a virtual model; be postponed beyond May 15; or adopt other models that meet the new policies involving large events.&nbsp;</p> <p>MIT is postponing the remaining two <strong>Climate Action Symposia</strong>, “<a href="">MIT Climate Initiatives and the Role of Research Universities</a>” and “<a href="" title="">Summing Up: Why Is the World Waiting?</a>” — previously scheduled for April 2 and April 22, respectively. These symposia will be rescheduled; new dates will be announced on <a href="applewebdata://7840DF2E-F494-42B9-B4DA-510B4A5DE3D9/" title=""></a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Solve at MIT</strong> on May 12-14 will be virtual. In addition to a livestream on <a href="">this page</a>, Solve will continue to bring together its cross-sector community via interactive online workshops and more. Participants can also contribute&nbsp;<a href="">a solution</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="">a donation</a>&nbsp;to the&nbsp;<a href="">Health Security and Pandemics Challenge</a>.</p> <p><strong>Impacts on athletics and intercollegiate athletics events</strong></p> <p>The Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) is taking steps to safeguard student-athletes, staff, and community members who utilize DAPER facilities for club sports, intramurals, and recreation. Unless otherwise announced, MIT’s intercollegiate athletics events will continue as scheduled. However, visiting teams are asked to bring only student-athletes and essential team personnel to events at MIT. </p> <p>Additionally, DAPER has requested that only MIT students, faculty, and staff members attend upcoming home athletic events through May 15. All other spectators, including parents, are asked to watch events using&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">DAPER’s video streaming service</a>.</p> <p><strong>Other impacted events and activities</strong></p> <p>Discussions are ongoing about many additional events scheduled between now and May 15. The list below will be updated as more information becomes available. Among the affected events and activities announced so far:</p> <ul> <li>Use of the pillars in Lobby 7 for community discussion is suspended for the rest of the spring semester, to minimize close contact and sharing of writing implements.</li> <li><strong>SpaceTech 2020,</strong>&nbsp;scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, has been postponed until a later date. The all-day event, part of MIT Space Week, will highlight the future of space exploration by featuring lightning talks from current students; talks and panels from alumni; and an interactive guided tour along the Space Trail to visit Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) labs and ongoing research projects. Visit <a href=""></a> for the latest information.</li> <li><strong>MIT Getfit has</strong> canceled both of its midpoint events originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 11. Organizers are working to contact participants with more information.</li> <li>The March 13 lecture titled<strong> “Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India Relations During the Cold War,” </strong>by Tanvi Madan of the Brookings Institution, has been postponed. More information is available at <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a>.</li> <li><strong>To the Moon to Stay Hackathon</strong>, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been postponed until a later date. MIT AeroAstro and the MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative are partnering to design and build an experiment to go to the moon on board Blue Origin’s inaugural lunar mission. The goal of the hackathon is to bring the MIT community together to think about lunar missions and habitation through a variety of challenges. To receive updates,&nbsp;<a href="">join their email list</a>&nbsp;or visit <a href=""></a>.</li> <li>The Koch Institute is limiting attendance at the&nbsp;<a href="">SCIENCE with/in/sight: 2020 Visions</a>&nbsp;event on March 17. This event is now for invited guests only.</li> <li>All <a href="">MIT Communications Forum</a> events have been postponed until the fall. This includes <a href="">Science Under Attack</a>, originally scheduled for March 19, and <a href="">David Thorburn’s presentation</a> as part of the William Corbett Poetry Series, originally scheduled for April 8.</li> <li>The <strong>MIT de Florez Award Competition</strong>,&nbsp;scheduled for April 15, will be conducted virtually. Additional information will be sent to the Mechanical Engineering community via email.&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>The Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Gala</strong>,&nbsp;scheduled for April 19, has been canceled and will be rescheduled for the fall.</li> <li>The <strong>Mechanical Engineering Student Awards Banquet</strong>,&nbsp;scheduled for May 15, has been canceled. Awards will be announced virtually.</li> <li>The&nbsp;<a href="" title="">Office of Engineering Outreach Programs</a>&nbsp;(OEOP) has canceled its&nbsp;<a href="">SEED Academy program</a>&nbsp;through May 15. This includes the SEED Academy Spring Final Symposium on May 9. OEOP will continue to communicate with SEED Academy students and parents via email and through The Sprout newsletter to offer information on course, project, and engagement options.</li> <li><strong>The 2020 Brazil Conference at MIT and Harvard</strong>&nbsp;has been canceled. More information can&nbsp;be found at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</li> <li>The March 12 Starr Forum, titled <strong>“Russia’s Putin: From Silent Coup to Legal Dictatorship,”</strong> has been changed to a <a href="">live webcast</a>.</li> <li>The March 13 Myron Weiner Seminar on International Migration, titled <strong>“Future Aspirations Among Refugee Youth in Turkey Between Integration &amp; Mobility,”</strong> has been canceled.</li> <li>The MIT Sloan&nbsp;School of Management is&nbsp;canceling all international study tours and treks. Student conferences are either being cancelled or modified: The March 7 <strong><a href="">Robo-AI Exchange Conference</a></strong>, the March 13 <strong><a href="">New Space Age</a> Conference</strong>, and the April 2 <strong><a href="">Golub Center for Finance and Policy</a> discussion</strong> on equity market structure with the SEC are canceled. The March 13<strong> <a href="">ETA Summit</a></strong> and the April 17 <strong><a href="">Ops Sim Competition</a> </strong>are proceeding, with virtualization. The March 16 <strong><a href="">Entrepreneurship and Innovation Alumni gathering</a></strong> in San Franciso is also canceled.</li> <li>The 2020 MIT Scholarship and UROP Brunch that was scheduled for April 4 has been canceled.</li> <li>The MIT Campaign for a Better World event in Toronto, originally set for April 29, will be postponed.</li> <li>The Program in Science, Technology, and Society’s <strong>Morison Lecture and Prize in Science, Technology, and Society,</strong> originally scheduled for April 14, 2020, 4 p.m.; E51-Wong Auditorium,&nbsp;has been rescheduled for Oct. 1, 2020.</li> <li>The Women's and Gender Studies Program's <a href="">Women Take the Reel Series</a> film event,"<strong>Warrior Women</strong>,” scheduled for March 12 at 6:30 p.m., has been postponed until fall 2020.</li> <li>The <strong>MIT Graduate Alumni Gathering</strong>, scheduled for March 20–21 in Cambridge, has been postponed, with plans for rescheduling to a later date in 2021.</li> <li>The <strong>MIT Student Alumni Association’s Dinner</strong> with 12 Strangers event series, set to be held in Cambridge and Boston, has been cancelled for the spring semester.</li> </ul> <p><em>This article will be updated as more information on impacted events becomes available.</em></p> Community, Faculty, Staff, Students, Administration, MIT Medical, Health, Chancellor, School of Engineering, School of Science, Sloan School of Management, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in STS, Campaign for a Better World, Alumnai/ae Letter regarding MIT&#039;s response to the coronavirus disease Thu, 05 Mar 2020 18:31:29 -0500 MIT News Office <p><em>The following email&nbsp;was sent to the MIT community today by President L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Since early January, we have been tracking the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation daily, offering <a href="" target="_blank">standing guidance</a> and regular updates. We will continue that practice. However, with the disease now established in the US, and with spring break and major holidays coming up shortly, <strong>we are intensifying our institutional response</strong>.</p> <p>I write now to share important new MIT policies and guidelines about travel and events. <strong>Because they will affect all of us on campus in some way, I ask that everyone – students, staff, postdocs, affiliates and faculty – take the time to read the new <a href="" target="_blank">policies, which appear here</a> and below.</strong></p> <p><u>For our campus community, the current risk level associated with COVID-19 is low.</u></p> <p>However, global hotspots shift, and the contagion pattern is not well understood. With that uncertainty, we need to make prudent choices to protect the health of our own community and the broader communities we belong to, without creating unnecessary disruptions to the normal pursuit of our educational and research mission.</p> <p>This balanced approach led us to the travel, visitor and event policies below. In shaping them, we consulted experts at MIT Medical and carefully considered the decisions of peer universities and major businesses around the world that are also striving to respond to this fluid situation.</p> <p>These guidelines represent our best judgment, at this moment, about practical steps we can all take to reduce risk for ourselves and for each other. Because MIT is a community constantly on the move and always inviting people in, I know that asking you to abide by the restrictions in these new policies is non-trivial. Where we can safely consider exceptions, we have provided a process for doing so. Beyond that, I ask for everyone’s cooperation as we try to choose a sound path for us all.</p> <p>Since future challenges from COVID-19 could disrupt critical Institute functions, we are developing contingency plans. For example, in case we face an urgent need to switch to online instruction, we are actively developing options; the vice chancellor will follow up with faculty and instructors to better understand their needs and guide them to initial resources.</p> <p>I encourage each of you to think through how you can help limit risk as well, starting with shifting to virtual meetings when you can. Supervisors may wish to consider now how telecommuting might work in their unit, if public health concerns grow worse.</p> <p>I know that both the spread of this disease and our decisions about it affect not only MIT programs and planning, but the lives of individuals. For many of you, the steps we are taking to protect the health of the community may involve significant inconvenience and personal sacrifice. Please accept my gratitude in advance for your goodwill and understanding.</p> <p>I also hope we can be sensitive to each other’s burdens in this situation and make accommodations when we can. And I count on every member of our community to make sure that the discrimination, shunning and bullying that sometimes accompany an outbreak never occur at MIT.</p> <p>In this uncertain moment, I have every confidence in our community’s ability to pull together with kindness, care and concern for the common good.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> <p>----------------</p> <p><strong>NEW POLICIES AND GUIDELINES ON TRAVEL, VISITORS AND EVENTS: MARCH 5–MAY 15, 2020</strong><br /> <br /> The policies below will take effect immediately and stay in place through at least May 15. In this two-month period, we will review them on a rolling basis, provide frequent updates and offer new guidance about activities after May 15 as soon as we can.</p> <p>If you have questions about how these policies apply in your own situation, our Emergency Management staff can help triage your requests. Please contact</p> <p>We recognize that responding to the new requirements may have financial implications for units across campus. If the costs feel significant for your unit, please bring these concerns to your unit head. The information we gather from these conversations will help us understand the impact across campus and assess how we can help.</p> <p><strong>MIT Guidance for Travel, Visitors and Events</strong></p> <p><strong>TRAVEL ABROAD</strong></p> <p><strong>Effective immediately – and in step with <a href="" target="_blank">new advice from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health</a> – we are suspending all international travel on MIT business or with MIT programs, for all faculty, students, postdocs and staff. This includes any travel associated with one’s scholarly activities as an MIT employee, even travel funded by a government grant, foundation, company or other university.</strong></p> <p>Rare exceptions will be considered; those who feel they have a compelling need to travel internationally may apply in writing to the provost and the chancellor at Anyone currently abroad may return to MIT or in some cases to their home.</p> <p>We also <em>discourage personal travel to international locations</em> by any MIT community member. If you must travel to any country on the CDC’s <a href="" target="_blank">COVID-19 travel advisories</a> page, please know that you are required to <a href="" target="_blank">fill out this form</a> two or three days before you return. Those returning from Level 3 countries will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return; others may also be required to self-quarantine.</p> <p>We know many students plan travel for spring break. We urge you to weigh the risks and potential consequences for yourself and others. If you travel to any nation where the <a href="" target="_blank">CDC reports</a> “widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission” of COVID-19, you will not be permitted to complete your required two-week self-quarantine on campus. Further, as new outbreaks occur and government travel restrictions shift, be aware that, if you choose to travel outside the United States, you may encounter difficulties in returning.</p> <p><strong>TRAVEL IN THE US</strong></p> <p>We will continue to fund MIT-related domestic travel as usual. However, we encourage everyone in our community – faculty, staff, postdocs and students – to <strong>weigh whether any domestic travel between now and May 15 is essential</strong> and to explore options to join meetings or events remotely, especially in the growing number of areas with high infection rates.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING TRAVEL FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PURPOSES</strong></p> <p><strong>Until May 15, we strongly encourage everyone in the MIT community to register ALL non-commuting travel outside of Massachusetts in the confidential <a href="" target="_blank">MIT travel registry</a></strong>. This applies to both personal and MIT-related trips, international and domestic. If a new COVID-19 outbreak occurs in a place where our community members have been traveling, having this confidential information will help our public health team take effective action.</p> <p><strong>VISITORS FROM OUTSIDE MIT</strong></p> <p>Visitors from countries which the CDC finds <a href="" target="_blank">have “widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission” of COVID-19</a> cannot join us on campus until they have successfully completed 14 days of self-quarantine.</p> <p>Other visitors are welcome at MIT. However, common sense dictates that the next two months are not the best time to host large groups.</p> <p>To protect children and older visitors to campus, we ask that you:</p> <ul> <li>Cancel or reschedule all K–12 programs and visits to be held at MIT from now through May 15.</li> <li>Consider postponing a meeting if your visitors are over the age of 60.</li> </ul> <p><strong>MIT EVENTS</strong></p> <p><strong>Effective immediately, if you are planning any in-person MIT event with more than 150 attendees that will take place between now and Friday, May 15, on campus or off campus, you must postpone, cancel or “virtualize” it.</strong></p> <p>This new policy does not apply to classroom instruction or other internal gatherings (e.g., colloquia) attended solely by members of the MIT on-campus community.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it does apply to Campus Preview Weekend and other signature spring semester conferences and celebrations. As an example, we have now postponed the MIT Excellence Awards until June.</p> <p><em>Exceptions are possible for imminent events with travelers already here or en route; please inform us immediately at if you are hosting such a gathering. In very limited cases, we may consider appeals to hold larger gatherings attended only by members of our community. You may submit an inquiry at</em></p> <p>We chose 150 people as a threshold to help reduce risk of transmission without calling a halt to all activity on campus. However, group size is only one factor to consider in planning an event – and our success in managing the risk of COVID-19 depends not only on the existence of these policies, but on your cooperation and common sense.</p> <p>As you plan events with fewer than 150 attendees, please consider these factors:</p> <ol> <li><strong>How many people will attend, and will they be in close quarters?</strong> In some cases, it may make sense to go ahead with an event but to reduce the attendance well below 150. Even with fewer people, if your event is planned for a confined space, you may want to choose a larger site, allow people to participate remotely or both.</li> <li><strong>How many participants will be coming from abroad, or from US locations with high infection rates?</strong> Given the changeability of travel restrictions, international visitors may face difficulties coming from or returning to their home countries.</li> <li><strong>What do you know about the age and health of expected attendees? </strong>Evidence to date suggests that COVID-19 hits certain vulnerable populations harder, including older individuals. Whatever the size of your event, consider postponing it if many attendees will be over the age of 60.</li> <li><strong>What is the risk to staff who will help prepare for your event, serve your guests and clean up afterward?</strong> Staff working for outside service vendors may not have generous health insurance or sick leave, and we should take steps to help keep them safe.</li> </ol> <p>For all events of every size:</p> <ul> <li>Encourage handwashing!</li> <li>Make it easy for your guests to practice good health hygiene: provide hand sanitizer and tissues, and minimize communal food.</li> <li>Educate your attendees about proper precautions.</li> <li>Urge anyone who feels unwell to stay home and to participate online if possible.</li> <li>You may also want to arrange for enhanced cleaning of the event site, before and after.</li> </ul> <p><strong>MIT CLASSES AND INSTRUCTIONAL MEETINGS</strong></p> <p>All meetings and classes attended by members of the on-campus community can continue to be held as normal.</p> <p>However, please stay home if you feel sick, and urge others to do so. Encourage handwashing, provide hand sanitizer and tissues, minimize communal food, and educate your students and colleagues about proper precautions.</p> <p>For large classes, consider offering a way to attend online or arranging other accommodations.</p> <p>----------------</p> <p>You can find the latest advice any time at For support or questions, please email</p> <p>-----------------</p> <p><strong>These policies and guidelines reflect MIT’s official position as of March 5, 2020. In this fluid situation, they may need to change in the future with little warning.</strong></p> Staff, Faculty, Administration, Community, President L. Rafael Reif MIT Emergency Management establishes COVID-19 planning team and working groups Campus-wide effort to ensure academic, research, and business continuity, as well as continued medical, residential life, and communications response to COVID-19. Thu, 05 Mar 2020 10:42:44 -0500 MIT News Office <p>As part of the Institute’s ongoing work to respond effectively to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, <a href="">MIT Emergency Management</a> has established a comprehensive preparedness effort focused on the following key areas of campus life: academics, research, residential life, business, medical, and communications.</p> <p>MIT Emergency Management has organized community members with relevant expertise into working groups and an overarching planning team, charging them with developing a set of contingency plans in the event MIT’s normal operations are interrupted in the coming weeks.</p> <p>“It’s important to remember that the risk to the MIT community is still relatively low,” says Suzanne Blake, director of Emergency Management and chair of the planning team. “We are taking these planning steps and engaging campus experts in our work out of an abundance of caution. The goal is to be fully prepared in case the situation does change so that we can continue to ensure the health and safety of our community and carry out the Institute’s core functions.”</p> <p>The working groups and planning team are aspects of MIT’s thorough response to COVID-19, which President L. Rafael Reif detailed in a <a href="">letter to the community</a> today. The sending of the letter follows the release yesterday of <a href="">new guidance</a> from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.</p> <p>Blake says the planning team and working groups will meet multiple times per week for the foreseeable future, and they will be monitoring issues and creating action plans in the following areas:</p> <p><strong>Academic continuity</strong></p> <p>This working group, which is being led by Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education Ian Waitz, is developing plans to enable as much educational continuity as feasible in situations where students, faculty, and staff may not be able to be on campus for a brief or extended period of time, or are otherwise faced with limitations to normal academic progress due to COVID-19. This includes planning and developing resources to support continuing classes, strategies for maintaining graduate student research, planning and guidance for academic events of all sizes, and assessing implications for student travel for internships and global experiences. Importantly, the group will also be defining event-driven criteria and procedures for altering academic policies including the Academic Calendar. The group will also be assessing and developing options to mitigate the financial impacts graduate and&nbsp;undergraduate students may face under different scenarios.</p> <p><strong>Research continuity</strong></p> <p>This working group, led by Ronald Hasseltine, assistant provost for research administration,&nbsp;is responsible for identifying ways to protect critical research in the event of a brief or extended disruption to normal operations. The group’s objectives include compiling an inventory of sensitive research that requires continued support during a disruption; preparing a plan to provide that support with limited staff, resources, and vendor provisions; and reviewing existing plans for continued care of sensitive research specimens.</p> <p><strong>Business continuity</strong></p> <p>This working group, led by Robin Elices, executive director of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, will assess and evaluate MIT’s essential operational functions; determine strategies for maintaining critical campus utilities and infrastructure; and develop policies that enable employees to work remotely. The group will also discuss implications and procedures for union staff and plans for stockpiling supplies in the event of a supply chain disruption.</p> <p><strong>Medical response</strong></p> <p>MIT Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis&nbsp;is leading the effort to ensure a cohesive medical response for several different possible scenarios ranging from having patients under investigation to evidence of MIT community spread of the disease.</p> <p><strong>Student/Residential response</strong></p> <p>The student/residential response group is exploring a number of student life issues, including ways to guarantee that those living on campus have access to essentials such as campus dining services and student support and well-being programs.In the event of a partial or full campus closure, this group will develop plans for disruptions to student life programming, including restricting or cancelling student and athletic events and travel, developing means for food delivery on campus, refining guest policies for residential communities, considering quarantining options, and communicating regularly with key student life constituents as plans develop. Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life Judy Robinson will convene the group and work in concert with Vice President and Dean of Student Life Suzy Nelson.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Communications response</strong></p> <p>Providing timely and accurate information is a critical component of MIT’s response to COVID-19. The communications group, which is being led by Alfred Ironside, vice president for communications, will create multipronged communications plans for different planning scenarios, and identify ways to bolster existing communications methods.</p> <p>“The tremendous work these groups are doing aligns with our emergency management and business continuity strategic plan for MIT,” Blake notes. “COVID-19 has just put that plan on a fast track. We are grateful for all of the people at MIT who have set aside time to make this process work.”</p> Photo: Christopher HartingPresident L. Rafael Reif, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students, Administration, MIT Medical, Health President Reif testifies before Congress on U.S. competitiveness “To stay ahead, the U.S. needs to do more to capitalize on our own strengths,” he tells representatives. Thu, 27 Feb 2020 15:53:46 -0500 MIT News Office <p>No U.S. strategy to respond to competition from&nbsp;China will succeed unless it includes increased investment in research, a concerted effort to attract more students to key research fields, and a more creative approach to turning ideas into commercial products, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in congressional testimony on Wednesday, Feb. 26.</p> <p>Reif spoke at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee on “U.S.-China Trade and Competition.”</p> <p>“Whatever else the U.S. does to counter the challenges posed by China, we must increase our investment in research in key technology areas, and we must enhance our capacity to get the most out of that investment,” he told the panel. “U.S. strategy is unlikely to succeed if it is merely defensive; to stay ahead, the U.S. needs to do more to capitalize on our own strengths.”</p> <p>Reif’s Capitol Hill appearance came immediately after he delivered an opening talk at a National Academy of Sciences (NAS)_event commemorating the 75th anniversary of “Science, The Endless Frontier,” a 1945 report to U.S. President Harry S. Truman that is seen as the founding document of the post-World War II research system in the U.S. The report was written by the late Vannevar Bush, who had a long career at MIT, including service as the Institute’s vice president and dean of engineering.</p> <p>At both the NAS and on Capitol Hill, Reif called for a “visible, focused, and sustained” federal program that would increase funding for research and target the increase at key technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced communications.</p> <p>“The U.S. lacks an effective, coordinated way to target research toward specific areas and funding has fallen far behind what’s needed to stay ahead of our competitors,” Reif told Congress. “One promising proposal is to create a new directorate at the National Science Foundation with that mission, and giving that new unit the authority to be run more like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).”</p> <p>Reif also said that attracting top talent is another essential element of a successful strategy. “At the university level, that requires two parallel tasks — attracting top U.S. students to key fields, and attracting and retaining the best researchers from around the world,” he said.</p> <p>Specifically, he called for new programs to offer federal support to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs who are willing to study in fields related to key technologies. He also said foreign students who receive a U.S. doctorate should immediately be given a green card to settle in the U.S., and he warned against anti-immigrant rhetoric.</p> <p>Finally, Reif said the U.S. needs to experiment with ways to speed the transition of ideas from lab to market. He called for new ways to de-risk technologies and to create more patient capital, and suggested that the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, should look at tax policies to create incentives for longer-term investment and to foster more university-industry cooperation.</p> <p>“The U.S. edge in science and technology has been a foundation for U.S. security, prosperity, and quality of life,” Reif said, in conclusion. “But that edge has to be regularly honed; it is not ours by right or by nature. We can best sharpen it with a strategy founded on confidence in ourselves, not fear of others.”</p> <p>Two weeks ago, Vice President for Research Maria Zuber delivered a similar message to Congress, in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on how to improve the intelligence services’ access to science and technology.</p> <p>Zuber said that to help the intelligence services, the U.S. needs to capitalize on its strengths, which she said include “world-class universities, an open research system, and the ability to attract and retain top talent from around the world.”</p> <p>Like Reif, Zuber highlighted a proposal to create a new technology directorate at the National Science Foundation, as well as the need to attract talent domestically and from abroad. She also cited MIT’s <a href="">AI Accelerator</a> — a cooperative project between MIT and the U.S. Air Force — as the kind of cooperative work that the intelligence services could foster.</p> <p>In her testimony, Zuber emphasized the need to maintain an open U.S. research system: “The U.S. faces new challenges and competitors,” she said, “but we are well-placed to succeed if we get the most from our unrivaled strengths.”</p> President L. Rafael Reif, Policy, Government, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Funding, Administration, Technology and society, National Science Foundation (NSF), China, Quantum computing Esther Duflo PhD ’99 to speak at 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony MIT professor and alumna shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in economics, which recognized collaborators’ “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:10:09 -0500 Institute Events <p>Esther Duflo PhD ’99, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, will be the guest speaker at the 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony on Thursday, May 28.</p> <p>“Professor Duflo is an impressive and inspiring leader — someone whose brilliant insight and relentless hard work have improved the lives of millions of people in poverty,” says Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, host of the ceremony. “I have no doubt that hearing about her research and journey to the Nobel Prize — a path that was marked by hands-on problem-solving, collaboration, and selflessness — will capture the imaginations of our doctoral graduates. Her story will remind them of the impact MIT community members can have when we apply our minds, hands, and hearts to solving society’s most pressing challenges.”</p> <p>Duflo, known for her leadership and innovation in development economics, is a faculty member in the MIT Department of Economics, as well as co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She is the second woman and the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.</p> <p>In her <a href="" target="_blank">Nobel speech</a>, given in December 2019 and titled “Field experiments and the practice of economics,” Duflo framed her own work to understand the economic lives of the poor in the context of a movement that leverages research in guiding social policy. She lauded the worldwide J-PAL network of antipoverty researchers, whose rigorous collection and evaluation of data has led to affecting policy in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Duflo — whose early ambitions included becoming a “changemaker” — said she hopes that J-PAL’s influence will foment a self-sustaining culture of learning within governments.</p> <p>The guest speaker is selected by a working group of doctoral students, from among nominees who hold a PhD or ScD from MIT. The group was unanimous and enthusiastic about Duflo’s nomination. Lily Bui, who will graduate in May with a PhD in urban studies and planning, participated in this year’s selection process. “Our committee is thrilled that Dr. Duflo will be our speaker,” she says. “We look forward to the wisdom that she will impart from both her extraordinary professional and personal experiences.”</p> <p>Following her study of history and economics at École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Duflo came to MIT, earning a PhD in economics and joining the faculty in 1999. The extraordinary list of her academic honors and prizes include the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2015), the A.SK Social Science Award (2015), Infosys Prize (2014), the David N. Kershaw Award (2011), a John Bates Clark Medal (2010), and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship (2009).&nbsp;With Abhijit Banerjee, the Ford International Professor of Economics at MIT, she wrote&nbsp;“Good Economics for Hard Times” (2019) and “Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty” (2011), the latter of which won the <em>Financial Times</em> and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into more than 17 languages. Duflo is the editor of the&nbsp;<em>American Economic Review</em>, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.</p> <p>Duflo’s passionate commitment to research toward the betterment of humankind led her to a momentous choice: She and co-laureates Banerjee and Professor Michael Kremer of Harvard University made news again in December 2019 for the decision to donate their combined Nobel prize money to support grants sponsored by the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics. The Associated Press <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that Duflo was inspired in this gift by Marie Curie, who used her Nobel money to buy a gram of radium for research. The three professors’ donation to the Weiss Fund will support development economics for years to come.</p> <p>Nancy Rose, head of the MIT Department of Economics and the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics, praised Duflo’s teaching and her relationships with MIT students. She commented, “Esther is not only an extraordinary scholar and educator, but a much-loved mentor and advisor for generations of students.&nbsp;As MIT’s first alumna to be recognized with the Nobel Prize, I can think of no finer choice to acknowledge the promise of our current graduates and to inspire them on the launch of their careers.”</p> <p>The 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 28 at 10:30 a.m. on Killian Court. The ceremony is open to family, friends, and mentors of doctoral candidates; no tickets are required.</p> Esther DufloImage: Peter Tenzer/Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action LabCommencement, Community, Special events and guest speakers, Administration, Chancellor, Economics, Nobel Prizes, Alumni/ae, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Admiral William McRaven to speak at MIT’s 2020 Commencement Retired Navy four-star admiral and former chancellor of University of Texas system will address the Class of 2020 on May 29. Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:03:01 -0500 MIT News Office <p>Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral and the former chancellor of the University of Texas system, will deliver the address at MIT’s 2020 Commencement exercises on Friday, May 29.</p> <p>McRaven is a recognized authority on U.S. foreign policy who advised presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on defense issues. As the chancellor of the University of Texas system from 2015 to 2018, he led one of the nation’s largest systems of higher education, with 14 institutions that educated 220,000 students and employed 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, and staff.</p> <p>McRaven recently co-chaired an independent <a href="" target="_blank">task force</a>, charged by the Council on Foreign Relations, on innovation and national security. Among its recommendations, the task force encourages the U.S. government to invest in scholarships and modify immigration policies to enable the country’s universities to attract and educate the world’s most dynamic talent. A passionate advocate for freedom of the press, McRaven has authored prominent opinion pieces on current affairs — in 2018 <a href="" target="_blank">in<em> The Washington Post</em></a>&nbsp; and in 2019 <a href="" target="_blank">in<em> The New York Times</em></a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>During his 37 years in the military, McRaven commanded special operations forces at every level, eventually serving as the ninth commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He led the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage by Somali pirates after the 2009 hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama in the Gulf of Aden. He is also credited with developing the plan and leading the mission that led to the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. His honors include the Intrepid Freedom Award for distinguished service in defending the values of democracy, awarded in 2015, and the Judge William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award for a lifetime of service to the nation, awarded in 2018.</p> <p>“From firsthand experience, I have come to admire Admiral McRaven’s integrity, intellectual curiosity, decency, humility, and self-discipline. A brilliant problem solver with deeply held values and the courage to speak boldly for his principles, he will fit right in at MIT,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “We look forward to welcoming him.”</p> <p>“I am so very honored to have the opportunity to address the MIT graduating class of 2020,” says McRaven.&nbsp;“More than ever before, the world today needs the great minds&nbsp;of&nbsp;the talented men and women that have learned so much from this magnificent&nbsp;institution.&nbsp;I hope that&nbsp;my&nbsp;experience, in both the military and academia, will be of some value to them&nbsp;as they head off to make their mark in the world.”</p> <p>McRaven is the author of three books: “Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare” (1996), “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World” (2017), and “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations” (2019).</p> <p>He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism, and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in 1991. He is currently on the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.</p> <p>“We are intrigued to hear what&nbsp;Admiral&nbsp;McRaven has to share with MIT’s graduates,” says Graduate Student Council President Peter Su. “His background in military service and university administration provides an interesting perspective.”</p> <p>McRaven joins notable recent MIT Commencement speakers including three-term New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg (2019); Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (2018); Apple CEO Tim Cook (2017); actor and filmmaker Matt Damon (2016); and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith ’86 SM ’88 (2015).</p> <p>“We are delighted to welcome Admiral McRaven to MIT as our Commencement speaker,” says Chancellor for Academic Advancement Eric Grimson, the longstanding chair of the Commencement Committee. “His record of vocal support for free speech, of seeking principled approaches to difficult situations, and of fostering effective teamwork should serve as a wonderful example to our graduates as they seek to make their own impact on the world.”</p> Admiral William H. McRavenImage: courtesy of Admiral William McRavenCommencement, Community, Special events and guest speakers, Administration, President L. Rafael Reif Michael Sipser to step down as School of Science dean Mathematician to return to the faculty after six years leading MIT’s second-largest school. Wed, 19 Feb 2020 15:24:00 -0500 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Michael Sipser plans to step down as dean of the MIT School of Science, concluding six years of service marked by the launch of key initiatives and the upgrading of facilities across the school’s six academic departments.</p> <p>Provost Martin Schmidt announced the news today in an email to the MIT community. Following Sipser’s service as dean — which will conclude on June 30, assuming that a suitable successor is found by then — he will return to the faculty, where he is the Donner Professor of Mathematics.</p> <p>“Mike’s accomplishments as dean span the School of Science and have built its strength in both research and education, often by increasing the impact of science on critical areas of collaborative study,” Schmidt wrote.</p> <p>With 280 faculty, the School of Science is MIT’s second-largest school. It comprises the departments of Biology; Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Chemistry; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary sciences; Mathematics; and Physics.</p> <p>“Three qualities have defined Mike’s outstanding service as dean: his thoughtful, patient, evenhanded approach to complex organizational and human issues; his wonderful ability to explain, advocate for, and share his infectious pleasure in the scientific work of others; and his absolutely delightful sense of humor,” President L. Rafael Reif says. “MIT and the School of Science have been extremely fortunate to have Mike’s leadership, our students have benefited immeasurably from his commitment to teaching throughout his deanship — and I can attest to how much he has taught me personally about the frontiers of scientific knowledge.”</p> <p>Sipser, a leading theoretical computer scientist, was named dean of science in June 2014, following six months as interim dean. Prior to that, he had served since 2004 as head of the Department of Mathematics.</p> <p>“I’m most pleased that I enabled the work of our community in the School of Science — faculty, staff, and students — through providing resources, facilitating progress, removing obstacles, and cheering their successes,” Sipser says.&nbsp;“It has been a great privilege for me to support these amazing colleagues.”</p> <p>Sipser’s key accomplishments as dean have included:</p> <ul> <li>helping to launch the <a href="">Aging Brain Initiative</a>, an interdisciplinary effort centered in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Picower Instutute for Learning and Memory, to understand and develop treatments for age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s;</li> <li>championing a home for statistics at MIT through the creation of the <a href="">MIT Statistics and Data Science Center</a> in what is now known as the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society;</li> <li>participating in the design of the <a href="">MIT Quest for Intelligence</a> as an outgrowth of MIT’s <a href="">Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines</a>;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li>working with the Department of Mathematics to sustain its <a href="">MathROOTS</a> program for high-potential high school students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds; &nbsp;</li> <li>facilitating work by the Department of Biology to create a <a href="">Cryo-Electron Microscopy</a> facility in MIT.nano, the Institute’s state-of-the-art nanotechnology research center that opened in 2018;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li>assisting the Department of Chemistry in modernizing its shared <a href="">Instrumentation Facility</a>;</li> <li>helping astronomy faculty in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences purchase a new telescope for the <a href="">Wallace Astrophysical Observatory</a> in Westford, Massachusetts; and</li> <li>working with the Department of Physics and the MIT Kavli Institute for Space Research to secure a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant for a wide-field infrared camera.</li> </ul> <p>Sipser has received multiple MIT awards for his teaching and advising. In 2016, while serving as dean, he received the MIT Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellowship, in recognition of his outstanding commitment to undergraduate education.</p> <p>A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Sipser authored the widely used textbook “Introduction to the Theory of Computation,” first published in 1996. He earned his BA in mathematics from Cornell University in 1974 and his PhD in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980. He joined MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science as a research associate in 1979, becoming an assistant professor of applied mathematics in 1980; associate professor of applied mathematics in 1983; and professor of applied mathematics in 1989.</p> <p>In his letter to the community, Schmidt said that he plans to appoint a faculty committee to advise him on the selection of the next dean of science. Members of the MIT community are encouraged to send suggestions and ideas to&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> Michael SipserImage: Justin Knight, edited by MIT NewsAdministration, Faculty, School of Science, Mathematics, President L. Rafael Reif 3 Questions: MIT’s Quality of Life Survey is here The survey, deployed every four years, is a unique, confidential forum for community input. Wed, 19 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0500 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office <p><em>MIT has launched the latest iteration of its <a href="">Quality of Life Survey</a>, a major project to solicit feedback from students, staff, and faculty about a full range of campus issues, from social concerns to academic and workplace matters. Overseen by the MIT Council on Family and Work and by MIT Institutional Research, the 2020 edition is the first to simultaneously generate feedback from students, faculty, and staff; previously, separate surveys had been developed for different campus groups. </em></p> <p>MIT News<em> talked with three leaders who are helping to run the 2020 Quality of Life Survey: Amy Glasmeier, a professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and co-chair of the MIT Council on Family and Work; Ken Goldsmith, assistant dean for finance and planning in the School of Architecture and Planning and co-chair of the MIT Council on Family and Work; and Lydia Snover, director of MIT Institutional Research. </em></p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> What is the Quality of Life Survey?</p> <p><strong>Goldsmith:</strong> It’s a barometer of the satisfaction people have at MIT within the context of their lives. It’s a way of seeing what is impacting people’s lives. Ultimately our job is to look at the data and determine whether there are measures we can take at MIT to address these areas that need attention.</p> <p><strong>Glasmeier:</strong> The most basic questions are completely relevant to everyone, including faculty, staff, and students. They’re about friendships at work and among students, about having access to the resources you need to do your job well, about feeling appreciated by the people you work for, and if you feel appreciated by the people who are working around you.</p> <p><strong>Snover:</strong> Initially the surveys were really about child care. But it’s gone beyond that because not everybody has children at home. And child care quickly brought up issues of elder care. … We ask questions about whether people feel comfortable. We’re very concerned about whether people have inclusive work and learning environments. There are questions on gender identity, sexuality, disability, and more that will allow us to better understand issues pertaining to these unique groups. Ultimately the survey explores the intersection of work and nonwork life and how one affects the other.</p> <p><strong>Glasmeier:</strong> When we finish, we will have results that will inform the kinds of experiences and benefits that MIT can offer for people here. The results will be used to understand how people do their work and manage their studies, what obstacles might prevent them from thriving, and what opportunities empower them to do their best. For example, in 2016, we were interested in the flexibility people wanted to have in executing their work, and the extent to which they had that. As a result we did experiments, and in different parts of the Institute people can now work in a flexible work environment and not have to negotiate it in a complex way.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> What measures does the Institute take to address issues of privacy and security for respondents?</p> <p><strong>Snover:</strong> The Institutional Research office has the ultimate responsibility for&nbsp;the&nbsp;data&nbsp;coming from the community’s responses.&nbsp;The data is&nbsp;securely&nbsp;stored and is&nbsp;only accessed&nbsp;by very experienced analysts&nbsp;with training for research involving human subjects.&nbsp;All results are initially reported by Institutional Research staff in a way that&nbsp;protects the&nbsp;confidentiality of the individual. People who subsequently use the data only have access to&nbsp;aggregate&nbsp;results.&nbsp;There are several open-ended questions on the survey, and respondents are informed those comments will be read verbatim and are advised not to include any identifying information. We are often told that people worry that their supervisor, department head, or senior officer will have access to their&nbsp;individual&nbsp;responses.&nbsp; They will not.&nbsp;No individual responses become part of anyone’s permanent record.</p> <p><strong>Goldsmith:</strong> Confidentiality is a hot-button item, and we can’t stress enough that the Office of Institutional Research is a lockbox for that information.</p> <p><strong>Snover:</strong> We’re committed to transparency in the results, but we’re equally committed to confidentiality for the respondents.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> What happens when the period for answering the Quality of Life Survey is finished?</p> <p><strong>Glasmeier:</strong> We’re going to write short analysis papers that summarize the results. These will address specific concerns and experiences people have here. … We work with the MIT Work-Life Center and MIT Human Resources, and they are policy designers and implementers. So far we’ve been very successful at incorporating change into the kinds of benefits or experiences people have.</p> <p>The postdoc program that exists now in the Office of the Vice President for Research is a very good example. They [postdocs] were really frank about what it’s like to be here, [the struggle to] afford child care, and everything else. Previous surveys have shown the same results, and these issues have been taken seriously and incorporated into the [Postdoctoral Services] programming in the Office of the Vice President for Research.</p> <p><strong>Goldsmith:</strong> The Council on Family and Work is looking at the whole community. There are segments within that community — postdocs, women faculty, junior faculty, junior women faculty, and more — that are examples of areas we want to focus on and respond to. The survey population includes Lincoln Laboratory as well as employees on campus. We feel strongly about hearing from as many people as possible.</p> <p><strong>Glasmeier:</strong> We have been visiting as many groups on campus as possible, including the graduate student council, undergraduates, the Dean’s Group, the Working Group on Support Staff Issues, and individual senior officers, and we’re really encouraged. There is a strong interest in knowing how people in the MIT community feel about their work and their lives outside of work. MIT is a great place, but every place can always improve.</p> MIT’s latest Quality of Life Survey solicits feedback from students, staff, and faculty about a full range of campus issues, from social concerns to academic and workplace matters.Image: Jake BelcherStudent life, Provost, Faculty, Staff, Students, Administration, Community, 3 Questions, Diversity and inclusion, Women, Graduate, postdoctoral, Undergraduate Letter regarding new vice president of communications Fri, 14 Feb 2020 11:34:51 -0500 MIT News Office <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of MIT’s faculty and staff,</p> <p>I am pleased to share the news that, after a year-long search, MIT will soon have a new vice president for communications. Alfred Ironside, most recently vice president for global communications at the Ford Foundation, will join us on February 24th. Alfred will serve on MIT’s senior leadership team and report directly to me.</p> <p>As MIT’s chief communications officer, Alfred will advise senior leaders across MIT and shape our overall communications strategy, including media relations, crisis communications, marketing and branding, as well as digital strategy and development. In addition to supervising the <a href="">Office of Communications</a> – which includes the MIT News Office, Communications Initiatives, Reference Publications and CopyTech – Alfred will seek to align, support and inspire the efforts of communications professionals across the Institute.</p> <p>From the U.S. State Department and the American Red Cross to the United Nations and the Ford Foundation, Alfred has devoted his career to mission-driven institutions with global reach. Working on the ground around the world as well as in senior management roles, he has built a remarkable record of helping distributed organizations advance their missions through smart and strategic communications.</p> <p>You can <a href="">read more about his background here</a>.</p> <p>Alfred inherits a function with impressive strengths. Every month, our communications reach tens of millions of people worldwide, and MIT News is among the most visited university news sites in the nation.</p> <p>Our communications team is eager for his arrival, and I know our whole community will benefit from his scope, strategic insight and personal wisdom. Raised in Philadelphia in a diverse family – his mother did not emigrate from Colombia until the age of 27 – Alfred’s personal experience also bridges cultures in a way very familiar at MIT.</p> <p>As Alfred and his family make their move from New York, please join me in offering them a warm MIT welcome.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> Staff, President L. Rafael Reif, Administration, Science communications, Community Alfred Ironside named vice president for communications Former VP of global communications at the Ford Foundation brings 20 years of experience advancing the missions of international organizations. Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:55:00 -0500 Kathy Wren | MIT News Office <p>Alfred Ironside, a communications expert with broad experience at global organizations working for social change, has been named vice president for communications, effective Feb. 24.</p> <p>The appointment was announced today in a letter to the community from MIT President L. Rafael Reif.</p> <p>“As MIT’s chief communications officer, Alfred will advise senior leaders across MIT and shape our overall communications strategy, including media relations, crisis communications, marketing and branding, as well as digital strategy and development. … Our communications team is eager for his arrival, and I know our whole community will benefit from his scope, strategic insight, and personal wisdom,” Reif wrote.</p> <p>Reporting to Reif as a member of the president’s senior team,&nbsp; Ironside will oversee the Institute’s <a href="">Office of Communications</a>, which comprises the MIT News Office, Communications Initiatives, Reference Publications, and CopyTech.</p> <p>“More than ever before, organizations of every size and scope have an obligation to be open and transparent about what they do and what they stand for, and to engage with diverse audiences in the co-creation of knowledge and impact,” Ironside says. “I’m honored to serve as an advocate and engineer of these efforts at MIT.”</p> <p>Ironside joins MIT from the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropies. As vice president of global communications, a position he held since 2014, he oversaw the foundation’s executive communications, messaging, strategic partnerships, and public affairs.</p> <p>During his tenure, which included a role as director of strategic communications from 2006 to 2014, Ironside helped transform the foundation into a visible and influential voice for social justice in the United States. He worked with headquarters teams, global offices, and grantees to develop successful strategies in fields such as immigration, climate change, human rights, and socially responsible technology. He also renewed the foundation’s digital presence, tripling key audiences and growing engagement tenfold.</p> <p>Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Ironside served as chief of media relations at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). He traveled to more than 40 countries as a UN spokesperson on issues affecting children and women amidst conflict and natural disaster. He also managed a headquarters team and guided 100 country communications officers, coordinating efforts involving multiple UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and corporate partners.</p> <p>Earlier, he spent three years in the U.S. Diplomatic Service as a press officer in East Berlin, where he won commendation for his work during the Berlin Wall crisis, and four years as a spokesperson with the American Red Cross.</p> <p>For Ironside, leading communications at global organizations has required coordinating and guiding teams across a decentralized structure, which will also be part of his mandate at MIT.</p> <p>Despite such decentralization, “you have to make music together,” Ironside says. “Listening and trust-building are so important. I look forward to that part of the work.”</p> <p>Ironside began his career as a news reporter at radio stations in and around Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In the early 1990s he helped launch the first Western advertising agency in Bulgaria and served as its managing director. He was later a member of the editorial team that launched the English edition of <em>Ha’aretz</em>, Israel’s leading newspaper, in conjunction with the <em>International Herald-Tribune</em>.</p> <p>A native of Philadelphia and an avid cyclist, photographer, and sailor, Ironside holds degrees in political science and journalism from Butler University in Indianapolis, and a master’s in media administration from the Newhouse School and the Graduate School of Business at Syracuse University. He is a member of the Association of Latino Professionals and serves on the board of the Narrative Initiative.</p> Alfred IronsideImage: Melanie Gonick, MITStaff, Administration, President L. Rafael Reif, Science communications, Social media, Community MLK Luncheon speaker describes “dealing with scars nobody can see” Exonerated Central Park Five member Kevin Richardson details his harrowing experiences and his hopeful vision for the future. Thu, 13 Feb 2020 10:34:44 -0500 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>One evening in 1989, a 14-year-old Kevin Richardson headed from his home in Harlem into New York City’s Central Park to play basketball with some friends. Little did he know when he walked into that park that his life’s dreams would be shattered that evening, and that he would soon be spending seven years in prison for a crime that, as has since been proven in court, he had nothing to do with.</p> <p>He spent years in a struggle to prove his innocence, along with the four other teenagers swept up by police that night who became known as the “Central Park Five.” They were accused of a horrific rape that took place that night, for which another man would, years later, eventually confess.</p> <p>“I still deal with that every day,” Richardson told an MIT audience Wednesday. “We have to deal with scars that nobody can see.”</p> <p>Now, legally cleared of the crime, happily married and the father of two daughters, Richardson has turned his own horrific experiences into the basis for a new calling: speaking out and organizing against injustices in the criminal justice system, which disproportionately affect people of color and particularly black men, and helping to advocate for others who, like him and his falsely accused “brothers,” are seeking to clear their names and prove their innocence.</p> <p>Richardson, who is now 45, gave the keynote speech at this year’s annual MIT Martin Luther King Jr. celebration luncheon. He described the devastating effects of losing much of his youth to an unjust arrest and imprisonment, and his choice to turn that personal hardship into a tale of hope and strength for others who suffer similar injustices.</p> <p>Despite the horrors of incarceration, which he said were particularly bad because being labeled as a rapist is one of the worst things for a prisoner, he refused an opportunity that might have led to his parole after five years. Despite being a model prisoner and earning a college degree in prison, he said to be released he would have had to admit to the crime he didn’t commit. But he kept going, always believing “there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”</p> <p>Richardson gave much credit for the inner strength that helped him to endure those years to his mother and to his religious faith — although he says that faith was temporarily broken after his unjust arrest, when he couldn’t understand “why would God do this to me.” But years later, he came to feel that this was all leading him to the path that he is pursuing today, advocating justice for others: “When I got older I realized I was destined to be here. ... I was molded and sculpted to be what I am today — to speak for justice, not just for myself, not just for people of color, but for everyone.”</p> <p>“I have to become a voice for the voiceless,” he said.</p> <p>Introducing Richardson at the luncheon, MIT President L. Rafael Reif described him as “an individual who has suffered crushing injustice, and yet has found the courage to speak out for systemic change.”</p> <p>Reif said, “He has transformed this terrible injustice into a relentless commitment to drive positive change: to promote DNA evidence as a way to help people trapped by wrongful convictions, and to reform our criminal justice system, for the good of all.”</p> <p>Reif also used the occasion of the luncheon to announce that MIT has <a href="">just hired</a> a new Institute Community and Equity Officer, John H. Dozier, who has been the chief diversity officer and senior associate provost for inclusion at the University of South Carolina.</p> <p>“To succeed in our mission at MIT, we urgently need to make our community work for everyone,” Reif said. “I hope you share my optimism and excitement about what we can achieve with John’s collaborative leadership.”</p> <p>The MLK celebration also featured remarks from two students, an undergraduate and a graduate student. Undergraduate Kelvin Green spoke of “how we challenge ourselves day in and day out to be committed to justice.”</p> <p>He said, “I stand before you today with a heart filled with optimism and hope,” despite the great problems and challenges facing the world today. “Optimistic because all the power that’s needed to make change is in this room right now,” he said to the packed crowd at MIT’s Morss Hall. “I’m here to tell you today that each of you has the power to create the world brother King sacrificed his life for.”</p> <p>He said “no single person can do anything sustainable. But there are enough people in this room to make MIT a beacon of light in a world that is getting darker and darker. … So I encourage all my peers in the fight for a just world to keep fighting. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Keep dancing. Keep singing. Keep protesting. Keep speaking. Keep going. Our art and our protest is how we keep our community free. … It is how we have courage, speak up, and confront injustice.” (Read Green's full remarks <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>).</p> <p>Candace Ross, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, cautioned against empty words of support that are not matched by action. While the words of King, saying that hate cannot drive out hate, are powerful, they can be seen as abstract, she said. “It lets us say we value diverse views, while not having any diverse bodies in the room.”</p> <p>Ross said that from talking to her grandparents, she knows that the face of American racism has changed over the years but is still powerful. For example, she said, “government cannot in theory disenfranchise voters on the basis of race; this disenfranchisement happens in practice through mass incarceration and permanent removal of voter rights.” That’s among the many ongoing issues Ross said she and other activist students are trying to find ways to address.</p> <p>President Reif cited Ross’s comments about the “courageous labor” being carried out by students every day, and hailed “the selfless, unseen work that so many students do to support one another and to try to build a better MIT.”</p> <p>He added, “In the midst of such labor, it can be hard to see or appreciate how much progress you are creating. So I simply want to say — to Candace, to Kelvin, and to everyone here: Thank you for all you do — and please know that you are making a lasting difference!”</p> Kevin Richardson, one of the Central Park Five, who have all been exonerated of their unjust conviction, gives the keynote speech at this year’s annual MIT Martin Luther King luncheon.All images: Jake BelcherSpecial events and guest speakers, Diversity and inclusion, MLK visiting scholars, President L. Rafael Reif, Community, Administration, Students, Faculty, Staff John Dozier named Institute Community and Equity Officer Experienced higher-education leader will develop and implement diversity and inclusion strategies for the Institute. Wed, 12 Feb 2020 13:55:00 -0500 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office <p>After a nationwide search, MIT has named John H. Dozier, an experienced higher-education leader with significant expertise in the areas of diversity and inclusion, as its new Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO).</p> <p>Dozier joins MIT from the University of South Carolina, where he has been serving as chief diversity officer and senior associate provost for inclusion. In those positions, Dozier led the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts as well as its coordinating office for community engagement and service-learning. He also inaugurated the role of chief diversity officer at the university.</p> <p>“I’m very excited to be joining the MIT community,” Dozier says. “I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, and alumni to continue the work of building and nurturing a sense of community and belonging at MIT.”</p> <p>Dozier, who will officially start as the new ICEO effective March 15, adds that he is “honored to be part of such an amazing institution.”</p> <p>In <a href="">a letter</a> sent today to the Institute community, MIT President L. Rafael Reif heralded Dozier’s professional accomplishments and emphasized MIT’s commitment to continued progress on matters of diversity, inclusion, and equity.</p> <p>“I am delighted to share the news that John H. Dozier … has agreed to become MIT’s next institute community and equity officer,” Reif wrote, adding: “John brings to this role an outstanding record of leadership, great personal warmth and a sense of curiosity, enthusiasm and experimentation that feel very MIT.”</p> <p>At MIT, Reif noted, the ICEO “plays a special role: A thought leader on the subjects of community, equity, inclusion, and diversity and a focal point for organizing MIT’s related activities and conversations, the ICEO is also a hands-on practitioner who disseminates best practices and inspires the awareness and enthusiasm to help them flourish.”</p> <p>Dozier will report to Provost Martin A. Schmidt, with a broad mandate to develop and implement diversity and inclusion strategies for the Institute, while leveraging the strength of existing initiatives and programs.</p> <p>“We are very pleased to welcome John Dozier to MIT as our new Institute Community and Equity Officer,” Schmidt says. “John’s skills, perceptiveness, and track record of accomplishment all make him an ideal person to help lead our ongoing efforts as we create a fully inclusive environment for learning, working, and living.”</p> <p>MIT created the ICEO position in 2013. The Institute’s first ICEO, professor of physics Edmund Bertschinger, served in the post from 2013 to 2018. Bertschinger’s key actions included the release of a 2015 report identifying important inclusion issues on campus; he also worked to make diversity data more readily available to the campus community. Following Bertschinger’s tenure, MIT senior administrator Alyce Johnson became the Institute’s interim ICEO.</p> <p>Dozier brings a breadth of higher-education experience to the ICEO role. He held a variety of leadership positions in the Chicago community college system, including vice president of academic and student affairs for Kennedy-King College and Wilbur Wright College; chief information officer for the entire system; and then president of Kennedy-King College. He joined the University of South Carolina in 2013. There, as chief diversity officer and senior associate provost for inclusion, he helped create and oversee strategy and programs to enhance diversity and inclusion for the state’s flagship university, with over 35,000 students. Dozier also received the Richard A. Rempel Faculty Award from the University of South Carolina in 2016.</p> <p>As an undergraduate, Dozier received his BS in marketing from South Carolina State University, where he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015. He subsequently earned his MBA and EdD from DePaul University.</p> <p>Dozier’s wife, Victoria, is a mechanical engineer. They have three children, who are currently in college, high school, and middle school.</p> <p>A native of South Carolina, Dozier’s professional trajectory demonstrates the possibilities of social progress around campus communities. Dozier’s grandmother, growing up a few blocks from the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, would rarely venture onto the campus, feeling unwelcome there; yet she lived long enough to see Dozier become a leading administrator at the university.</p> <p>In evaluating the path ahead for community-building at MIT, Dozier says he has been “extraordinarily impressed” by MIT programs such as MindHandHeart, an initiative that seeks new ways to pursue health, well-being, and inclusion for the campus community.</p> <p>At the same time, he notes that improving inclusion issues is not just the responsibility of select groups, but a task for all of MIT.</p> <p>“Issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are best addressed when the entire community is engaged,” Dozier says.</p> John H. Dozier joins MIT as its new Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO). Dozier was previously at the University of South Carolina, where he has been serving as chief diversity officer and senior associate provost for inclusion.Image courtesy of John Dozier, edited by MIT NewsAdministration, Diversity and inclusion, President L. Rafael Reif, Provost, Community, MindHandHeart, Staff A college for the computing age With the initial organizational structure in place, the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing moves forward with implementation. Tue, 04 Feb 2020 12:30:01 -0500 Terri Park | MIT Schwarzman College of Computing <p>The mission of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is to address the opportunities and challenges of the computing age — from hardware to software to algorithms to artificial intelligence (AI) — by transforming the capabilities of academia in three key areas: supporting the rapid evolution and growth of computer science and AI; facilitating collaborations between computing and other disciplines; and focusing on social and ethical responsibilities of computing through combining technological approaches and insights from social science and humanities, and through engagement beyond academia.</p> <p>Since starting his position in August 2019, Daniel Huttenlocher, the inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, has been working with many stakeholders in designing the initial organizational structure of the college. Beginning with the <a href="" target="_blank">College of Computing Task Force Working Group reports</a> and feedback from the MIT community, the structure has been developed through an iterative process of draft plans yielding a <a href="" target="_blank">26-page document</a> outlining the initial academic organization of the college that is designed to facilitate the college mission through improved coordination and evolution of existing computing programs at MIT, improved collaboration in computing across disciplines, and development of new cross-cutting activities and programs, notably in the social and ethical responsibilities of computing.</p> <p>“The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is both bringing together existing MIT programs in computing and developing much-needed new cross-cutting educational and research programs,” says Huttenlocher. “For existing programs, the college helps facilitate coordination and manage the growth in areas such as computer science, artificial intelligence, data systems and society, and operations research, as well as helping strengthen interdisciplinary computing programs such as computational science and engineering. For new areas, the college is creating cross-cutting platforms for the study and practice of social and ethical responsibilities of computing, for multi-departmental computing education, and for incubating new interdisciplinary computing activities.”</p> <p>The following existing departments, institutes, labs, and centers are now part of the college:</p> <ul> <li>Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer (EECS), which has been <a href="" target="_self">reorganized</a> into three overlapping sub-units of electrical engineering (EE), computer science (CS), and artificial intelligence and decision-making (AI+D), and is jointly part of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and School of Engineering;</li> <li>Operations Research Center (ORC), which is jointly part of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and MIT Sloan School of Management;</li> <li>Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), which will be increasing its focus on the societal aspects of its mission while also continuing to support statistics across MIT, and including the Technology and Policy Program (TPP) and Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC);</li> <li>Center for Computational Science Engineering (CCSE), which is being renamed from the Center for Computational Engineering and broadening its focus in the sciences;</li> <li>Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL);</li> <li>Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS); and</li> <li>Quest for Intelligence.</li> </ul> <p>With the initial structure in place, Huttenlocher, the college leadership team, and the leaders of the academic units that are part of the college, in collaboration with departments in all five schools, are actively moving forward with curricular and programmatic development, including the launch of two new areas, the Common Ground for Computing Education and the Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC). Still in the early planning stages, these programs are the aspects of the college that are designed to cut across lines and involve a number of departments throughout MIT. Other programs are expected to be introduced as the college continues to take shape.</p> <p>“The college is an Institute-wide entity, working with and across all five schools,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who was part of the task force steering committee. “Its continued growth and focus depend greatly on the input of our MIT community, a process which began over a year ago. I’m delighted that Dean Huttenlocher and the college leadership team have engaged the community for collaboration and discussion around the plans for the college.”</p> <p>With these organizational changes, students, faculty, and staff in these units are members of the college, and in some cases, jointly with a school, as will be those who are engaged in the new cross-cutting activities in SERC and Common Ground. “A question we get frequently,” says Huttenlocher, “is how to apply to the college. As is the case throughout MIT, undergraduate admissions are handled centrally, and graduate admissions are handled by each individual department or graduate program.”<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>Advancing computing</strong></p> <p>Despite the unprecedented growth in computing, there remains substantial unmet demand for expertise. In academia, colleges and universities worldwide are faced with oversubscribed programs in computer science and the constant need to keep up with rapidly changing materials at both the graduate and undergraduate level.</p> <p>According to Huttenlocher, the computing fields are evolving at a pace today that is beyond the capabilities of current academic structures to handle. “As academics, we pride ourselves on being generators of new knowledge, but academic institutions themselves don’t change that quickly. The rise of AI is probably the biggest recent example of that, along with the fact that about 40 percent of MIT undergraduates are majoring in computer science, where we have 7 percent of the MIT faculty.”</p> <p>In order to help meet this demand, MIT is increasing its academic capacity in computing and AI with 50 new faculty positions — 25 will be core computing positions in CS, AI, and related areas, and 25 will be shared jointly with departments. Searches are now active to recruit core faculty in CS and AI+D, and for joint faculty with MIT Philosophy, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and several interdisciplinary institutes.</p> <p>The new shared faculty searches will largely be conducted around the concept of “clusters” to build capacity at MIT in important computing areas that cut across disciplines, departments, and schools. Huttenlocher, the provost, and the five school deans will work to identify themes based on input from departments so that recruiting can be undertaken during the next academic year.</p> <p><strong>Cross-cutting collaborations in computing</strong></p> <p>Building on the history of strong faculty participation in interdepartmental labs, centers, and initiatives, the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing provides several forms of membership in the college based on cross-cutting research, teaching, or external engagement activities. While computing is affecting intellectual inquiry in almost every discipline, Huttenlocher is quick to stress that “it’s bi-directional.” He notes that existing collaborations across various schools and departments, such as MIT Digital Humanities, as well as opportunities for new such collaborations, are key to the college mission because in the same way that “computing is changing thinking in the disciplines; the disciplines are changing the way people do computing.”</p> <p>Under the leadership of Asu Ozdaglar, the deputy dean of academics and department head of EECS, the college is developing the Common Ground for Computing Education, an interdepartmental teaching collaborative that will facilitate the offering of computing classes and coordination of computing-related curricula across academic units.</p> <p>The objectives of this collaborative are to provide opportunities for faculty across departments to work together, including co-teaching classes, creating new undergraduate majors or minors such as in AI+D, as well as facilitating undergraduate blended degrees such as 6-14 (Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science), 6-9 (Computation and Cognition), 11-6 (Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science), 18-C (Mathematics with Computer Science), and others.</p> <p>“It is exciting to bring together different areas of computing with methodological and substantive commonalities as well as differences around one table,” says Ozdaglar. “MIT faculty want to collaborate in topics around computing, but they are increasingly overwhelmed with teaching assignments and other obligations. I think the college will enable the types of interactions that are needed to foster new ideas.”</p> <p>Thinking about the impact on the student experience, Ozdaglar expects that the college will help students better navigate the computing landscape at MIT by creating clearer paths. She also notes that many students have passions beyond computer science, but realize the need to be adept in computing techniques and methodologies in order to pursue other interests, whether it be political science, economics, or urban science. “The idea for the college is to educate students who are fluent in computation, but at the same time, creatively apply computing with the methods and questions of the domain they are mostly interested in.”</p> <p>For Deputy Dean of Research Daniela Rus, who is also the director of CSAIL and the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in EECS, developing research programs “that bring together MIT faculty and students from different units to advance computing and to make the world better through computing” is a top priority. She points to the recent launch of the <a href="" target="_self">MIT Air Force AI Innovation Accelerator</a>, a collaboration between the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and the U.S. Air Force focused on AI, as an example of the types of research projects the college can facilitate.</p> <p>“As humanity works to solve problems ranging from climate change to curing disease, removing inequality, ensuring sustainability, and eliminating poverty, computing opens the door to powerful new solutions,” says Rus. “And with the MIT Schwarzman College as our foundation, I believe MIT will be at the forefront of those solutions. Our scholars are laying theoretical foundations of computing and applying those foundations to big ideas in computing and across disciplines.”</p> <p><strong>Habits of mind and action</strong></p> <p>A critically important cross-cutting area is the Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing, which will facilitate the development of responsible “habits of mind and action” for those who create and deploy computing technologies, and the creation of technologies in the public interest.</p> <p>“The launch of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing offers an extraordinary new opportunity for the MIT community to respond to today’s most consequential questions in ways that serve the common good,” says Melissa Nobles, professor of political science, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and co-chair of the Task Force Working Group on Social Implications and Responsibilities of Computing.</p> <p>“As AI and other advanced technologies become ubiquitous in their influence and impact, touching nearly every aspect of life, we have increasingly seen the need to more consciously align powerful new technologies with core human values — integrating consideration of societal and ethical implications of new technologies into the earliest stages of their development. Asking, for example, of every new technology and tool: Who will benefit? What are the potential ecological and social costs? Will the new technology amplify or diminish human accomplishments in the realms of justice, democracy, and personal privacy?</p> <p>“As we shape the college, we are envisioning an MIT culture in which all of us are equipped and encouraged to think about such implications. In that endeavor, MIT’s humanistic disciplines will serve as deep resources for research, insight, and discernment. We also see an opportunity for advanced technologies to help solve political, economic, and social issues that trouble today’s world by integrating technology with a humanistic analysis of complex civilizational issues — among them climate change, the future of work, and poverty, issues that will yield only to collaborative problem-solving. It is not too much to say that human survival may rest on our ability to solve these problems via collective intelligence, designing approaches that call on the whole range of human knowledge.”</p> <p>Julie Shah, an associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and head of the Interactive Robotics Group at CSAIL, who co-chaired the working group with Nobles and is now a member of the college leadership, adds that “traditional technologists aren’t trained to pause and envision the possible futures of how technology can and will be used. This means that we need to develop new ways of training our students and ourselves in forming new habits of mind and action so that we include these possible futures into our design.”</p> <p>The associate deans of Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing, Shah and David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics, are designing a systemic framework for SERC that will not only effect change in computing education and research at MIT, but one that will also inform policy and practice in government and industry. Activities that are currently in development include multi-disciplinary curricula embedded in traditional computing and AI courses across all levels of instruction, the commission and curation of a series of case studies that will be modular and available to all via MIT’s open access channels, active learning projects, cross-disciplinary monthly convenings, public forums, and more.&nbsp;</p> <p>“A lot of how we’ve been thinking about SERC components is building capacity with what we already have at the Institute as a very important first step. And that means how do we get people interacting in ways that can be a little bit different than what has been familiar, because I think there are a lot of shared goals among the MIT community, but the gears aren’t quite meshing yet. We want to further support collaborations that might cut across lines that otherwise might not have had much traffic between them,” notes Kaiser.</p> <p><strong>Just the beginning</strong></p> <p>While he’s excited by the progress made so far, Huttenlocher points out there will continue to be revisions made to the organizational structure of the college. “We are at the very beginning of the college, with a tremendous amount of excellence at MIT to build on, and with some clear needs and opportunities, but the landscape is changing rapidly and the college is very much a work in progress.”</p> <p>The college has other initiatives in the planning stages, such as the Center for Advanced Studies of Computing that will host fellows from inside and outside of MIT on semester- or year-long project-oriented programs in focused topic areas that could seed new research, scholarly, educational, or policy work. In addition, Huttenlocher is planning to launch a search for an assistant or associate dean of equity and inclusion, once the Institute Community and Equity Officer is in place, to focus on improving and creating programs and activities that will help broaden participation in computing classes and degree programs, increase the&nbsp;diversity&nbsp;of top faculty candidates in computing fields, and ensure that faculty search and graduate admissions processes have diverse slates of candidates and interviews.</p> <p>“The typical academic approach would be to wait until it’s clear what to do, but that would be a mistake. The way we’re going to learn is by trying and by being more flexible. That may be a more general attribute of the new era we’re living in, he says. “We don’t know what it’s going to look like years from now, but it’s going to be pretty different, and MIT is going to be shaping it.”</p> <p>The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will be hosting a community forum on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in Room 10-250. Members from the MIT community are welcome to attend to learn more about the initial organizational structure of the college.</p> MIT Schwarzman College of Computing leadership team (left to right) David Kaiser, Daniela Rus, Dan Huttenlocher, Julie Shah, and Asu Ozdaglar Photo: Sarah BastilleMIT Schwarzman College of Computing, School of Engineering, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), Quest for Intelligence, Philosophy, Brain and cognitive sciences, Digital humanities, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Artificial intelligence, Operations research, Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), IDSS, Ethics, Administration, Classes and programs Surveying the quality of life at MIT A new survey of MIT students, faculty, and staff will inform initiatives to improve the work-life experience on campus and at Lincoln Laboratory. Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:00:00 -0500 Robyn Fizz | EVP Connect <p>The <a href="">MIT Council on Family and Work</a> today released a new <a href="" target="_blank">Quality of Life Survey</a> for faculty, staff, and students at MIT. Results from the voluntary and anonymous survey, which can be taken starting today, will inform initiatives to improve the work-life experience for the MIT campus community and Lincoln Laboratory.</p> <p>Faculty and staff were surveyed on similar issues in 2012 and 2016, students in 2013 and 2017. Beginning this year, the entire MIT community is being surveyed at the same time.</p> <p>The council’s co-chairs, Amy Glasmeier, a professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Ken Goldsmith, assistant dean for finance and administration in the School of Architecture and Planning, view the 2020 survey as an opportunity to gather data from the community that will inform senior leadership about how to make MIT a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can excel.</p> <p>Email invitations, sent today to the MIT community, include a link to the web-based survey, which covers a range of topics — from satisfaction and workload concerns to the intersection of work and personal/family life.</p> <p>The Council on Family and Work is committed to maximizing the response rate for all sectors of the community to ensure the results are as representative as possible. The 2020 survey is more streamlined than earlier versions and, while still comprehensive, should take less than 25 minutes to complete. Many of the survey questions have been asked over time, which allows the Council on Family and Work to understand what aspects of MIT’s culture have changed or stayed the same.</p> <p>The survey is being administered by MIT <a href="" target="_blank">Institutional Research</a> (IR) in the Office of the Provost. Results will be presented in a way that ensures the confidentiality of individual responses. For the purposes of analysis, IR may combine other data with responses to the survey.</p> <p>The Quality of Life survey is a primary source of information about the experiences of members of the MIT community, such as the importance of flexibility in the workplace, perceptions on the availability of resources to complete a person’s job, having friends at work, and feeling respected by others. By understanding the distribution of these perspectives within our community, MIT will have more information about the types of support services it needs to provide.</p> <p><strong>From responses to recommendations</strong></p> <p>Results of the survey are used in a variety of ways. In the spirit of transparency, overall results will be posted on the <a href="" target="_blank">IR public website</a> in the form of an interactive Tableau Report. Additional analysis will be done in conjunction with the Council, including comparisons with prior years. Summary results will be available to individual units to inform their leaders on issues specific to their areas, provided there are sufficient responses to ensure confidentiality for individual respondents.</p> <p>Later in the year, the Council on Family and Work will publish a comprehensive report. Other reports may focus on specific subjects — such as workplace flexibility, as one example — or subgroups at MIT, such as gender, race/ethnicity, international origin, and sexual orientation. The intention is to identify areas in which MIT is doing a good job as well as areas for improvement.</p> <p>One of the highest priorities of the council is the protection of individual responses.&nbsp;The more candid the response, the more useful the data. But while the council is committed to transparency of the results, it is equally committed to the confidentiality of the individual response.</p> <p><strong>Role of the MIT Council on Family and Work</strong></p> <p>The Council on Family and Work was established in 1992 by then-MIT president Charles Vest. The council is a presidentially appointed committee overseen by the executive vice president and treasurer. MIT’s first major committee to focus on these issues was the Ad Hoc Committee on Family and Work, formed in 1989, which recommended the establishment of the council.</p> <p>At the beginning, the council focused primarily on issues related to women and children (e.g., maternity leave, childcare). In the last 10 years the focus has broadened to incorporate long-term pressing needs and concerns of the whole community. Culture, climate, and engagement are major themes of the survey.</p> <p>The council works closely with the <a href="" target="_blank">MIT Work-Life Center</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">Employee Benefits Oversight Committee</a>. Topics under discussion include flexible work arrangements and improving the tuition assistance program. There have also been enhancements to the employee assistance program, which helps faculty and staff deal with a suite of life-course challenges, from elderly parents to legal issues to difficulty managing finances. Glasmeier notes that this program, now in its third year, is used far more at MIT than at other universities.</p> <p><strong>A change in co-chair</strong></p> <p>James Bales, associate director at the Edgerton Center, recently stepped down as co-chair of the MIT Council on Family and Work. He served on the council for 10 years and played a central role in the last two Quality of Life Surveys. He helped with both the front-end work of getting the questions right and the back-end work of getting the reports done.</p> <p>The council recently welcomed its new co-chair, Ken Goldsmith, who believes that significant strides get made when people get involved. He and Glasmeier encourage MIT faculty, staff, and students to take the 2020 Quality of Life survey to help make MIT an inviting, inclusive, progressive and well-liked place to study and work.</p> <p>To access your survey or learn more, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p> Image: Jose-Luis OlivaresCommunity, Students, Faculty, Staff, Human Resources, Research, Provost, Administration, Urban studies and planning, Lincoln Laboratory MIT to donate to four nonprofits supporting survivors of sexual abuse Institute’s Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response recommends recipients for $850,000 pledge. Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:00:10 -0500 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>MIT has selected four nonprofits that serve survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation to receive gifts totaling $850,000. This is the amount that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein donated to the Institute between 2002 and 2017, as determined by a <a href="">recently completed review</a>.</p> <p>Following several months of research and deliberation, MIT’s <a href="">Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response</a> (CSMPR) identified the <a href="">Boston Area Rape Crisis Center</a>; the <a href="">EVA Center</a>; <a href="">My Life My Choice</a>; and the <a href="">Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts’</a> Domestic and Sexual Violence Project as the recommended recipients of the Institute’s gifts. MIT President L. Rafael Reif has accepted the recommendation. All four organizations include the City of Cambridge in their areas of service.</p> <p>The gifts fulfill a pledge MIT made following revelations that the Institute had accepted donations from Epstein. In an <a href="">Aug. 22 letter</a>, President Reif wrote that MIT would donate an amount equal to the funds the Institute received from Epstein to organizations that support survivors of sexual abuse. At President Reif’s request, the 29-member CSMPR, which includes MIT students, faculty, and staff, several of whom work closely with survivors of sexual abuse, agreed to evaluate organizations for the donations and advise him.</p> <p>Leslie Kolodziejski, chair of the committee and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, says, “I’m thrilled for these four organizations to be receiving this money, because each and every one of them is doing incredible work to support victims of sexual abuse.”</p> <p>The committee focused much of its work on identifying the values that should guide its decision making, consistent with the values of MIT, and looked to strike a balance between both well-established organizations and burgeoning ones. It started with 36 potential recipient organizations and made an initial assessment that 18 of these satisfied all the basic guidelines to meet its charge. Kolodziejski says the committee conducted in-depth research on the 18 organizations, compiling the same set of data on each. Ultimately, four stood out and drew attendees’ unanimous support at the final committee meeting.</p> <p>“We are honored to help advance the vital missions of these outstanding nonprofits focused on ending sexual violence,” says President Reif. “I am deeply grateful to Professor Kolodziejski and all of CSMPR for agreeing to take on an assignment of such significance for our community. I was struck by CSMPR’s thoroughness and care in choosing these organizations, and we can all take comfort in knowing that, thanks to the committee’s guidance, these donations will support organizations making a direct difference in the lives of survivors. What’s more, at CSMPR’s suggestion, <a href="">Community Giving at MIT</a> has added the organizations to its website, to make it easy for members of the MIT community to support the nonprofits’ work as well.”</p> <p>The four organizations selected are:</p> <p><strong>Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)</strong></p> <p>Founded by survivors of sexual violence, BARCC has a mission to end sexual violence by creating response and prevention programs based on research and learning from 45 years of direct service experience. The organization serves 29 cities and towns in the greater Boston area, with a population of 4.6 million, through offices in Boston, Cambridge, and Waltham. It cares for survivors as young as 12 years old, including women, men, members of the LGBTQ community, those with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, people of any immigration status, and incarcerated people. In its recommendation to President Reif, the committee said that BARCC is “one of our strongest local organizations that works tirelessly to serve our community.”</p> <p>Gina Scaramella, the director of BARCC, says, “It is meaningful to us that this gift comes as a result of a recommendation from MIT community members who are both familiar with our work and also invested in finding ways to reduce and prevent sexual violence. Our work focuses on providing survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse the highest quality services needed for their healing, and advocating for systems change that will prevent acts of sexual violence from occurring in the first place. This gift from MIT will support that work.”</p> <p><strong>The EVA Center</strong></p> <p>The center, whose title stands for Education, Vision and Advocacy, is led by survivors and works to provide comprehensive services to women exploited by sex trafficking, with a mission to eradicate systems of prostitution and to create an equitable world where no one is bought and sold. A program of Casa Myrna, it provides both short- and long-term safe housing, mentorship, exit plans, health care, and emergency funds to support victims. The committee noted that the organization has an important role in serving low-income communities and communities of color.</p> <p>“We are a program that was founded by a survivor, and we not only provide direct services for women impacted by a harmful sex trade but we work to end sexual exploitation through policies and legislation changes,” says Cherie Jimenez, director of the EVA Center. “We will use some of these funds for our solidarity fund that goes directly to women so they can restart their lives. The majority of our referrals at the center are young women at a point of crisis, and the availability of effective emergency accommodation [through] our safe home program makes a critical difference.”</p> <p>Given the gift’s genesis, she says “it’s a bittersweet donation, but we appreciate MIT’s commitment to investigating and redirecting these funds directly to programs that address commercial sexual exploitation.​&nbsp;We will collectively put some thought into how we could use these funds to further our mission and have the most impact for the women that come through our programs, and to create greater awareness and prevention, as an untold number of women and girls suffered greatly under the hands of Epstein.”</p> <p><strong>My Life My Choice</strong></p> <p>My Life My Choice focuses on the sexual exploitation of children and works to empower young people to be their own agents of change. Based in Boston, it has served over 500 survivors since its founding in 2002. It offers intensive survivor-led multidisciplinary support to victims, as well as a research-based curriculum to teach strategic prevention-based solutions, mentorship to develop coping skills, and advocacy to support vulnerable youth. The mission of My Life My Choice is to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents through survivor-led programs that educate and empower youth to find their voice and create a positive life path. The committee noted that this nationally acclaimed group created the first comprehensive prevention curriculum in the U.S.</p> <p>Lisa Goldblatt Grace, director of My Life My Choice, says, “We thank MIT for directing these funds to be used in the fight to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. These funds will be used immediately by our survivor-led program in our work locally and nationally to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable girls and to intervene on behalf of youth of all genders who have experienced this egregious form of violence and degradation.”</p> <p><strong>The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts</strong></p> <p>Through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Project, this Roxbury-based organization focuses on the barriers that impede victims and survivors from accessing services, and on safety and economic empowerment. It provides education and training to deal with abusive actions, housing resources, and physical and mental health care as well as spiritual counseling. Support for this program will enable expanded services for housing and for relocation assistance for victims and families to escape abusive situations. The committee noted that this organization is based in an underserved African-American community and is increasingly serving an immigrant population, and will benefit from additional financial resources.</p> <p>On behalf of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and its board of directors, Consultant President/CEO J. Keith Motley says that the organization is “elated to receive a gift from a prestigious institution like MIT to support the efforts of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Project led by Reverend Traci Jackson Antoine. The generous donation will help to broaden the scope of our work and enhance our existing services provided to victims and survivors in Boston’s underserved community.”</p> <p>The four organizations will be able to use these one-time donations over a period of time as needed, and to use their discretion in the allocation of the resources.</p> <p>Committee chair Kolodziejski explains that the group received suggestions from the community and members of the committee, and solicitations from external organizations.&nbsp; Every single one was considered. “We took it extremely seriously. We put forth a lot of effort that was very thoughtful, and very considerate,” she says.</p> <p>Kelley Adams, director of MIT’s Violence Prevention and Response program and a member of the committee, says that the many organizations that the group studied as potential beneficiaries “all do amazing and beneficial work for their respective communities,” but not all were as directly focused on the issues&nbsp;of sexual abuse and trafficking that these&nbsp;donations were intended to address. The group also made a point of selecting some organizations that are specifically providing services to underserved communities. “Each organization plays a significant role in addressing crucial community needs, which made it a hard decision,” she says.</p> <p>She adds, “This money is important, and it gives us an opportunity to do something meaningful and positive in the interest of supporting survivors.”</p> Image: Christopher BrownFaculty, Students, Staff, Administration, Community, President L. Rafael Reif, Giving MIT to conduct full-scale emergency exercise Training drill for first responders will take place at Kresge Auditorium on Jan. 22. Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0500 MIT News Office <p>In an effort&nbsp;to further enhance the preparedness of MIT’s first responders,&nbsp;MIT Emergency Management&nbsp;and&nbsp;MIT Police&nbsp;will&nbsp;conduct a full-scale emergency exercise&nbsp;on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at&nbsp;Kresge Auditorium (<a href="">Building&nbsp;W16</a>). Due to the&nbsp;realistic nature of the police training drill, which will include simulated gunfire, the entire building, the Kresge&nbsp;Oval, the Kresge BBQ pits, and the Kresge parking&nbsp;lot will be&nbsp;closed to the public&nbsp;from 6&nbsp;a.m. to 2&nbsp;p.m.&nbsp;on that day.&nbsp;</p> <p>An email about the emergency exercise was sent today to the MIT community by Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety John DiFava.</p> <p>DiFava explained that the&nbsp;exercise is in keeping with best practices in higher education emergency management,&nbsp;and is designed to allow&nbsp;first responders&nbsp;both internal and external to MIT to&nbsp;practice their response efforts in a realistic, yet controlled, environment. In addition, this&nbsp;exercise&nbsp;provides the Institute with the opportunity to evaluate its emergency protocols and to ensure a coordinated, timely, and effective response in the event of a real threat to the campus.</p> <p>To ensure that the MIT community is aware of the exercise, the exercise area will be fenced off,&nbsp;ample&nbsp;signage will be posted, and&nbsp;MIT Police&nbsp;officers will be stationed at entrances to ensure that&nbsp;only authorized and screened participants are&nbsp;allowed inside.&nbsp;The&nbsp;exercise&nbsp;has&nbsp;been&nbsp;scheduled between semesters, during Independent&nbsp;Activities Period (IAP), to minimize disruption to campus operations. &nbsp;</p> <p>In conjunction with the exercise,&nbsp;a campus-wide test of the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">MIT Alert</a>&nbsp;system will be conducted. This test will be used to evaluate and review the various procedures, responsibilities, and connections of the system. The text message and email alerts will state “This is a test of the MIT Alert system,” and will allow the community to <a href="">provide feedback</a> about MIT Alert.</p> <p>“We want to acknowledge the nature of this exercise and the impact it could have on community members who have witnessed or been involved in traumatic incidents in the past,” DiFava wrote, adding that anyone who needs support is encouraged to access these resources:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" title="">Student Mental Health and Counseling Services</a>&nbsp;at 617-253-2916</li> <li><a href="">Student Support Services</a>&nbsp;at 617-253-4861</li> <li><a href="">GradSupport</a>&nbsp;at 617-253-4860</li> <li>For employees:&nbsp;<a href="">MIT MyLife Services</a>&nbsp;at 844-405-LIFE (844-405-5433) or (TTY) 866-892-7162</li> </ul> <p>Questions or concerns about the exercise can be addressed to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">MIT Emergency Management</a>&nbsp;at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;617-452-4368.</p> Image: Jake BelcherPolice, Community, Cambridge, Boston and region, Administration, Staff 3 Questions: Maria Zuber on guidance for foreign nationals following recent Homeland Security memo Vice president for research clarifies the memo’s intention and provides guidance. Tue, 14 Jan 2020 16:47:29 -0500 MIT News Office <p><em>On January 9, 2020, the <a href="">International Scholars Office</a> (ISchO) wrote to international scholars at MIT who hold F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) status; faculty and senior researchers who may serve as their supervisors; and human resources administrators in departments, laboratories, and centers. The memos addressed potential employer verification visits by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, to whom ISchO reports, spoke with </em>MIT News<em> to clarify the intention of the memos and provide guidance.</em></p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> Why did ISchO write to the MIT community now?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> Last year, DHS announced that it was likely to increase visits to employers of foreign nationals in F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) status. Since then, we have been developing guidance for those at MIT in that status, as well as their supervisors.&nbsp;</p> <p>The memos ISchO sent last week were <u>not</u> prompted by a site visit by DHS, a notice of an imminent site visit, or a complaint. They were meant as a general reminder to postdocs, visitors, and other researchers, as well as their supervisors, of the steps to take in case DHS contacts them at any point in the future. A number of institutions have sent similar guidance to their communities. It was certainly not our intention to alarm the community, and we sincerely apologize for causing any undue concern.</p> <p>DHS has stated several reasons why it might make a visit, including: to confirm that an employer has sufficient resources and supervisors to provide training for the F-1 STEM OPT employee; to confirm that the employee is engaged in that training, as described in the STEM OPT extension application; and possibly to request information about wages being paid to the foreign worker and similar U.S. workers.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> Does this affect students?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> No. The DHS guidance refers only to foreign national employees in F-1 immigration status with approved STEM OPT extensions and their employers. DHS has made no reference to enrolled students; international students or scholars in any other immigration status; other foreign national employees; foreign nationals in their initial 12-month period of post-completion F-1 status; or DACA students.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> What should MIT community members in F-1 STEM OPT status do if DHS contacts them regarding STEM OPT extensions?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> We are committed to protecting members of our international community, and urge anyone who receives outreach from DHS to contact the <a href="">International Scholars Office</a> and the <a href="">Office of the General Counsel</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>ISchO and the <a href="">International Students Office</a> (ISO) are working to organize Q&amp;A sessions early in the spring semester, and will find ways to share details with our community in the weeks ahead. For now, the directors of ISchO and the ISO have been in touch with international scholars and students to provide clarification, and a Student Support Services (S3) dean who works closely with MIT’s DACA student community has contacted these students to offer reassurance.</p> Lobby 7 at MIT.Image: Jake BelcherStudents, Faculty, Staff, Administration, Community, 3 Questions, Immigration, Policy, Government, Global Letter from President Reif: Learning from the facts and taking action Fri, 10 Jan 2020 14:24:13 -0500 MIT News Office <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Today, the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation released the <a href="">fact-finding report </a>it commissioned to help the Institute understand the origins, nature and extent of Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to MIT and learn from them.</p> <p>The result of this comprehensive effort is a <a href="">detailed picture of what happened</a> that can now help inform MIT’s ongoing work to create safeguards to prevent similar mistakes in the future.</p> <p>An enduring MIT value is the willingness to face hard facts, and as community voices have made clear, this situation demands openness and transparency. In response, the members of the Executive Committee released the fact-finding report in its entirety. I encourage you to read both their <a href="">statement and the report itself</a>.</p> <p>The report describes the actions of individuals and uses the names of the central figures – senior academics, administrative leaders and staff. In return for this transparency, I hope and expect that, in the best MIT tradition, we can respond with decency, fairness and understanding.</p> <p>This moment stands as a sharp reminder of human fallibility and its consequences. However, I believe this day can also mark the start of a new process of shared learning, reflection, repair and rebuilding.</p> <p>Today’s findings present disturbing new information about Jeffrey Epstein’s connections with individuals at MIT: how extensive those ties were and how long they continued. This includes the decision by a lab director to bring this Level 3 sex offender to campus repeatedly.</p> <p>That it was possible for Epstein to have so many opportunities to interact with members of our community is distressing and unacceptable; I cannot imagine how painful it must be for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Clearly, we must establish policy guardrails to prevent this from happening again.</p> <p><em>Please know that MIT offers <a href="">extensive resources</a> for survivors, and I encourage you to use any you might find helpful.</em></p> <p>The actions of a senior faculty member have raised new concerns. In keeping with MIT practice on faculty discipline, I have asked his department head to consider any appropriate action. In the meantime, in consultation with the provost, dean and department head, I have placed him on leave. Department leadership will reach out to his advisees, students and staff.</p> <p>The report recounts the conduct not only of senior academics but of administrative leaders they worked with. A central role of the MIT administration is to support the work of our faculty, in part by helping to secure research funding. The findings identify senior administrators who faced repeated requests that Epstein funding be allowed and made judgments about how to accept and manage it. These administrative leaders were weighing their concerns about Epstein as a donor against pressure from a lab director that the funding be approved.</p> <p>I regret that MIT did not have sufficient policies and processes in place to guide these senior administrators in facing these conflicting pressures. I also wish they had taken to heart the concerns others brought to them and simply put a stop to the Epstein funding, rather than improvising guidelines to allow the gifts under certain constraints.</p> <p>Knowing these individual administrators, I am certain that they were acting in good faith, striving to advance the work of our faculty. Indeed, all the individuals whose actions created this institutional crisis – both academics and administrators – have in many other ways served our community with immense dedication and distinction. They have all expressed deep regret for these decisions.</p> <p>A crucial duty now for me and for MIT’s senior leadership team is to reflect on and learn from these misjudgments and to take responsibility for correcting the policy void that enabled them.</p> <p><strong>Actions</strong><br /> The findings are extensive. It will be important to take time to absorb them and draw out lessons and conclusions. However, with the report now in hand, our community can begin to apply our collective wisdom, skills and energy to the challenges that have crystallized over the past few months. We already know that:</p> <p><strong>1.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We need clear policies and processes to guide decisions about controversial donors.</strong><br /> The <a href="">Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements</a> and the <a href="">Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes</a> can draw on today’s findings as they pursue their charges: to identify values and principles to guide MIT’s outside<br /> engagements, and to improve MIT’s processes around gift acceptance. They will deliver their recommendations in the spring, and I look forward to working with them to turn their conclusions into strong new policies.</p> <p>In the interim, we have instituted an additional process, overseen by the provost, vice president for research and vice president for finance, to make sure all relevant information is reviewed before any reasonably significant gift is accepted. I have also asked the vice president for resource development and the CEO of the alumni association, who share responsibility for the donor database, to immediately identify and implement steps to strengthen its integrity and factual accuracy.</p> <p><strong>2.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We need to build a culture in which whistleblowing is accepted, effective and safe.</strong><br /> One of the most upsetting aspects of today’s report is that, in addition to the staff whistleblower who shared her experiences publicly in September, other individuals in the Media Lab and central administration warned academic and administrative leaders that<br /> taking Epstein’s donations was misguided – yet their warnings were disregarded.</p> <p>Whether the subject is the safety of our students, the integrity of our research or risks to the Institute’s reputation, we must do all we can to make sure MIT is a place where serious concerns about serious matters receive serious attention, without risk or fear of retaliation. At my direction, our general counsel is already working to strengthen MIT’s existing whistleblower channels and non-retaliation and confidentiality protections. He is also exploring new ways members of our community might safely and effectively share concerns.</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We need guidelines to keep our community safe from visitors who pose a direct threat.</strong><br /> On our open campus, members of our community are free to invite guests. However, as the Epstein experience illustrates, this freedom comes with risks. With this letter, I am asking the provost, chancellor, general counsel, faculty officers and our campus police to review the findings pertaining to Epstein’s visits, consult with an inclusive group of other campus leaders and propose guidelines to help prevent similar risks in the future.</p> <p><strong>4.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We need to support the Media Lab community as it makes a fresh start.</strong><br /> These past months have been hard for everyone at MIT but especially for the members of the Media Lab. With leadership from the Media Lab’s new executive committee, faculty and staff in the lab are assessing the future internal governance of the Media Lab as well as its values and culture and will soon launch a search for a new director. As they take on this important challenge, I hope we can all offer them our encouragement and support.</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;We need an Institute-wide community process to address persistent issues in our campus climate and culture.</strong><br /> This past fall, in public and in private, in person and in writing, in anonymous <a href="">surveys</a> and heartfelt personal pleas, many individuals have described ways that disrespect, harassment, marginalization and abuses of power are harming our community.</p> <p>Their personal accounts jibe closely with the <a href="">recommendations of the working groups we convened</a> in response to the landmark National Academies report on sexual and gender harassment.</p> <p>Building on these and the thoughtful recommendations of past MIT community studies, the chancellor, provost, general counsel, vice president for human resources and other MIT leaders are now designing an inclusive process that will allow our community to articulate the goals we share for our campus climate and culture, and decide how best to achieve them – together.<br /> These longstanding problems demand serious attention and commitment – not only from those who suffer the impact, but from all of us, with our whole hearts. We will share an update early in the spring semester.</p> <p>*&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;*&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;*</p> <p>I profoundly regret that decisions that sustained MIT’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein occurred on my watch and created so much pain and turmoil for the people of MIT; I feel a deep responsibility to repair what has been broken. I also offer a heartfelt apology to the survivors of Jeffrey Epstein’s atrocious crimes, as well as to survivors of sexual assault and abuse in our own community.</p> <p>Equally, I am more grateful than I can say to everyone who has taken action to try to bring MIT back on course, beginning with the many individuals who were aware of the Epstein donations and bravely spoke up to express their personal and professional concerns; you have performed an enduring service for MIT.</p> <p>On behalf of the whole community, I would also like to convey our appreciation to the fact- finding team and to all the individuals who shared information with them. I offer my respect and gratitude to every member of our community who attended one of the forums this past fall, submitted a comment or raised a concern; I continue to learn from your contributions. And I have enormous admiration for the many staff, postdocs, students, faculty members, alumni and MIT Corporation members who, in various ways throughout this crisis, have offered their wisdom and stepped up to lead.</p> <p>I also owe an immense debt of gratitude to members of MIT’s current senior team who had no<br /> role in the Epstein funding but who have endured this difficult period with remarkable steadiness, patience and wisdom. Finally, I am deeply grateful to the members of MIT’s Executive Committee for their intense dedication and care for the wellbeing of MIT.</p> <p>As all of you demonstrated, there is a great deal that is right with MIT. We must fix what needs fixing and improve what needs improving. And we must make room for many more voices and perspectives. But if we can face the Institute’s flaws with honesty and build on its great strengths, we can not only make our community stronger, more equitable, more inclusive and more effective, we can offer a model for deliberate self-assessment, growth and change.</p> <p>That is a goal worthy of MIT.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> Students, Faculty, Staff, Administration, President L. Rafael Reif, Communication theory MIT releases results of fact-finding on engagements with Jeffrey Epstein Law firm completes independent review of faculty, staff, and administration actions. Fri, 10 Jan 2020 13:40:27 -0500 MIT News Office <p>The Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation today released the findings from a thorough review of MIT’s engagements with Jeffrey Epstein. The review, conducted by the law firm Goodwin Procter, sheds light on the Institute’s actions pertaining to 10 Epstein donations, totaling $850,000, that MIT received between 2002 and 2017, as well as multiple visits that Epstein made to campus.</p> <p>The report concludes that President L. Rafael Reif was not aware that the Institute was accepting donations from a convicted sex offender and accused pedophile, and had no role in approving MIT’s acceptance of the donations.</p> <p>But the review finds that three MIT vice presidents learned of Epstein’s donations to the MIT Media Lab, and his status as a convicted sex offender, in 2013. In the absence of any MIT policy regarding controversial gifts, Epstein’s subsequent gifts to the Institute were approved under an informal framework developed by the three administrators, <a href="">R. Gregory Morgan</a>, <a href="">Jeffrey Newton</a>, and <a href="">Israel Ruiz</a>.</p> <p>“Since MIT had no policy or processes for handling controversial donors in place at the time, the decision to accept Epstein’s post-conviction donations cannot be judged to be a policy violation,” the <a href="">61-page report</a> says. “But it is clear that the decision was the result of collective and significant errors in judgment that resulted in serious damage to the MIT community.”</p> <p>Unbeknownst to any members of MIT’s senior leadership, the report says, Epstein visited MIT nine times between 2013 and 2017. The fact-finding reveals that these visits and all post-conviction gifts from Epstein were driven by either former Media Lab director Joi Ito or professor of mechanical engineering Seth Lloyd, and not by the MIT administration or the Office of Resource Development.</p> <p>The report concludes that Lloyd purposefully failed to inform MIT that Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was the source of two donations to support his research in 2012. Lloyd was also found to have received a personal gift of $60,000 from Epstein in 2005 or 2006, which he acknowledged was deposited into a personal bank account and not reported to MIT.</p> <p>In keeping with a call for action from the Executive Committee today, President Reif has placed Lloyd, a tenured professor, on paid administrative leave.</p> <p><strong>Extensive review of facts</strong></p> <p>Today’s public release follows discussion of the findings at a special meeting this morning of the MIT Corporation, the Institute’s board of trustees.</p> <p>The Goodwin Procter report draws upon 73 interviews with 59 individuals, as well as a review of more than 610,000 emails and documents provided by current and former MIT employees, among others. It offers a detailed account of MIT’s interactions with Epstein, who died last August while in federal prison.</p> <p>“The fact-finding has taken four months — longer than what was initially expected,” the Executive Committee said in a statement accompanying today’s release of the Goodwin Procter report. “As detailed in the report, the process expanded as new facts were found. The report being made public today makes for uncomfortable reading, especially for all of us who love MIT and are dedicated to its mission.”</p> <p>The full report on Epstein’s donations and visits to MIT was released today on a website, <a href=""></a>, accompanied by the Executive Committee’s statement and other relevant materials. The statement affirmed the Executive Committee’s “full confidence in [President Reif’s] leadership of MIT.”</p> <p><strong>President Reif responds</strong></p> <p>President Reif wrote to the MIT community this afternoon regarding the conclusion of the fact-finding process, saying that the current moment “stands as a sharp reminder of human fallibility and its consequences.”</p> <p>He encouraged all members of the MIT community to read the full range of materials being released today: “An enduring MIT value is the willingness to face hard facts, and as community voices have made clear, this situation demands openness and transparency,” he wrote.</p> <p>The names of less senior employees who may — in the course of doing their jobs — have played roles in the Epstein engagements have been excluded from the report, so as to protect their privacy. But, President Reif wrote, “The report describes the actions of individuals and uses the names of the central figures — senior academics, administrative leaders and staff. In return for this transparency, I hope and expect that, in the best MIT tradition, we can respond with decency, fairness and understanding.”</p> <p>The president noted the contributions of “everyone who has taken action to try to bring MIT back on course” — including members of the community who knew of Epstein’s gifts and tried to raise concerns; those who shared insights and information with Goodwin Procter to assist in its fact-finding; those who attended campus forums last fall; and “members of MIT’s current senior team who had no role in the Epstein funding but who have endured this difficult period with remarkable steadiness, patience and wisdom.”<br /> &nbsp;<br /> “As all of you demonstrated, there is a great deal that is right with MIT,” President Reif wrote. “We must fix what needs fixing and improve what needs improving. And we must make room for many more voices and perspectives. But if we can face the Institute’s flaws with honesty and build on its great strengths, we can not only make our community stronger, more equitable, more inclusive and more effective, we can offer a model for deliberate self-assessment, growth and change. That is a goal worthy of MIT.”</p> <p>Drawing upon recommendations from the Executive Committee, President Reif’s letter identifies five requirements for action moving forward: policies and processes to guide decisions on controversial donors; a culture in which whistleblowing is accepted, effective, and safe; guidelines to keep the MIT community safe from visitors who pose a direct threat; support for the Media Lab community as it makes a fresh start; and an Institute-wide community process to address persistent issues in campus climate and culture.</p> <p><strong>Key findings</strong></p> <p>Goodwin Procter’s fact-finding revealed that between 2002 and 2017, Epstein made 10 separate gifts to MIT, totaling $850,000 — an increase from the “approximately $800,000” reported to the MIT community last August.</p> <p>The earliest gift was $100,000 given in 2002 to support the research of the late Professor Marvin Minsky, who died in 2016. The remaining nine donations, all made after Epstein’s 2008 conviction, included $525,000 to the Media Lab and $225,000 to Professor Lloyd.</p> <p>Lloyd received two $50,000 donations from Epstein in 2012, and $125,000 in 2017, all to support Lloyd’s work. The report indicates that Epstein viewed the 2012 gifts as a trial balloon to test MIT’s willingness to accept donations following his conviction.</p> <p>“Professor Lloyd knew that donations from Epstein would be controversial and that MIT might reject them,” the report says. “We conclude that, in concert with Epstein, he purposefully decided not to alert the Institute to Epstein’s criminal record, choosing instead to allow mid-level administrators to process the donations without any formal discussion or diligence concerning Epstein.”</p> <p>Following one of the two $50,000 donations, staff prepared a standard gift-acknowledgment letter to Epstein, and President Reif signed it on Aug. 16, 2012 — which he disclosed to the MIT community last September.</p> <p>“There is no evidence that President Reif, or anyone else involved in sending the Presidential Acknowledgement letter in 2012, had any knowledge that Epstein had a criminal record or was controversial in any way,” the report states.</p> <p>Six Media Lab donations followed from 2013 to 2017; the Media Lab rejected an additional $25,000 gift that Epstein offered in February 2019, following widespread media coverage of his activities.</p> <p>The report finds that the initial 2013 gift to the Media Lab, as well as Epstein’s criminal record involving sex offenses, were brought to the attention of Morgan, then MIT’s vice president and general counsel; Newton, then vice president for resource development; and Ruiz, executive vice president and treasurer.</p> <p>They created an informal framework by which Epstein’s gifts were allowed within certain guidelines. The three, the report says, “acting in good faith, debated whether to accept Epstein’s post-conviction donations to the Media Lab. They ultimately decided on a compromise solution: accept the donations to support Ito and the Media Lab, while trying to protect the Institute to the extent possible by insisting that such donations remain relatively small and unpublicized, so that they could not be used by Epstein to launder or ‘whitewash’ his reputation or to gain influence at MIT.”</p> <p>After this framework was established, Morgan, Newton, and Ruiz engaged in discussions of additional Epstein gifts later in 2013 and in 2014, approving subsequent gifts under the same framework. This approach was reaffirmed after Newton’s 2014 retirement from MIT.</p> <p>“We find that no Senior Team member violated any law, breached any MIT policy, or acted in pursuit of personal gain in connection with Epstein’s donations,” the report states. “Certain Senior Team members, however, made significant mistakes of judgment in deciding to accept Epstein’s post-conviction donations. They failed to adequately consider: (1) whether accepting money from Epstein was consistent with MIT’s core values; (2) the impact that MIT’s acceptance of Epstein’s money would have on the MIT community should those donations become known; and (3) whether it was appropriate to accept donations with a requirement by MIT that they remain anonymous.”</p> <p>Other key determinations of Goodwin Procter’s fact-finding include:<br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Goodwin Procter did not find evidence to support the claim that Epstein arranged for donations to MIT from other wealthy individuals. In 2014, Epstein claimed that he had arranged an anonymous $2 million gift from Bill Gates and an anonymous $5 million donation from Leon Black, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, both to the Media Lab. The report states: “We did not find any evidence that the money donated by Gates or Black actually was Epstein’s money — that is, there is no evidence that Gates and Black acted to ‘launder’ Epstein’s money.”<br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;While the 2013 framework for accepting Epstein funds required that he refrain from publicizing his support of MIT, Epstein repeatedly ignored this requirement. He also publicly claimed credit, in 2014, for two gifts that he did not make to MIT.<br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Contrary to certain media reports, neither Epstein nor his foundations were ever coded as “disqualified” in MIT’s donor database. Further, designation as “disqualified” does not mean that a person or entity is prohibited from donating to the Institute; rather, the term refers to any donor who is inactive or no longer interested in giving to MIT.<br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;There is some evidence that Epstein may have come up as a brief topic of discussion at two 2015 meetings of MIT’s senior team, but the report says: “Numerous members of the Senior Team who were not part of the decision-making group on the acceptance of Epstein donations told us that, while they do not recall whether a discussion of Epstein occurred, they are confident that, if there had been a discussion of donations from a convicted ‘sex-offender’ or ‘pedophile,’ they would have remembered it.”<br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;In 2016, unbeknownst to MIT’s senior team, Ito sought unsuccessfully to enlist Robert Millard, the chair of the MIT Corporation, in cultivating Epstein as a potential donor. At one point that year, Epstein emailed Millard to invite him to dinner, but Millard declined the invitation. There is no evidence that he reconnected with Epstein following the declined dinner invitation.</p> <p>Goodwin Procter was engaged by MIT last September to determine what donations Epstein made to MIT; who in MIT’s senior leadership was aware of or approved the donations; when and why Epstein visited MIT; and whether MIT’s leadership was aware of or approved those visits. Certain topics that have been the subject of media coverage, but which are outside of this scope, are not addressed by the report.</p> <p>“We investigated all matters relevant to the scope of our engagement,” Goodwin Procter writes in its report. “MIT did not impose any constraints on the investigation and cooperated fully with it, including by providing documents and other information and facilitating access to current and former MIT faculty and administrators.”</p> <p><strong>Recommendations for the future</strong></p> <p>In its statement, the Executive Committee recommends to President Reif a series of actions moving forward. From these recommendations, the president’s letter to the community identifies the following five priorities, as well as outlining some actions that have already been taken toward these goals:</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Clear policies and processes to guide decisions about controversial donors: </strong>This fall, two committees were <a href="">launched</a> — one to define a set of values and principles to guide the assessment of outside engagements, and the other to review and recommend improvements to MIT’s processes on soliciting and accepting gifts.</p> <p>The first of these, the <a href="">Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements</a>, is chaired by <a href="">Tavneet Suri</a>, an associate professor of applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management; its members are listed <a href="">here</a>. A second committee, the <a href="">Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes</a>, is chaired by <a href="">Peter Fisher</a>, professor and head of the Department of Physics; its members are listed <a href="">here</a>. Both committees are expected to deliver their recommendations this spring.</p> <p>“In the interim, we have instituted an additional process, overseen by the provost, the vice president for research and the vice president for finance, to make sure all relevant information is reviewed before any reasonably significant gift is accepted,” President Reif wrote. “I have also asked the vice president for resource development to immediately identify and implement steps to strengthen the integrity, rigor and security of the donor database.”</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>A culture in which whistleblowing is accepted, effective, and safe:</strong> Goodwin Procter’s report makes clear that various Media Lab and central administration employees were unsuccessful in their efforts to warn academic and administrative leaders against taking Epstein’s donations. President Reif has instructed Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo to lead an effort to strengthen MIT’s existing whistleblower channels and its nonretaliation and confidentiality protections, and to explore new ways in which members of the community might safely and effectively share concerns.</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Guidelines to keep the MIT community safe from visitors who could pose a direct threat:</strong> In response to the finding that Epstein visited MIT nine times between 2013 and 2017, President Reif said in his letter that he has asked Provost Martin Schmidt, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Vice President and General Counsel DiVincenzo, MIT’s faculty officers, and the leadership of the MIT Police to review the findings pertaining to Epstein’s visits, consult with an inclusive group of other campus leaders, and propose guidelines to minimize similar risks in the future.</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>Support for the Media Lab community as it makes a fresh start:</strong> Three days after Joi Ito’s Sept. 7 resignation as director of the Media Lab, a group of five faculty and senior staff were <a href="">named to lead the Media Lab</a> on an interim basis, until a new director is in place. This committee has been tasked with charting a future of greater inclusion and transparency for the Media Lab. With leadership from this committee, faculty and staff are assessing the future internal governance of the Media Lab as well as its values and culture, and will soon launch a search for a new director.</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<strong>An Institute-wide community process to address persistent issues in our campus climate and culture:</strong> Over the past four months, in community forums and elsewhere, many individuals have described the damaging impacts of disrespect, harassment, marginalization, and abuses of power at MIT. Building on these and the recommendations of past community studies, various MIT leaders are designing a process to allow the MIT community to articulate shared goals for our campus climate and culture, and decide how best to achieve them. President Reif wrote that he expects to share initial plans this coming semester.</p> <p>As part of their public statements, President Reif, Lloyd, and Ito have all apologized to the survivors of Epstein’s abuse, and have pledged to donate amounts matching their Epstein funding to charities that benefit the survivors of sexual abuse. MIT’s 29-member <a href="">Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response</a>, which has broad representation from MIT students, faculty, and staff — including from the <a href="">Violence Prevention and Response office</a> — will advise President Reif on MIT’s $850,000 donation.</p> <p>“The fact-finding has clarified how and why Epstein was able to be engaged with MIT,” the Executive Committee wrote in its statement. “Now, it is the collective responsibility of the Corporation, the senior leaders, the faculty, the staff, the students and the alumni to use the findings to make meaningful changes to minimize the possibility of such a situation happening again. It is the sincere hope of the Executive Committee that the findings of fact and the recommendations that flow from them will help MIT move forward constructively from this difficult and painful episode.”</p> Image: Christopher Harting and Above SummitFaculty, Students, Staff, Administration, Community, President L. Rafael Reif Jeffrey Grossman named head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering Materials engineering and energy expert to succeed Chris Schuh. Thu, 26 Dec 2019 11:00:01 -0500 School of Engineering <p>Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a MacVicar Faculty fellow, has been appointed the new head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering effective Jan. 1, 2020.</p> <p>Grossman received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Illinois and performed postdoctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Lawrence Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and returned to Berkeley as director of a Nanoscience Center and head of the Computational Nanoscience research group, with a focus on energy applications. In fall 2009, he joined MIT, where he has developed a research program known for its contributions to energy conversion, energy storage, membranes, and clean-water technologies.</p> <p>Grossman’s passion for teaching and outstanding contributions to education are evident through courses such as 3.091 (Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry) — within which Grossman applies MIT’s “mens-et-manus”&nbsp;(mind-and-hand) learning philosophy. He uses “goodie&nbsp;bags” containing tools and materials that he covers in his lectures, encouraging hands-on learning and challenging students to ask big questions, take chances, and collaborate with one another.</p> <p>In recognition of his contributions to engineering education, Grossman was named an MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellow and received the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, in addition to being named a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, holds 17 current or pending U.S. patents, and recently co-founded a company, Via Separations, to commercialize graphene-oxide membranes.</p> <p>“Professor Grossman has done remarkable work in materials science and engineering, in particular energy conversion, energy storage, and clean-water technologies,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “He has demonstrated exceptional commitment and vision as an educator. I am thrilled that he will be serving as the new head of our materials science and engineering department, and know he will be a tremendous leader.”</p> Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, has been appointed the new head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Image: M. Scott BrauerMaterials Science and Engineering, School of Engineering, MacVicar fellows, Faculty, DMSE, Administration Israel Ruiz to step down as MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer Driver of “innovative solutions to complex challenges” will chart a new path pursuing opportunities to accelerate innovation. Thu, 19 Dec 2019 15:21:56 -0500 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Israel Ruiz will step down next year as MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, a position he has held since 2011. President L. Rafael Reif announced the news today in a letter to MIT faculty and staff.</p> <p>“Widely respected across MIT, Israel is a brilliant strategic thinker whose commitment to excellence has advanced innovative solutions to complex challenges while earning broad support along the way,” Reif wrote. “His efforts have transformed many aspects of our campus to better serve and support the MIT community. Since my earliest days as provost, he has been among my most important advisors.”</p> <p>Ruiz, who has played a key role over the past decade in numerous MIT initiatives to advance innovation and entrepreneurship —&nbsp;efforts ranging from MIT’s <a href="">Kendall Square Initiative</a> to the launches of <em>MITx</em>, edX, and The Engine —&nbsp;plans to devote the next chapter of his career to efforts outside of academia in which he can more directly drive innovation and impact.</p> <p>“I am immensely proud of my work to help launch these transformative initiatives,” Ruiz says. “At the same time, considering the accomplishments of the last decade and my career at MIT, I’ve been contemplating a change over the last couple of years. I feel it is time for me to focus firsthand on opportunities that accelerate innovation in the way this community has inspired me to do.”</p> <p>Ruiz expects to transition out of his role at MIT during the spring semester. In his letter to the community, President Reif indicated that he will work in the coming months with members of Ruiz’s senior team — including <a href="">Vice President for Finance Glen Shor</a> and <a href="">Vice President for Campus Services and Stewardship Joe Higgins</a> — to determine how best to allocate Ruiz’s responsibilities.</p> <p>Ruiz arrived at MIT as a master’s student in the MIT Sloan School of Management. After completing his degree in 2001, he became a consultant to MIT, serving former president Charles Vest and former provost Robert Brown. In 2002, Ruiz formally joined MIT as manager of financial planning and analysis, becoming associate director of the Office of Budget and Financial Planning in 2003. He was named director of finance in 2005, leading an Institute-wide rebalancing that several years later yielded the first balanced general unrestricted budget in 15 years.</p> <p>Ruiz was named vice president for finance in 2007; in his letter to the community, President Reif noted that MIT has not had an operating loss since then. Ruiz became MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer in 2011.</p> <p>In addition to strengthening MIT’s financial position, Ruiz has played an instrumental part in many of MIT’s major initiatives of the past decade. For instance, guided by President Reif’s vision of a new model for driving innovation from the lab to commercial reality, Ruiz led the development of The Engine, an accelerator for “tough tech” entrepreneurs from MIT and across the Boston area.</p> <p><a href="">Launched in 2016</a>, The Engine has since provided selected startups with specialized lab infrastructure and substantial capital — as well as an experienced support network. Ruiz brought in significant commitments for The Engine’s first $205 million venture fund and recruited Katie Rae as The Engine’s founding president and CEO. To date, The Engine has <a href="">supported 20 companies</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ruiz’s efforts to foster innovation in Cambridge have also included his extensive work with Provost Martin Schmidt and the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) to <a href="">reshape Kendall Square</a>, enhancing the dynamism of what has become home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of innovative companies. He was central to MIT’s <a href="">2017 agreement</a> with the federal government to redevelop the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, starting a process to turn a 14-acre parcel in Kendall Square into a more vibrant mixed-use site that will benefit MIT’s mission and the Cambridge community.</p> <p>“Israel’s quiet leadership and trusted partnership have produced a dramatic change in and around Kendall Square,” says MITIMCo President Seth Alexander. “His vision has transformed MIT’s neighborhood into one of the most dynamic innovation districts anywhere in the world.”</p> <p>In 2018, Ruiz played the key role in developing financial models and funding strategies to underpin the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, MIT’s most significant structural change since the 1950s. He also played a critical role in negotiating the college’s $350 million foundational gift.</p> <p>“I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with Israel on several projects including The Engine and the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing,” says Dean of Engineering Anantha Chandrakasan. “He is highly collaborative, has always engaged energetically with our community in launching new initiatives, and has consistently offered me excellent advice. I continue to be grateful for his extraordinary work and leadership in creating a robust strategy during the 2008 financial crisis, and in keeping MIT on sound financial footing ever since.”</p> <p>Working alongside outgoing <a href="">Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon</a>, Ruiz fortified MIT’s administrative and operating units, including Finance, MIT Medical, Human Resources, Environmental Health and Safety, Sustainability, Campus Planning, Facilities, MIT Police, Information Systems and Technology, and Audit. Recognizing the need to fund renewal of the Institute’s aging infrastructure, Ruiz charted the <a href="">MIT2030</a> campus framework, which balances new construction, renewal of older buildings, and the development of a staff to maintain these buildings for future generations of faculty and students. He then secured MIT Corporation approval of a $5.2 billion capital plan to bring this vision to life.</p> <p>“What Israel has led and executed has been amazing to watch,” Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart says. “Through his leadership, vision, and&nbsp;partnership, we are seeing a transformation of our student residences, and of our student life and academic facilities. His deep commitment to our students has been reflected in his sustained support for key elements of the MIT student experience and education, including financial aid, student well-being, MindHandHeart, and <em>MITx</em>.”</p> <p>Ruiz has also focused on improving services for the broader MIT community. Other accomplishments, working with Executive Director Robin Elices, have included the digital platform MIT Atlas and the MIT Atlas Service Center, as well as a new MIT Welcome Center expected to open in Kendall Square next summer. With Ruiz’s guidance, MIT has also become a leader in providing options and incentives to help employees improve their commutes while reducing vehicles on the road. According to a recent&nbsp;<a href="">Boston Globe series</a>, “No other major Boston-area employers … offer commuter incentives with the scale and sophistication of MIT’s.”</p> <p>“I have been inspired by MIT for over two decades, since the very first day I arrived on campus as an admitted student and met Professor Paul Samuelson,” Ruiz says. “I am still mesmerized by what MIT and its brilliant people accomplish for the world.”</p> MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel RuizPhoto: MIT NewsAdministration, Staff, President L. Rafael Reif, Cambridge, Boston and region, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Restructuring the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science The Institute&#039;s largest academic department reorganizes with new leadership as part of the formation of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. Thu, 05 Dec 2019 15:00:01 -0500 Terri Park | Lori LoTurco | MIT Schwarzman College of Computing | School of Engineering <p>As part of the founding of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), the largest academic unit at MIT, has been restructured to provide a stronger base for enhancing existing programs, creating new opportunities, and increasing connections to other parts of the Institute.</p> <p>Jointly part of the School of Engineering and Schwarzman College of Computing, EECS is now composed of three overlapping sub-units in electrical engineering (EE), computer science (CS), and artificial intelligence and decision-making (AI+D), which brings together computer science-heritage AI and machine learning with electrical engineering-heritage information and decision systems to exploit their significant synergies. The department will remain responsible for Course 6.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">organizational plan for EECS</a> was developed over the summer based on the <a href="" target="_blank">final report</a> of the Organizational Structure Working Group of the Computing Task Force.</p> <p>“It is hard to imagine a School of Engineering without electrical engineering and a College of Computing without computer science. We expect that the creation of this new configuration will lead to a highly collaborative approach not only within EECS, but across campus and across disciplines,” says Dan Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing.</p> <p>The plan calls for each of the units, termed a “faculty” to signify its differentiation from a traditional academic structure, each managed by a head of the faculty to lead the respective area and to contribute to the overall leadership of EECS, under the direction of the department head who will continue to oversee cross-cutting matters. The three faculty heads and the EECS head will each report jointly to Huttenlocher and to Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering.</p> <p>“This restructure will provide more autonomy to each unit,” says Chandrakasan. “The faculties will focus on faculty recruiting, mentoring, promotion, academic programs, and community building.”</p> <p>Asu Ozdaglar, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, a principal investigator at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and the newly appointed deputy dean of academics for the College of Computing, will remain the head of EECS, a position she has held since 2018. During her tenure, Ozdaglar has championed initiatives such as curriculum innovations to keep up with the ever-growing interest in computing, creation of new joint majors such as 6-14 (Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science), and Rising Stars in EECS, a workshop for female graduate students and postdocs interested in pursuing academic careers in computer engineering and electrical engineering, among many others.</p> <p>Joel Voldman, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and an associate department head at EECS, will be the head of the faculty of electrical engineering. A principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, Voldman’s research focus is on developing microfluidic technology for biology and medicine, with an emphasis on cell sorting and immunology. In addition, he co-developed two introductory EECS courses: 6.03&nbsp;(Introduction to&nbsp;EECS via Medical Technology) and 6.S08/6.08&nbsp;(Interconnected Embedded Systems), and recently helped revise 6.002 (Circuits and Electronics).</p> <p>Arvind, the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, will step into the role of head of the faculty of computer science. Arvind’s research focuses on the specification and synthesis of complex digital systems, including microprocessors and accelerators, using a formalism known as guarded atomic actions. He leads the Computation Structures Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and is a fellow of the&nbsp;Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery. He was elected into the&nbsp;National Academy of Engineering&nbsp;in 2008 and the Academy for Arts and Sciences in 2012.</p> <p>Antonio Torralba, the Thomas and Gerd Perkins Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been named the head of the faculty of artificial intelligence and decision-making. A principal investigator at CSAIL, a member of the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, and director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence and MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Torralba is the recipient of the 2008 National Science Foundation Career award, the best student paper award at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in 2009, and the 2010 J.K. Aggarwal Prize from the International Association for Pattern Recognition. In 2017, he received the Frank Quick Faculty Research Innovation Fellowship and the Louis D. Smullin (’39) Award for Teaching Excellence.</p> <p>An advisory search committee made up of EECS faculty members — Ozdaglar (chair), Hari Balakrishnan, Marc Baldo, Duane Boning, Tommi Jaakkola, Patrick Jaillet, Dina Katabi, Jing Kong, Tomas Lozano-Perez, Alan Oppenheim, Daniela Rus, Armando Solar-Lezama, Collin Stultz, Ryan Williams, and Daniel Hastings — was formed to identify candidates to lead all three units to help guide the two deans in selecting the heads.</p> <p>Voldman, Arvind, and Torralba will begin their respective appointments on Jan. 1, 2020. Current Associate Department Head Saman Amarasinghe, an EECS professor and lead of the Commit compiler research group in CSAIL, will continue in his role until the new heads start their positions.</p> <p>“Thank you to everyone who served on the search committee and to Professer Amarasinghe for his tremendous leadership and contributions to EECS as an associate head. And please join us in congratulating Asu, Antonio, Arvind, and Joel for taking on these important new roles,” says Chandrakasan.</p> <p>“We look forward to working with the new leadership and all of the faculty in the department to help make EECS even stronger for our students and the MIT community, and more broadly, in leading this rapidly changing area,” adds Huttenlocher.&nbsp;</p> Clockwise from upper left: Asu Ozdaglar, Joel Voldman, Arvind, and Antonio TorralbaElectrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), Faculty, Administration, electronics, Artificial intelligence, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Machine learning, School of Engineering, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing At MIT forum, results of sexual misconduct survey, plans for action presented Chancellor Barnhart and working groups describe findings and recommendations. Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:16:22 -0500 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>At Tuesday’s “Community Forum on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct,” MIT faculty, students, and staff were briefed on results from the latest campus-wide <a href="">survey on sexual misconduct</a> at MIT. The forum also focused on the efforts of <a href="">four working groups</a> that have been exploring how the Institute can strengthen its work to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct.</p> <p>As described in a <a href="">letter</a> to the MIT community from Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart and Provost Martin Schmidt, “these groups of faculty, students, staff, and postdocs have been reviewing our practices and making recommendations to foster a more inclusive, respectful, and equitable culture, specifically examining matters of leadership, policies, training, and the power imbalances in working and academic relationships.”</p> <p>At the forum, the leaders of the four working groups summarized their findings and draft recommendations, and then addressed questions from the audience. MIT President L. Rafael Reif; Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, <a href="">co-chair of the 2018 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Report on the sexual harassment of women in academia</a>; and faculty leaders from across the Institute’s schools and departments attended.</p> <p>In introducing the forum, Barnhart explained that in response to the National Academies report, Reif had established an advisory leadership board and four working groups to study the report’s recommendations and how best to put them into action. Now that the working groups’ reports have been made public, MIT is seeking comments and responses, both publicly through the forum and <a href="">online</a> through a commentary period that extends until Nov. 15. After that, this input will be incorporated into final reports, and an implementation plan will be developed. The reports and implementation plan will be issued to the MIT community in January.</p> <p>Borrowing a metaphor from the National Academies report, Barnhart compared sexual harassment to an iceberg where certain actions are “less visible and beneath the waterline” but nevertheless contribute to an overall climate that creates uncomfortable working and learning situations for many people. Indeed, when students who experienced sexual harassment were asked why they did not contact a program or resource, about half indicated “Events like this seem common,” and about one-third said the reaction from people they told suggested their experience wasn’t serious enough to contact a program or service.</p> <p>The broad survey of MIT undergraduate and graduate students found that about 40 percent of respondents had experienced at least one form of harassing behavior at the Institute. Under the definitions used in the survey, harassing behavior included belittling comments, crude sexual remarks or jokes, and unwanted touching or requests for sexual contact. When such behavior rises to the level of becoming severe or pervasive enough to interfere with a person’s performance or participation in academic activities, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, then it becomes “harassment.”</p> <p>“To address sexual misconduct is also to address culture and climate issues more generally,” Barnhart said. “At MIT, we have to have solutions that resonate at the student level, solutions designed by and for our community.” Barnhart also noted the importance of initiatives receiving support and assistance from the central administration.</p> <p>Leaders of the four working groups then discussed their work and findings. The working group on <a href="">training and prevention</a>, co-chaired by Sarah Rankin, director and Title IX coordinator, and Libby Mahaffy, diversity and inclusion specialist in Human Resources, described their efforts to make an inventory of MIT’s existing training programs, and attempts to benchmark their impact. Because MIT is a fairly siloed institution, “we recommended a greater alignment across the institute” in terms of antiharassment training programs, said Mahaffy.</p> <p>That group also suggested that there should be annual training on issues of sexual misconduct and gender harassment, including for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. For those who receive these trainings repeatedly, there should be “new topics, new training that would resonate with them,” Rankin said. Such trainings should be focused on existing groups, such as academic departments, dorms, or labs, so that they can provide mutual reinforcement of the lessons learned. The group also said there should be continuing assessments of the effectiveness of all the approaches being used to deal with these issues.</p> <p>The working group on <a href="">leadership and engagement</a>, co-chaired by Alyce Johnson, special advisor to the provost, and Maryanne Kirkbride, executive administrator of MindHandHeart, said their group focused on increasing visibility around these issues, expanding leadership training and skill-building programs, and stressing the importance of effective communications. “How do we recognize and acknowledge” the places where positive work is being done to address harassment, and provide “consistent reinforcement” for those efforts, Johnson asked.</p> <p>Kirkbride added that rather than just occasional specific communications about these issues, such messages should be included in all relevant speeches or letters from senior officials, stressing the fact that “reporting [of misbehavior] is honorable and courageous,” and needs to be encouraged at all levels. Kirkbride also said she would respond to a community member’s suggestion that trauma-informed leadership training be incorporated into the working group’s final report.&nbsp;</p> <p>The working group on <a href="">policies and reporting</a>, chaired by Policy and Compliance Specialist Marianna Pierce and Assistant Provost Doreen Morris, “had very lively discussions,” for example about the language contained in MIT’s policies on personal conduct and harassment, and against retaliation, Pierce said. While there are good policy statements in place, in some cases the wording of the policies is not consistent between the student and faculty and staff policies, and sometimes the descriptions are too short and lack examples that would help people understand their relevance to particular situations and interactions, she said.</p> <p>Pierce described an upcoming revision of the policy on how to handle complaints against faculty and staff, which will be effective at the beginning of the second semester. A new Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office will be responsible for investigating all complaints and issuing annual reports, including aggregate statistics regarding the outcomes of their investigations. At present, individuals who file complaints against faculty and staff are not told what actions resulted from the complaint, which has been frustrating to many of these complainants. It’s important to decide on procedures for “what should be disclosed, not only to the complainant, but in some circumstances” possibly also to a larger group, Pierce said. Disclosures about the results of complaints, she said, can “help to address a culture of silence” but must find the right balance between transparency and privacy.</p> <p>The <a href="">academic and organizational relationships working group</a>, co-chaired by professors Paula Hammond and Tim Jamison, came up with a set of six overall recommendations for change. These included clear articulation of values, ongoing assessments of how programs to address these problems are actually working, accountability for those found to have violated policies, and “recognition of excellence,” Jamison said, which is important in order to “incentivize people to go beyond expectations,” and provides a means for an organization to reaffirm its values.</p> <p>“We thought it was important to talk about the values we all share,” Hammond added. “It’s important for us to have cross-campus discussions” to develop clear statements of “what we think about our community interactions.” The report details many suggested actions, ranging from some that can be readily implemented to others that will take more time to develop. For example, one that could be adopted quickly is restructuring the format of thesis committee meetings to build in a slot of time for the student to meet with the committee without their advisor present, to make it easy for the student to articulate any issues relating to their relationship with that advisor.</p> <p>The presentations were followed by a question-and-answer period, during which several students, faculty, and staff members made suggestions, raised issues and asked about the application of some of these policies and recommendations, including reporting data on complaints about students and faculty, and ensuring an appropriate response to complaints arising in the LGBTQ community. Other questions addressed hiring and promotions, and accounting for the time commitment involved in responding to complaints.</p> <p>A question was asked about Professor Seth Lloyd, who accepted gifts from Jeffrey Epstein. Provost Martin Schmidt replied that leadership from Lloyd’s departments have reached out to support students currently enrolled in Lloyd’s class and that the concerns and needs of the students were being carefully monitored.</p> <p>Barnhart concluded the forum by expressing appreciation to all community members for attending and offering their ideas and questions, and she thanked the co-chairs and working group members for their hard work. She encouraged community members <a href="">to provide comments</a> on the draft reports by Nov. 15.</p> MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart introduced the Community Forum on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct.Image: Allegra BovermanChancellor, President L. Rafael Reif, Students, Community, Faculty, Staff, Administration, Student life, Women, Special events and guest speakers, Diversity and inclusion Sale of LORD Corporation leads to $1 billion-plus fund for education, research at Cleveland Clinic, Duke, MIT and USC Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:00:00 -0500 <p><em>The following press release was issued jointly today by MIT, Duke University, University of Southern California, and Cleveland Clinic.</em></p> <p>DURHAM, N.C. -- The sale of LORD Corporation, a century-old, privately-held manufacturing company, has led to the distribution of more than $1 billion to four charitable foundations that support institutions seeking to advance education and research.</p> <p>Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Southern California (USC) will benefit from the distribution of $261 million to each of the four foundations that were the recipients of gifts of stock from Thomas Lord, who led the family-owned company until his death in 1989.</p> <p>Lord’s estate plan created a holding company, Jura Corporation, which owned all of the voting stock and most of the non-voting stock of the LORD Corporation, as well as four foundations which, in turn, owned a significant part of Jura: the Lord Foundation of California, which supports USC; the Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, which supports MIT; the Lord Foundation of North Carolina, which supports Duke; and the Lord Foundation of Ohio, which supports Cleveland Clinic.&nbsp;</p> <p>LORD Corporation, which was founded in Erie, Pa., and is now based in Cary, N.C., grew to sales of more than $1 billion in 2018. It was recently purchased by Parker Hannifin Corporation for $3.675 billion, triggering the distribution of the proceeds to the four foundations.</p> <p>Since their establishment in the early 1980s, the Lord foundations have already provided a total of approximately $200 million to the four institutions for education and research.</p> <p>“When developing his estate plan, Tom Lord identified research institutions that shared his vision of continuous learning and innovation,” said Lt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle, USMC (Ret), president of Jura Corporation. “We are thrilled his legacy of developing new products to solve the world’s problems will continue.”</p> <p>“For 95 years, LORD Corporation transformed innovative ideas into materials and solutions to move every person in the world,” said Ed Auslander, LORD’s former president &amp; CEO. “Consistent with Tom Lord’s deep-rooted values and social responsibility, he leaves a permanent mark on using knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to solve technological challenges, making the impossible real.”</p> <p>The distribution of more than $1 billion from the four foundations to their respective institutions, which is expected to be completed following required approvals, is believed to be one of the largest single allocations of its kind.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; _</p> <p><strong>FROM THE RECIPIENTS OF THE LORD FOUNDATION DISTRIBUTIONS</strong></p> <p>“Cleveland Clinic was founded on the ideal that innovation, research and teaching are integral components of patient care,” said <strong>Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic</strong>. “The Lord Foundation’s generous distributions allow us to continue tackling today’s most complex medical challenges, discovering the next breakthroughs and improving lives worldwide.”</p> <p>“The Lord Foundation’s exceptional support for Duke will&nbsp;transform our efforts to address the world’s most intractable problems,” said <strong>Duke President Vincent E. Price</strong>. “From the foundation’s earliest investments in our Pratt School of Engineering to this truly visionary distribution, Tom Lord has left a lasting legacy on Duke’s campus, one that will continue to improve the lives of our students, faculty, staff and those who benefit from their work, for many decades to come.”</p> <p>“Thomas Lord and his successors at LORD Corporation have pioneered a distinctive strategy for giving back to society,” says <strong>MIT President L. Rafael Reif</strong>.&nbsp;“Their generosity to all four institutions is remarkable. And the value of the distribution is magnified because it comes with great flexibility, giving institutions the nimbleness to seize opportunities and address needs that can be hard to cover through traditional philanthropy. We are tremendously grateful.”</p> <p>“We are so grateful for the remarkable vision of Thomas Lord and for the generosity of his enduring support for the research and innovation mission of our university,” said <strong>USC President Carol L. Folt</strong>. “We will honor that legacy by using&nbsp;funding&nbsp;that USC receives from the Lord Foundation of California&nbsp;to drive transformative innovation and scientific advances that will benefit society.”</p> President L. Rafael Reif, Provost, Giving, Materials Science and Engineering, DMSE, Administration, Community, Industry MIT to receive $260 million from Lord Foundation of Massachusetts Longstanding supporter of the Institute allows for flexibility in determining how funds will be used. Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:00:00 -0500 MIT News Office <p>The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, one of four existing foundations established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Lord, has received $260 million, which will be distributed to MIT over time. The funds are part of the proceeds from the sale, finalized Oct. 29, of LORD Corporation, a global technology and manufacturing company headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, to Parker Hannifin Corporation.</p> <p>The distribution to MIT will have a far-reaching impact because of both the magnitude of the funds and the flexibility allowed for their use. Each of the four Lord foundations was established to support a specific institution, and their general mandate is to support the advancement of education, research, science, and technology. MIT, which controls The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, will be able to invest these dollars around the Institute to advance its mission of educating students and advancing knowledge in service to the nation and the world.</p> <p>“Thomas Lord and his successors at LORD Corporation have pioneered a distinctive strategy for giving back to society,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif.&nbsp;“Their generosity to all four institutions is remarkable. And the value of the distribution is magnified because it comes with great flexibility, giving institutions the nimbleness to seize opportunities and address needs that can be hard to cover through traditional philanthropy. We are tremendously grateful.”</p> <p>Established in the 1920s, LORD Corporation was a privately held company focusing on noise and vibration control products, electromechanical innovations, automotive and aerospace applications, and chemical products such as specialty adhesives.</p> <p>In 1982, LORD Corporation president Thomas Lord created a holding company for the corporation, now called Jura LLC, and established several foundations that after his death would hold major equity interests. Each foundation benefits a specific university or institution that was selected by Lord and his successor in leading LORD Corporation, Donald Alstadt. Today, four Lord foundations support MIT, Duke University, the University of Southern California, and the Cleveland Clinic.</p> <p>In April 2019, a sale agreement was announced in which Parker Hannifin Corporation would acquire LORD Corporation, triggering the distribution of the proceeds to the four foundations. The assets of each foundation are held in perpetual trust, so their distribution to MIT is defined not as a gift but rather as a “distribution of funds.”</p> <p>The distribution of more than $1 billion from the four foundations to their respective institutions, which is expected to be completed following required approvals, is believed to be one of the largest single allocations of its kind.</p> <p>The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts has already provided MIT with approximately $34.4 million in funds since it began supporting MIT in 1986.</p> <p>“Tom Lord and Don Alstadt were visionary stewards of the company they helmed and of the science and engineering enterprise,” says MIT Provost Martin Schmidt. “We have long been thankful that they selected MIT as one of the beneficiaries of their important legacy. Their foresight and generosity will now enable the Institute to invest even more deeply in its efforts to help solve the world’s great challenges through research, education, and innovation.”</p> <p>Several MIT programs and departments have benefited annually from disbursements from The Lord Foundation. These include the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP); student fellowships in the PKG Center; the Thomas Lord Undergraduate Scholarships; and the Thomas Lord Career Development Professorship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. It’s expected that the funds from the LORD Corporation sale will be used, in part, to continue the support of these longstanding recipients of annual Lord Foundation funding.</p> <p>The foundation’s board will determine how to distribute the proceeds to MIT.&nbsp; Regarding possible uses for the remainder of the money, Schmidt notes, “The unrestricted nature of these funds gives us the opportunity to use them to invest in pressing needs that are often difficult to support through other means.”</p> <p>“The Academic Council in its annual retreat&nbsp; in June discussed areas where MIT needs to invest over the long term to improve its competitiveness,” Schmidt adds. “Among the areas identified were support for graduate students and graduate research, investments to improve the health and well-being of our community, maintaining the physical plant, and accelerating our work to address climate change. I look forward to discussing with Academic Council how the Lord support might be best deployed toward these needs.”</p> <p>That such investments are now possible is a testament to the vision and planning of Thomas Lord, according to Ed Auslander, LORD’s former president and CEO. “For 95 years, LORD Corporation transformed innovative ideas into materials and solutions to move every person in the world,” he says. “Consistent with Tom Lord’s deep-rooted values and social responsibility, he leaves a permanent mark on using knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to solve technological challenges, making the impossible real.”</p> Image: Christopher HartingPresident L. Rafael Reif, Provost, Giving, Materials Science and Engineering, DMSE, Administration, Community, Industry Giving voice to a student community with a “silent” identity The First Generation Program is ramping up support for MIT students who are the first in their family to go to college. Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Elizabeth Durant | Office of the Vice Chancellor <p>On a sweltering August day, a group of 16 incoming MIT undergraduate students gathered in West Lounge for “Identifying the Identity,” a workshop designed to help them explore their backgrounds and experiences as first-generation students. Presenter and MIT senior Tina Pavlovich neatly encapsulated a shared strength on an overhead slide: “First Generation/Low Income students possess especially strong determination, persistence, and resilience. It is the ability to overcome significant hardship that makes us uniquely driven. Remember that.”</p> <p>That was just one of many takeaways of a new preorientation program sponsored by the <a href="">First Generation Program</a> (FGP). Known as <a href="">FLIPOP</a> (shorthand for First Gen/Low-Income Pre-Orientation Program), the six-day program aims to ease the transition from high school to college. Guided by Pavlovich and three other student counselors — all first-generation students themselves — participants became familiar with resources and opportunities, explored the MIT campus, and began to create an enduring community.</p> <p>Beyond introducing the nuts and bolts of campus life, “we wanted to start them off at MIT by saying, ‘You are going to be OK.’ There are people here who’ve been through what you’re about to go through and have the backgrounds that you have,” says sophomore and FLIPOP counselor Tanner Bonner.</p> <p>FLIPOP is part of a suite of new programs and events — from mixers to mentoring — that FGP is offering this year to increase visibility and bolster a sense of belonging among this population. “Last year, we surveyed our students to get input on how we can improve,” says Taylor Pons, FGP advisor in the Office of the First Year. “And our student leaders have really drawn inspiration from connecting with first gen students at other colleges. We are channeling all of that into FGP, and I’m excited about the changes we’re making this year.”</p> <p><strong>Navigating the “hidden curriculum”</strong></p> <p>First-generation students comprise roughly one-fifth of the undergraduate population at MIT. And yet, it can feel like an invisible identity, because some students believe that there’s a stigma attached to being first generation. “It’s hard to speak up about the fact that you are first gen,” says Pavlovich. Students that are also low-income may feel even more stigmatized. “Those issues overlap greatly,” notes Bonner.</p> <p>“Many of our first gen students have overcome significant challenges just to get to MIT. They develop amazing resilience and coping skills, which is great. But once they get here, there are a number of issues they may have to navigate,” Pons says. “These tend to revolve around finances, academic preparation, and just figuring out how college works — often without guidance from home.”</p> <p>“There’s also the social aspect,” Pavlovich adds, “like, ‘I’m hearing conversations about people going out to this restaurant that is very expensive that I can’t afford. How do I navigate that? Or, how do I make friends with people who I feel comfortable with if being first gen is such a big part of my identity, but it’s an invisible part of my identity?”</p> <p>Another common theme is “breakaway guilt,” says sophomore Claudia Cabral. “The trouble is in navigating these in-between worlds. … You feel guilty for feeling like you’re leaving your family behind. It’s hard to dive in and say, ‘This is for me to build my career, my future, and I need to think of that right now,’ when in the back of my mind I always have, ‘It’s for us, it’s for all of us; my successes are your successes.’”</p> <p>Despite these common experiences, a conundrum remains. “It’s a very interesting dynamic,” says Cabral. “How do you build a community with a silent identity?”</p> <p><strong>Catalytic conversations</strong></p> <p>Pavlovich, Bonner, and Cabral had the opportunity to probe that conundrum last February. They were among seven students who, along with Pons, attended a conference for first-generation students last February at Princeton, called <a href="">1vyG</a>. The annual event provides an opportunity for first gen and low-income students to share experiences, forge connections, and empower each other.</p> <p>“It was incredible,” Bonner says, from the deep, authentic conversations about their identity to learning what other colleges are doing to support first gen and low-income students. “That trip validated feelings I had about myself, about issues I’d faced. It taught me that I’m strong; I’m not weak. There are so many other people going through this. I want other people at MIT to know that.”</p> <p>It was eye-opening for Pavlovich, as well. “There are people across the U.S. who are going through so many similar experiences,” says Pavlovich. “We may feel kind of alone when we’re on campus, but coming here we feel so connected. I realized we need to be able to talk about [our experiences] … this is what we could do at MIT.”</p> <p>Pons and the students identified key takeaways from 1vyG and brainstormed ways to incorporate their ideas into future FGP programming. “Once the conference happened, there was enough activation energy to be like, ‘Let’s do this! Let’s make some changes!’” says Cabral.</p> <p>Bonner, Cabral, and Pons began planning FLIPOP shortly after they returned to campus. In addition to plugging in practical information and fun activities, they allocated ample time to talk about being first gen. Those conversations paid off; one participant wrote afterward, “I wasn’t expecting myself to have such a tight-knit family by the time I got out of FLIPOP.”</p> <p><strong>Making the invisible visible</strong></p> <p>In addition to FLIPOP, Pons and the students are rolling out new FGP programs throughout the year. Inspired by discussions at 1vyG about intersectionality — the interconnections between different social groups — they planned two mixers in October, in partnership with the International Students Office, Office of Minority Education, and LGBTQ+ Services. Monthly family-style dinners and an open mic night are also in the works, among other events.</p> <p>FGP is also piloting a peer mentoring program and has developed new training for faculty advisors, to help them understand issues first gen students may face and familiarize them with available resources. Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice Chancellor recently formed a First Gen/Low Income Working Group, co-chaired by Pons, to assess the Institute’s overall efforts to support first-generation and low-income students.</p> <p>To help first gen students feel more part of the fabric of the campus, FGP has launched a sticker campaign, with a logo featuring Tim the Beaver wearing a FGP t-shirt and cap. The stickers are available to first gen faculty and staff — or anyone who wants to show their support. “If you walk by a professor’s office and you see that sticker, it almost changes the way you think about your relationship with them and what you might be able to talk to them about,” Bonner explains. He and other FGP student leaders will be in Lobby 10 handing out stickers and other first-generation swag on Nov. 8, as part of <a href="">National First-Generation College Celebration Day</a>.</p> <p>“It all goes back to seeing an invisible identity on campus,” he says.</p> A recent conference attended by a group of MIT students, pictured here, catalyzed new ideas for the Institute's First Generation Program. Back row, left to right: Claudia V Cabral, Tina Pavlovich, Derek J Garcia, Tanner L Bonner; front row, left to right: Rodrigo A Vasquez, Min Liew, Zachary Villaverde.Courtesy of the Office of the Vice ChancellorStudents, Undergraduate, Community, Diversity and inclusion, Administration Joe Higgins named vice president for campus services and stewardship New position to oversee facilities, construction, planning, sustainability, and EHS. Fri, 01 Nov 2019 06:00:00 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Director of Campus Operations Joe Higgins has been named vice president for campus services and stewardship, effective Nov. 1. In this new role, Higgins will oversee the Office of Sustainability, Environment Health and Safety, the Office of Campus Planning, and MIT Facilities, including Campus Construction.</p> <p>Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz announced the appointment today in an email to MIT faculty and staff.</p> <p><strong>“</strong>Joe joined MIT in 2016, and has since assumed increased responsibilities for a diverse portfolio of infrastructure functions and facilities operations,” Ruiz wrote. “Joe takes a highly collaborative approach to problem-solving, is a strategic thinker, and combines exceptional leadership skills with an amiable management style.”</p> <p>Higgins’ new role comes as part of a reorganization to reassign the responsibilities of Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon, <a href="">who is retiring</a> at the end of the calendar year.</p> <p>“I am excited to build upon the strength and momentum created by Tony,” Higgins says. “We are fortunate to have so many dedicated and creative people thinking about ways to continually transform our campus, our buildings, and our infrastructure. Creating spaces that enable our students, faculty, and staff to thrive while they tackle the great challenges in our world is paramount to us all. We are the stewards of a tremendous physical asset.”</p> <p>Since 2016, Higgins has managed critical aspects of MIT’s facilities, including finance and administration, procurement, communications, and customer engagement. In 2018, he assumed responsibility for management of maintenance, utilities, and facilities engineering. Higgins and his 800-member team are responsible for safely and sustainably planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and powering the MIT campus, with buildings totaling over 12 million gross square feet.</p> <p>Working with Director of Sustainability Julie Newman, Higgins led MIT’s alliance with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square, <a href="">announced in October 2016</a>, to create a 60-megawatt, 650-acre solar power installation, adding carbon-free energy to the grid. MIT’s purchase of power from this North Carolina facility’s 255,000 solar panels was equivalent to 40 percent of the Institute’s electricity use at the time, neutralizing 17 percent of MIT’s carbon emissions.</p> <p>Prior to joining MIT, Higgins served as vice president and head of engineering for Fidelity Investments. In his 10 years at Fidelity, he was responsible for the infrastructure systems across a global real estate portfolio including key data centers, trading floors, call centers, and corporate office campuses. He also served as Fidelity’s first corporate sustainability officer, providing leadership, coordination, and reporting for a broad array of sustainability initiatives across worldwide locations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier in his career, Higgins served for 14 years as director of engineering and then as executive director of strategic and technical services at a Connecticut-based facility management company. In these roles, he provided strategic and engineering services to over 100 academic and nonprofit institutions on their building projects and broader campus initiatives.</p> <p>A registered professional engineer, Higgins holds a BS in engineering and a BA in economics from Swarthmore College, and an MSc in education research from Oxford University.</p> Joe HigginsImage: Melanie Gonick, MITFacilities, Sustainability, Campus buildings and architecture, Staff, Administration Symposium explores challenges of adapting to climate change “Uncertainty is a reason to act, not to wait,” panelists agree. Thu, 31 Oct 2019 12:20:51 -0400 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>In the second of six symposia on climate change to be held this academic year, seven experts from around the country tackled the topic of “challenges of climate policy.” The Oct. 29 event included three panel discussions held at MIT’s Wong Auditorium.</p> <p>Moderated by Richard Schmalensee, the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management and professor of economics emeritus at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the panelists discussed the social impacts caused by climate change; the kinds of adaptations that might help people cope with these impacts and limit their economic and physical harm; and possible solutions to the political, economic, and social factors affecting the world’s responses to this pressing issue.</p> <p>Global climate change will have “huge impacts that will affect every sector” of society, and “its costs will be extremely high,” said Susanne Moser, a specialist in adaptation to climate change and director of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting. Although there are still uncertainties about the rate and extent of climate change, she said, “uncertainty is a reason to act, not to wait.”</p> <p>Compared to the responses that experts say are required to forestall the worst effects of climate change, efforts around the world still fall far short, Moser said: “Most responses are just reactive. There’s no unifying vision, there’s no agreement on social equity priorities, and there is a surprising lack of urgency,” she said.</p> <p>Even most universities, she noted, do not yet have clear and easy ways to find information on their efforts toward adaptation to climate change, or programs for students to specialize in that field. “You can barely find it on their websites,” she said.</p> <p>Some people fear that an emphasis on adaptation could make people complacent because they see less need to to reduce greenhouse gases if plans are underway to adapt to a changed climate. But Moser disputed that claim. “We’ve studied that” and found the reverse to be true, she said. When people see just how difficult and expensive the processes of adaptation are, compared to measures to reduce emissions, “they realize reduction [of emissions] is a bargain,” and their motivation to deal with that issue actually increases.</p> <p>Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, urged listeners: “Let’s get serious about climate change adaptation, as if our lives depended on it. Which it may.” He said people need to start looking seriously at ways to respond to five different key areas of global change: higher temperatures, rising seas, stronger storms, shifting rainfall patterns, and acidification of the oceans.</p> <p>The impacts are likely to be extreme, he said. Just adapting to the changes directly affecting coastal cities could cost upward of a trillion dollars a year, he said. And yet, when governments and agencies allocate resources to dealing with climate change, so far only about 10 percent of that money goes toward adaptation, versus 90 percent toward mitigation, or efforts to slow or reverse the release of climate altering emissions. Both are crucial, he said, but adaptation should not be ignored since even with aggressive mitigation policies, a significant amount of climate change is already unavoidable.</p> <p>“Adaptation is a moral imperative,” he said, and also “an ecological imperative, and a massive economic imperative.”</p> <p>Adaptation need not be as expensive as people think, Steer added. Many of the measures that are needed to adapt to a warming world also have other benefits, he pointed out. As an example, drip irrigation was invented as a way to deal with drought conditions, but it is also an inherently more efficient system, greatly reducing the amount of water needed for crops and the need for power to operate pumps. That greater efficiency for farmers can lower their costs, and thus make food less expensive. “Done right, adaptation can have all kinds of dynamic benefits,” he said.</p> <p>Much more research is needed to quantify the expected effects of a warming planet, said Max Auffhammer, a professor of international sustainable development at the University of California at Berkeley. To study and quantify the economic harm done by 1 ton of carbon dioxide (roughly the amount emitted by driving a car from Cambridge to Berkeley, he said) is a very difficult task. The best existing estimates were made back in the 1990s, and much has been learned since then. Models need to encompass global coverage, establish causal connections, and anticipate significant technological changes. Imagine, he said, trying to predict in the late 1800s the energy that would be used for cooling houses today.</p> <p>Whereas some might say “we got this” in terms of the scientific answers about the effects of climate change, he said, “We don’t got this. There’s a lot of work to be done.”</p> <p>Kathleen Hicks, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the U.S. military forces, unlike many politicians, understand the problem of climate change and take it seriously. Partly that’s because it’s in their nature to always be assessing potential risks and planning how to respond to them, and they are highly trained in how to do so. In addition, they are already feeling the effects directly, with even inland bases such as one in Nebraska affected by severe flooding, likely exacerbated by climate change.</p> <p>“Climate is a national security concern that is not debated in the security community,” she said.</p> <p>But public opinion has also come a long way over the last several years, said Steven Ansolabehere, a professor of government at Harvard University. “The American public accepts that climate change is coming and is a concern,” he said, but “a majority also feel it’s distant,” with consequences beyond their lifetimes, whereas scientists studying the problem say its damaging effects are already being seen clearly in many parts of the world today. This discrepancy “is the heart of the problem, and it has implications for any policy we take,” he said.</p> <p>But Ansolabehere said that there are already interesting differences in the responses of younger people compared to their elders. The difference in the degree of urgency seen in the issue of climate change between younger (“millennial”) Republicans and “boomer” generation Republicans is just as big as the difference between Democrats and Republicans overall, he said. And, he said, linking policies to tackle climate change to other benefits such as clear air and clean water — for example through the closing of coal-fired power plants — is a more effective strategy for gaining support than just emphasizing the climate benefits.</p> <p>Henry Jacoby, the William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, said that the issue of climate change reflects the well-known “commons problem,” where a few bad actors can undermine a large group’s mutual dependence on common resources. He compared it to a shared refrigerator in a dorm, where there is little control over someone making off with someone else’s stored drink. Similarly, nations will almost always end up acting in their own self interest rather than for a more abstract common good.</p> <p>The way nations deal with that is through international agreements and treaties, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change. But that agreement is entirely voluntary, consisting of individual national pledges without any mechanism for enforcement. Just as with the dorm fridge, there’s no police officer to call about an infraction.</p> <p>By 2030, projections show that about three-quarters of all greenhouse emissions will be coming from developing countries — the places that can least afford to spend money to address the problem. “There’s going to have to be some financial transfer” from the wealthier countries to help those developing countries reduce their emissions, Jacoby said.</p> <p>Leah Stokes PhD ’15, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said that the three decades of climate denial efforts by major fossil fuel companies “has been extremely influential,” and will require significant efforts to reverse. But she also noted several reasons to expect that these attitudes are changing.</p> <p>For one, the raging wildfires in California and other places provide a vivid reminder that a significant increase in such fires is one of the expected effects of a warmer planet with more frequent and deeper droughts. In addition, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report set a target of 2030 by which the world must significantly reduce emissions. That short timeline means that “it’s suddenly not about the distant future,” but a time when most people still expect to be alive, she said, making the problem seem much more urgent. And increasing public actions, such as the recent Climate Strike initiated by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, have also raised the public awareness of the issue’s seriousness.</p> <p>Stokes pointed to significant areas of progress, such as the rapid growth of solar and wind power and electric vehicles, and state and local regulations that have continued to push for progress even as federal regulations have been cut back. But to continue this progress will require much more. “We must have solutions at the scale of the crisis,” she said. One approach that could help is to emphasize the potential for new, well-paying jobs in the renewable energy field. “It can’t just be about sticks,” she said, adding that there needs to be tangible carrots as well.</p> Susanne Moser, director of Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, addresses MIT’s second Symposium on Climate Change. In the background are Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, and Richard Schmalensee, the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management and Professor of Economics Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, who moderated the panel discussions.Image: Bryce VickmarkSpecial events and guest speakers, ESI, MIT Energy Initiative, Climate, Climate change, Global Warming, Policy, Administration, Sustainability, Faculty, Environment Letter from President Reif: Learning from our community Thu, 31 Oct 2019 11:45:09 -0400 MIT News Office <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Over the past two months, in large public forums, in smaller private meetings and through hundreds of emails and comment cards, I have heard the unfiltered views of many students, staff, post-docs, faculty, trustees, parents and alumni.</p> <p>Some of this feedback has been very difficult to hear – difficult, but necessary. Much of it must have taken great courage to deliver. All of it has been illuminating and helpful.</p> <p>I will never forget the voices of students, staff and faculty who spoke about the painful impact on our community of MIT’s engagement with Epstein, including the intense effects on survivors of sexual assault. (If you would benefit from MIT’s resources for survivors, you can find them <u>here</u>.)</p> <p><em>This <a href="">MIT News story</a> </em><em>offers an update on steps directly related to the Epstein issue.</em></p> <p>More broadly, many have also highlighted – with searing clarity – misalignments and fractures that go to the very foundation of our community and that demand our shared attention.</p> <p>I have learned much more than I could convey here. But several themes stand out.</p> <p><strong>Disrespect for women </strong></p> <p>Since September, I have heard from or met with more than a third of MIT’s 265 women faculty. Many shared troubling accounts of persistent inequities for women at MIT, from belittlement to marginalization, experiences that echo the National Academies’ landmark <a href="">report</a> on how gender harassment harms women’s wellbeing and their careers.</p> <p>Other recent evidence – including powerful personal statements at the student forum – only magnifies these concerns. For example, the <a href="">AAU campus climate survey</a> indicates that at MIT, of the 2,035 female students who completed the survey, 189 experienced sexual harassment severe enough that it “interfered with [their] academic or professional performance.” And&nbsp;211 female MIT graduate students responding to the survey reported experiencing harassing behavior from&nbsp;a member of our faculty or other instructional staff. For 65 of them, the harassment came from their advisor. &nbsp;</p> <p>My recent conversations have centered on the treatment of women. Yet we also know, with extensive evidence, that other groups at MIT, from people of color to members of our LGBTQ community, confront similar obstacles and harms that also demand our empathy and attention.</p> <p>When ­– on top of the hard work they came here to do – many in our community contend with disrespect, exclusion, stereotyping, harassment and a structural lack of representation, it is clear we still have a long way to go to achieve our ideal of “One MIT.”</p> <p><strong>Disrespect for staff</strong></p> <p>This section centers on staff, and its content is vital for those of us on the faculty.</p> <p>At MIT, speaking freely on important subjects is a crucial way we get closer to the truth and make each other smarter and wiser. So it was sobering, at our forum for administrative and support staff, to hear so many members of our community report that they or their colleagues were afraid to speak – afraid in that setting, and afraid in their daily work.</p> <p>Speaker after speaker expressed a profound sense that as staff at MIT, they feel invisible, dispensable, isolated and last in line. They feel their work is not valued, their judgment discounted or ignored. Many spoke about the challenges of working under sharp imbalances of power, especially with senior faculty. Some described their powerlessness to stop harsh, bullying or abusive behavior from faculty stars, both men and women. Others expressed admiration for whistleblowers in the Epstein case, former staff members who courageously spoke up.</p> <p>In a separate forum for post-docs and research staff, they raised many of the same themes, especially around invisibility and imbalances of power. They also expressed feelings of isolation and their lack of any unifying home at MIT.</p> <p>It was dismaying to hear of these ways that we do not treat each other as we should. We need to come together, attend to this frustration and pain, and optimize MIT so <em>everyone</em> here can feel respected, feel supported and thrive.</p> <p><strong>Charting a path forward </strong></p> <p>This is a time for confronting difficult truths. Yet, within these intense individual responses, I also heard passionate commitments to our community and many compelling ideas to create a better MIT – especially the need to include a much wider range of student, staff and faculty voices, and to increase transparency and accountability.</p> <p>I have also heard very clearly that cultural change needs to be championed and supported by those in leadership, but that it cannot be dictated; to succeed, it requires that units across MIT define their own specific priorities and solutions. And there must be room for initiative, ideas, engagement and energy from the whole community.</p> <p>A number of people have expressed the sense that MIT also needs to pause, to reconsider its values, its goals and its role in the world, and to correct any misalignment.</p> <p>This moment presents an opportunity. It is a profound collective assignment.</p> <p>As a start, I have asked MIT’s senior leaders to create a “library” of the most promising current efforts to improve our community climate and culture. We want to hear directly from you: If your school, department, lab, center, institute, office, sports team, residence hall, alumni group or any other unit has ideas you have not already shared that could inspire others, <a href="">please let us know</a>.</p> <p>With help from experts inside and outside the Institute, we are also exploring how to engage the community to design a process for examining values and culture that is tuned for the people of MIT; we will keep you updated on progress. During this early research phase, if you have ideas for how we should structure it, or for topics and exercises it should include, <a href="">please let us know</a> that too. I am certain that the wisdom of our community will soon crystallize into the plan we need.</p> <p class="rtecenter">***</p> <p>We all know that discrimination, marginalization and power imbalances exist throughout society and are rampant in academia and in tech. But that is no defense, and in fact at MIT we have never settled for being like others. We are leaders, charged with educating the next generation of leaders.&nbsp;If we expect our students to invent a better future, then we must focus deliberately together on ways to improve the present at MIT.</p> <p>Fortunately, we are a community of thinkers and builders. We can examine these fractures together,&nbsp;reaffirm the best of our shared MIT values and rebuild with greater strength to make a better MIT.&nbsp;We need to work to get it right; persevering together through difficulty is something we understand at MIT. &nbsp;We work hard here, and the fundamentals of how we treat one another, and how we model that for the next generation of leaders, are as important as any other work we do. Let's not rest until we create an MIT where every member of our community is treated with dignity and respect.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students, Community, President L. Rafael Reif MIT announces updates on fact-finding and reviews of external engagements Efforts also advance to protect whistleblowers, identify charity to benefit survivors of sexual abuse. Thu, 31 Oct 2019 09:54:12 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Members of MIT’s senior leadership have announced progress in a variety of areas related to ongoing reviews of the Institute’s funding and external engagements.</p> <p>The new information comes as President L. Rafael Reif <a href="">wrote</a> to the MIT community today to share key learnings from recent <a href="">community forums</a> and meetings.</p> <p>“Over the past two months, in large public forums, in smaller private meetings and through hundreds of emails and comment cards, I have heard the unfiltered views of many students, staff, postdocs, faculty, trustees, parents and alumni,” Reif wrote. “Some of this feedback has been very difficult to hear — difficult, but necessary. Much of it must have taken great courage to deliver. All of it has been illuminating and helpful.”</p> <p>The forums were part of the Institute’s response to the emergence in recent months of information on Jeffrey Epstein’s links to MIT.</p> <p>Additional developments include:</p> <p><strong>Fact-finding continues</strong></p> <p>Goodwin Procter, the law firm retained to conduct fact-finding on the Institute’s engagements with Epstein, has informed the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation that its work in conducting interviews and reviewing documents is nearly complete, and that it is preparing a report on its findings. Once the Executive Committee has had the opportunity to review and discuss the results of Goodwin Procter’s fact-finding, it will write to the full community.</p> <p><strong>Two committees launch</strong></p> <p>Faculty Chair Rick Danheiser and Provost Martin Schmidt recently <a href="">launched</a> two committees — one to define a set of values and principles to guide the assessment of outside engagements, and the other to review and recommend improvements to MIT’s processes on soliciting and accepting gifts.</p> <p>The first of these, the <a href="">Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements</a>, will be chaired by <a href="">Tavneet Suri</a>, an associate professor of applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Its members are listed <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>A second committee, the <a href="">Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes</a>, will be chaired by <a href="">Peter Fisher</a>, professor of physics and head of the Department of Physics. The membership of this committee was announced today:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Mariana Arcaya</strong>: Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning</li> <li><strong>Mahi Elango</strong>: Undergraduate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; President, Undergraduate Association</li> <li><strong>Heather Kispert Hagerty</strong>: Assistant Dean for Development, School of Engineering</li> <li><strong>Daniel Hastings</strong>: Cecil and Ida Green Professor; Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics</li> <li><strong>Sarah Hendrick</strong>: Director of Records, MIT Alumni Association</li> <li><strong>J. Chappell Lawson</strong>: Associate Professor of Political Science&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Fiona Murray</strong>: William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship; Associate Dean for Innovation, MIT Sloan School of Management; Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative</li> <li><strong>Larry Sass</strong>: Associate Professor of Architecture</li> <li><strong>Glen Shor</strong>: Vice President for Finance</li> <li><strong>Janet Sonenberg</strong>: Professor of Theater Arts</li> <li><strong>Peter Su</strong>: Graduate Student in Materials Science and Engineering; President, Graduate Student Council</li> <li><strong>Tavneet Suri</strong>: Associate Professor of Applied Economics</li> <li><strong>Julia Topalian</strong>: Director of Gift Administration and Recording Secretary</li> <li><strong>Li-Huei Tsai</strong>: Picower Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory</li> <li><strong>Anne White</strong>: Professor and Head, Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering</li> <li><strong>David Woodruff</strong>: Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, MIT Resource Development</li> <li><strong>TBD</strong>: postdoc representative</li> </ul> <p><strong>Strengthened protection for whistleblowers</strong></p> <p>Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo is assembling a team to strengthen MIT’s existing protections for whistleblowers, which include the Institute’s <a href="">non-retaliation policy</a> and its anonymous reporting <a href="">hotline</a>. This effort will also aim to ensure that these protections and policies are well-understood across MIT.</p> <p><strong>Community committee to advise on a charity</strong></p> <p>In an Aug. 22 letter, President Reif informed the community that MIT had received approximately $800,000 in Epstein funding and committed that the Institute would contribute an equal amount to a charity benefiting survivors of sexual abuse.&nbsp;</p> <p>MIT has now identified the mechanism by which that charity will be selected: Recommendations will come from MIT’s&nbsp;<a href="">Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response</a>&nbsp;(CSMPR), which has broad representation from across the community, including the&nbsp;<a href="">Violence Prevention and Response</a>&nbsp;office. Led by Leslie Kolodziejski, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, CSMPR is composed of 29 students, staff, and faculty. It will advise President Reif on MIT’s donation.</p> <p><strong>Outcomes from two staff forums</strong></p> <p>Several teams will follow up on ideas surfaced during two staff forums earlier this month. Vice President for Human Resources Ramona Allen will convene a group of staff from across campus to bring forward employees’ ideas and channel their commitment and perspectives. To capture as many voices as possible going forward, she and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz are also evaluating options such as office hours, facilitated group discussions, and mechanisms to submit comments anonymously.</p> <p>In a forum for postdocs and research staff, those employees expressed feelings of isolation and the lack of any unifying home at MIT; Vice President for Research Maria Zuber is organizing a group now to begin to fill that need.</p> Photo: Christopher HartingFaculty, Students, Staff, Administration, Community, President L. Rafael Reif Scene at MIT: Hockfield Court MIT’s North Court is now named after Susan Hockfield, MIT’s 16th president. Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0400 MIT News Office <p>The scenic quad formerly known as North Court, one of the major gateways to campus from Main Street and Kendall Square, is now Hockfield Court, in honor of&nbsp;<a href="">Susan Hockfield</a>, who was president of MIT from 2004 to 2012.</p> <p>The new moniker was bestowed in an Oct. 4 ceremony celebrating Hockfield and her contributions to the Institute. As MIT’s&nbsp;<a href="">16th president</a>, and the first woman to serve in the role as well as the first life scientist, Hockfield focused MIT’s strengths on a range of important problems, from cancer research to advanced manufacturing. She championed the convergence of the life sciences with the engineering and physical sciences, oversaw the establishment of the MIT Energy Initiative, and furthered MIT’s regional and global engagement, fostering the burgeoning&nbsp;Kendall Square innovation cluster, among other visionary initiatives.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hockfield, who continues to hold a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, has also been a vocal advocate for making MIT a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment.</p> <p>At the naming ceremony Hockfield reflected, "As the&nbsp;first woman and first&nbsp;life scientist&nbsp;to serve as president, I felt a particular responsibility for paving new paths and setting new directions&nbsp;that would be welcoming to all. ...&nbsp;I have confidence that MIT will continue to open, and hold open, new windows of opportunity, so that, as I said when I was first elected to MIT’s presidency, MIT can be the dream&nbsp;of&nbsp;<u>every</u>&nbsp;child who wants to make the world a better place ...&nbsp;and also the dream of&nbsp;<u>every</u>&nbsp;engineer, scientist, scholar, and artist who draws inspiration from the idea of working in a hotbed of innovation, in service to humankind.” &nbsp;</p> Hockfield Court is one of the major gateways to campus from Main Street and Kendall Square.Photo: Christopher HartingAdministration, Special events and guest speakers, Faculty, Koch Institute, Scene at MIT, Campus buildings and architecture Two committees to examine MIT’s outside engagements Chair of the faculty and provost announce committees to review practices related to gifts, as well as grants and collaborations. Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:15:00 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p><em>This article was updated on Oct. 31 to include the members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes.</em></p> <p>Chair of the Faculty Rick Danheiser and Provost Martin Schmidt have announced the creation of two related committees that will examine MIT’s external engagements and review its policies and processes on soliciting and accepting gifts. The committees are charged with recommending new guidelines for the Institute’s relationships with funding sources.</p> <p>The philanthropic landscape’s complexity has increased in recent years. To help the Institute adapt to this new environment, one of the new committees will examine and advise on the principles governing MIT’s decisions to engage with outside entities and individuals. The other will review and recommend improvements to MIT’s processes for soliciting, processing, and accepting gifts.</p> <p>The two committees, which will both begin their work immediately, continue a process begun last month with the launch of outside fact-finding, by Boston-based law firm Goodwin Procter, on MIT’s engagements with the late Jeffrey Epstein.</p> <p><strong>Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements </strong></p> <p>The first of the two new committees, to be chaired by <a href="">Tavneet Suri</a>, an associate professor of applied economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, will advise on the principles governing MIT’s acceptance of gifts and funding, and its engagement with outside entities and individuals.</p> <p>“Plans to form this committee were begun by faculty governance in August,” Danheiser says, “and ultimately involved the reconstitution and expansion of the nascent Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for International Engagements that had been convened by former Chair of the Faculty Susan Silbey.”</p> <p>This committee, known as the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements, will include faculty from across the Institute. It will be advised by a Student Committee on Outside Engagements convened by the Undergraduate Association and the Graduate Student Council, and informed by focus groups and meetings with departments and various communities across campus.</p> <p>“MIT has always been, for me, an institution that sets the standard for leadership,” Suri says. “This standard compels us to deal with the issues confronting us with the gravity they demand. We are faced with an ever-changing landscape of engagements and we have an opportunity to lead in the establishment of clearer and stronger boundaries. We have the chance to create and articulate a set of values and guiding principles, consistent with our mission, that will direct all our outside engagements, grants, gifts, and collaborations. We may be one of the first academic institutions to do so.”</p> <p>This principles committee’s charge calls upon it “to define a set of values and principles, consistent with MIT’s mission, to guide the assessment of outside engagements. Outside engagements include grants, gifts, and any other associations and collaborations involving MIT with governments, corporations, foundations, or private individuals, domestic or foreign. The committee will produce a set of guidelines to be employed by the MIT decision-makers … in evaluating potential outside engagements.”</p> <p>In addition to Suri, other members of this committee are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Daron Acemoglu</strong>: Institute Professor, Department of Economics</li> <li><strong>W. Craig Carter</strong>: POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering</li> <li><strong>Arup Chakraborty</strong>: Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and Biological Engineering</li> <li><strong>Fotini Christia</strong>: Professor of Political Science</li> <li><strong>Robert Desimone</strong>: Doris and Don Berkey Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, McGovern Institute for Brain Research</li> <li><strong>Amy Glasmeier</strong>: Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning</li> <li><strong>Paula Hammond</strong>: David H. Koch Professor; Head, Department of Chemical Engineering</li> <li><strong>Daniel Hastings</strong>: Cecil and Ida Green Professor; Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics</li> <li><strong>Diana Henderson</strong>: Professor of Literature</li> <li><strong>J. Chappell Lawson</strong>: Associate Professor of Political Science&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Jacqueline Lees</strong>: Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor; Associate Head, Department of Biology; Associate Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research</li> <li><strong>Tamar Schapiro</strong>: Associate Professor of Philosophy</li> <li><strong>Susan Silbey</strong>: Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology, and Anthropology; Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, MIT Sloan School&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Yogesh Surendranath</strong>: Paul M. Cook Associate Professor of Chemistry</li> <li><strong>Bruce Tidor</strong>: Professor of Biological Engineering and Computer Science</li> <li><strong>Robert van der Hilst</strong>: Schlumberger Professor; Head, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences</li> <li><strong>Bilge Yildiz</strong>: Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering</li> </ul> <p>A Subcommittee on International Engagements will consider issues specific to evaluating pending engagements with nations that may have problematic political, civil, and human rights records.</p> <p><strong>Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes</strong></p> <p>The second new committee will be chaired by <a href="">Peter Fisher</a>, professor of physics and head of the Department of Physics, and will include members from across MIT. This Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes is charged with “reviewing MIT’s current processes for soliciting, processing and accepting gifts to the Institute [and] recommending improvements to facilitate efficient, transparent and responsive decision making with respect to gifts.”</p> <p>“Principles for accepting a gift are an essential expression of MIT’s values,” Fisher says. “Our committee&nbsp;will concern itself with how and when, in the process of soliciting, processing, and accepting a gift, the principles developed by Professor Suri’s committee are applied. If application of the principles is left to the end of the process, a great deal of work could be wasted, and expectations could be thwarted. Application too early in the process, before the intent and purpose of a gift are understood, could have a chilling effect on giving, causing MIT to miss valuable opportunities. Our committee will work to understand the process in detail, how to apply our principles along the way, and how to make the whole operation clear to the MIT community.”</p> <p>The Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes is expected to assess MIT’s current approach to gift solicitation and processing, including due-diligence practices; study similar processes at peer institutions; use the Institute’s receipt and acceptance of gifts from Epstein, and other gifts, as case studies to identify areas for improvement; and recommend changes to MIT’s current gift processes.</p> <p>The members of this committee are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Mariana Arcaya</strong>: Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning</li> <li><strong>Mahi Elango</strong>: Undergraduate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; President, Undergraduate Association</li> <li><strong>Heather Kispert Hagerty</strong>: Assistant Dean for Development, School of Engineering</li> <li><strong>Daniel Hastings</strong>: Cecil and Ida Green Professor; Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics</li> <li><strong>Sarah Hendrick</strong>: Director of Records, MIT Alumni Association</li> <li><strong>J. Chappell Lawson</strong>: Associate Professor of Political Science&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Fiona Murray</strong>: William Porter Professor of Entrepreneurship; Associate Dean for Innovation, MIT Sloan School of Management; Co-Director, MIT Innovation Initiative</li> <li><strong>Larry Sass</strong>: Associate Professor of Architecture</li> <li><strong>Glen Shor</strong>: Vice President for Finance</li> <li><strong>Janet Sonenberg</strong>: Professor of Theater Arts</li> <li><strong>Peter Su</strong>: Graduate Student in Materials Science and Engineering; President, Graduate Student Council</li> <li><strong>Tavneet Suri</strong>: Associate Professor of Applied Economics</li> <li><strong>Julia Topalian</strong>: Director of Gift Administration and Recording Secretary</li> <li><strong>Li-Huei Tsai</strong>: Picower Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Director, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory</li> <li><strong>Anne White</strong>: Professor and Head, Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering</li> <li><strong>David Woodruff</strong>: Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, MIT Resource Development</li> </ul> <p>Several members of the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements, including its chair, will sit as voting members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes, to facilitate communication and ensure coordination in their work.</p> <p><strong>Next steps in an ongoing process</strong></p> <p>Danheiser and Schmidt have asked the two committees to complete their work by spring 2020. Both committees will conclude their work by issuing reports on their findings and recommendations: The Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements will provide its report to the MIT community, and the Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes will provide its report to Schmidt, who will share it with the MIT community for comment.</p> <p>“This is a serious undertaking, and as with Goodwin Procter’s fact-finding, we must give these committees the time they need to complete a comprehensive assessment,” Schmidt says. “I am confident that by harnessing the wisdom of many members of the MIT community, we will emerge with a robust, and much improved, framework to govern our outside engagements going forward.”</p> <p>Both committees, along with the outside fact-finding by Goodwin Procter, are part of the Institute’s response to information that has come to light in recent months regarding MIT’s engagement with Jeffrey Epstein.</p> <p>Over the past month, President L. Rafael Reif has participated in <a href="">forums with MIT faculty, alumni, students, and staff</a> to begin an ongoing dialogue with a broad cross-section of the community on MIT’s culture and the path forward from the Epstein revelations. The last of these initial forums, with postdocs and research staff including staff from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, took place Friday morning. The president has also had private meetings with many members of the MIT community.</p> Peter Fisher (left) and Tavneet SuriImage: Mimi Phan and Donna CoveneyFaculty, Students, Staff, Administration, Community, Provost MIT takes action in response to sexual misconduct survey findings New measures on campus announced for advocacy, support, education, and accountability. Tue, 15 Oct 2019 09:34:35 -0400 Office of the Chancellor <p>MIT and 32 other universities and colleges have released findings from the 2019 Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. The survey <a href="">was sent</a> to all MIT undergraduate and graduate students last spring, and the results are informing a series of existing and new actions outlined by President L. Rafael Reif and Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart in a <a href="">letter</a> to the Institute community today.</p> <p>“In recent forums, the anguished personal stories of many members of our community — students, faculty, and staff — strongly underscored what the survey results make clear: that we <em>must</em> focus our attention on the issues specific to sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment,” Reif wrote. “And at the same time, as a community, we must identify and push back against aspects of our culture, including the power imbalances that exist across MIT, that can make these problems worse. In this difficult and urgent work, I believe we must, and I hope we will, join together to create a more compassionate and cohesive community — the ideal of one MIT.”</p> <p>Barnhart, whom Reif <a href="">charged</a> with combatting sexual misconduct at MIT when he appointed her chancellor in February 2014, led the effort to survey the MIT student community and has made all 2019 survey data available to the community on her <a href="">website</a>. In the letter, she highlighted the following datapoints:</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="">Nonconsensual sexual contact</a></strong><strong>:</strong> One in 14 MIT students (7.2 percent) experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent. The rate for undergraduate women is 18.4 percent; for non-heterosexual students is 13.9 percent; for transgender, genderqueer, or nonbinary (TGQN) students is 11.9 percent; for graduate women is 8.3 percent; for undergraduate men is 6.5 percent; and for graduate men is 1.4 percent. One in nine MIT students (11.0 percent) experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, inability to consent, coercion, or without voluntary agreement. The rate for undergraduate women is one in four; for TGQN students is one in five; and for graduate women is one in seven.</li> <li><strong><a href="">Sexual harassment</a></strong><strong>:</strong> One in six MIT students experienced sexual harassment; of this group, seven out of 10 are women. The rate for TGQN students is one in three.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="">Bystander behavior</a></strong><strong>:</strong> Eight in 10 MIT students took some type of action when they witnessed sexually harassing behaviors by others.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="">Resource awareness</a></strong><strong>:</strong> Nearly two in three students are aware of MIT’s Violence Prevention and Response (VPR) and Title IX and Bias Response (T9BR) offices.</li> </ul> <p>“A colleague said to me recently that ‘a community’s culture is defined by the behaviors the community tolerates,’” Barnhart wrote. “Sadly, we have continued to tolerate deeply disturbing behaviors and that tolerance has caused pain to many members of our community. Fortunately, I believe we now have the will and the community momentum we need to come together to fix these systemic issues. To everyone who makes it their daily mission to fight for an MIT where every community member is safe and treated with respect, I look forward to continuing to partner with you, and to encouraging more colleagues and students to join us in this work."<br /> <br /> Barnhart has been helping to lead MIT’s sexual misconduct prevention and response work for the past five years. In 2014, following the Institute’s landmark <a href="">first survey</a> of student experiences with unwanted sexual behaviors, the administration partnered with students, faculty, and staff to take the <a href="">following steps</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Offered more education about support resources, reporting options, and how to challenge harmful attitudes and behaviors, including requiring all incoming students and current employees to complete online training;</li> <li>Lowered barriers to help-seeking and reporting;</li> <li>Made important updates to policies and procedures; and</li> <li>Committed to continually measuring progress toward the goal of creating a safer, more respectful, and inclusive climate for all.</li> </ul> <p>Noting that ongoing engagement at all levels of the Institute will be essential to designing and implementing solutions following the 2019 survey, Barnhart announced that she will host a series of forums for the MIT community, with the first on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m. in Room 10-250. The forums will feature discussion about the 2019 survey results and MIT’s response, including the steps outlined today:</p> <ul> <li><strong><u>Increasing Education and Resources:</u></strong> Following the 2014 sexual misconduct survey, MIT instituted online training for incoming students and current employees and ramped up in-person group education. Barnhart wrote that MIT is now further expanding its educational offerings to respond to the growing number of requests for in-person trainings as well as to respond to the recommendation from the <a href="">Institute Committee on Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response</a> (CSMPR) for required ongoing education, which will be delivered in-person or online. CSMPR is a group of faculty, students, and staff who have been instrumental to shaping and advancing MIT’s work in these areas. To meet the broadened scope of our education programs, as well as to advance advocacy, support, and several of the other steps described below, the Institute will hire additional staff in Violence Prevention and Response (VPR), Student Mental Health and Counseling Services, and the Title IX and Bias Response Office (T9BR). Additionally, the administration will provide resources to encourage and support efforts that address MIT’s climate and culture issues.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Implementing new policy and reporting on complaints of sexual misconduct against faculty and staff:</strong> After a comprehensive review, which included gathering input from community members, a new policy for handling harassment and discrimination complaints against faculty and staff will go into effect on Feb. 3, 2020. This policy, which will rely on professional, neutral investigators to conduct fact finding, will provide enhanced processes for consistent and fair handling of these types of complaints. Barnhart also announced that the administration is committed to being more transparent in releasing aggregate statistics about the outcomes of faculty and staff cases in a manner that balances transparency with the important privacy and confidentiality interests of those involved in the complaints.</li> <li><strong>Opening a new central office for responding to discrimination:</strong> T9BR will expand its scope and its staff to become the single portal that all community members can access when they are concerned they have been subject to discrimatory treatment at MIT. The office will be renamed the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office (IDHR) and will be up and running at the beginning of next semester. IDHR, in consultation with central Human Resources and the General Counsel’s Office, will be responsible for implementing the policy mentioned above.</li> <li><strong>Sharing and implementing recommendations from the National Academies Working Groups responding to the National Academies Report on Sexual Harassment:</strong> Last April, MIT <a href="">announced</a> that President Reif was in the process of establishing an advisory board of senior officers and <a href="">four working groups</a> responsible for responding to the 2018 National Academies Report on the Sexual Harassment of Women in Academia’s specific recommendations and advancing MIT’s ongoing work to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct. The groups are focusing on leadership, policies, training, and the power imbalances in many working and academic relationships at the Institute. Draft reports will be released for comment at the end of October, and the working group co-chairs will present the recommendations at the Nov. 5 forum in order to collect community input before implementation. A feedback <a href="">form</a> has been set up so that the community can share ideas, perspectives, and suggestions about this work. </li> <li><strong>Coordinating Activities:</strong> The MindHandHeart (MHH) team is working with departments to understand and improve academic cultures and climates. More information about the MHH Department Support Project, a data-informed initiative designed to cultivate welcoming and inclusive learning environments, is available <a href="">here</a>.</li> </ul> Photo: Christopher HartingChancellor, President L. Rafael Reif, Students, Community, Faculty, Staff, Wellbeing, Administration, Student life Experts urge “full speed ahead” on climate action Panelists at MIT climate change symposium describe the state of knowledge in climate science and stress the urgent need for action. Thu, 03 Oct 2019 17:10:12 -0400 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>In the first of <a href="">six symposia</a> planned at MIT this academic year on the subject of climate change, panels of specialists on the science of global climate described the state of knowledge on the subject today. They also discussed the areas where more research is needed to pin down exactly how severely and quickly climate change’s effects may occur, and what kinds of actions are urgently needed to address the enormous disruptions climate change will bring.</p> <p>Keynote speaker Susan Solomon, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies and Chemistry, gave an overview of the state of climate science today, explaining that the vastness of the timescales involved “is one of the things that makes this problem so fascinating.” However, she added, it also presents a real challenge in communicating the urgency of the issue, because carbon dioxide emissions being produced now can persist in the air for centuries, with their effects building over time.</p> <p>Even if the world were to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at today’s level, the temperature would continue to rise, and sea level would continue to rise even more, she said. Anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of the expected temperature increase from a given amount of carbon dioxide “is in the pipeline,” she said, because it takes time for the changed atmosphere and oceans to reach a new state of equilibrium: “The temperature stabilizes after a few hundred years, but the sea level just keeps going and going.”</p> <p>She said “it’s sobering to take a look at the 25 warmest years that have been recorded, and realize that if you’re 32, you’ve been alive for all of them. We, this generation of people, are living on the warmest planet that has ever been measured in the environmental record.” And that increase is something we’re stuck with, she said. “Even if we go cold turkey” and eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions, “temperatures go almost constant for 1,000 years. The cumulative carbon dioxide that’s been emitted is what controls it.”</p> <p>The symposium, which drew a capacity crowd to MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, was chaired by Kerry Emanuel, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science, and featured two panels of leading climate scientists who described the state of present knowledge about the effects and extent of climate change, remaining uncertainties and how to address them, and how the physical effects of warming may vary under different policy approaches.</p> <p>MIT President L. Rafael Reif, in <a href="">introducing</a> the first of the six planned symposia, said, “I believe that, as a society, we must find ways to invest aggressively in advancing climate science and in making climate mitigation and adaptation technologies dramatically less expensive: inexpensive enough to win widespread political support, to be affordable for every society, and to deploy on a planetary scale.”</p> <p>Reif added that one way to foster that would be through a tax on carbon, which “will keep pushing prices [of renewables] down and make noncarbon alternatives more attractive. That is clearly true. Less clear, however, is whether the carbon-cost hammer is enough to drive the nail of global societal change.” Continued progress with noncarbon or low-carbon alternatives is also essential, he said.</p> <p>While the picture of human-induced global climate change is well-established overall, in one of the panel discussions Ray Pierrehumbert, a professor of physics at Oxford University, described some the remaining sources of uncertainty. The greatest source of uncertainty, he said, lies in some of the complex feedback effects that may occur, especially involving clouds.</p> <p>Clouds reflect sunlight and therefore provide some cooling, but also are insulating and so help keep the surface warm. Their dynamics are highly complex, “involving interactions between things at the scale of millimeters up to thousands of kilometers.” As a result, “one reason we don’t know how bad it’s going to get is because of clouds,” Pierrehumbert said.</p> <p>But that uncertainty is no cause for complacency. “It’s extremely unlikely that there is some mystical effect that would make things better” than present projections, he said. Rather, “it’s quite possible things would be worse.”</p> <p>Tapio Schneider, a professor of environmental science at Caltech, added that the uncertainties about clouds include how they are affected by air pollution, which provides nucleation centers for water droplets. These interactions are complicated to model, but “it seems that some of these aerosol effects are stronger than expected.” That may mean that overall warming could be greater than expected, he said.</p> <p>Paul O’Gorman, an MIT professor of atmospheric science, said that it’s important to look at how the effects of a warming atmosphere will vary depending on local conditions. “Some countries will see larger monsoons,” he said, for example in India, where rainfall could actually double in some regions because of changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. “There are a lot of outstanding questions” in the details of these changes, and the answers could be crucial for regional planning.</p> <p>Pierrehumbert added that while nations have made commitments to try to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, that is a somewhat arbitrary cap. “Even if we don’t think we can halt warming at two degrees, we need to go full speed ahead” on curbing emissions. “Things will be horrible at two degrees, but much more horrible at four degrees.”</p> <p>Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, chaired the second panel discussion and said this series of symposia is intended as a way “to both educate and engage the MIT community” in the issue of climate change and “how we dial it up” in efforts to combat the problem.</p> <p>Sherri Goodman, a senior fellow at the Wilson Center, described the impact of climate change on military facilities and overall military readiness. “It’s a threat multiplier,” she said. “It will amplify and aggravate in different ways our national security challenges,” she said.</p> <p>For example, the opening of the Arctic ocean because of melting sea ice is creating a whole new area of conflicting interests, where both Russia and China have been making moves to control the region’s potential resources, from shipping lanes to petroleum reserves.</p> <p>Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, described his work in providing corporations with detailed information about the specific local impacts they can expect at their facilities as a result of climate change. Climate change may be a multiplier of risks in that context as well, he added, citing regional conflicts and outmigration resulting from droughts and other effects.</p> <p>John Reilly, co-director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, also stressed that regardless of any remaining uncertainties in the details of climate change’s effects, “it doesn’t mean we should wait until the science is resolved. Actually, we need the opposite effect.” If there is a whole range of possible outcomes, it’s important to take very seriously “the really extreme and catastrophic effects.” Among the range of possible outcomes indicated by climate models, without concerted action, climate change “could make huge parts of the planet uninhabitable. Even if that probability is very small, that can dominate the entire cost-benefit calculation,” he said.</p> Susan Solomon, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies and Chemistry at MIT, delivered the symposium's keynote address.Image: Jake BelcherMIT Energy Initiative, Climate, Climate change, Special events and guest speakers, Global Warming, Policy, Faculty, President L. Rafael Reif, Administration, ESI, Sustainability Troy Van Voorhis named head of the Department of Chemistry Faculty member since 2003 is known for physical chemistry research, as well as contributions to education and the department’s climate. Tue, 01 Oct 2019 13:00:00 -0400 Julia C. Keller | School of Science <p>Troy Van Voorhis, the Robert T. Haslam and Bradley Dewey Professor of Chemistry, has been named head of the Department of Chemistry, effective Oct. 1.</p> <p>“I am delighted that Troy Van Voorhis will lead the chemistry department,” says Michael Sipser, dean of the MIT School of Science and the Donner Professor of Mathematics. “Troy has been a core member of the department, known for his outstanding research in physical chemistry as well as for his contributions to education and the department’s climate. I look forward to working with Troy on Science Council.”</p> <p>Van Voorhis has served as associate head of chemistry since 2015, working with then-department head Timothy Jamison and, most recently, with Professor Stephen Buchwald, who has served as interim department head since July 2019.</p> <p>In addition to his service to the department, Van Voorhis recently co-chaired the Working Group on Curricula and Degrees for the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. He has also contributed to discussions on opportunities for the School of Science in the college.&nbsp;</p> <p>Van Voorhis says, “I look forward to working with the department in my new role and will continue to support the growth of our chemistry community’s research, education, and outreach programs.”</p> <p>“Troy is an excellent choice to head up chemistry and provide leadership for the members of our department. He has a strong record of scientific accomplishment and devotion to education and to MIT students,” says Buchwald, the Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry.</p> <p>“I am grateful to Steve for his service to the department as interim head. I thank Mei Hong for chairing the search committee, as well as the committee members for their efforts,” says Sipser. “I am deeply indebted to Tim Jamison for his outstanding leadership during the previous four years. Tim, who has recently become associate provost, leaves the Department of Chemistry in excellent shape.”</p> <p>Van Voorhis’ research lies at the nexus of chemistry and computation, and his work has impact on renewable energy and quantum computing. His lab is focused on developing new methods that provide an accurate description of electron dynamics in molecules and materials. Over the years, his research has led to advances in light emitting diodes, solar cells, and other devices and technologies crucial to addressing 21st-century energy concerns.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Van Voorhis received his bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from Rice University and his PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he joined the faculty of MIT in 2003 and was promoted to professor of chemistry in 2012.</p> <p>He has received many honors and awards, including being named an Alfred P. Sloan research fellow, a fellow of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award. He has also received the MIT School of Science’s award for excellence in graduate teaching.</p> Troy Van Voorhis was named the new head of the Department of Chemistry.Photo: Justin KnightSchool of Science, Chemistry, Faculty, Administration, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing MIT community members invited to attend campus-wide forums Students, staff, faculty, and alumni gather to discuss the Institute’s association with Jeffrey Epstein. Sun, 29 Sep 2019 08:44:56 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>As MIT continues to map a path forward following recent revelations regarding its association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, President L. Rafael Reif and other senior leaders will participate in three forums over the next two weeks, each focused on a different part of the Institute community.</p> <p>The forums were announced Friday via separate email invitations to MIT students and employees:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Student forum — Tuesday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m., Room 10-250</strong>: At this forum, hosted by the Undergraduate Association (UA) and Graduate Student Council (GSC), President Reif will hear the concerns and ideas of undergraduate and graduate students. Also attending this forum will be leaders of the UA and GSC, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy Nelson, the deans of at least three of MIT’s schools, and a number of MIT department heads.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Staff forum — Monday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m., Wong Auditorium (Tang Center, Building E51)</strong>: The Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer has invited employees to attend this forum, where President Reif will field questions from MIT staff. He will be joined by Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Research staff forum — Friday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m., Morss Hall (Walker Memorial, Building 50)</strong>: The Office of the Vice President for Research has organized this forum for postdocs and research staff, including staff from Lincoln Laboratory. President Reif will be joined by Vice President for Research Maria Zuber.</li> </ul> <p>To ensure that there is enough space and an opportunity for all members of the MIT community to share their views openly with President Reif, each of these forums will be open only to members of the invited group. An MIT ID will be required for entry.</p> <p>“It is very important to me right now to hear from as many members of our community as I can — to learn how our faculty, students, staff, and alumni think we should address the challenges that MIT is facing together,” President Reif says. “This is the beginning of an important conversation. I’m reexamining my calendar for this whole academic year, recognizing that I need to invest my time here, at home, attending to our community and reconnecting with the wisdom and experiences of the people of MIT. I believe we can emerge from this first round of dialog with a sense of the values we share and the culture we aspire to, together.”</p> <p>On Friday, President Reif attended the annual meeting of the Alumni Leadership Conference (ALC), held on campus, addressing some 650 alumni who play leadership roles within the 139,000-member MIT Alumni Association (MITAA). In a conversation with MITAA President R. Erich Caulfield SM ’01, PhD ’06 before the assembled alumni, President Reif addressed questions from the full group.</p> <p>“I appreciated President Reif speaking directly with our dedicated volunteers, as they represent the spectrum of perspectives of our alumni and alumnae on this important issue,” Caulfield says. “It was something that the community was very interested in seeing because it offered an assurance to those who needed to hear directly from him on MIT’s commitment to addressing this matter head-on.”</p> <p>At last Wednesday’s regularly scheduled faculty meeting, President Reif <a href="">spoke at length</a> before taking questions and listening to comments from some two dozen members of the faculty and student leaders. He continues to engage faculty on this issue in smaller settings.</p> Photo: Jake BelcherPresident L. Rafael Reif, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students Ruth Lehmann elected as director of Whitehead Institute Lehmann, a world-renowned developmental and cell biology researcher, is the institute’s fifth director. Thu, 19 Sep 2019 14:00:01 -0400 Lisa Girard | Whitehead Institute <p>The Whitehead Institute board of directors today announced the selection of Ruth Lehmann, a world-renowned developmental and cell biology researcher, as the institute’s fifth director. Lehmann will succeed current Director David Page on July 1, 2020.</p> <p>Lehmann is now the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology and chair of the Department of Cell Biology at New York University (NYU), where she also directs the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and The Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology. She is currently an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Whitehead Institute appointment represents a homecoming: Lehmann was a Whitehead Institute member and a faculty member of MIT from 1988 to 1996, before beginning a distinguished 23-year career at NYU.</p> <p>“Ruth Lehmann will continue a line of prestigious and highly accomplished scientist-leaders who have served as Whitehead Institute directors,” says Charles D. Ellis, chair of the Whitehead Institute board of directors. “She perfectly fits our vision for the next director: an eminent scientist and experienced leader, who is passionately committed to Whitehead Institute’s mission, and possesses a compelling vision for basic biomedical research in the coming decade.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“I am delighted to return to Whitehead Institute and look forward to joining the illustrious faculty to recruit and mentor the next generation of Whitehead Institute faculty and fellows,” Lehmann says. “When I was recruited to Whitehead Institute in the late 1980s, David Baltimore took a huge risk in giving an inexperienced&nbsp;young scientist from Germany the chance to follow her passion for science with unending encouragement and minimal restraints. Now I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help shape the future of this wonderful institute that has been at the forefront of biomedical research for decades. I am pleased to become part of the succession of Whitehead Institute’s forward-thinking directors, David Baltimore, Gerald Fink, Susan Lindquist, and David Page. I look forward to working with faculty, fellows, trainees, and staff to build a future with ambitious goals that will allow us to reveal the unknown and connect the unexpected in a collaborative, diverse, and flexible environment.”</p> <p>“Ruth Lehmann is an inspired choice to lead the institute into the future and I look forward to working with her in that capacity,” Page says. “Ruth is an internationally renowned and influential leader in the field of germ cell biology, and her outstanding contributions to the field are the product of her sustained brilliance, insatiable curiosity, uncompromising rigor and scholarship, and clarity of thought and expression.&nbsp;Across the course of the past three decades, no scientist anywhere in the world has made greater contributions to our understanding of germ cells and their remarkable biology. I’m especially pleased to gain a colleague with such an impressive track record of discovery and institutional leadership.”</p> <p>The new director will have an impressive line of predecessors: Whitehead Institute’s founding director was Nobel laureate and former Caltech president David Baltimore; he was succeeded by internationally honored geneticist and science enterprise leader Gerald Fink, and then by National Medal of Science recipient Susan Lindquist, followed by the current director, leading human geneticist David Page, who became director in 2004.</p> <p>“Ruth Lehmann is a brilliant choice as the next director of Whitehead Institute,” Baltimore says. “She is a world-class scientist and a seasoned leader. Most importantly, she understands the unique nature of Whitehead Institute and will maintain it as a key element of the biomedical complex that has grown up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”</p> <p>“Ruth Lehmann is an extraordinary scientist, who began her distinguished career here at Whitehead,” Fink says.&nbsp;“Her innovative work on germ cells, which give rise to eggs and sperm, has paved the path for the entire field. She is an inspiring leader who is an outspoken advocate for fundamental research.&nbsp;We are all delighted to welcome her back as our new director and scientific colleague.”&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Lehmann has made seminal discoveries in the field of developmental and cell biology. Germ cells, the cells that give rise to the sperm and egg, carry a precious cargo of genetic information from the parent that they ultimately contribute to the embryo, transmitting the currency of heredity to a new generation. Work in Lehmann’s lab using <em>Drosophila </em>(fruit flies) has shed light on how these important cells “know” to become germ cells, and how they are able to make their way from where they originate to the gonad during early embryonic development. Her discoveries uncovering the mechanisms needed for proper specification and migration of germ cells have not only informed our understanding of processes essential for the perpetuation of life itself, but have also made important contributions to related fields including stem cell biology, lipid biology, and DNA repair.</p> <p>“I'm so pleased to be welcoming Ruth back to the community,” MIT Provost Martin A. Schmidt says. “Her dedication to, and expertise in, basic research will underscore Whitehead Institute's reputation as a leader in this arena.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Susan Hockfield, MIT president emerita and professor of neuroscience, chaired the committee that recommended Lehmann to the Whitehead Institute board. “Our committee considered eminent candidates from across the globe,” Hockfield says, “and found in Ruth Lehmann a person uniquely qualified to guide this pioneering research institution forward.”</p> <p>Lehmann earned an undergraduate degree and a PhD in biology from the University of Tubingen in Germany, in the laboratory of future Nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. Between those programs, she conducted research at the University of Washington and earned a diploma degree — equivalent to a master's degree — in biology from the University of Freiburg in Germany. She then conducted postdoctoral research at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. Then, Lehmann moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to become a Whitehead Institute member and MIT faculty member. In 1996, she accepted a professorship at NYU Langone School of Medicine and was subsequently named director of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and The Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology, NYU Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program director, and chair of the NYU Department of Cell Biology in 2014 (all roles that she continues to hold).</p> <p>She has served as president of the Society for Developmental Biology, the Drosophila Board, and the Harvey Society; is currently editor-in-chief of the <em>Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology</em>; and will serve as president of the American Society for Cell Biology starting in 2021. Additionally, she has been a council member of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.</p> <p>Among her many awards, Lehmann has received the Society for Developmental Biology’s Conklin Medal, the Porter Award from the American Society for Cell Biology, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the German Society for Developmental Biology. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.&nbsp;</p> <p>Lehmann has also been a committed mentor, having fostered the education and professional development of scores of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Many of her mentees have gone on to become leaders in the biomedical industry or at academic institutions in the United States and around the world, including Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, MIT, the University of Cambridge (UK), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg, Germany), and University of Toronto (Canada).</p> Ruth Lehmann, a world-renowned developmental and cell biology researcher, will be Whitehead Institute’s fifth director. Photo: NYU Langone StaffWhitehead Institute, School of Science, Biology, Research, Administration, Cells Remarks by President Reif at Institute faculty meeting Wed, 18 Sep 2019 17:00:26 -0400 MIT News Office <p><em>The following are the remarks, as prepared for delivery, by President L. Rafael Reif at today's Institute faculty meeting.</em></p> <p>Good afternoon, and welcome to our first faculty meeting of the year.</p> <p>Out of fairness to our colleagues in the Media Lab, I want to start with a correction to the agenda that we sent out to faculty this week. The title for this section read “Media Lab.”</p> <p>But it is obvious that the topics we will discuss this afternoon concern all of MIT.</p> <p>Let me take this moment to express my appreciation to the Media Lab faculty, students and staff, and to the interim leadership team, who are working so hard to begin a new chapter.</p> <p>Over the last few weeks, our whole community has experienced deep pain, sadness and disappointment. Many of you have expressed those feelings to me directly. I know that many of you are angry about the whole situation, and angry at me.</p> <p>But I will not presume that I know or understand how all of you are feeling or how you have experienced these events. Learning more about that is a central goal of this meeting.</p> <p>I do know that this is a disorienting time for all of us at the Institute. I have spent my entire career in this community and this institution. I look out at all of you this afternoon, and I see faculty colleagues I have known for decades, and many others just at the beginning of amazing careers. I see students who have chosen MIT as the place to start their journey.</p> <p>I see staff who came to MIT specifically to support the Institute’s inspiring work. And I have been hearing from alumni around the world who care deeply about the strength and stature of this institution.</p> <p>I know all of you work as hard as you can every day to advance our mission. And I know you are accustomed to feeling proud of MIT.&nbsp;</p> <p>I am too.</p> <p>So I am deeply distressed, and I am deeply sorry, that steps which I and others took, and failed to take, have been part of bringing this trouble to all of you – to the people of MIT.</p> <p>I understand that I have let you down and damaged your trust in me, and that our actions have injured both the Institute’s reputation and the fabric of our community.</p> <p>Yet I also know that MIT’s reputation is firmly rooted in the brilliant work that you and our whole community have been doing, and sharing with the world, for decades, and that you will continue to do. And I know that the fabric of MIT is incredibly strong. I hope the conversation we have today will be a first step towards restoring that fabric – and making it even stronger.</p> <p>The purpose of today’s meeting is to hear the concerns of faculty and students, to do our best to answer your questions and to help the Institute begin to regain its balance<br /> and momentum.</p> <p>Before we open the discussion, I would like to address three questions I have heard repeatedly in the last few days and then highlight a few things I have learned in the last month.&nbsp; To the questions:</p> <p>First: Many people have been asking how the results of the fact-finding will be shared with the community. The decision on this matter rests with the group that I report to: the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation.</p> <p>The goal of the review is to bring clarity to the interactions with Epstein so that we can correct what went wrong, and then work together to establish principles to prevent anything like it from happening again. I do not know how or what the Executive Committee will choose to share. But I know that they are mindful, as I am, that, as MIT begins to recover from this period of distress, crucial information must be shared, so the community can have confidence in the fact-finding process.</p> <p>Second: Many students have asked how I could have signed that acknowledgment letter without asking questions, and how I could fail to remember it. The answer is simple: I did not recognize the name, and I sign many standard thank-you letters every week. That includes several hundred letters every year thanking individuals for contributions to the Institute.</p> <p>Third: I know that for many of you, the four letters I have sent to the community since August 22 were maddening – a drip-drip-drip of information. I make no excuses for that frustrating result, and I certainly wish I could have done it differently. But in each case, I was responding to the facts I had at the time. So I would like to explain why I sent each of those letters.</p> <p>On August 22, I wrote because it seemed vital to share what we knew then about the total of Epstein’s gifts to MIT, to apologize to the girls and young women he victimized, and to begin to make amends by committing to contribute the money to a relevant charity and by launching an internal review.</p> <p>On September 7<sup>th</sup>, after the <em>New Yorker</em> article, the situation clearly demanded external fact-finding, so I wrote again. Two days later, I wrote again to make sure the community heard from me, not from the media, that we had engaged a fact-finding team at Goodwin Procter.</p> <p>That letter was also important to give individuals a direct way to share information with the factfinders and to share the initial next steps for the Media Lab community. The final letter conveyed new information that the factfinders had learned – information that I did not have clarity about before then. I wanted to dispel any assumptions you might have drawn from my earlier letters and replace them with definite facts, right away.</p> <p>I know this last letter in particular generated confusion and dismay. I was trying to convey “just the facts” of what I had learned from the factfinders, without editorializing about them. But after hearing from many of you, I understand now that, unfortunately, you understood me to be trying to distance myself from responsibility for the events and decisions involved. I especially regret that, since it is the opposite of what I intended.</p> <p>In the end, as I have said, I made mistakes of judgment. I take responsibility for those errors. And I hope to take responsibility for the work that must begin now: repairing the damage and rebuilding trust.</p> <p>MIT is known for its willingness to face difficult facts, and to run <em>towards</em> problems, not away from them. I am trying to do that now.</p> <p>We are already taking some steps in that direction:</p> <p>As you know, I asked Provost Marty Schmidt to launch an internal review of how we assess donor relationships and gift agreements, so we can correct the flaws in our process and practices. He’ll talk briefly about that in a moment, as well as about the transition team at the Media Lab.</p> <p>The outside law firm, Goodwin Procter, is fully engaged in its fact-finding now. &nbsp;At the end of my remarks, Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo will give an update on that process.</p> <p>And to follow through on our earlier commitment, we are working with MIT’s Office of Violence Prevention and Response to identify appropriate charities that serve victims of sexual abuse, like Jeffrey Epstein’s young victims – the victims whose suffering we failed to see.</p> <p>Which brings me to what I have learned.</p> <p>The practical steps I just mentioned are necessary. But the two reviews focus mainly on <em>process</em>. And, as many of you have told me very clearly, we do have a process problem – but what we <em>really</em> have is a <em>culture problem</em>, because, as I am learning, our processes and practices reflect some entrenched and destructive attitudes and cultural assumptions at MIT.</p> <p>I believe they fall into two categories:</p> <p>The first is around money. From conversations across our community, I know that many people have deep concerns about sources we have relied on to raise funds for the work of the Institute. In this time of growing fortunes and shrinking federal funds, we need to look at everything from the changing nature of the donor population to how we should weigh the political, cultural and economic impacts of donors’ behavior. We need to examine the issues associated with anonymous giving – and much more.</p> <p>In short, people are telling me that to guide how we choose to accept philanthropic gifts, we need to develop a new set of <em>principles, </em>clearly grounded in our community’s values. I agree.</p> <p>We also need to work on addressing the power relationships and other cultural factors that kept people, especially students and staff, from feeling that they could question or stop bad decisions much sooner.</p> <p>For me, the last few weeks have been a time to reflect on the incredible bravery of the several members of the Media Lab who took the risk of calling out the bad judgments and bad practices they saw. As an institution, we owe them a debt of gratitude.</p> <p>And beyond the serious problems around gifts and donors, I have heard a second area of intense concern. Female faculty, post-docs, students and staff across MIT are telling me that this is a “last-straw” moment, that allowing Jeffrey Epstein to stain our reputation was only the latest example of how many in our community, and the tech world in general, devalue the lives, experiences and contributions of women and girls.</p> <p>I am humbled that it took this cascade of misjudgments for me to truly see this persistent dynamic and appreciate its full impact. It’s now clear to me that the culture that made possible the mistakes around Jeffrey Epstein has prevailed for much too long at MIT. We need to stop looking away from bad behavior and start taking the time to see what it costs us as a community. This moment of crisis must be the moment of reckoning – and a turn towards real accountability.</p> <p>The questions raised in the last month are profound, especially the cultural ones. Some have even asked if MIT has lost its way – if the Institute we all love has changed fundamentally and irretrievably. For me, the answer is an emphatic <em>no</em>.&nbsp; MIT is still MIT. It is still the remarkable community that drew us all here in the first place.</p> <p>But this disturbing period has shed a harsh new light on some elements of our culture that are serving us very poorly.</p> <p>Since I played a role in this problem, I feel a deep responsibility to help repair a system and a culture that failed the people of MIT.</p> <p>We need to identify and root out the cultural factors that contributed to these troubling errors and outcomes, so we can prevent damage like this in the future. We need to examine honestly what is wrong and work together to correct it. We need better processes, of course – better administrative guardrails. But we also need to make sure that, from our principles to our culture, the path forward is shaped by our community’s essential values. Because what we <em>really</em> want is a values path so clear and firm that people never have to run up against the guardrails at all.</p> <p>I do believe that institutions are capable of serious, deliberate change. Along with MIT’s other senior leaders, I am committed to, and I am certain we are capable of, real change.</p> <p>But cultural change is the hardest of all. Which means that achieving this transformation will take the sustained commitment and creativity of the whole community.</p> <p>In other words – we need your help. I need your help.</p> <p>Right now, I know that the most important thing that I and MIT’s other senior leaders can do to “run toward” this problem is to <em>listen</em> – to listen to all of you.</p> <p>This is a difficult moment, but MIT will learn from it – I have learned from it, I will keep striving to learn from it, my senior leadership will learn from it. I hope I can begin to regain your trust – and I believe that together we can, and we will, find a constructive path forward.</p> President L. Rafael Reif, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students The Committee on Animal Care solicits feedback Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:15:25 -0400 MIT News Office <p>The Committee on Animal Care (CAC) and the vice president for research welcome any information that would aid our efforts to assure the humane care of research animals used at MIT and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.</p> <p>Established to ensure that MIT researchers working with animals comply with federal, state, local and institutional regulations on animal care, the CAC inspects animals, animal facilities, and laboratories, and reviews all research and teaching exercises that involve animals before experiments are performed.</p> <p>If you have concerns about animal welfare, please contact the Committee on Animal Care (CAC) by calling 617-324-6892, or send your concern in writing to the CAC Office (Room 16-408), or email <a href=""></a>. The issue will be forwarded to the chair of the CAC and the attending veterinarian.</p> <p>You may also contact any of the following:</p> <p>•&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Vice president for research: 617-253-3206, <a href=""></a><br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine and attending veterinarian: 617-253-1735, <a href=""></a><br /> •&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; CAC chair: 617-285-5156, <a href=""></a></p> <p>All concerns about animal welfare will remain confidential. The identity of individuals who contact the CAC with concerns will be treated as confidential, and individuals will be protected against reprisal and discrimination consistent with MIT policies. The Committee on Animal Care will report its findings and actions to correct the issue to the vice president for research, the director of comparative medicine, the individual who reported the concern (if not reported anonymously), and oversight agencies as applicable.</p> Research, Animals, Administration, Community, Whitehead Institute, School of Science MIT releases financials and endowment figures for 2019 Institute’s pooled investments returned 8.8 percent last year; endowment stands at $17.4 billion. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 13:41:58 -0400 MIT News Office <p>The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) announced today that MIT’s unitized pool of endowment and other MIT funds generated an investment return of 8.8 percent during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. At the end of the fiscal year, MIT’s endowment funds totaled $17.4 billion, excluding pledges.</p> <p>MIT’s endowment is intended to support current and future generations of MIT scholars with the resources needed to advance knowledge, research, and innovation. As such, endowment funds are used for Institute activities including education, research, campus renewal, faculty work, and student financial aid.</p> <p>The Institute’s need-blind undergraduate admissions policy ensures that an MIT education is accessible to all qualified candidates regardless of financial resources. MIT works closely with all families who qualify for financial aid to develop an individual affordability plan tailored to their financial circumstances. In 2018-19, the average MIT scholarship was $47,593. Fifty-nine percent of MIT undergraduates received need-based financial aid, and 36 percent of MIT undergraduate students received scholarship funding from MIT and other sources sufficient to cover the total cost of tuition.</p> <p>MITIMCo is a unit of MIT, created to manage and oversee the investment of the Institute’s endowment, retirement, and operating funds. As of June 30, 2019 MITIMCo had approximately $25.9 billion of assets under management.</p> <p>MIT’s <a href="">Report of the Treasurer</a> for fiscal year 2019 was made available publicly today.</p> Image: Jake BelcherEndowment, Administration, Admissions Letter regarding preliminary fact-finding about MIT and Jeffrey Epstein Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:21:05 -0400 MIT News Office <p><em>The following letter was sent to the MIT community by President&nbsp;L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Last night, the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation and I received a preliminary update from Goodwin Procter, the outside law firm retained to ascertain the facts surrounding MIT and Jeffrey Epstein.</p> <p>The fact-finding will continue to its conclusion, with regular updates to the Executive Committee and me. However, two basic facts have emerged that we thought were important to share with you now.</p> <p>First, the Goodwin Procter team has found a copy of a standard acknowledgment letter thanking Jeffrey Epstein for a gift to Seth Lloyd – as far as we know now, the first gift received at MIT after Epstein’s conviction. I apparently signed this letter on August 16, 2012, about six weeks into my presidency. Although I do not recall it, it does bear my signature.</p> <p>Second, it is now clear that senior members of the administration were aware of gifts the Media Lab received between 2013 and 2017 from Jeffrey Epstein’s foundations. Goodwin Procter has found that in 2013, when members of my senior team learned that the Media Lab had received the first of the Epstein gifts, they reached out to speak with Joi Ito. He asked for permission to retain this initial gift, and members of my senior team allowed it. They knew in general terms about Epstein’s history – that he had been convicted and had served a sentence and that Joi believed that he had stopped his criminal behavior. They accepted Joi’s assessment of the situation. Of course they did not know what we all know about Epstein now.</p> <p>Joi sought the gifts for general research purposes, such as supporting lab scientists and buying equipment. Because the members of my team involved believed it was important that Epstein not use gifts to MIT for publicity or to enhance his own reputation, they asked Joi to agree to make clear to Epstein that he could not put his name on them publicly. These guidelines were provided to and apparently followed by the Media Lab.</p> <p>Information shared with us last night also indicates that Epstein gifts were discussed at at least one of MIT’s regular senior team meetings, and I was present.</p> <p>I am aware that we could and should have asked more questions about Jeffrey Epstein and about his interactions with Joi. We did not see through the limited facts we had, and we did not take time to understand the gravity of Epstein’s offenses or the harm to his young victims. I take responsibility for those errors.</p> <p>While the fact finding will continue, we have already identified flaws in our processes that need to be addressed.</p> <p>I am confident that, once Goodwin Procter submits its final fact-finding to the Executive Committee and me, and the Provost’s internal review is complete, MIT will have the tools to improve our review and approval processes and turn back to the central work of the Institute.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> President L. Rafael Reif, Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students MIT holds open forums for institutional reaccreditation Community members are invited to share their experiences and perspectives with the evaluators. Wed, 11 Sep 2019 15:50:01 -0400 MIT News Office <p>The <a href="">MIT Steering Committee for Reaccreditation</a> invites faculty, students, postdocs, and research staff to attend open forums as part of an ongoing process of institutional reaccreditation. Every 10 years, as required by the Institute’s accrediting agency, the <a href="">New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)</a>, MIT conducts an institutional self-study. The process also includes an on-site visit by a team of peer evaluators.&nbsp;</p> <p>The steering committee has approached the comprehensive review as an opportunity to examine how the Institute has changed over the last decade, to think critically about the present, and to imagine possibilities for the future. Nine planning groups of MIT officers, faculty, staff, and students contributed to an effort that produced an <a href="">institutional self-study</a>, a draft of which the Steering Committee <a href="">shared</a> with the MIT community for comment in April.&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the visit, scheduled for later this month, the team will hold four concurrent open forums:</p> <p><strong>Open forum for faculty</strong><br /> Monday, Sept. 23<br /> 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.<br /> Room 10-250</p> <p><strong>Open forum for undergraduate students</strong><br /> Monday, Sept. 23<br /> 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.<br /> Room 46-3002</p> <p><strong>Open forum for postdocs and research staff</strong><br /> Monday, Sept. 23<br /> 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.<br /> Room 34-101</p> <p><strong>Open forum for graduate students</strong><br /> Monday, Sept. 23<br /> 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.<br /> Room 46-3002</p> <p>Members of these communities are welcome and encouraged to attend and share their experiences and perspectives with members of the evaluation team. These discussions will inform the evaluation process and the team’s report to NECHE. Attendees may come and go throughout the hour.</p> Photo: Christopher HartingAdministration, Education, teaching, academics, Faculty, Staff, Students Leadership transition announced for MIT Media Lab Executive committee will lead lab during interim period. Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:30:26 -0400 School of Architecture and Planning <p>An executive committee of faculty and senior staff has been appointed to lead the MIT Media Lab through a transition period, effective immediately and until a new director is in place and acclimated.</p> <p>The committee was formed in response to a request by the MIT provost to the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, to work with the Media Lab community on transitional leadership for the lab and the search for the next director.</p> <p>Pattie Maes has agreed to serve as chair of the committee. The five members of the committee and their areas of responsibility are:</p> <ul> <li>Pattie Maes, professor of media arts and sciences: future lab governance model and search for new director;</li> <li>Deb Roy, professor of media arts and sciences: executive director of operations and communications;</li> <li>Tod Machover, professor and head of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences: community engagement and culture change;</li> <li>Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research: policies, practices, and culture of research; and</li> <li>Ramona Allen, the School of Architecture and Planning’s assistant dean for human resources and, as of Oct. 1, MIT’s vice president of human resources: administrative organization.</li> </ul> <p>“I am grateful to Pattie and the members of the committee for rising to the occasion under these challenging circumstances,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “These have been exceptionally difficult times for the Media Lab, and I want to thank the members of the community for their dedication to the lab and for their commitment to real change.”</p> <p>The committee has been tasked to chart a future of greater inclusion and transparency for the Media Lab. Committee members will reach out to the lab community with further information about its agenda and mission.&nbsp;</p> MIT Media Lab.Image: Andy RyanStaff, Students, Faculty, Media Lab, Administration, School of Architecture and Planning, Provost Deputy Executive Vice President Tony Sharon to retire after 20 years at MIT Six years managing central administrative functions followed 14 years in leadership roles at Lincoln Laboratory. Tue, 10 Sep 2019 10:50:14 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Tony Sharon, who has served as deputy executive vice president since 2013, will retire from MIT at the end of the current calendar year, concluding 20 years of service to the Institute.</p> <p>Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz announced the news today in a letter to MIT faculty and staff.</p> <p>“Tony has been one of my closest and most trusted advisors,” Ruiz wrote. “He has created bridges and strengthened relationships across MIT, while partnering with me to lead our senior management team and oversee the operations of MIT’s administrative areas.”</p> <p>“Tony has also been pivotal in attracting talent to a number of important leadership positions,” Ruiz added. “He has played a key role in building and mentoring the next generation of administrative leaders for the Institute.”</p> <p>As deputy executive vice president, Sharon has worked closely with Ruiz to lead the internal operations of MIT’s central administrative units, with responsibility for areas including MIT Medical, Human Resources, Environmental Health and Safety, Sustainability, Campus Planning, Facilities, MIT Police, Information Systems and Technology, and Audit.</p> <p>Sharon led the execution of the <a href="" target="_blank">MIT2030</a> framework for capital projects, helping to balance new construction with renewal of older buildings and developing a staff to maintain these buildings for future generations of faculty and students. He helped guide an unprecedented period of capital renewal on campus, Ruiz noted in his letter, addressing deferred maintenance projects and advancing new dormitory construction for both undergraduate and graduate students.</p> <p>“Every day, Tony Sharon proves it is somehow possible to combine a humble, gentle, easy-going manner with military precision and uncanny efficiency,” says President L. Rafael Reif. “As he has demonstrated over and over at MIT, Tony has a remarkable ability to get big things done while making everyone around him feel that they are vital to the team’s success. For his practical accomplishments and his personal example, we will always be in his debt.”</p> <p>Sharon joined MIT in 1999, spending his first 14 years at Lincoln Laboratory, a&nbsp;federally funded R&amp;D center&nbsp;managed by MIT for the Department of Defense. His first role at MIT was as research group leader of the 70-person Advanced Satellite Communications Engineering and Operations Group, which develops and tests satellite communications systems.</p> <p>In 2003, Sharon became Lincoln Laboratory’s executive officer, with responsibility for strategic planning for internal operations and investments. From 2006 to 2013, he was Lincoln Laboratory’s assistant director for operations, serving as the chief operating officer for a facility with 3,600 employees on a 75-acre campus with 1.7 million square feet of research, fabrication, test, and evaluation facilities.</p> <p>“Tony was a quick study when he arrived on campus in 2013,” Provost Martin Schmidt says. “He embraced MIT’s distinctive culture, figuring out how his work could complement and enhance that of MIT’s schools and academic departments. He was remarkably effective in these interactions, and I will miss having him as a colleague in these efforts.”</p> <p>Before joining MIT, Sharon spent 25 years working for the United States Air Force.</p> <p>“Someone asked how long I have been at MIT,” Sharon says. “When I answered ‘20 years,’ they remarked that I was fortunate to have had two professions — one in the Air Force, the second at MIT. I am deeply grateful that MIT gave me the opportunity to have two careers.”</p> <p>Ruiz’s letter to faculty and staff noted that over the coming months, he will work to distribute Sharon’s portfolio of responsibilities across the organization.</p> Tony SharonImage: Melanie Gonick, MITStaff, Administration, Cambridge, Boston and region, Lincoln Laboratory Letter regarding action on the Media Lab Sat, 07 Sep 2019 16:11:33 -0400 MIT News Office <p><em>The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.</em></p> <p>To the members of the MIT community,</p> <p>Last night, The New Yorker published an article that contains deeply disturbing allegations about the engagement between individuals at the Media Lab and Jeffrey Epstein.</p> <p>Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation. This morning, I asked MIT’s General Counsel to engage a prominent law firm to design and conduct this process. I expect the firm to conduct this review as swiftly as possible, and to report back to me and to the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation, MIT’s governing board.</p> <p>This afternoon, Joi Ito submitted his resignation as Director of the Media Lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute.</p> <p>As I described in my previous letter, the acceptance of the Epstein gifts involved a mistake of judgment. We are actively assessing how best to improve our policies, processes and procedures to fully reflect MIT’s values and prevent such mistakes in the future. Our internal review process continues, and what we learn from it will inform the path ahead.</p> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p>L. Rafael Reif</p> President L. Rafael Reif, Administration, Faculty, Staff Students spearhead group to enhance the graduate experience School of Engineering advisory group proposes a new leadership curriculum and stronger student-advisor relationships. Wed, 04 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Leda Zimmerman | School of Engineering <p>What do graduate students in engineering want?</p> <p>This was the question before a new advisory group launched by the MIT School of Engineering in late 2017 — the school’s first comprised entirely of graduate students. This fall the group is rolling out its inaugural initiatives: a graduate-level leadership minor or certificate and a set of recommendations intended to improve advisor-advisee relations.</p> <p>GradSAGE (short for Graduate Student Advisory Group for Engineering) was established by Anantha Chandrakasan just months after he became dean of the MIT School of Engineering.</p> <p>“I thought it would be great to get student engagement as we shaped new initiatives, and to learn their perspectives on important issues and challenges they face,” says Chandrakasan. “In a sense, we are listening to our customers.”</p> <p>The dean already counted department heads and other school stakeholders among his advisors. But Chandrakasan, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, felt he was missing the voice of students.</p> <p>“The beauty of this group is that the students came up with a list of topics and priorities for us to focus on,” Chandrakasan says. “This was an opportunity for them to tell me what was most important, and while I wasn’t surprised by their choices, I was surprised by how passionately they felt about these areas.”</p> <p><strong>Soft skills matter</strong></p> <p>The very first gathering of GradSAGE, on Dec. 5, 2017, was like “a brainstorming-schmooze session,” recalls Parker Vascik, a fifth-year graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics (AeroAstro). “But we quickly moved toward identifying specific topics where we felt we could make significant changes in the academic culture and environment.”</p> <p>One topic that immediately seized the interest of the group involved expanded opportunities to learn and practice leadership abilities.</p> <p>“Grad students come to MIT hoping to have an impact on the world, and they are probably in the top 1 percent in terms of technical skills,” says Lucio Milanese, a fourth-year graduate student in nuclear science and engineering. “But there are nontechnical skills, soft skills, that are essential to communicating ideas and managing people that are just as important in solving really important problems.”</p> <p>GradSAGE research suggested MIT engineering graduate students could benefit from more structured opportunities to learn and practice soft skills.</p> <p>“There is an ocean of knowledge to acquire around teamwork — giving and receiving feedback, conflict resolution, growth mindset, that the basic graduate school curriculum doesn’t address,” says Dhanushkodi Mariappan, a fourth-year graduate student in mechanical engineering. After working in industry and launching his own startup before grad school, Mariappan felt strongly about what was needed.</p> <p>“A formal leadership program could propel MIT graduate students in their careers, whether they are interested in taking on jobs in industry or in academia, where in some sense they will be running labs or research groups that are like little companies.”</p> <p><strong>A readymade leadership curriculum</strong></p> <p>Potential solutions to the leadership education challenge lay close at hand. Mariappan pointed the group to the Bernard M. Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program (GEL), a center focused on helping undergraduates acquire leadership skills. Mariappan made particular note of a GEL course he had taken, 6.928 (Leading Creative Teams), taught by David Niño.</p> <p>“The class was eye-opening,” says Mariappan, “We were introduced to frameworks that can be applied to solve problems in an incredible range of real-world situations.” It was a course with a blueprint for the kind of curriculum GradSAGE hoped to advance, so Mariappan recruited Niño to the effort.</p> <p>“To achieve something great in engineering takes a team, but engineers often don’t know how to develop a vision, recruit a talented team, facilitate group decisions, negotiate, delegate, and lead everyone in the same direction,” says Niño, who now works closely with GradSAGE. “Our courses involve practice of these leadership skills, so students can continue to evolve after graduation, and apply these over a lifetime.”</p> <p>As a result of this collaboration, a new option for satisfying a doctoral minor requirement draws on GEL’s classes, including new ones offered this fall that can serve as cornerstones for the minor: 6.S978 (Negotiation and Influence Skills for Technical Leaders) and 6.S976 (Engineering Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence). Students whose doctoral programs do not permit a minor can instead pursue the GEL Leadership Certificate, which will be launched in the spring of 2020. Leadership classes taken before then will be retroactively recognized and can count toward the certificate.</p> <p>“We envision hundreds of graduate students pursuing some sort of leadership development experience —not just in the school of engineering but in the other MIT schools,” says Milanese. “In 10 to 15 years, we want employers to recognize a unique brand of MIT leadership and value MIT graduate students as nearly universally possessing outstanding leadership skills.”&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“A very special relationship”</strong></p> <p>The second major thrust of GradSAGE focused on an aspect of graduate life universally acknowledged as critical.</p> <p>“Advisor-advisee relations arose in every single GradSAGE discussion as a root issue for nearly everything graduates experience, from mental health to taking on leadership opportunities,” says Vascik. “Graduate students have a very special relationship with one person who is boss, mentor, and a little bit of family, and this person guides your destiny while you’re here.”</p> <p>“Most problems between advisors and students boil down to two issues: poor advisor-advisee fit and poor communication,” according to Jessica Boles, who is starting her third year as a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS).</p> <p>“Many students arrive at MIT thinking, ‘Here is a field I’d like to work in, here’s a prominent person in the field I’d like to work with,’” says Boles. “But there are lots of other things to consider: Who will directly mentor them, what’s the work environment like, what are the advisor’s expectations and policies?”</p> <p>From informal surveys, Boles and her GradSAGE colleagues knew that an unclear understanding of an advisor’s standards and styles could lead to friction, disappointment, stress, lab-switching, and sometimes even departure from MIT.</p> <p>Different professors have starkly different approaches to dealing with their graduate students, notes Vascik. “One might like to see students three times a week and micromanage research, while another wants to get together once per semester,” he says. “Factors such as these can dramatically shape a student’s experience in graduate school, and we believe these styles and expectations should be communicated to incoming and current students more effectively.”</p> <p><strong>Transparency and communication</strong></p> <p>Approaching the challenge like engineers, the GradSAGE students developed flow charts of specific advisor-advisee problems, interviewed faculty, reviewed literature, and derived a set of potential mitigations. They ran their proposals by the Office of Graduate Education, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, MIT Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz, and then presented their recommendations to Chandrakasan. In a matter of months, the group had approval to pilot several initiatives.</p> <p>Among these efforts: requesting advisors to post online brief statements about their philosophies and policies related to research advising (an effort now being explored within the AeroAstro and EECS departments); and centralizing and publicizing resources for graduate students who encounter difficulties with their advisors. In addition, Boles produced a <a href="">video</a> that details the kinds of questions admitted students should consider during the graduate school selection process, which she unveiled online to admitted EECS students just prior to MIT's visit weekend last spring.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It was well-received, especially among the populations of students we really hope to reach: international students, underrepresented minorities, and students without prior graduate school experience,” she says. “So many more students sought information on the roles advisors would play in their research and career, and on the work environments in potential research labs, including expectations around publications, work hours, and group interactions.” A new, enhanced video is in the works intended for all incoming engineering graduate students.</p> <p>“Our goal is to increase transparency of advising style so we can ensure better advisor-advisee fits from the beginning,” says Boles. Down the line, adds Vascik, this work could translate to reduced stress among graduate students, fewer students switching labs, and more cohesive and productive labs. “Prospective students stand to benefit the most, because with online information, and their ability to ask smart questions, they will have a good sense before they arrive of what awaits them here.”</p> <p>For both the advising and leadership GradSAGE ventures, this fall marks just the start of a longer process. Growing these programs will take both time and money, which Chandrakasan seems intent to provide. “What we have done so far is expose important issues, and now it’s a matter of actually converting them into actionable items, which we must do,” he says.</p> Members of GradSAGE, with School of Engineering Dean Anantha Chandrakasan (center). From left to right: Angela Acocella, Parker Vascik, Jessica Boles, Vamsi Mangena, Anantha Chandrakasan, Lucio Milanese, Laureen Meroueh, Benjamin Lienhard, Dhanushkodi Mariappan.Image: Lille Paquette, MIT School of EngineeringGraduate, postdoctoral, School of Engineering, Community, Students, Faculty, Administration, Leadership, Mentoring Ramona Allen named vice president for human resources Now SA+P’s head of HR, she brings 30 years of service across the Institute. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 14:00:00 -0400 Steve Bradt | MIT News Office <p>Ramona Allen, who has served the Institute for 30 years in a variety of progressively senior human resources roles, has been named as MIT’s next vice president for human resources.</p> <p>Allen, currently assistant dean for human resources in the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), will begin her new role on Oct. 1. Her appointment was announced today by Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz in an email to MIT faculty and staff.</p> <p>“Ramona brings a deep appreciation and understanding of the MIT organization and culture, broad experience as a strategic thinker and creative problem solver, a collaborative and approachable management style, and exceptional leadership skills,” Ruiz wrote. “She has demonstrated a sustained dedication to MIT and an unwavering commitment to our community.”</p> <p>Allen joined MIT in 1989 and has served since then in a variety of human resources roles. During her tenure, she has served as an advisor to three SA+P deans and to the leadership of a number of departments, labs, and centers across campus.</p> <p>“After three decades, I am still inspired and excited about the work that happens at MIT,” Allen says. “People are our most valuable resource. It’s the role of HR — along with the faculty and staff who lead MIT’s departments, labs, centers, and other units ­— to recognize and make individuals feel valued and a true part of this community. I am honored to return to MIT Human Resources to work with the talented and committed professionals who work quietly behind the scenes to support life at MIT.”</p> <p>Allen will report to Ruiz, with a dotted-line connection to Provost Martin Schmidt. In his letter, Ruiz thanked Deputy Executive Vice President Anthony Sharon, who has led MIT Human Resources on an interim basis since the departure of Lorraine Goffe, MIT’s former vice president for human resources, at the end of 2018.</p> <p>Before coming to the Institute, Allen spent nine years working at Harvard Community Health Plan. Her first position at MIT, from 1989 to 1995, was as a personnel officer in MIT Human Resources, supporting the interdisciplinary research centers and laboratories under the vice president for research. Beginning in 1995, Allen served as human resources administrator in the Department of Biology; she joined the MIT Media Lab as its first director of human resources in 2001.</p> <p>In 2004, Allen assumed additional responsibilities for human resources activities across the Media Lab’s home school, SA+P. She was appointed as SA+P’s first director of human resources in 2008 and was promoted to assistant dean for human resources in 2013.</p> <p>“At once transformative and stabilizing, Ramona Allen brings a humane perspective to every aspect of human resources,”&nbsp;says&nbsp;Hashim Sarkis, dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.</p> <p>As SA+P’s top human resources official, Allen has:</p> <ul> <li>Created a wellness program, sponsored by the SA+P dean, with plans to expand following the school’s expected move into the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse.</li> <li>Engaged SA+P interns from the Year Up, Boston program — an intensive, one-year training program that provides talented and motivated underserved young adults with a combination of skills development, coursework for college credit, corporate internships, and support.</li> <li>Helped create an organizational design and structure, working with faculty, for two new research and academic units: the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Program in Art, Culture and Technology.&nbsp;</li> <li>Selected a new information system to manage search processes for hiring faculty in SA+P.</li> </ul> <p>Through her many roles over 30 years at MIT, Ruiz wrote, Allen’s&nbsp;experience has extended to many facets of human resources, including employee relations, labor relations, compensation, promotion and tenure processes, and training programs.&nbsp;She has developed flexible and creative workplace structures and diversity and inclusion plans.</p> <p>“I have the greatest enthusiasm for the many contributions I know Ramona will continue to make to the Institute,” Ruiz wrote in his letter to MIT faculty and staff.</p> Ramona AllenImage: courtesy of Ramona Allen, edited by MIT NewsAdministration, Staff, Human Resources, School of Architecture and Planning A warm reception for the Class of 2023 “I’m here to welcome you to your new home!” President L. Rafael Reif tells first-year students. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 10:23:53 -0400 David L. Chandler | MIT News Office <p>With audible enthusiasm, students in the Class of 2023 and their families gathered under a tent in front of Kresge Auditorium on Monday at one of the first events of orientation week, the annual President’s Convocation for the first-year students.</p> <p>President L. Rafael Reif introduced the crowd to MIT’s top leadership and recalled his own experiences when he first arrived at this campus, 2,000 miles north of his home in Caracas, Venezuela. “I was excited when I got to campus, but I was also anxious,” he said.</p> <p>Coming from a place whose average annual temperatures vary from 72 to 75 degrees, he said, he “had a lot to learn about boots, winter jackets, and the art of layering.” And, like many people arriving at this campus for the first time, he said, “I wasn’t sure if I had what it would take to succeed.” But those fears were quickly dispelled, he added.</p> <p>What he soon discovered, was “a community of students, faculty, researchers, and staff who were a lot like me — they loved to ask questions, they were passionate, they loved to tinker. Many of them came from someplace else. And they cared about helping each other and about helping society.” And, he added, “this is still the MIT I know today.”</p> <p>Reif said that “here on this campus, I found my home. So no matter where you come from, I’m here to welcome you to your new home!”</p> <p>That new home will undoubtedly produce both highs and lows, he said, adding, “You will enjoy great moments of success, but you may also experience moments of doubt.” He offered three pieces of advice to remember when those moments of doubt arrive.</p> <p>First, he said, “You belong here!” MIT Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86 “has a remarkable knack for finding the right students for each year’s incoming class. You’re here because you belong here. Do not forget that.”</p> <p>Second, “all of us experience doubts about ourselves — even the distinguished professors here on stage. Very often those doubts come out when you are trying something new or are pushing yourself. … Just remember, if you have doubts about yourself, it’s just a sign that you are learning.”</p> <p>Finally, he said, “You are surrounded by a community that cares about you. All of us are dedicated to your success, and we believe in you. If you need help, please ask. Everybody, everybody needs help sometimes.”</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p>Reif then introduced three professors who are also alumni, and who shared stories of their own early days at MIT. John Fernandez, class of ’85 and now director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI), led off by describing his three different arrivals at MIT. When he first arrived as an undergraduate, he wondered, “How will I relate to so many different people with so many different interests?” As a first-generation American whose parents had arrived from Latin America, he recalled, “I had so many questions.”</p> <p>After earning his graduate degrees elsewhere, he returned 17 years later to join the faculty. “Being part of the MIT faculty is a total dream job,” he said, “because we get to teach and learn and work with MIT undergraduates.” His third new arrival experience came in 2015, when he and his wife moved into Baker House as heads of house. They soon mastered the initially bewildering array of acronyms and course numbers that are sprinkled throughout the language of the MIT community. Now, he says, “my wife and I now both speak really good MIT.” Each of those three times, he said, he learned that “you change a place when you arrive, by the decisions you make and the good graces of your actions.”</p> <p>Fernandez then asked the new students to broaden their horizons. “Become a more effective MIT student, whatever major you choose, by learning deeply about human values, ethics, and their philosophical and social foundations” he said. “Learn these things from the experts. … MIT’s future and the world’s partly depends on it, and your future will be better for it.”</p> <p>In addition, he said, “Ask a question of yourself: Now that you have arrived at MIT, what will you do about climate change?” Whether by joining one of many student groups, working with ESI, or through academic research, this is an issue that everyone needs to take on in a serious way, he said. “Go build the MIT the world needs and deserves,” he said, “because now you are MIT, and MIT is you.”</p> <p>Julie Shah ’04, SM ’06, PhD ’11, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, said that in her experience MIT “pushes you to be your best personally and academically, but you never had to do it on your own.” Faculty members and fellow students are always there to help.</p> <p>Shah said, “People sometimes ask how I manage in such a competitive place,” but she found that in fact, people at the Institute are not competing with each other but rather competing to simply do the best they possibly can. “The only danger in asking a question here is that your friend or colleague or professor might spend an hour, or many hours, telling you everything they know about a topic.”</p> <p>While many people talk about learning to juggle the many demands of life at MIT, Shah took the advice quite literally: “I spent I can’t tell you how many hours in Lobby 7 watching the juggling club,” she recalled. Shah then learned to juggle, and realized how crucial it is to pay attention to maintaining a balanced view — if you focus too much on just one ball, “the whole thing falls apart,” she said. The same applies to balancing the parts of one’s life, including the academic and the extracurricular: “It’s important to have a hobby that you really love, outside of your coursework.”</p> <p>Marin Soljacic ’96, now a professor of physics, recalled arriving at MIT as a student from Croatia, never having been to the United States before. “I was surprised by quite a few things,” he said. One of those was the requirement to take eight classes in the humanities and social sciences in order to graduate. While he was initially skeptical, he said, “those ended up being some of my favorite classes,” and led to enduring friendships.</p> <p>Describing the difference between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, both of which he teaches classes on, Soljacic related a time when his wife was searching for her keys. Under classical mechanics, he explained, “things are always exactly where one leaves them. It’s quite remarkable when you think about it.” By contrast, in the world of quantum mechanics, the keys could quantum tunnel unpredictably to an entirely different place. According to his wife, this is a typical example of MIT humor.</p> <p>Soljacic said that in traveling around the world, people often ask him to describe what is the special strength of MIT. “We have some money,” he said, but so do many other places. “We also have some great equipment,” but so do other institutions. “Our main strength really is people,” he said. “We have the best people in the world. And from this day forward, this includes you also, the best undergraduates in the world.”</p> Members of the incoming Class of 2023 and their families listen to remarks by President Reif and three professors who are also MIT alums.Image: Jake BelcherStudents, Undergraduate, Faculty, Staff, Administration, Special events and guest speakers, Community The Engine expands, responding to rapid growth of “tough tech” New location will support growing innovation ecosystem; serve as hub for the region. Tue, 27 Aug 2019 00:01:01 -0400 MIT News Office <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Engine</a> announced today that it will create an additional 200,000 square feet of shared office, fabrication, and lab space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to further foster “tough tech” — transformative technology that takes the long view, solving the world’s important challenges through the convergence of breakthrough science, engineering, and leadership.</p> <p>The Engine, built by MIT, <a href="" target="_blank">invests in early-stage tough-tech companies</a>. These companies have long been underserved by the traditional investment ecosystem, leaving many breakthrough ideas stuck in the lab. A new model of venture capital firm, The Engine has provided dozens of forward-looking entrepreneurs with critical access to capital, industry know-how, and specialized equipment through its 28,000-square-foot location at 501 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, Cambridge.</p> <p>The expansion, in collaboration with MIT, will extend and amplify the progress of the thriving innovation ecosystem in Cambridge and the greater Boston region. Central to the effort will be the renovation of the existing building at 750 Main Street to serve as a new hub for tough-tech growth, with the capacity to accommodate approximately 100 companies and 800 entrepreneurs. The initiative will accelerate the development of next-generation technology by providing the vital infrastructure and resources necessary to accommodate fast-growing startups throughout the region.</p> <p>This new hub will provide a place for companies to put their ideas into action — helping them build transformative technologies as efficiently, economically, and effectively as possible. It will have a natural proximity to academic institutions; access to talent; flexible and affordable lab and fabrication facilities; and a network that will foster relationships for market readiness. It aims to connect the diverse tough-tech ecosystem — entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, leaders in academia and business, investors, and policymakers. The space will be specifically designed for companies at the convergence of technology disciplines across engineering and physical sciences, where access to diverse space and tools are essential for success. This expansion demonstrates MIT’s ongoing commitment to investing in and anchoring the evolving innovation ecosystem in and around Kendall Square.</p> <p>The Engine launched its portfolio in 2017 with investments in seven tough-tech companies. It has since invested in 12 additional tough-tech founding teams, bringing its current portfolio to 19 companies. Together, those companies have raised approximately $285 million in capital and employ more than 200 people.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We have a rare opportunity to help cultivate the next generation of leaders tackling the world’s most urgent, challenging problems,” says Katie Rae, CEO and managing partner of The Engine. “We also have the chance to forge a foundational infrastructure that can potentially change the geography of innovation. A thriving hub can propel the Boston region into the future as a magnet for world-changing companies in tough tech.”</p> <p>Since its <a href="">founding</a> in 2016, The Engine has pioneered a new framework for investing in and supporting tough tech startups working on transformative technologies — ranging from commercial fusion power and ultra-efficient semiconductors to next-generation cell therapies and new manufacturing methods for metals, among others. This framework clears a path to commercialization for companies by providing capital, infrastructure (labs, equipment, office space, and more), and a support network. In October 2018, hundreds of members of The Engine’s network of companies and supporters joined forces in the Boston area at the first annual <a href="" target="_blank">Tough Tech Summit</a>.</p> <p>“It’s thrilling to witness the revolutionary work coming out of The Engine,” says Israel Ruiz, executive vice president and treasurer at MIT. “The model appears to be working just as we had hoped: The direct access to key infrastructure, enabling investment, and support services is helping game-changing innovators to accelerate their work in order to more rapidly address consequential and challenging pursuits. The new expanded space will allow The Engine, and its companies, to significantly increase its local and global impact.”</p> <p>The design for the 750 Main Street building renovation is slated to be finalized in 2019, with construction scheduled to begin later this year. The Engine’s new space will be complemented by active ground floor uses that will contribute to a more animated streetscape.</p> <p>Once situated in its expanded location, The Engine will continue to invest in areas such as advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, energy, food and agriculture, space, semiconductors, the internet of things, quantum computing, biotech, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the intersection of new technologies.</p> <p>MIT continues to play a leading role in fostering innovation and research in and around the MIT campus through its Kendall Square Initiative, which will create a vibrant multiuse district with new buildings, open space, and gathering spaces, and will be home to innovative companies, retail, and restaurants. This tough-tech hub will be a new center for The Engine, and a focal point of the innovation ecosystem inspired and cultivated by MIT.</p> <p>For more information about The Engine, please see its first <a href="" target="_blank">report</a> for the period 2016 -2018.</p> Exterior view of the new home of The EngineImage courtesy of The EngineInnovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Startups, Funding, Invention, Industry, Business and management, Administration, Kendall Square, Facilities, Cambridge, Boston and region, The Engine David H. Koch, prominent supporter of cancer research at MIT, dies at 79 Alumnus supported pioneering biomedical center, among many Institute causes and activities. Fri, 23 Aug 2019 09:30:19 -0400 MIT News Office <p>David H. Koch ’62, SM ’63, one of the most important benefactors in MIT’s modern history, has died. He was 79 years old.</p> <p>Koch’s willingness to back significant initiatives at the Institute was exemplified by his foundational gift establishing the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a pioneering facility that brings research scientists and engineers together to advance the frontiers of cancer medicine. The Koch Institute has become a centerpiece of MIT’s pursuit of biomedical innovation and the useful application of knowledge to global health.</p> <p>Koch had wide-ranging interests concerning the life of the Institute, however, and in addition to cancer research, he supported many other causes and activities at MIT, including chemical engineering, childcare for employees, and athletics. At any given moment around MIT, beneficiaries of Koch’s gifts included faculty with endowed professorships, students with fellowships he supported — and toddlers in the childcare center he helped found.</p> <p>“David Koch had a brilliant instinct for opportunities where the lever of his philanthropy could make a transformative difference,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “As one example, his gift to launch the Koch Institute dramatically advanced a new strategy in which engineers and scientists push the frontiers of cancer research by working side by side. At the same time, he saw that the David H. Koch Childcare Center could play an indispensable role in helping young faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students manage the balance of family and career. We are grateful for his longstanding devotion to the Institute. Very few graduates have left such a broad and indelible mark on the life of MIT.”</p> <p>The Koch Institute, dedicated in 2011, was backed by a $100 million gift Koch made to MIT in October 2007, allowing for a new state-of-the-art facility at MIT and an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to the fight against cancer. The Koch Institute houses a wide array of world-leading scientists: Five current and former faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and nine current and former faculty have been awarded the National Medals of Science or Technology and Innovation. All told, Koch has given MIT $134 million to support cancer research and facilities.</p> <p>“From my very first days as MIT’s president, David Koch became a friend, collaborator, supporter, and enthusiast,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield, who led MIT from 2004 to 2012. “He already had a long history of generosity to MIT, but his commitment to accelerating progress against cancer gave particular force to MIT’s efforts to reimagine our own cancer research. David was one of this nation’s most generous donors to cancer research, and his engagement with many of the leading cancer research centers gave him an amazingly sophisticated understanding of the frontier of cancer biology and therapy.”</p> <p>The Koch Institute emphasizes five main areas of research: the development of nanotechnology-based cancer treatments; new devices for cancer detection and monitoring; research about the molecular and cellular processes of metastasis; the advancement of personalized medicine, by studying cancer pathways and resistance to drugs; and research about how the immune system can fight cancer.</p> <p>“This is a new approach to cancer research with the potential to uncover breakthroughs in therapies and diagnostics,” Koch <a href="">said in 2007</a>. “Conquering cancer will require multidisciplined initiatives and MIT is positioned to enable that collaboration. As a cancer survivor, I feel especially fortunate to be able to help advance this effort.”</p> <p>President Emerita Hockfield, whose tenure included the period when David H. Koch made his initial gift funding the Koch Institute, as well as its opening, lauded Koch’s visionary support of the project.</p> <p>“David provided resources, of course, but also wisdom and strategy to keep the project on time and on budget,” Hockfield says. “He took personal interest in the people and projects at what became the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.”</p> <p>Koch’s embrace of an interdisciplinary center for fighting cancer advanced and enhanced MIT’s capabilities in this arena, notes Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at MIT, and director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.</p> <p>“As an MIT-trained engineer, David immediately saw the value in bringing together the great strengths in engineering on our campus with our cancer science efforts in order to solve the most challenging problems in cancer,” Jacks says. “As a cancer survivor, he has been deeply committed to supporting innovative approaches to improve outcomes for patients. David chose to invest in MIT because he believed that we were uniquely positioned to change the course of cancer, and his generosity has enabled us to do that.”</p> <p>Jacks added that MIT benefitted from Koch’s high level of interest in the the research projects he backed.</p> <p>“From the earliest days of planning the Koch Institute, David dug into the details,” Jacks says. “He was always inquisitive and really enjoyed asking probing questions, whether about the HVAC system in the building or the intricacies of nanotechnology-based cancer therapy. David was a huge supporter of what we do and rightly proud of what we have created in the Koch Institute. And we are extremely grateful for his support.”</p> <p>In addition to the named chair Jacks holds, Koch endowed other professorships that bear his name, held by MIT faculty in the fields of biology, biological engineering, chemical engineering, and materials science and engineering.</p> <p>David H. Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas, on May 3, 1940. He graduated from Deerfield Academy, a prep school in Massachusetts, and received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from MIT in chemical engineering, the Institute’s Course 10. He joined Koch Industries, the firm founded by his father, in 1970, and became president of a division of the company, Koch Engineering, in 1979. He served as executive vice president of Koch Industries until publicly announcing his retirement, due to his health, in June 2018.</p> <p>Koch was also a Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation. He first became a Member of the Corporation in 1988, and was elected a Life Member in 1998.</p> <p>Beyond cancer research, Koch was also a significant supporter of MIT’s programs in chemical engineering. In the 1980s, Koch made a significant gift to sustain the School of Chemical Engineering Practice at MIT, whose roots go back to 1916. Now known as the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice, this is a unique program for graduate students combining coursework with internships, to enhance both academic and professional development.</p> <p>“David Koch was a model philanthropist who funded initiatives across a swath of cultural, scientific, and medical institutions,” says Robert Millard, chair of the MIT Corporation. “His generosity has benefited humanity broadly — from the arts to cancer research to science. MIT is deeply thankful for his many contributions to our community.”</p> <p>In a different vein, Koch served as lead donor for the David H. Koch Childcare Center at MIT, which opened in 2013 and almost doubled the childcare capacity on campus. Situated on Vassar Street on the west side of the MIT campus, the center provides high-quality support for MIT faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and staff who are raising young families, often while pursuing intensive research careers.</p> <p>Koch decided to give $20 million for the facility after serving on the Biology Visiting Committee at MIT — one of many such groups that advise the Institute — and recognizing the need for more extensive childcare facilities in order to help attract and retain talented personnel on campus. Along with Koch, Charles W. Johnson ’55 and Jennifer C. Johnson also helped fund the facility.</p> <p>A less well-known but vital aspect of Koch’s relationship with MIT was his enduring support for the Institute’s basketball team. Koch was a standout basketball player as an undergraduate, and captained the MIT team during the 1961-62 season, his senior year; he played alongside his brother Bill on MIT’s varsity team. David Koch’s attachment to the program continued throughout his life.</p> <p>Indeed, Koch not only followed the team, and attended team banquets, but endowed the position of coach for the men’s basketball team, a role that has been filled since the 1995-96 season by Larry Anderson. During that time, MIT has had a superb run of success, which includes making the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2012.</p> <p>“My heart goes out the entire Koch family," says Anderson. “I know that David had lots of love and interests – we were lucky enough that MIT Basketball was one of them. He was proud to wear the MIT Cardinal red and silver gray as captain of the team. He was the record-holder for 47 years for the most points scored in a single game with 41, and his support meant so much to the MIT Basketball family.”</p> <p>“David’s generous philanthropy allowed us to do many impossible things at MIT, but I have valued equally his curiosity, interest, engagement, and enthusiasm,” Hockfield says.&nbsp;“Coming from an MIT family, David Koch was truly a son of MIT who made the Institute a better place, for its students and faculty, and for the lives they change through their work.” &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> David Koch during a visit to MIT on Oct. 4 2013 to dedicate the Koch Childcare Center on Vassar StreetPhoto: Dominick ReuterObituaries, Administration, Chemical engineering, School of Engineering, Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER), Giving, Alumni/ae, President L. Rafael Reif