Actions spurred by the 2015 recommendations of the Black Students’ Union and Black Graduate Student Association continue to pave the way for meaningful and lasting change across the MIT community.
Require every department, lab and center to post a formal statement affirming MIT's commitment to students' health, diversity and inclusion.
Hold diversity orientation for incoming undergraduate students in small group settings and in spaces designated for students from underrepresented groups.
Since 2016, incoming first-year undergraduate students have participated in facilitated, small-group dialogues on diversity and inclusion.
Require diversity training for undergraduates after their second year.
MIT introduced a DEI course module in 2018 with a focus on terminology and MIT-specific resources. Students are required to take the course upon entering MIT.
Graduate student orientation
Offer a special, university-wide orientation session for incoming graduate students of underrepresented racial/ethnic background.
The annual Graduate Students of Color Welcome has been institutionalized as an orientation event. The event brings together MIT officers, faculty, staff and students to welcome incoming graduate students of color. It presents an opportunity to discuss issues facing students from underrepresented groups and detail campus resources and student organizations focused on graduate student diversity and inclusion.
Graduate student training
Require diversity training for incoming graduate students.
MIT implemented required diversity training for incoming graduate students in 2019, and the requirement continues.
Targeted survey questions
Add targeted survey questions to the Quality of Life and Undergraduate Enrolled Student surveys on feelings of diversity/inclusion at MIT.
MIT incorporated questions on diversity/inclusion at MIT into the 2016 Senior Survey and 2017 Quality of Life Survey, and continues to ask those questions in the surveys.
Release results of survey questions about diversity/inclusion broken down by identity groups.
Breakdowns of responses by categories such as student level, gender, racial or ethnic underrepresentation, sexual orientation, disability status, veteran status and student housing type are often available, dependent on the topic of the survey and what demographic questions were included. In all cases, breakouts are only provided when the confidentiality of individual respondents can be assured.
MIT Medical hire
Hire a full-time equivalent with specialization/experience with psychological issues affecting the African Diaspora in MIT Medical’s Health and Counseling Office.
In late 2016, MIT Medical named Dr. Karen Singleton chief of service/associate medical director. Though not a full-time clinician at MIT Medical, Dr. Singleton is an expert in multicultural counseling and trauma, and leads Student Mental Health and Counseling Services’ (SMHC) key initiatives, including staff multicultural competency training and the recruitment, retention and promotion of racially diverse staff.
In 2020, MIT Medical hired a director of diversity, equity and inclusion, who works closely with Dr. Singleton to advance these efforts. SMHC has also appointed clinicians with experience in race-based trauma and multicultural outreach. One of the appointed clinicians serves as the Coordinator of the Let's Chat program and liaison to the Let's Chat @ OME initiative.
Support for students
Expand the capacity of MIT Medical’s Counseling and Mental Health Services division to assist underrepresented students who may be experiencing race-based traumatic stress.
After successful pilots, Student Mental Health and Counseling (SMHC) partnered with the Office of Minority Education to launch Let’s Chat @ OME, and with the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) to offer the Mental Health Matters program. OGE also recently hired Gaurav Jashnani—who has significant training and expertise in trauma and mental health counseling, and experience in social justice and DEI-related work—as assistant dean for student support and advising. And OGE has identified race-based traumatic stress as a legitimate basis for special academic accommodation when a student is confirmed by an authorized professional to show symptoms of such stress.
Also, MIT Medical has appointed clinicians in SMHC with experience in race-based trauma and multicultural outreach, and appointed additional clinicians of color. SMHC continues to deepen staff training through clinician ally groups, anti-oppression training and a range of group offerings for students of color.
Undergraduate financial aid
Increase financial aid to compete with peer institutions, reaffirming MIT's commitment to keeping MIT education accessible and affordable through need-blind admission and a generous need-based financial aid program.
In AY23, MIT's commitment to undergraduate financial aid grew to $161.8 million. When measured in real dollars, the average cost of an MIT education for those who receive financial aid has been reduced by 26% over the past two decades. In 2021, 82% of MIT seniors graduated with no debt; of those who assumed debt to finance their education, the median indebtedness at graduation was $15,721.
MIT is one of only seven American universities that is need blind and full need, which means no student will be disadvantaged in the admissions process because of financial need. The Institute remains deeply committed to increasing support for undergraduate financial aid.
Accountability for matriculation/graduation
Introduce greater accountability for departmental performance re: matriculation/graduation of underrepresented graduate students.
Institutional Research (IR) developed an interactive Diversity Dashboard, which allows a user to view and sort demographic data using multiple variables. IR also generates custom reports for department leadership and visiting committees that present analysis of various aspects of department climate and context in the form of demographic comparisons. Staff in the Department Support Program work with leadership to identify areas for improvement and develop action plans, with biennial surveys providing status reports. The strategic action plan for diversity, equity and inclusion will further address this recommendation.
Resources for academic/professional job searches
Provide tailored resources to help underrepresented graduate students compete successfully on academic and professional job markets.
The Office of Graduate Education has increased the number of staff focused on MIT's diversity recruitment efforts, creating bandwidth for the office to enhance its efforts in professional development. In October 2021, MIT Career Advising and Professional Development launched the Mentoring Circle Initiative for Graduate Students of Color to connect students with alumni who can provide culturally relevant perspectives on pathways to academic and industry careers.
Underrepresented graduate student enrollment
Develop and implement a ten-year plan to increase the number of under-represented minority graduate students, in particular Black graduate students.
The MIT Strategic Action Plan for Belonging, Achievement, and Composition, released in September 2022, articulates 18 actions aimed at improving the representation of underrepresented graduate students. Among the proposed metrics are graduate program applicants, applicant yield rates, graduate student diversity and participation in MIT-sponsored pipeline programs.
Training for lab personnel
Require implicit bias training for research lab personnel—faculty, staff and students. Require retraining every three years.
MIT offers on-demand, customized training that accounts for implicit bias in the context of a broader workshop or strategy. Through GlobeSmart (available on Atlas), MIT also offers training to help recognize the differences in culture that may result in biased behavior in the lab. The training is not required.
Create a diversity representative in each department.
MIT’s five schools and the college have hired assistant deans for DEI, who have a dotted-line reporting relationship to the ICEO. The schools of Engineering, Sloan and Science have also appointed faculty to serve as associate deans focused on issues of DEI. And many academic departments have hired diversity officers. The ICEO is working with all new DEI staff and leadership to develop this cohort and promote Institute-wide collaboration in academic and administrative units.
Release annual data re: course retention rate and flow and re: underrepresented student enrollment by course/year.
The registrar now publishes reports of underrepresented student enrollment by course and year, available to anyone with an MIT certificate. MIT does not publish major retention rate and flow, but shares the data with department heads.
“Immersion studies” HASS-Elective
Restrict the mandatory HASS-Elective to a newly designated "Immersion studies" HASS-Elective.
Faculty and administrators shared their concerns about this recommendation with the BSU leaders and engaged them in a discussion. MIT is committed to identifying and developing curricular experiences on diversity and inclusion within each major, but does not plan to require students to take classes in immersion studies.