Frequently Asked Questions
1. How will inputs to the plan be used?
Ideas and suggestions submitted via the website or captured during community engagements will be compiled and assessed to determine where they can be most effectively implemented.
Suggestions that have Institute-wide application will be considered for inclusion in this plan. As each academic, research, and administrative unit at MIT will be developing (or refining) its own strategic plan in the coming months, ideas that seem best incorporated within a particular school, department, lab, center, or other research or administrative unit will be forwarded to leaders of those offices or organizations to be considered there.
It may not be possible to include all ideas and suggestions generated through our community engagement process. It is likely that ideas will be sorted along the lines of be short-, medium-, and long-term strategies, programs, and initiatives.
All participants in our community engagement process will receive a summary of the ideas and suggestions generated by the MIT community.
2. Why is this version of the plan not more specific about resources and a timeline?
The first draft of the Strategic Action Plan lays out a framework—a set of institutional commitments, and a set of programs and initiatives for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at MIT—that will enable and facilitate local planning processes across the Institute. Based on inputs to this version of the plan, as well as plans that will be designed or refined at the local level, MIT will issue a subsequent version of the Strategic Action Plan that contains detail on the resources, timing, and specific goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion at MIT.
To establish goals for Institute-wide commitments, local leadership—deans, department heads, administrative leaders, and other members of the community—needs to identify and prioritize objectives that are specific to their areas and are within their direct control. They then need to identify the resources that will be necessary to accomplish those goals. Those plans and resource requests will then be rolled up and coordinated so that MIT’s senior leadership can make appropriate resource-allocation decisions. It is likely that resources will come from both central and local budgets.
3. Who will hold MIT responsible?
The president and senior leadership of MIT have been actively involved in crafting this plan, and they are its ultimate owners. Under their direction, the plan itself makes specific provisions for the creation of new systems and processes related to data collection and accountability. It is likely that the Committee on Race and Diversity will continue to play an oversight role in the monitoring and implementation of the plan.
4. How transparent will accountability be?
Several of the commitments in this plan are related to improving data collection around MIT’s efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. There is significant work to be done in improving the consistency with which data is collected and reported. Greater consistency in data collection and reporting will support greater capacity to identify disparities and track progress in eliminating or diminishing disparities.
Operating with the usual restrictions around privacy and confidentiality, MIT will express this data publicly via a public dashboard created in alignment with the goals of the plan.
5. How is this plan different than MIT’s previous efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion?
This is MIT’s first attempt to undertake the development of an Institute-wide strategic plan on issues that affect the entire community. The plan does not offer commentary on past reports or observations about the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion at MIT. It is, rather, a commitment to the Institute community about what MIT is going to do to reinforce its value and interest in being a leading voice in creating and sustaining more diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities.
Senior leaders have invested significant time to make sure this plan reflects their best understanding of current challenges, strengths, and opportunities of the Institute, and they have aligned this plan with other strategic priorities at the Institute.
6. What happened to DEI recommendations that have been submitted over the years from different constituency groups?
The starting point for this Strategic Action Plan was a list of approximately 177 recommendations, ideas, and suggestions from previous reports, studies, and lists of demands commissioned by or presented to MIT leadership. Many previous suggestions were implemented prior to the creation of this plan; others have been incorporated into this draft. Others may be more appropriately considered in the next stages of planning.
Here is a partial listing of the reports, documents, and efforts that have informed the current version of the plan:
- A Study on the Status of Women Faculty In Science at MIT (1999)
- Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941–1999 (2001)
- Reports of the Committees on the Status of Women Faculty (2002)
- Report of the Initiative for Faculty Race and Diversity ("The Hammond Report" 2010)
- Recommendations from the Black Students’ Union and Black Graduate Student Association (2015)
- Advancing a Respectful and Caring Community: Learning by Doing at MIT (2015)
- Response to the Report of the National Academies Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine (2020)