Creating the position of Institute Community and Equity Officer

April 11, 2013

To the members of the MIT community:
One of my goals as president is to cultivate a caring community focused on MIT's shared values of excellence, meritocracy, openness, integrity and mutual respect. I also want to help the entire MIT community to draw strength and energy from our extraordinary diversity of experiences and backgrounds.
To advance that vision, I am creating a new position, to be filled by a member of the faculty – the Institute Community and Equity Officer, or ICEO. As a senior member of the administration, the ICEO will serve as a thought leader on the subjects of community, equity, inclusion and diversity; a focal point for organizing MIT's related activities and conversations; and a hands-on practitioner who disseminates best practices and inspires the awareness and enthusiasm to help them flourish. Reporting to the provost, the ICEO will lead MIT to make practical progress toward our vision on a daily basis, in ways that enhance the life and work of MIT faculty, students, post-docs and staff. Our aim is for everyone here to feel, as so many of us already do, that MIT is home.
As I prepare to make this new appointment, I want to thank two distinguished members of the MIT community for their sustained leadership on questions of equity and inclusion. For more than five years, Wesley Harris, the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Barbara Liskov, Institute Professor, have jointly served as Associate Provosts for Faculty Equity. Building on many previous efforts, including the insights of the Report of the Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity, and on the 1999 and 2011 reports on the status of women faculty in science and engineering, they have driven important progress on faculty recruiting, retention and mentorship. To inspire and guide such progress throughout the MIT community, Wes and Barbara have both encouraged the creation of this new position. They will step down on July 1, 2013, by which time we expect the ICEO to be in place. Please join me in thanking Wes and Barbara for their wisdom, commitment, perseverance and dedicated service.
If you would like to recommend a faculty candidate to serve as ICEO or have insights about how we should frame the position, please contact Provost Chris Kaiser.
L. Rafael Reif