Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

From the President: Optimizing MIT

Achieving our mission depends on a thriving community.

More than at any other time I can remember, the people of MIT are working on questions of community. We have focused with new intensity on such complex issues as sexual assault, mental health, and inclusion. With leadership from our students, we have worked through a range of campus tensions with thoughtfulness and mutual respect. We have come together to weather and respond to violence, injustice, and divisiveness in the broader society. We even proved that a boisterous all-ages, all-­campus dance party can be … very MIT. (In celebrating the campus centennial, it became obvious that such events should happen more than every 100 years.)

Because you have told me so, I know that many MIT graduates applaud this emphasis on community. But I also know that some find it surprising or even misplaced—not the MIT you remember.

Having spent more than half my life at MIT, I embrace the Institute’s standards, traditions, and values as my own. With that perspective, I have come to see that attending to questions of community is vital to “optimizing the engine” of MIT.

This story is part of the November/December 2016 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Let me explain this with two observations. First, no alum would be surprised to hear that MIT is in the talent business. Our ability to attract today’s star faculty, postdocs, and graduate students and to enroll the 18-year-old stars of tomorrow is the secret to our success—and we cannot take that ability for granted. Therefore, while our research teams are busy inventing the future, we also work aggressively to make sure that despite extraordinary competition, MIT will always remain a magnet for the world’s great talent.

Second, and likewise, none of you would be surprised to hear that MIT’s success depends on sustaining our uncommon strength at collaborating across boundaries of every kind.

From where I sit, then, it’s clear that to fulfill MIT’s mission in today’s world, we must aspire to be not just a concentration of smart individuals but a thriving community, a community that actively removes barriers to talent and eliminates obstacles to collaboration. Through our focus on community, we are deliberately working to do exactly that. In effect, when we seek new ways to draw top talent from everywhere, when we strive to make sure that everyone who earns a place here feels respected and at home, when we work to better understand each other’s world views, even when we take time to celebrate together, we make MIT stronger. By enlisting the full strength of each individual’s intellectual excellence and creativity, and by maximizing our capacity for collaboration, we become a community truly equipped to help make a better world.

Get stories like this before anyone else with First Look.

Subscribe today
Already a Premium subscriber? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.