Dear OVC colleagues,
I trust everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I am writing to provide you with a few updates and to ask for your help with some OVC priorities.
First Year Experience (FYE)
Part of our effort to improve the first year experience is a new spring course, Designing the First Year at MIT. The team planning the course would appreciate your help promoting it to our undergraduate and graduate students. For more information, see the MIT News story and course website. Posters and cards are also available upon request (email@example.com).
Campus Preview Weekend 2018
Earlier this week, I sent a note to all MIT faculty concerning the 2018 Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). It will be held on April 12-April 15. I know that many OVC offices are already planning to play a role in hosting events or open houses. In addition, I encourage you to collaborate with department heads, academic administrators, and others to ensure we have the best CPW yet. Also note that the Admissions Office is working on a new community website where you’ll find more about CPW 2018, including forms to submit events and to volunteer. Stay tuned for its announcement in January.
Proposed Tax Reforms
As per President Reif’s recent community letter, the GOP’s proposed tax legislation “contains several provisions that could have damaging impact on members of our community and the Institute as a whole.” Under some scenarios, graduate students could be placed under immense financial pressure, as tuition would be treated as taxable income. MIT would have to provide further aid to address this, which could ultimately require a significant reduction in the size of the student body. The Graduate Student Council (GSC) has stepped in to advocate on behalf of all graduate students at MIT, running phonathons, writing op-eds and engaging with the media, and visiting representatives. MIT leadership is also working to lobby for a positive outcome. Once we know the how the final legislation shapes up, we will find ways to update the community. There is a planned open forum about these issues at a future GSC meeting.
Thanks again for all of your hard work, especially during this busy time of year prior to the winter break. Each day we are becoming a stronger, more collaborative organization. I see evidence of our values in action in all the ways we put our students first, work across the institute, and even have fun together such as at the recent DSL-OVC gathering. We are also making progress through our collective review of the draft mission statement for OVC. I expect the final mission will soon grace our website and, perhaps as a poster, our offices too.
Finally, the work of designing the structure of the organization is still ongoing. Once we are ready, the leadership team and I will share an update with you.
In the meantime, please continue to send me your ideas and insights about how we can make OVC an even more fantastic place for the students, staff, and faculty at MIT.
Ian A. Waitz
Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics