To help us meet our charge of improving the quality of graduate student life and learning at MIT, we engage frequently with MIT graduate students to understand their concerns and ideas. In so doing, over the years we have built effective partnerships with student leaders, while also forging stronger connections with the Division of Student Life (DSL) and MIT’s Schools, departments and the Schwarzman College of Computing. These extensive conversations led to the creation of our Graduate Student Roadmap in 2018.
We feel that this approach, advocated by our student community, is the right thing to do. It’s in keeping with MIT’s spirit and values, and it informs how we are making MIT a more caring and supportive environment for everyone.
Key Priorities for 2022-2023
- Refining and implementing a strategic plan to achieve excellence in grad advising and mentoring.
- Further enhancing career and professional development opportunities.
- Integrating and bolstering inclusive recruitment & admissions practices.
- Greater financial security for all students: MIT’s cost-of-living-based stipend increases have outpaced those at nearly all private universities with graduate student unions. Throughout the pandemic, MIT offered its students generous assistance with housing costs, moving expenses, and other financial burdens.
- MIT has invested in students with the most pressing needs: The Institute has introduced new programs through which we have allocated approximately $1 million in grants for graduate students with families, students on short-term appointments, and doctoral students needing longer-term support.
- MIT has provided enhanced health and wellness support: MIT Medical continues to offer excellent, robust health insurance options with premiums that are on par with or less expensive than our peers and has expanded copay-free access to behavioral health care outside of MIT Medical from 12 visits per year to 52.
- MIT has championed its international students: In 2020, MIT joined with Harvard University in successfully filing suit against the U.S, Department of Homeland Security to rescind a federal policy that would have barred international students on F-1 visas from taking a full online course load while studying in the United States. And to help manage the challenges that the pandemic presented for its international graduate students, MIT allocated $5.8 million to facilitate roughly 1,300 remote international appointments. This ensured that students did not face interruptions to their academic and research progress, and were able to continue their studies and research from abroad.
- MIT has worked to build a more inclusive, supportive, and diverse community: It has hired school-based diversity deans; increased staffing in the International Students Office, Career Advising and Professional Development, and GradSupport; added an employee to provide dedicated support for veterans and created a Grad Families Office; invested additional resources in its Violence Prevention and Response and Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response offices; refined anti-retaliation policies; provided guaranteed transitional funding for students who wish to change research advisors or groups; and offered additional mentoring and harassment-prevention training.
- MIT has fostered students’ personal and professional growth: It has enhanced advising and training, offering more than 40 workshops and panels in partnership with 15 academic and administrative departments and developing more focused career fairs and networking opportunities.
- MIT has created new and improved existing communications: It has launched a new, comprehensive Office of Graduate Education website; developed DoingWell, a health and well-being one-stop resource; refined pre-orientation and orientation information and training for new students; and elevated the presence of graduate students and their families across multiple channels (MIT News, social media, national media.
- Enabling MIT to work with graduate students in new ways: In light of the successful graduate student unionization election in April 2022, MIT is engaged in good-faith negotiations with MIT Graduate Student Union, affiliated with the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, over the terms and conditions of employment for students in the bargaining unit. Given that the union represents roughly half of our graduate students, MIT has also reaffirmed its commitment to all graduate students, including those not represented by the union.