Covid-19 Info Center

May 21, 2020

Join us in thinking about the fall and beyond at MIT

To the members of the MIT community,

As outlined in President Reif’s letter last week, the MIT 2020 Team is excited to invite all of our staff, students, and faculty members to join in the thinking process about academic options for the fall and beyond.

Over the past two weeks, a subgroup of the MIT 2020 Team led by Kate Trimble, Professor Ceasar McDowell, Kate Weishaar and Professor John Fernandez, has developed ways to engage the community (outlined below) and created an online resource (MIT certificate required) that shares many of the assumptions and considerations that must underlie any approach we take.

Now we need your help developing and evaluating options for the next academic year.

How to participate

If you are interested in taking part, there are several opportunities to engage:

  • Feedback form: Share observations, creative ideas, and concerns with us via a feedback form (MIT certificate required).
  • Charrettes: Take part in one of several interactive online ‘community charrettes,’ a time-tested approach to community-centered design. Each charrette event will be two hours in length and facilitators will help guide the discussion. Charrette attendance may be limited depending on facilitator availability, and advance registration is required. Please sign up here.
  • Small-group discussions: Lead or be part of a self-organized and -guided group discussion (6–10 people in 60-minute sessions). More information and guidance are here (MIT certificate required).

For every form of participation, we ask you to prepare by reviewing the detailed considerations (MIT certificate required) underlying the planning. For those who want to dig deeper, there are additional materials in the Selected Background Information section (MIT certificate required). There, you will find some of the most up-to-date and insightful articles, research reports, blog posts, and other resources that have informed our thinking.

Timeline and next steps

  • Before May 25. Register to attend a charrette (taking place on May 26 and 27).
  • May 21–May 31. Host or attend a self-guided small group discussion (MIT certificate required).
  • Before June 1. Share your thoughts via this feedback form (MIT certificate required).
  • Early June. Feedback received will be distilled and shared with the community in early June and will be critical to informing the deliberations of President Reif and the MIT senior management team.
  • Late June–Early July. Drawing upon input from these and other engagement activities, President Reif will make final decisions about the fall semester and the 2021 academic year.

As Professor Fernandez said at a recent student town hall, the key for a successful reopening relies upon maximizing community input. We acknowledge that any option for the coming academic year will be challenging and come with trade-offs, but it will also be an opportunity to innovate, which is why we need our community’s best thinking as we seek to tackle the uncertain road ahead of us together.

With thanks,

Ian A. Waitz
On behalf of the MIT 2020 Team