Opinion guest column

Presidential Transition Advisory Cabinet Formed

Dear students:

Earlier this summer, the Undergraduate Association (UA) and Graduate Student Council (GSC) collaborated with President Rafael Reif to form the Presidential Transition Advisory Cabinet (PTAC). This goal of this cabinet is to provide the President with direct access to student representatives who will advise on issues pertaining to the undergraduate and graduate student experience. The charge of PTAC is as follows:

1. To identify existing MIT-wide issues as well as strategies for new opportunities.

2. To serve as a confidential sounding board to the President by providing student feedback to difficult questions and new ideas.

3. To provide input into the long-term vision for student academic, research, and community life on campus.

In addition, a public report will be released following the official discharge of PTAC in December.

Although student advisory committees to the President have been formed in the past, PTAC will differ from previous groups in a few important ways. First, as a faculty member and senior administrator with decades of experience at the Institute, President Reif already possesses significant insight into the essential character of MIT, enabling discussions to focus directly on solutions to campus issues. Second, the Cabinet’s work is able leverage the outreach efforts and findings of the MIT Presidential Search Committee and thus can place additional focus on issue articulation and constructive idea generation. Finally, PTAC will engage the entire community in the development of its report by hosting monthly forums to assist in sourcing and vetting new approaches to student concerns. In short, PTAC will link students to the President in a way that best equips the President to address the community’s toughest challenges.

A diversity of viewpoints was critical in nominating students for such an important role, and we are proud to note PTAC’s membership below. These members, with the exception of the Presidents of the UA and GSC, were nominated jointly by the UA and GSC from among several dozen applicants. The UA and GSC are currently investigating options for additional direct student involvement resembling the UA-GSC Joint Task Force on the Presidential Search.

To effectively represent the student perspective, PTAC will actively be seeking student input. A website (http://web.mit.edu/committees/ptac) will be kept up to date displaying the schedule for meetings, and the topics for discussion. We would love to hear any ideas or opinions that you have to offer. Please feel free to contact PTAC at ptac@mit.edu for comments, questions and opinions. This is an exciting time for MIT, and we want you to be as connected as possible.


Michael Walsh, UA PTAC Nominations Chair

Eric Victor, GSC PTAC Nominations Chair



Jonté Craighead,

Civil Engineering (1)

Brian Spatocco,

Materials Science (3)

Catherine Olsson,

EECS (6)

Angela Kilby,

Economics (14)

Alexandra Ghaben,

Chemical Engineering (10)

Aalap Dighe,

Mechanical Engineering (2)

Eduardo Russian,

Mechanical Engineering (2)

Bryan Owens Bryson,

Biological Engineering (20)