Community members propose fall models during charrettes

Report on charrettes to be released ‘around June 15’

Three two-hour charrettes were held May 26-27 over Zoom by Vice Chancellor and Team 2020 Lead Ian Waitz to gather community feedback. A charrette is “an intense collaborative design process used to” solve “a shared design challenge,” according to the Team 2020’s website.

Waitz wrote in an email to The Tech that the charrettes were attended by about 425 community participants in total in addition to 90 facilitators and notetakers. Of the participants, seven percent were incoming graduate students, six percent were current graduate students, two percent were incoming first years, 23% were current undergraduates, and 62% were staff and faculty.

Waitz began each charrette by introducing the “design challenge” of proposing fall models where some, but not all, of undergraduates are on campus. He asked participants to select two or three values from those listed on the Team 2020 website to consider when designing their models.

Participants were then divided into breakout sessions for the remainder of the charrette. Across the three charrettes, there were 70 breakout sessions, Waitz wrote in his email. Each session consisted of community participants, a facilitator, and a notetaker. 

In the breakout sessions, participants were given ten minutes to design a fall model with several constraints in mind. The constraints included the uncertainty of the pandemic trajectory and medical advances, measures taken to protect community health, space limitations of campus, most classes being remote, and community members’ willingness and reasons to return to campus.

In addition, participants were asked two main questions: what the academic calendar would look like, with options such as the two or three semester models, and which undergraduates should be invited to return to campus, with possibilities including division by class year, major, course requirements, and ability to learn remotely. 

Participants then shared their designs and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the possible models.

The notetaker documented the various proposals in the breakout sessions, which were recorded with the participants’ permission.

Waitz wrote that “a team of people from Institutional Research and the Teaching and Learning Lab and a few other offices” is performing “formal qualitative analysis” of the feedback collected. He wrote that once the data is “analyzed and synthesized,” Team 2020 will release a report to the community and to the MIT Senior Team to aid in fall decision-making.

The report will be released to the MIT community “around June 15,” Waitz wrote.

Community members were also asked by Team 2020 to submit their feedback through an online form or to organize small group discussions. According to Waitz, the online form received over 1,000 responses, which are also being analyzed by Institutional Research and the Teaching and Learning Lab.