Glen Shor named MIT’s Executive Vice President and Treasurer
Shor: it is ‘extraordinarily important’ to ensure whole community ‘is and feels valued’
Glen Shor was named MIT’s Executive Vice President and Treasurer (EVPT) Oct. 2. Former EVPT Israel Ruiz SM ’01 stepped down from the position at the end of the spring semester.
Shor was MIT’s vice president for finance from 2015 until he was named EVPT.
The Tech spoke with Shor about his plans for his new position in a Zoom call.This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
The Tech: What are your plans for the future?
Glen Shor: I'd like to hire a vice president for finance so I can do one big job instead of two, but that process is well underway and I'm positive we will hire an exceptional person to serve in that role. Overall, I'm very excited to lead the administrative areas and in providing thoughtful and proactive stewardship of the institution [and] to support the Institute in achieving world-changing and positive impact for research, education, and innovation.
I think the most important components of that mission right now are first continuing to steward the Institute's financial response to COVID-19 and starting to look ahead to assemble the next year's budget for the Institute, all with the goal of ensuring that we are investing the resources to operate our campus safely and support our community during these really challenging times.
The administrative areas have just made such a tremendous contribution to the Institute's thoughtful response to the pandemic. The team at MIT Medical has set up an incredible apparatus to test our community for COVID-19, to ensure that we can keep our community safe, the team at IS&T [Information Systems and Technology] created the COVID Pass system to govern access to our campus facilities, integrated with our testing system, and the team at facilities is going the extra mile to clean our campus facilities to keep dorms and academic buildings safe for residents and learning. Teams and facilities in finance have been proactive in purchasing the [personal protective equipment] that our community needs and making cleaning supplies available to our community through the COVID-19 marketplace. The team at [Human Resources] has created new policies and new supports for our community, like a new subsidy for childcare costs for faculty and staff.
And finally, as much as we need to focus on the now and the pandemic, we're also looking ahead towards opportunities to fashion an even better MIT.
Members of the administrative units play very important and prominent roles in Task Force 2021, an initiative chartered by President Reif and co-chaired by Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma and Chair of the Faculty Rick Danheiser to identify opportunities to build and learn from the pandemic the things that we've done successfully and reflect on challenges that MIT faced before the pandemic, to fashion a vision for an even stronger MIT moving forward. That effort includes focusing on administrative processes, finances and data, the state of our culture in our community, and academic innovations.
TT: Could you elaborate more on what you envision MIT will look like?
Shor: I think it's a work in process, but we're looking to continue to modernize our administrative processes to make them more intuitive, to make it easier to do business at MIT, to put better data about finances and operations in the hands of the MIT community so that they are better able to go about their daily work in educating students, learning and conducting research. We're at a unique juncture where we've made a rapid pivot to remote work and remote learning, and we want to examine those experiences to determine the degree to which remote work and remote learning can be part of our future at MIT.
I think we're also at a critical point of reflection about our culture and sense of community, and it's a very important time for us to reflect on our values and what we can do to make sure that we value everybody who's a member of our community.
TT: What is MIT currently doing to act on making sure that everyone feels valued in the community?
Shor: Over the past few months there have been a number of conversations and committees that have been convened to look at a range of issues that relate to our culture and our community, looking at things as far ranging as the kind of principles and processes that guide our acceptance of gifts. The human resource team has convened a number of conversations in our community about ensuring that whether you're faculty, staff or student, you feel valued and respected in our community.
TT: How will your experience as MIT's vice president for finance translate to your current position?
Shor: By virtue of my work at MIT, I think I bring a lot of substantial knowledge about MIT's finances, operations, and governance to the role. I've helped orchestrate annual MIT budgets.
I've worked with the team at the Office of the Vice President for Finance to do financial stress testing to prepare for financial stresses like the ones we're experiencing today. As vice president for finance I oversaw a range of Institute operations, including payroll and procurement, and I partnered very closely with the other administrative areas like the teams at Disability and Access Services, IS&T, Human Resources, and MIT Medical.
All of this builds on my prior professional experiences in finance and operations, including serving as [former Massachusetts] Governor Deval Patrick’s Secretary for Administration and Finance for the last two years of his administration. (That's a role which effectively means serving as the state CFO and COO.) So all of that provides a very strong substantive foundation for serving in the role of EVPT.
I've also been really fortunate over my time as vice president for finance to collaborate very closely with and learn from people who are involved in MIT's governance; its corporation; its executive committee; its risk and audit committee; President Reif, Provost Schmidt, and other members of the senior leadership team; the deans of MIT’s Schools and [the College of Computing]; and other members of the Institute’s academic council. I've been fortunate to attend corporation meetings, and I've heard reports from visiting committees, so I have a sense of how our corporation members and experts in the field see the opportunities and needs of our academic departments in our research enterprise.
I've also very much enjoyed the interactions I've had with students. I miss seeing students. I miss being on campus. I miss walking down the Infinite Corridor that is crowded with students going from class to class and trying to weave my way to meetings. I've interacted with students, among other things, in the Understanding MIT seminar that Bob Simha at Urban Studies runs every year. He was very kind to have me attend as a guest lecturer on MIT finances every year and I got an opportunity to interact with students who asked great questions about MIT's finances. I worked with students on the Gift Processes Committee, examining their processes for acceptance of philanthropy by MIT. I work extremely closely with Chancellor Barnhart, Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz and Vice President [and Dean] for Student Life Suzy Nelson, all of whom have educated me and provided me a window into the student experience.
TT: What are the current dilemmas that the Institute faces?
Shor: I would say first of all, now more than ever, I'm extraordinarily proud to be a member of the MIT community. MIT is really living its values and showing its ingenuity and resilience in response to COVID-19. We've made an incredibly rapid pivot to remote work and remote learning, and we're going the extra mile to ensure that the campus is safe and to support our community during these really challenging times. Among other things, I really appreciate the hard work of students and staff to comply with our protocols and policies, such as wearing masks, physical distancing, limited gatherings, testing, and contact tracing. We need to maintain our vigilance, but I've just been extraordinarily impressed by every component of the MIT community, including its governance, during these times.
One challenge is that we can't drop our guard. We continue to face a lot of uncertainty about the trajectory of the pandemic, so we need to continue to be thoughtful and cautious and agile and transparent about our response to the pandemic. And we need to continually focus on positioning MIT to make a positive impact on the major issues of our time, like human health and the well-being and health of our planet. We can never forget that we need to compete for the most talented students, faculty and staff in the world, and succeeding in that competition continues to require investing resources in our community and having and securing those resources, among other things, from much appreciated philanthropic support from our alumni and friends.
As I said earlier, it is extraordinarily important for us to ensure the whole community is and feels valued. Associate Provost Tim Jamison and the Institute Community and Equity Officer John Dozier are working to assemble and crystallize a comprehensive, strategic, active action plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a critical effort to achieving [that] objective.
TT: What will the Institute take on once COVID-19 is not as prevalent?
Shor: Based on its experiences with COVID-19, the Institute will definitely give a lot of thought and attention to the role of remote learning in the academic experience. I think the Institute will give considerable attention to the evolution of the workplace.
MIT will reflect on its experiences with remote work during COVID-19 to inform the best path for setting our workforce up for success and enable us to attract and retain talent moving forward. We will continue to work to modernize our information and technology that support both the academic enterprise and our administrative functions. We will be continuing to think about the range of practices, protocols, and initiatives required to ensure that every member of our community is and feels valued.