New Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Advising and Mentoring launched

MIT launched a new Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Advising and Mentoring, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88, Chair of the Faculty Rick Danheiser, and Provost Martin Schmidt PhD ’88 announced in a June 25 email to the MIT community.

The committee is co-chaired by Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering Professor Paula Hammond PhD ’93 and Associate Provost Tim Jamison. Its membership also includes 10 graduate students and 11 faculty and staff, with representatives from the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and each school at the Institute.

The committee was created in line with a proposal from Task Force 2021 and Beyond. Its main goal is to deliver a “strategic plan to guide policies and programs that would be implemented at MIT,” Barnhart, Danheiser, and Schmidt wrote.

The plan will incorporate recommendations from a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report on effective mentorship. The recommendations include evidence-based educational programs for mentorship skill development, mechanisms for graduate student feedback, metrics for mentoring assessment, best practices of mentorship, programs supporting multiple mentorship models, and incentives for excellence in mentorship.

Barnhart, Danheiser, and Schmidt added that the committee will contribute to ongoing initiatives from the provost’s and chancellor’s offices, MIT’s schools, and the GSC. These initiatives include MIT’s response to the NASEM reports on mentorship and on the sexual harassment of women in academia, guaranteed transitional support for graduate students who switch advisors, a pilot mentorship training program for School of Engineering Faculty, and the GSC’s research advising survey.