MIT releases draft of Strategic Plan on Graduate Advising and Mentoring

MIT to establish new committees to encourage better mentoring community

MIT announced the release of the Strategic Plan on Graduate Advising and Mentoring draft in an email sent to the community April 27. According to the email, the plan will be finalized after incorporating feedback given “over the next several weeks.”

In the email, the Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Advising and Mentoring co-chairs, Institute Professor and Head of the Chemical Engineering department Paula Hammond ’84 PhD ’93 and Associate Provost and Professor of Chemistry Tim Jamison, focused on three critical priorities: providing “professional skill development and lifelong learning in mentorship,” developing a system for “graduate student feedback,” and placing “mechanisms to prevent negative advising and mentoring experiences” and relevant addresses to such issues. 

This follows the Institute’s efforts and the Committee’s vision for MIT to become a “culture of excellence in mentoring and advising, one that fosters the well-being, research, and professional development of all graduate students, faculty, and thesis supervisors.”

The Committee proposed to meet each of these priorities by expanding MIT’s “current infrastructure” to include the Center for Excellence in Graduate Advising and Mentoring, Institute Committee on Graduate Advising and Mentoring, and Advising and Grievance Response Team, respectively. 

The Center’s role will be to “enhance knowledge and skills” in “effective advising and mentoring” based on “evidence-based resources.” The Center will “reside within the Office of the Provost” and be “led by full-time, PhD-level personnel,” which is comparable to “Centers at other academic institutions.” In order to incentivize faculty and thesis supervisors, an “Institute-level award that recognizes excellence in mentoring and advising” will also be created. 

The Institute Committee will stay on trends in “advising and mentoring,” “raise awareness of resources and best practices,” and “work closely with stakeholders on select Strategies.” This Committee will report to the Chancellor, which represents and exemplifies the “shared responsibility of faculty and graduate students” in a “professional relationship.” Committee membership will consist of a rotating Committee chair and faculty members (five total), graduate students (five total) including the Graduate Student Council (GSC) president, and staff (five total) including the Senior Associate Dean of Office of Graduate Education (OGE). 

The Grievance Response Team will serve as an “entry point” “to report a grievance” and prepare an “annual aggregated report” to share with the MIT community. The team will be “composed of representatives from OGE and/or Institute Discrimination & Harassment Response and/or Human Resources. The duration of this role is “anticipated to be two years.” 

Hammond and Jamison wrote in the email that the Committee was “inspired” by the work of GSC, “local efforts” in “schools and the college,” and the “support of MIT’s senior officers.” They thanked those who helped for their “dedication, creativity, thoughtfulness, and collaborative spirit.”

Hammond and Jamison wrote they “consulted and sought input from faculty committees, student groups, and key staff” and emphasized that “that work will continue.”

Students can send feedback to the Committee by emailing or through its website.