MIT provides final update on Task Force 2021 and Beyond

Proposed by former president L. Rafael Reif, Task Force 2021 and Beyond was designed to “build a better MIT”

In an email to the MIT community March 18, Provost Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Glen Shor announced a final update on the progress of implementing the recommendations suggested by Task Force 2021 and Beyond, a project proposed by former Institute president L. Rafael Reif in November 2021 to “build a better MIT” after the pandemic. 

Since then, the MIT community implemented many of the recommendations outlined by Task Force 2021. 

Barnhart said that MIT has improved the advising structure for undergraduates. The Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC) was introduced, with Dr. Diep Luu as its Associate Dean and Director. More professional advising staff and the emergence of an undergraduate advising hub are expected in the next few years. 

Additionally, Barnhart stated that the Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Program (TFUAP) was developed to study the state of current general institute requirements (GIRs) and to update recent studies to review MIT’s curriculum and pedagogy. The techincal component of the GIRs currently require two semesters of calculus and physics, and one semester of chemistry and biology respectively. 

Barnhart highlighted improvements in graduate student advising as well as professional development support for postdoctoral scholars interested in research. Barnhart emphasized that a new workshop “focused on comprehensive advising and mentoring of graduate students will debut in May,” and the initiative will gradually expand to all schools of the Institute. 

MIT has also started offering programs annually in “grant writing and mentoring” to support the career development of postdoctoral students. The Institute has “allocated new central resources to DLCIs to assist with the under-recovery of indirect costs for research grants from foundations and other non-profit sources,” and a new app called Research@MIT has been developed to expedite the process of making requests, reviews, and reports.

Lastly, MIT has worked on “modernizing enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform and other key enterprise systems” to facilitate data-sharing and completing administrative actions.

Barnhart said that there has been progress made towards the central goal of “building a better MIT” as a result of the recommendations of Task Force 2021. She noted that the MIT community in the past three years has increased funding to support graduate students and research endeavors and made significant strides in improving advising resources and technology on campus.
More information about Task Force 2021 and Beyond recommendations can be found here.