We, the students, staff, and faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at MIT, unite in our mission to create a community that is understanding and supportive, empowered and engaged, inclusive and diverse, and welcoming for every member.
Embracing Diverse Composition
We all come from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and we share in common the drive to improve ourselves, to support each other, and to contribute to society in valuable ways. Our success in our academic and research endeavors depends vitally upon our ability to achieve our very best — as individuals, as teams, and as a community. We must engage, teach, and learn from each other, while respecting differences in race, gender, beliefs, sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, and other characteristics. We attain even greater individual and collective success when everyone feels welcome and empowered. Well-being is equally essential, and our EECS community embraces physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health for all our members.
Promoting Equitable Opportunities for Achievement
EECS at MIT works hard to add the best talent: students, staff, and faculty. Underlying all that we strive for are excellence, meritocracy, and integrity; these values are our guiding principles. Sustained excellence in education, research, and innovation demands that we identify, recruit, and retain the most talented individuals from all genders, from all races, and from all cultures; diversity and inclusion are recognized as essential. In the same way that EECS at MIT is a world leader in research, education, and innovation, we seek to lead in achieving a welcoming community with increased diversity.
Creating a Culture of Belonging
Here we declare our commitment to build a department that embraces, celebrates, and genuinely models the ideals of well-being, diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. This declaration is a promise to each other that empathy, compassion, and caring will guide our interactions and actions. It is a call to action for each of us to contribute, continually and with purpose, to creating this community.
EECS community members are as diverse as the paths that brought them to MIT. Each is unique, and each is valuable and valued. EECS derives strength from the combination of talents and capabilities of our individual members, along with their perspectives. We recognize that talent, creativity, and innovation are expressed, and applied, in a multitude of ways. Therefore, we openly invite everyone to contribute. We appreciate and revel in our differences. We actively listen and respond after careful and considerate thought.
We commit to creating an atmosphere that empowers community members to reach their aspirations and share their frustrations, dilemmas, concerns, and problems. We strive to provide authentic and caring advice and guidance. We work to maintain an open environment where all are comfortable being themselves. We encourage community members to grow, share experiences, ask questions, make mistakes, and fully express their diversity without fear of being viewed as out of place. To create a sense of belonging for all, we cultivate willingness to collaborate with people different from ourselves, genuine empathy towards others, and the ability to deliver constructive and actionable feedback. As a community, we believe no one should feel entitled or superior, nor should individuals or groups feel isolated, unsupported, unwanted, or uncomfortable.
We provide opportunities for discussion and engagement, build consensus when needed, and understand differences of opinion are accepted — in fact, community members’ participation is expected and valued. Equally important: a welcoming and inclusive EECS community never uses words or exhibits behaviors of hate, dishonesty, jealousy, or entitlement. Personal attacks on other EECS community members are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Every EECS community member is entitled to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. All EECS community members will support each other in achieving optimal health and well-being. These are enduring values and aspirations that are unaffected by external influences such as war, social unrest, or economic troubles.
To achieve a healthy, diverse, inclusive, and empowered community, we commit to the following activities:
- EECS has created a committee of students, staff, and faculty charged with identifying opportunities and creating actionable plans for EECS to achieve our vision of a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community. The EECS Committee for Diversity and Inclusion will consider community input and feedback, examine teaching, research and community activities, and offer recommendations for going forward. The committee will also work to establish departmental policies designed to suppress occasions for bias, and will be a resource for enforcing such policies. The committee will work with departmental leadership to achieve substantive change and obtain the resources (budget, space, and time) needed to implement the committee’s plans.
- EECS community members will collaborate in meaningful ways with organizations at MIT with missions of increasing diversity, such as the Institute Community and Equity Office (ICEO), the Office of Minority Education (OME), the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE), and the Disability Employee Resource Group.
- EECS dedicates itself to energetically encouraging diversity and inclusion, especially in ways aimed at increasing the number of faculty and staff, postdoctoral associates, undergraduates, and graduate students from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities and women.
Education and Training:
- EECS will provide the resources — and, most important, the time needed for education and training to enlighten EECS community members in areas such as unconscious bias, healthy living, clear communication and feedback skills, and teaching methods designed to accommodate various manners of learning, as just a few examples.
- EECS will regularly review its physical spaces and improve access for all types of able-ness and in particular for persons with disabilities. Community events will accommodate diverse attendee needs in terms of activities offered, foods provided, and, of course, accessibility.
- All EECS community members are asked to demonstrate inclusive behaviors in all activities, whether in small, midsize, or large groups and whether those groups involve only EECS community members or others from the larger MIT community. EECS community members in leadership positions will routinely model inclusive and welcoming behaviors in all their activities.
- EECS community leaders will recognize community members who are taking leadership and initiative in developing a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community.
- On an annual basis, EECS will review the community’s activities in creating a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive department; share outcomes and impacts; and update action items as needed.
We ask all EECS community members to make the following promise to each other: I commit, as a member of the EECS community at MIT, to take an active role in making our department welcoming and inclusive to everyone. To do that, I pledge to embrace the following values:
- To treat all members of our community with respect regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, abilities or disabilities, or position or rank within the department.
- To refrain from making assumptions or judgments about my fellow community members.
- To embody empathy and compassion in all my personal interactions and communications.
- To routinely reach out to others to offer assistance and support.
- To engage in respectful discourse with members whose perspectives differ from my own, recognizing that differences of opinion do not signify rightness or wrongness.
- To continually reflect on both the intended and unintended consequences of my comments and actions.
- To intervene when I see acts of hate, injustice, or discrimination targeted to others.
I commit to living out these values because I understand that our department is stronger and more effective in its mission to change the world when we are united as a community. I understand, and agree, that diversity and inclusion must be strongly encouraged, viewed as an asset and a strength, worked toward with dedication and perseverance, and rewarded.
In fall 2019, members of the MIT Indigenous community, including students, staff, visiting scholars, and alumni, as well as officials from local tribal organizations and staff from the ICEO and the Office of Intercultural Engagement, undertook a project of drafting a land acknowledgement statement for MIT. The group completed the project and posted the following text on the ICEO website in March 2020:
“MIT acknowledges Indigenous Peoples as the traditional stewards of the land, and the enduring relationship that exists between them and their traditional territories. The land on which we sit is the traditional unceded territory of the Wampanoag Nation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced occupation of their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse indigenous people connected to this land on which we gather from time immemorial.”
Based on feedback MIT has received since this statement was released, including disagreements among Native American tribes regarding historical land claims in Cambridge and surrounding areas, the Institute is initiating a formal process to develop a new statement. This statement will build on the initial work and further engage with subject-area experts and other stakeholders.
For more information on this acknowledgement and the effort to develop and adopt a formal MIT land acknowledgement statement, please contact email@example.com.