From Good to Great

By Daniel Hastings, Dean of Undergraduate Education

In the January offsite, the DUE Office Heads started to consider the question of how DUE will move from being a good organization that serves MIT to being a great organization that serves MIT. This is based on the book "Good to Great" by James Collins. This book examines a set of companies which measured by market returns went from being good companies to great companies. The book suggests several icators of greatness. As an interesting contrast, the book examines a matched set of companies which over the same time period did not achieve greatness. An example, that many will appreciate, is the contrast between Walgreens and Eckerds.

One of the things the books suggests is that each great company has a well defined focused vision which contains clearly articulated indicators of greatness. The book also suggests several other attributes of great organizations such as getting the right people in the right positions and a healthy regard for the brutal facts. The DUE office heads will be spending some time in reflecting on all the measures of greatness for DUE.

With regard to indicators of greatness, the office heads came up with the following draft list:

  • All undergraduates graduate with "global" competency

  • Students seek MIT because of global education programs

  • MIT viewed as a leader in experientially-based global education

  • Global experience and competency is integrated across all curricular and co-curricular activity

  • MIT alumni are notable leaders in global endeavors

  • Efforts are sustainable and not dependent on the current leadership

These are very interesting indicators.  If we can help our students and curriculum in these ways, then I think we will all agree that we are helping MIT and DUE become a great organization. I would like to ask all of you to help us as we reflect on these issues.