What is the Diversity Leadership Congress?

Adapted from a handout at the Oct 15 Info Group Meeting

While many of you have probably heard about the Diversity Leadership Congress scheduled for November 18, this summary should clarify the details. A number of people from DUE, who are most responsible for creating a culture of diversity, will be participating in the Congress. You can choose to participate via remote viewing locations that will be announced soon. A video of the Congress will also be available for you to view afterwards. DUE will be looking for opportunities to discuss the outcomes of the Congress and generate more ideas within DUE.

Why diversity matters?

At MIT, an aspiration for the highest level of excellence is woven deeply into our values and culture; that excellence depends on welcoming into our community people with a passion for MIT’s mission from different backgrounds and with diverse points of view.

Why Diversity Leadership Congress?

The Diversity Leadership Congress is an opportunity to accelerate our efforts by inspiring and supporting the 300 plus academic, administrative and student leaders across the Institute who are most responsible for creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. We want to infuse these leaders with more passion for these goals and give them tools for leading their local efforts.

The day is not about unveiling a new approach to diversity or prescribing goals for individual groups or departments. Rather, it is designed to provide a better understanding of how we, in our leadership roles, can foster an Institute-wide conversation to accelerate our progress at MIT.


Diversity Leadership Congress
Tuesday, November 18, noon- 5pm
(optional reception 5-6pm)

Diversity Leadership Congress is taking place November 18 with 300 academic, administrative and student leaders, those most responsible for creating a culture of diversity and inclusion, and those who, by virtue of participation on one of our many diversity-related committees and projects, have demonstrated their commitment to these issues.

For the many members of the community who will not be able to attend the event, we will be publicizing remoteviewing locations. At these sites, people will be able to watch the speakers and participate in small group discussions concurrent with those at the Congress. Notes taken at these sessions will be included in those which result from the Congress.

Opening Remarks: President Susan Hockfield
Keynote: Alexis Herman
Panel Moderator: Tom Kochan, MIT Sloan
Panelists: Philip Harlow, Xerox; Shirley Malcom, AAAS; Michael Summers, HHMI, UMBC

President Hockfield will open the event by acknowledging the important, on-going efforts at MIT to address these challenging issues and will invite us to find ways to further raise the bar on our diversity leadership practices. The speakers will provide us with an opportunity to learn from others; it will then be up to us to adapt successful strategies from elsewhere to our particular culture and needs. Keynote Alexis Herman, first African-American Secretary of Labor, will inspire us by sharing what she has learned is possible when a community truly embraces diversity. Tom Kochan will then moderate a panel which will share successful diversity leadership stories from various venues:

  • Phil Harlow, Chief Diversity Officer, Xerox, will share how that corporation has embedded diversity leadership into all that they do.
  • Shirley Malcom, AAAS, will speak to national efforts to increase diversity in science.
  • Michael Summers, HHMI biologist at UMaryland, will share his challenges and successes nurturing URM graduate students and post-docs.

Small group discussions will address how MIT’s leaders, individually and collectively, can apply what they hear from speakers to their units’ challenges and begin shaping their own new goals and strategies Planning Committee: Phil Clay, Kirk Kolenbrander, Alison Alden, Wes Harris, Phil Thompson, Tom Kochan, Christine Ortiz, Robbin Chapman, Oaz Nir, Jason Forte, Michael Faber, Francine Crystal. Representing key constituency groups, the Planning Committee has been working since April to shape this event.

For more information, visit http://mit.edu/diversityleaders or contact diversityleaders@mit.edu.