Ideas and Recommendations

By Elizabeth Reed, Senior Associate Dean, DUE

The February and April issues of this newsletter gave preliminary and midpoint views of three DUE Working Groups set up in January to explore ways to decrease our base budget. In June, each group submitted their final report with a set of recommendations to Daniel Hastings. There were 30 recommendations in all, mostly related to doing things differently, sharing work between and among individuals and offices, and using technology to enhance services, streamline operations and/or use fewer resources.

A small subset of the recommendations identified specific cost savings. An additional set identified efficiencies only. Most noted that some level of savings may be found but that deeper evaluation would be needed to determine the cost/benefits and in some cases the advisability of moving forward. A number of short-term opportunities were proposed that could serve as temporary bridges while permanent changes are phased in.

The Dean reviewed all of the recommendations with Jeanne Hillery, Sharon Bridburg and Elizabeth Reed, and placed each into one of the following categories:

  • Category #1 - Recommendations that should be implemented as soon as feasible
  • Category #2 - Recommendations with merit that need further data collection and analysis
  • Category #3 - Recommendations with merit that need further discussion with others (who may or may not be in DUE)
  • Category #4 - Recommendations that will not be implemented at this time

During the next week, he will meet with the Working Group Co-chairs to share feedback on and next steps for each of the ideas they put forward.

At our July retreat, the Leadership Team explored several of the Category 3 ideas and provided input to the Dean. Among the things we considered were the response of faculty and other stakeholders, implications for DUE culture and impacts on students. While no final decisions about the recommendations were made at the retreat, our discussions provided food for thought.

The nine working groups of the Institute Task Force have been on a similar trajectory this summer. In June they presented initial findings to Academic Council. They spent the summer refining many of the ideas that had emerged via the MIT Idea Bank as well as developing new ideas. The Education Group which Daniel Hasting co-chaired had a particularly broad scope. This group looked at almost every aspect of MIT life with a connection to the academic experience of students, including UROP, class size, alternative freshman programs, Athena clusters and the physical education requirement.

The Institute-wide Planning Task Force preliminary report  was released this week and contains many ideas that will impact and involve DUE. The ideas in the report were assigned to a particular organization, such as DUE, or to multi-organizational team that will be formed. The ideas in the report are now open to input/commentary by the MIT community. The feedback gathered during this time will be useful input as the ideas are further explored. After a period of community feedback, the final report will be released in the fall.

At the next DUE All-Staff meeting on Tuesday, September 22 at 3:30 in 10-250, Dean Hastings will discuss some of the ideas from DUE Working Groups and the Institute Task Force. We will solicit your questions in advance and look forward to seeing you there.