Vice President for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Officer

The overall purpose of the Human Resources Department is to assure that MIT can recruit and retain high caliber employees who experience a high degree of job satisfaction here. Our initiatives help create an environment where employees, faculty, students, and visitors are treated with dignity and respect. Fairness, individual development and recognition, teamwork, support for family and community—all are hallmarks of MIT's workplace. We are committed to delivering programs and services that enhance the organization's culture and make MIT an employer of choice.

Specifically, we provide recruitment and training services and administer compensation and benefits for the Institute. We assist other departments in meeting their staffing goals, managing job performance, and interpreting policy. We also support employees and their supervisors in reconciling differences and reaching consensus in the promotion of effective working relationships.

In contributing to the vision cited here, the Human Resources staff describes its work as "providing quality service and counsel." As shown in the following reports from the individual areas of the Human Resources Department and the Medical Department, these services are far-reaching in their impacts on everyone in the MIT community.

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HR/Payroll Project

This was the third year of a long-term effort to install SAP's human resources and payroll system. A major milestone will be achieved in August 2003 when the HR staff cease using Cyborg and begin using SAP for processing transactions. Already implemented are several employee self-service applications: benefits enrollment and changes; the phone and address directory; and tuition assistance.

Other Systems Enhancements

Other helpful software installations include WebHire for applicant tracking, PeopleClick for managing Affirmative Action data, and a system for tracking Family Medical Leave Act absences.

Benefits Improvements

A number of benefits were reviewed in conjunction with a policy review effort tied to the HR/Payroll project. As a result, improvements were made in the vacation, bereavement, and tuition assistance benefits provided by MIT. Spousal equivalency health and dental benefits were expanded to cover opposite sex unmarried but committed partners.

New Employee Orientation

This new program was implemented in January and is one step in providing a comprehensive introduction to MIT. Other phases of this initiative will follow in 2004.

Task Force on Staff Quality of Worklife

Responding to issues identified in the survey commissioned by the Council on Work and Family, Steve Graves and I are sponsoring this task force to evaluate the survey and make recommendations for improving the quality of worklife for staff. Professor Thomas Kochan and HR staff member Francine Crystal are cochairing the group.

Child Care

Anticipating the opening of the child care center in the Stata Building and the expansion of services to MIT parents, a contract was negotiate with Bright Horizons to do on-site management of all our locations.

Support Staff Reclassification Project

The jobs and pay of over 1500 individuals were evaluated by Compensation staff in conjunction with DLC managers. The results have been well received.

Labor Negotiations

A favorable contract was negotiated with the RDTEU.

Broad Institute

As this program becomes part of the fabric of MIT, the HR staff is part of a major multi-disciplinary effort to integrate former Whitehead employees.

Affirmative Action Program

In the wake of the director's retirement, we reorganized this area to broaden the program's reach. Phil Lima is the new coordinator for the program and works with Wendy Williams and Robert Martinez in Staffing Services to administer it.

Administrative Services Unit

With the Payroll Department, we have created a joint unit to handle all personnel transactions, designed to be more efficient and reduce errors in processing.

Sustaining New Initiatives

Now in their 2nd and 3rd years of existence, the Rewards and Recognition Program, the Leader to Leader program, and the Center for Career Planning all have maintained their effectiveness and continue to serve ever broader segments of the workforce. HR staff members spend considerable time keeping these initiatives fresh and vital. Additionally, the Staffing Services office, now two years old, supports a substantial amount of recruiting and hiring for the organization. The staff processed 22,000 electronic resumes in the first six months of 2003.


Other highlights of the year included the challenge of achieving cost savings through some reduction in staff. Regrettably, this included the layoff of four HR staff members in addition to reducing some vacant positions.

The HR staff as of June 1, 2003 consists of 50 administrative staff: 40 are female; 10 are male. Of these, there are 5 black American females, 2 black American males, 1 Hispanic male, 2 Asian American females, and 1 Asian American male. The remaining administrative staff members are 33 white females and 6 white males.

Of the 25 support staff, 18 are female and 7 are male. Of these, there are 2 black American females, 1 black American male, 1 Hispanic American female, and 2 Asian American females. The remaining support staff members are 13 white females and 6 white males.

Following are comparisons with the prior year:

  2002 2003
Administrative females 78% (42) 80% (40)
Administrative minorities 24% (13) 22% (11)
Support staff females 82% (23) 72% (18)
Support staff minorities 29% (8) 24% (6)


Efforts of many HR staff members and support from many parts of the Institute have resulted in MIT's recognition by the Boston Business Journal as one of Boston's best work places and by the AARP as one of the nation's 100 best work places for employees over age 50.

Laura Avakian
Vice President for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Officer

More information about Human Resources can be found on the web at


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