MIT has undergone significant expansion and reorganization of its academic and research facilities in the past few years, and an assessment of how these changes have affected research productivity and job satisfaction should be performed. Students are concerned about MIT's broad spectrum of investment in academic, research, and professional development geographical resources. Distribution and allocation of existing laboratory and academic resources is viewed as far from optimal in many locations. Also, the manner in which laboratory groups have been moved during the process of construction has been very disruptive to the work of both students and faculty, and more active engagement of affected groups should be made part of the planning process.
Planning and construction of "educational space," such as classrooms and study areas, could better consider the union between the design of a space and the impact it has on students' ability to learn. Moreover, increased formalization of access in reserving rooms, including places in the Student Center or Sloan study space, impedes casual study and is indicative of a systemic lack of study space.
Space for extracurricular activity can have a substantial professional and community development role, providing an informal venue for interaction between students and faculty, visiting scholars, alumni practitioners, and the entrepreneurial community. Despite this, venues such as on-campus pubs and coffeehouses remain underappreciated at the Institute. The Institute should consider how it could better promote and actively integrate its spaces as the educational and extracurricular resources that they are, encouraging increased student engagement and professional development opportunities.
The integrity of the computing network is crucial to students' research productivity and academic study, as well as providing a medium for communication and community-building. MIT must remain at the forefront of network security, comprehensive coverage, and high bandwidth. Effort should be made to protect network resources and support staff against imprudent cost-cutting measures and forced attrition. Furthermore, the quality and availability of library offerings in all fields, and the accessibility of these resources to the MIT Community, should match MIT's commitment to making its own resources available to the world. In an era of commercialized journal offerings, library acquisition budgets are under tremendous pressure. The library system should be offered the fiscal support it needs as well as the technical assistance necessary to increase its electronic holdings, and the Institute could take a leadership role in adopting a national stance that builds upon our strengths in OpenCourseWare in support of economically sustainable open knowledge exchange.
Cuts in research and facilities support staff, such as laboratory technical staff and custodial support, have impacted the ability of students and faculty to conduct research. In addition, student academic support resources, such as tutoring, are poorly marketed and/or are only made available after a "crisis," i.e. after a student has failed a major assignment or course. MIT should work to encourage a cultural shift that promotes student willingness to seek academic support before a crisis occurs.