Diversity Congress Proceedings
The small group discussions at the Diversity Leadership Congress, and concurrent campus discussions, yielded over 1000 comments on current or future diversity and inclusion practices. Comments range from specific programmatic or policy suggestions to general reflections. All comments have been transcribed and organized into five broad categories to allow the community to review the Congress' raw data. These proceedings will serve as the starting point for working groups established for each category.
The five broad categories are:
Influenced by one panelist's observation that a hiring "search" process is often really a "sort" process, this category includes current and recommended practices for raising MIT's profile as an employer of choice, building community relationships, reexamining selection criteria, and creating relationships with a broader group of academic institutions.
A major theme of this category is a broad definition of mentoring. From freshmen advising, to mentoring junior faculty, to staff development and succession planning, examples exist of successful mentoring. The challenge is how to make appropriate mentoring opportunities available to all members of the community. Other themes include orientation, networking and talent management.
While retention focuses on individuals, climate is about community. Many of these ideas relate to creating mechanisms for people to come together to talk about similarities (affinity groups) or differences (dialogue sessions), or to learn about each other's cultures (multicultural events.) Climate also includes how we use programs such as Rewards and Recognition, and diversity training to reinforce appropriate community standards.
Many of these ideas concern clarifying our diversity message. There are questions about: What is our vision and /or goal? How might we reflect diversity in our mission statement? What are the "business cases" across constituencies? How do we build diversity messages into everything we communicate?
While there is widespread agreement that change does not occur top-down at MIT, there is considerable interest in finding appropriate mechanisms for shared accountability. Ideas include the setting of local goals, incorporating diversity and inclusion goals in all manner of performance reviews, publishing relevant metrics, and having regular events to report on and discuss progress.