MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXV No. 5
May / June 2013
A Letter to the Class of 2013
City Council Approval of MITIMCo Petition Only Beginning of MIT 2030 Review
The Magic Beyond the MOOCs
Memorial Resolution for Officer Sean Collier
Why I Decided to Transition to Professor Without Tenure, Retired
Stephen Lippard Wins Killian Award
MIT's New Modular Learning Management System: The Evolution from Stellar
Learning From Students
Housing MIT's Graduate Students: Framing the Inquiry and Shaping the Dialogue
How Online Education Might Impact the Future of Mathematics Departments
Steve Hall New Faculty Chair
Support for the Rising Complexity of MIT's International Students
Working Alone at MIT
Mental Illness as a Disease
Applauding Proposed MIT School of Education
MIT Professional Education: Call for 2014 Summer Short Programs
from the 2013 Student Quality of Life Survey (Undergraduates)
from the 2013 Student Quality of Life Survey (Graduate Students)
Printable Version

Housing MIT's Graduate Students: Framing the Inquiry and Shaping the Dialogue

Phillip L. Clay

This article is about the work of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group. The charge from the Provost directs us to focus on how we might best house our graduate students and to recommend changes. This inquiry is related to the larger visioning of our campus and surrounding area that is ongoing. An important feature of the process is to make sure we remain competitive in our goal of attracting the very best graduate students.

To address this task, the Working Group needs input from a variety of sources. Faculty input is critical because faculty are in the best position to judge how we fare with respect to attracting the best graduate students and providing them with an extraordinary community in which to emerge and grow as young scholars and professionals.

We are also very much aware of the current interest in campus planning and the importance of making housing a critical part of making our campus an attractive and enabling place. Clarity in framing the inquiry will greatly enhance the dialogue our report will encourage.

We will have a variety of means to collect input, including sessions at which individuals present to the Working Group. We want to share below our approach to gathering input and indicate to the community that we welcome their input throughout the process, which we expect to complete by October 1. Input early in the process as we shape our inquiry is most valuable.

We have several subgroups organized around aspects of the graduate housing question. Do we have the question right? We want your feedback and ideas as we take deep dives.

1. Graduate student attitudes, issues, and choices
This subgroup will – using past and current surveys, open meetings, and focus groups – review the feelings, interests, and needs of graduate students about housing and community.

2. Boston-area housing issues, markets and trends
The charge to this subgroup is to understand the local housing market both in terms of how our students impact the market (if that can be discerned) and how our students experience the market. While some students want to live off campus, we want to assess the extent to which this option will remain viable.

3. MIT graduate enrollment and expectations for the future
The subgroup will explore with deans and department heads the issues which shape the size and composition of the graduate student body and estimate how likely changes will impact those components of the graduate student body over the next decade.

4. The Competitive Environment
We will seek to understand where MIT stands competitively and what factors, including possibly housing, shape our competitive position. This includes understanding how peer institutions address the housing issue.

5. Utilization of current graduate housing inventory-- MIT houses more than one-third of its graduate students. There have been major increases in the number of graduate beds in the two last decades. We want to understand how the housing we have meets our commitments; what we can learn about the match between our current stock of graduate housing and the campus population; and gain insight into how to think about future needs. This assessment also includes a review of off-campus housing affiliated with MIT.

We welcome your input to the Working Group in general or on any part of the subgroup work plan. You can e-mail your comments, suggestions, and questions to Or please contact me directly.

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