Exploring the culture of MIT
The MIT I.D. Team launched a series of in-depth explorations about the MIT identity through focus groups, online surveys, and informal meetings. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective students, journalists, and members of the Cambridge community participated in the 1999-2000 study.
In discussions with each group, the I.D. Team posed questions about MIT's internal culture, its image, and the effectiveness of its publications. The answers to those questions revealed both universal and contrary perceptions:
- uncompromising devotion to excellence
- problem-solving ability
- global impact
- academic and cultural diversity
- innovation and creativity
- courage and risk taking
- fractured community
- inability to project accurate and unified image
- low public profile
- incidences of meanness, coldness, and arrogance
- exhausting, overachieving culture
MIT's target tone
- risk embracing
(from research in the development of MIT Capital Campaign print and web materials, 1999)
- service above self
- not an ivory tower
- one place
(from research in the development of the MIT mission statement, 1999)
Top and third, Stuart Darsch; second and fourth, Barry Hetherington; bottom, Christopher Harting
"I have trouble recalling exactly what the motto is, but when you mentioned it, I said, 'Oh yeah, that's it.'"
"I like the MIT red, you know, the Harvard crimson, because it really says Ivy League."
"In my last delivery of stationery, I was very upset that the red seemed too much like Harvard crimson red, not MIT red. We all know what that is, and it is not Harvard crimson."
MIT faculty member