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August 20, 2009

As you know, given the global financial crisis, last winter we appointed an Institute-wide Planning Task Force to consider how best to move forward with reduced resources. We charged the group with examining ways to carry out MITís core mission more efficiently, using fewer financial resources, and without compromising the quality of MITís work. Since February 2009, approximately 200 faculty, students, and staff on the Task Force have creatively explored new ways of promoting our historic excellence in teaching and research while preserving MITís financial stability.

Their preliminary report is now available online at the MIT Idea Bank. We are sharing the report in its entirety, just as the Task Force submitted it to us. It includes an overview of MITís approach to the recent economic downturn, a full accounting of the 200+ ideas conceived of by the Task Force Ė a few of which may be controversial Ė and a set of recommendations for moving forward and acting on the ideas. While some of the Task Forceís ideas are sufficiently developed and will be implemented early this fall, others will take months or years to evaluate and require extensive consultation with the many faculty, student, and staff committees that are the foundation of the Instituteís culture of shared governance.

Recognizing that the work to sculpt a stronger MIT will require collective wisdom and collaborative action, we encourage you to share your feedback on the report via the updated Idea Bank. The Task Force will accept feedback through the early fall and later deliver a final report, which we will also post. As always, the Institute-wide Planning website will provide news and regular updates.

We wish to thank not only the many faculty, staff, and students who comprised the Task Force, but also all those who have shared their ideas and comments over the last six months. Though the work of the Task Force was unusual in scope and scale, this community-wide effort reinforced those qualities that we count on most from the MIT community: innovative thinking and a relentless commitment to improvement and creative change.

Sincerely,
L. Rafael Reif
Phillip L. Clay
Theresa M. Stone