MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 4
March / April 2019
The Proposed New Review Process
for Outside Funders and MIT's
Governance Problem
A 21st Century Education at MIT
March 4, 1969 Scientists Strike for Peace:
50 Years Later
An Open Letter to the MIT Corporation
FNL Elects Four New and One
Returning Editorial Board Members
Open Access Task Force
Draft Recommendations
The Octopus
Progress Towards an Improved
Undergraduate First-Year Experience
Update on the Academic Climate Survey
Undergraduate Admissions:
A Recommendation
Public Forums at the
Center for International Studies
International Collaborations and
Donations to the Endowment
Faculty Responses to the
2019 Academic Climate Survey
Printable Version

Update on the Academic Climate Survey

Jonathan Schwarz, Lydia Snover

This fall, we introduced the Academic Climate Survey (ACS) in the pages of the Faculty Newsletter, and have been invited to share some early observations of faculty data with FNL readers. We are grateful to all the members of the MIT community who took the time to share their experiences with us in the Academic Climate Survey (ACS). A response rate of nearly 70% is an indication that the topic of workplace climate in academic departments and research units is important to MIT faculty. The public report of overall results from the ACS can be found on the Institutional Research website.

Overall, 89% of MIT faculty are satisfied (very satisfied + somewhat satisfied) with their role at MIT. While the overall story is positive, there are some indicators that suggest room for improvement.

  • At an Institute level, female faculty respondents report higher levels of stress than male faculty respondents.
  • Underrepresented minority (Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American) faculty respondents are more likely to agree with the statements, “I have to work harder than my colleagues to be taken seriously,” and “I feel called on to represent a social identity or demographic group in my DLC (department, lab, or center).”
  • Faculty who identify as lesbian/gay/bisexual/pansexual/other sexuality disagree that their DLC is diverse, and report feeling isolated very often at higher rates compared to faculty respondents who identify as straight or heterosexual.

For the first time, we asked respondents whether or not they have a disability. Data from faculty respondents who identified as having a disability suggest they feel less integrated in their departments. For example, they agree (somewhat agree + strongly agree) at a higher rate that they feel excluded from informal networks in their DLC and have felt isolated somewhat more frequently than faculty respondents who do not identify as having a disability.

We continue to be concerned about the number and length of surveys on campus. As the Council on Family and Work revises the quadrennial Quality of Life (QoL) Survey, they are seeking opportunities to reduce the overall length of the QoL while incorporating the ACS as a module within that survey, which will be administered during the 2020 Independent Activities Period (IAP).

The culture of MIT is important – it binds us together in our mission to advance cutting-edge research and education. The Academic Climate Survey results show that not everyone experiences the same culture, and through the MindHandHeart initiative we will be able to share innovation across departments and better access expert campus resources. MIT remains committed to examining these issues so that we can continue to grow and improve. IR and MindHandHeart will continue to work with department heads and directors of centers and labs across campus to leverage these data as part of both new and ongoing efforts to ensure that MIT is a welcoming workplace. 

For the ACS responses of faculty with regard to stress, see MIT Numbers.

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