MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXII No. 3
January / February 2020
I. The Goodwin Procter Report and Faculty Views on the Jeffrey Epstein Case; II. No War on Iran; III. Professor Aron Bernstein;
IV. FNL Officers Elected
MIT: Where Now?
Straighten Up & Fly Right
Epstein and MIT:
The Unanswered Questions
Aron Bernstein
Catalyzing a Conversation
Statement from the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for
Outside Engagements
A New Center for MIT
MIT 2020 Quality of Life Survey Launches
Improving on the Probability
of Alumni Connections
Save the Date for MacVicar Day 2020
The Coop and the MIT Press Bookstore
Budget of the United States Government:
2018 Discretionary Outlays
Budget of the United States Government:
Comparative Defense Spending
Printable Version

MIT 2020 Quality of Life Survey Launches

Amy Glasmeier and Ken Goldsmith

MIT 2020 Quality of Life Survey










On January 28, 2020, the MIT Council on Family and Work invited our entire MIT community of approximately 26,000 members to complete the 2020 Quality of Life Survey. The survey is being administered to faculty, other instructional staff, researchers, postdoctoral scholars, administrative staff, support staff, and service staff on MIT’s main campus and at Lincoln Laboratory, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. To express our thanks for the community’s participation, we will offer $25 prizes to 800 randomly drawn participants.

Confidentiality Is Paramount

Sponsored by the Council on Family and Work and administered every four years by Institutional Research in the Office of the Provost, the survey is one of the Institute’s most important tools for understanding issues and concerns related to work-life balance across our entire community. The results inform all levels of the Institute and help to shape MIT’s benefits policies and other work-related programs. The confidential information provides a snapshot of the community’s opinions, allows for comparisons over time, and is vital to the Council’s ability to support the interests of MIT community members.

What is the Council on Family and Work?

The Council is an independent Standing Institute Committee appointed by the President, sponsored by the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, and co-chaired by a faculty member as part of the Institute’s faculty governance. Professor Amy Glasmeier (Urban Studies and Planning) and Assistant Dean Ken Goldsmith (Architecture + Planning) currently serve as co-chairs, and Council members volunteer their time to represent all facets of the MIT community.

When the Council on Family and Work was established 25 years ago, its focus was on providing Institutional support for the non-work concerns of the community, including child and elder care, parental leave, and affordable housing. Over the past decade, the Council has focused on the important issues of Institute work-related climate and culture.

The Council monitors the state of family and work life at MIT and works to ensure that the Institute is a place where faculty, staff, and students can have fulfilling and productive professional and personal lives. In its independent advisory and deliberative capacity, the Council focuses on advising senior officers on what they need to hear based upon what the community tells us through the survey.

The Council's charge is to:

1. identify family and work-related issues,

2. establish a process to evaluate and respond to these issues, and

3. make periodic recommendations to MIT's senior officers about courses of action relevant to these specific issues.

The Council works in close collaboration with Institutional Research (IR) in the Office of the Provost, and IR provides the Council with technical support to continually update the survey design to reflect social changes. IR administers the Quality of Life Survey and provides results that form the basis of reports and recommendations that the Council makes to the President, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, Vice President of Human Resources, and Chancellor (see the Council’s website for previous Council reports of the survey findings). The Provost and the Chair of the Faculty serve as co-sponsors of the faculty portion of the survey.

What is the Quality of Life Survey?

The survey covers a number of topics, including satisfaction, workload, work-related stressors, departmental climate, mentoring, integration of work and personal/family life, access to resources both at work and in support of family life, and the tenure and promotion process. The core of the 2020 Quality of Life Survey questions is based on questions developed for a Faculty Survey that was first administered in 2004. Over time, the results of Quality of Life Surveys have shown that despite overall satisfaction, there are still important issues that impact the community in ways that positively and negatively affect an individual’s ability to thrive.

MIT has been using surveys to collect quality of life and climate data for 30 years, and the results are the most heavily used survey-related dataset at MIT. In addition to informing the Administration on overall campus issues, the results of the Quality of Life Survey have become an important tool for department heads and directors to understand specific issues that affect the overall climate for faculty, staff, and students in departments, laboratories, and centers.

The survey is one of the Institute’s few sources of important data on non-work-related demographics, such as the number of community members with spouses, children, etc. The results are an integral part of the MindHandHeart Department Support Project and are used extensively for Visiting Committee briefings and by the Institute Community and Equity Office.

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After the 2016 survey, Professors Krishna Rajagopal, Leslie Kolodziejski, and Christopher Capozzola summarized the results in a September/October 2016 article in the MIT Faculty Newsletter, “MIT Asked, We Answered: The 2016 Faculty Quality of Life Survey,” specifically regarding gender differences. Since that time, the Schools have re-established gender equity committees and are using the results of the Quality of Life Surveys and the Academic Climate Surveys to inform their work in additional multiple ways.

MIT has used results from previous surveys to introduce several important initiatives, such as:

  • Employee T pass benefit
  • Flexible work hours
  • Expanded childcare on campus
  • Initiatives to address student hunger
  • Increased number of lactation rooms

Reporting and Sharing Results

Survey results are aggregated for reporting, and results for small groups are suppressed. Results aggregated at the School, department, lab, center, or other subgroup level will be made available to associated deans, department heads, directors, etc. Results aggregated at the Institute-level will be made available to the general public on the Institutional Research website.

Overall results (in Tableau format) and highlights, as well as results for units with enough responses to ensure confidentiality, will be available by late spring 2020. Trend results combining responses from previous surveys will be available after that. It’s important to hear all the voices in the community, so participation is key to having meaningful results.

For more information and to access your survey link, visit

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