Final report of Task Force 2021 and Beyond

November 4, 2021
L. Rafael Reif, President, 2012–2022 |

To the members of the MIT community,

In the spring of 2020, not long after Covid-19 turned life at MIT upside down, the Institute seized an opportunity to envision important improvements in how we live and work, learn and teach, and conduct research. More than anything, I wanted us to explore, together, how we might develop the blueprints for building a better MIT.

In that spirit, in early May 2020, Professor Rick Danheiser, then chair of the faculty, and Vice President for Open Learning Sanjay Sarma agreed to co-chair what came to be called Task Force 2021 and Beyond. In the 18 months since, thanks to their inspired leadership, an outstanding team of more than 200 faculty, staff and students, advised by a group of dedicated alumni, came together to devise solutions to longstanding Institute challenges and prepare MIT to seize important new opportunities.

Now, as we approach the end of 2021 and look to the “beyond,” I write to share the final task force report.

You can read more about the work and recommendations of Task Force 2021 and Beyond on MIT News.

The report captures a remarkable range of practical ideas, presented along with detailed plans for implementation. Some, such as an ambitious effort to improve graduate student advising and mentoring, are already under way. Others, such as a recommendation to strengthen career development programs and opportunities for staff, will leverage what we have learned about remote work. And still others, such as a review of the undergraduate academic program to consider improvements in the General Institute Requirements, will rely on the collective wisdom of our faculty. Many other recommendations will help us make judgments as we look to allocate new resources resulting from the recent gains in MIT’s endowment.

Importantly, the report includes a roster of faculty and administrative leaders ­who have agreed to take responsibility for MIT’s response to each recommendation. I have asked the provost and executive vice president and treasurer to convene these leaders and key members of the task force’s refinement and implementation committees each year to assess progress on the recommendations and related initiatives. They will share an annual progress report with the community in each of the next three years.

After so many months of uncertainty and exceptional effort, perseverance and a roller coaster of hope, I am tremendously grateful to everyone who contributed to the task force ­report – and I am excited about drawing on this work to build a better MIT.


L. Rafael Reif