Fall Welcome Letter to Students

September 08, 2011

Welcome--or welcome back!

I am excited that the term is about to begin, although a bit intimidated by all the things on my "to-do" list; perhaps you feel the same. I find this time of the academic term invigorating, with the excitement of new subjects to take (or teach), new people to meet, and activities to renew or even initiate. I hope you share this anticipation, that your excitement carries on throughout the term, and that you find a way to balance the challenges of the academic schedule with opportunities to explore the myriad aspects of student life.
The start of the term offers many occasions for new beginnings. The Student Deans and I are committed to continue enhancing student engagement, and we hope that students and administrators use the onset of a new term to build a fresh start on working together. MIT thrives when we listen, communicate, and respect differing viewpoints. Mutual respect creates dialog and convergence, rather than the dissonance that can arise from assuming the other party is wrong in their perspective or ill-intentioned in their purpose.
A few highlights for the coming year:
  • Personally, I will continue the "listening tour" I began last term, meeting with students representing different activities and interests and visiting living groups, to hear your concerns. We may not be able to satisfy all requests, but we can certainly engage in a dialog about priorities and constraints.
  • I further intend to create a weekly (or bi-weekly) lunch setting to chat about life at MIT and beyond with small, randomly selected sets of undergraduates.
  • The Dean for Graduate Education, Christine Ortiz, will continue to host similar weekly lunches with graduate students.
  • The Student Deans and I are also introducing a monthly email digest that will address topics with strong student interest and highlight useful Institute resources.
  • We also know that feedback is important in any system, and are always interested in your ideas and input. I encourage you to send email, use the comment boxes on our websites, or setup a time to meet.
I hope you have a great term, and I look forward to hearing from as many of you as I can fit in. 
Eric Grimson
Bernard Gordon Professor of Medical Engineering, EECS
P.S. An easy way to let the Students Deans and I know what you’re thinking is to email whatsonyourmind@mit.edu. We strive to ensure that every email gets a response.