ICEO Ed Bertschinger to step down

April 04, 2018

To the members of the MIT community,

I write to let you know that, after nearly five years of service as MIT’s Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO), Professor Ed Bertschinger will step down from the role, as he begins a sabbatical this summer.

MIT created the position of ICEO in 2013. While past efforts around equity and inclusion focused primarily on faculty or students, in keeping with the vision of “One MIT,” the ICEO role is designed to strengthen, unite and serve the whole community.

The first person to hold the job, Ed rose to this broad challenge by encouraging candid conversation and engagement with the facts. He fostered an impressive growth in the quality and quantity of campus discussion about sensitive issues, from race and gender to harassment and abrasive behavior. At the same time, he improved the quality of and access to data around many measures of diversity ­at MIT, a crucial step in tracking progress and creating accountability. Through wide-ranging conversations with faculty, students and staff across the Institute, Ed developed the 2015 report Advancing a Respectful and Caring Community, whose findings describe key elements of MIT’s culture, outline their impact on the life of the community and suggest paths for improvement. And he offered vital support as the Black Students’ Union and the Black Graduate Student Association brought forward to Academic Council their recommendations for constructive change. Thanks to Ed’s leadership, our community has come to embrace a vision of inclusive excellence that honors MIT’s deepest values.

You can learn more about Ed’s accomplishments as ICEO here.

Ed came to the role of ICEO with a long record of inspiring progress in his home department. As department head, he would insist that he wanted MIT Physics to be the top-ranked department both by traditional academic measures and because of its success in removing the barriers for women and underrepresented minorities in the field. With that same insistent idealism, he helped us understand what the role of ICEO could be.

In keeping with the importance of the role, the next ICEO will also be an MIT faculty member. As I begin the search process, I welcome your perspective and suggestions. Please write to I will treat any correspondence as confidential.

Please join me in thanking Ed for his leadership and his service.


Martin A. Schmidt