Letter and Preliminary Report on Initiative for Investigation of Race Matters and Underrepresented Minority Faculty at MIT

July 16, 2007

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

As you know, last April I appointed a team of faculty, representing all five of MIT's Schools, to help develop the Institute's new initiative to study how race affects the recruitment, retention, professional opportunities, and collegial experiences of under-represented minority faculty members at MIT.  This core team has included Professors Emery N. Brown, Paula T. Hammond, Leslie K. Norford, Christine Ortiz, and Marcus A. Thompson; Professor JoAnne Yates was a member until beginning her new appointment as Deputy Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management this month, when Professor Lotte Bailyn succeeded her on the team.

After three months of intensive discussion with colleagues inside and outside the Institute, the core team has now submitted a preliminary report that provides detailed recommendations on how MIT can undertake a comprehensive, rigorous, and systematic study of these issues.  The team has also recommended a number of specific administrative actions that might be taken before the completion of the full study process.  Given the importance of the issues, the team would welcome your response to its preliminary recommendations.

I am profoundly grateful to the members of the team for offering a full and thoughtful outline of how we might move forward.  I know they look forward to your comments.

L. Rafael Reif