The BE Department is currently focused on the following efforts:
- Hired a joint ChemE/DMSE/BE DEI Specialist, Christelle Hayles (Jan 2022). Over the next 8 months, Christelle met with various groups within and outside the department, bringing new collaborations and support to the Department.
- After several meetings of the DEI Collaborative Working Groups, a reorganization was suggested (May 2022) and implemented (August 2022)
- Worked in collaboration with IDHR to bring lab-specific anti-bias training to labs in BE (Spring 2022)
- Supported the creation of a Postdoctoral Fellowship to support underrepresented postdoctoral scholars across the Institute (Spring 2022)
- Established a DEI focused departmental book club; read Braiding Sweetgrass (Spring 2022) and Algorithms of Oppressions (IAP 2022)
- Hosted a Department Wide Social to learn about DEI groups and meet the community (May 2022)
- Collaborated with the MIT Teaching and Learning Lab to host two Inclusive Teaching workshops for community members (May 2022 and September 2022)
- The Department worked with MIT Facilities to add signage around BE buildings to all-gender restrooms. BE continues to work with IDHR and MIT Facilities to try to bring all-gender restrooms to BE bathrooms (Spring 2022)
- BE updated all forms and surveys to eliminate the sharing of genders/pronouns and legal names on shared documents (Spring 2022).
- Faculty held an open discussion on the importance and use of gender pronouns, especially in the context of advising and mentoring (Spring 2022).
- Incorporated more ethics and diversity-focused discussions in the core undergraduate and graduate course in the department; creating a repository of BE specific ethics and diversity-related case studies (Spring 2022 and ongoing)
- Updated and continuing to collect resources and professional development resources for all stakeholder groups (Ongoing)
- Encouraging community members to report all incidents of harassment and bias to IDHR; sharing IDHR process with stakeholder groups (Ongoing)
- Increased efforts to better foster communication between and amongst stakeholder groups (Ongoing)
- Collaborated with the BE Admissions Committee to add transparency to the application process and update the BE Admissions Website (Aug 2022)
- Met with the MIT MSRP students for an information session about the BE graduate program and hosted a lunch to provide networking opportunities (Summer 2022)
- Met with various partners to learn about advising and mentorship best practices in academia and other industries; working to bring some of these practices to BE (Spring 2022 and ongoing)
- The DEI Collaborative worked closely with the BE Seminar Series Committee to identify and host a more diverse set of speakers. We also added a component to the day where interested community members could meet with the speaker to learn about best practices related to DEI at partner institutions (Spring 2022 and Ongoing)
- We added a DEI Q&A to faculty interviews, learning more about how candidates think about DEI, advising, and inclusive teaching. We continued with the student-hosted DEI panel at graduate student interview weekend (Ongoing)
- Collaborated with the Office of Graduate Education to host an information session for prospective graduate students. This builds on the work of BEAAP to host webinars to help prospective graduate students feel better prepared in applying to the program. (Fall 2021 and Ongoing)
- Met with BE staff members to identify key areas of focus (Spring 2022); working to implement discussions and community building events in the Fall of 2022 In addition to Departmental work, the following groups contribute to significant efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department.
Past updates can be found here.
In addition to Departmental work, the following groups contribute to significant efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department.
BE Undergraduate Board - The BE Undergraduate Board consists of the students elected to represent the undergraduate student body. Collectively, they help advocate for the student voice and build programs that support the undergraduate experience in BE.
BE Graduate Board -The BE Graduate Board consists of the students elected to represent the graduate student body. Collectively, they help advocate for the student voice and build programs that support the graduate student experience in BE. A variety of roles on the Board work to support many of the DEI efforts of the graduate students. Additionally, the BE graduate students have established DEI working groups, including Communications, Diversity Officer, Education, Recruit-hire-admit, and Values working groups. There is also a student-run DEI blog.
Society for Underrepresented Biologists and Biological Engineers - SUBE is an organization started by MIT BE and Biology students to support professional development and enhance the experience of underrepresented students in the department.
BE Application Assistance Program - a program to assist potential students interested in applying to MIT Biological Engineering and graduate school programs in general. The program is supported on a voluntary basis by graduate students in the department.
Last updated 09/01/2022