Initial Charge

Vision

MIT Chemistry is an educational culture that fosters world-class independent scientists. We aim to promote a healthy, stimulating and supportive environment that strives for ongoing improvement. Working together, students, postdocs, staff and faculty will create this environment and use it to make new scientific discoveries.

Mission

To craft policies, procedures and initiatives that seem likely to improve the quality of life in the department, broadly speaking. Where appropriate the QoL Committee may also be tasked with implementing these proposals. In other cases, the QoL Committee may assemble an ad hoc committee tasked with implementing specific proposals.

Objectives

The objectives of the QoL Committee fall broadly in four categories:

Community

In order to work collaboratively, it is important for the department to build and maintain a positive sense of community. The QoL Committee will recommend and/or implement activities and policies that seem likely to foster community. Examples include (but are not limited to): Departmental activities; social events; and discussion lunches.

Education and Professional Development

People are, in many ways, the greatest resource of our department. The QoL Committee will work to create and maintain an environment where junior scientists are given every opportunity for education and professional advancement. These efforts might include (but are not limited to): Changes to the annual student evaluations; strengthening the role of the thesis committee; instituting formal exit interviews; expanding student orientation; and harmonizing requirements across divisions.

Research and Mentoring

Good mentoring practices reinforce a virtuous cycle; better mentoring improves students’ development and leadership. They in turn are strong mentors to and positive roles models for the next generation. The QoL Committee will assist the department in disseminating and maintaining mentoring best practices. These efforts might include: Implementing required mentorship training; “ask a professor meetings”; and enhancing the system for reporting serious offenses.

Diversity

A healthy department is one that welcomes and supports diversity. The experienced quality of life in the department often varies based on background. The QoL Committee will work with the department as a whole to implement policies aimed at supporting a diverse population of students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. Efforts toward this end might include: clarifying policies about vacations, visas, maternity leave and the like; and strengthening the relationship between student & postdoc groups and the department as a whole.

Strategies

The QoL Committee will complement and cooperate several existing committees and student groups. In particular, the QoL Committee will coordinate with WIC, ChemREFs, ChemPDA and CGSC to gather information about the current atmosphere of the department and initiatives likely to have a positive impact. The QoL Committee will differ from these groups in that (while it will be composed of Faculty, Students, Postdocs and Staff) it will function as a normal faculty committee with the authority to recommend changes and policies and procedures to the Department.