About ICEO

MIT’s Institute Community & Equity Office

Drawing on the strength and energy of our community’s extraordinary diversity of experiences and backgrounds, the ICEO leads MIT to make practical progress on a daily basis. We aim to cultivate a caring community focused on MIT’s shared values of excellence, community, equity, belonging, openness, integrity, and mutual respect. Our work is carried out in ways that enhance the life and work of Institute faculty, students, postdocs, staff, and other members of the MIT community. Our aim is to make everyone here feel that MIT is home. The ICEO reports to the Provost.

The Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO) is MIT’s chief diversity officer and serves as a thought leader on the subjects of community, equity, inclusion, and diversity. They are a focal point for organizing MIT’s related activities and conversations, and they serve as a hands-on practitioner who disseminates best practices and inspires the awareness and enthusiasm to help the community flourish. The acronym ICEO can refer to either the Office – with staff listed below – or to Institute Community and Equity Officer, John Dozier.

MIT Building 10 Dome

How we define our work

Every member of the MIT Community must reflect on how the particular challenges and opportunities of our own backgrounds have shaped our paths and attitudes, our advantages and disadvantages, how other people’s experiences may have affected them, and how these factors play out in how we live and work together.

As individuals, we must accept responsibility for identifying and eliminating behaviors and habits that undermine the sense of belonging for any member of our community—while committing ourselves to maintaining an environment where we can freely and respectfully express diverging views.

The ICEO supports the Institute’s efforts to create and institutionalize policies, systems, and behaviors that promote equity, value differences of opinion and origin, and create conditions for productive disagreement that unite all of us in service to the Institute’s mission. To this end, the ICEO organizes its inquiry and actions around three strategic priorities:

  • Belonging: MIT will cultivate a community in which people feel connected to each other, share a sense of purpose, and support each individual’s freedom to be themselves and respectfully express their views. By encouraging empathy, civil discourse, inclusion, and engagement, we will build on our historic strengths as a problem-solving institution and contribute to society’s collective well-being. 
  • Achievement: MIT will ensure equity is central to how opportunities are presented and assessments are conducted for all members of the community. We will minimize barriers to achievement and chart equitable pathways to success for everyone. 
  • Composition: MIT can only fulfill its mission by serving as a magnet for a wide range of talented people. The composition of our community, and of our leadership, should reflect a commitment to diversity. Establishing objectives, defining steps for achieving them, and improving processes for collecting more nuanced identity data will empower us to see ourselves more clearly and make progress.

How we define community

MIT’s on-campus population is made up of roughly 4,600 undergraduate students, 7,300 graduate students, 14,000 staff, 1,500 postdocs, and 1,000 faculty; Institute alumni number approximately 139,000. We come from every country in the world, and represent every imaginable faith, race, ethnicity, age group, political view, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. MIT’s sense of community is defined by how all of us treat each other and by the culture and climate that result from our interactions.

To achieve a sense of community at MIT, we look inward to understand what we can do now, we look back to learn from our successes and our missteps, and we look forward to achieve what we aspire to become. If we are not trying to create a culture of excellence in which all members of the community can do their best work, now and in the future, we are not fulfilling MIT’s mission.

How we define diversity

Diversity refers to the sum of social, cultural, and individual human attributes represented within a group and how these groups work together. These attributes include (but are not limited to) age, class, disability, educational background, ethnicity, gender expression, gender identity, geographical location, immigration status, income, marital status, national origin, parental status, political views, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, work experiences, and veteran status. These categories are not always fixed and often overlap.

At MIT, as in the United States as a whole, diversity is a fact about our community—present and future. That diversity of backgrounds, views, and talents is an essential element in MIT’s strength; our differences challenge us to broaden and deepen our vision, to reexamine standing assumptions and ask questions we have not asked before. But our differences can also create points of pain and friction. Attending carefully to our diversity is a way of promoting a culture of respect, civility, and empathy so that all members of our community can thrive. That is our goal.

Diversity is not a proxy for underrepresentation. The Institute currently identifies members of a “racial/ ethnic underrepresented” group as: “a U.S. Citizen who self-identifies as Black/ African-American, Hispanic/ Latinx, Native American or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.” While we strive to improve circumstances for people from underrepresented groups at MIT, we take a broader view of diversity. 

MIT must be able to identify and address the concerns of any community that is subject to identity-based discrimination or harassment, regardless of its proportion at MIT (e.g., Asians and Asian-Americans or Native Americans), or for which there is not reliable institutional data (LGBTQ+, disabled, veterans, and others). Additionally, MIT must enable meaningful disaggregations of constituencies within communities and across intersections that are often treated as monolithic (“international,” Asian, Hispanic/Latinx).