Twelve MIT faculty honored as “Committed to Caring” for 2020-2021

Spread the love

The term “mentor” traces back to the ancient Greek author Homer. When Odysseus sets off for Troy, he entrusts his son Telemachus to a close friend, Mentor. Finding Telemachus floundering, the goddess Athena takes on the guise of Mentor, visiting and counseling Telemachus throughout “The Odyssey.” Athena, as Mentor, embodies this transfer of wisdom, compassion, and guidance; the term “mentor” has gone on to capture these sentiments.

Numerous professors at MIT echo this generosity of attention and care in their mentoring relationships with graduate students. The Committed to Caring (C2C) program recognizes outstanding mentors and promotes thoughtful, engaged mentorship throughout the Institute.

For considerate and humanizing acts such as validating students’ identities, inviting students to join in lab and departmental decision-making, and going to great lengths to ensure continuity in funding for students, 12 MIT faculty members were recently honored by their graduate students as stalwart mentors. These new honorees join 48 previous C2C honorees.

The following faculty members are the 2020-21 Committed to Caring Honorees:

Daron Acemoglu, Department of Economics;
Alfredo Alexander-Katz, Department of Materials Science and Engineering;
Kristin Bergmann, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences;
Kerri Cahoy, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics;
Catherine Drennan, departments of Biology and Chemistry;
Colette Heald, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;
Caroline Jones, Department of Architecture;
Jesse Kroll, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;
Gene-wei Li, Department of Biology;
Anna Mikusheva, Department of Economics;
Gigliola Staffilani, Department of Mathematics; and
Lawrence Susskind, Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Selecting for generous guidance

Every other year, the Office of Graduate Education invites graduate students to nominate professors for the Committed to Caring honor. A selection committee composed of graduate students and MIT staff members reads the nomination letters, settling on a pool of awardees who devote true attention to their students’ well-being. Selection criteria include the depth and breadth of faculty members’ caring actions, promoting the development of scholarly excellence in students, and the support of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the research groups and the wider community.

This year’s committee included Associate Dean for Graduate Education Suraiya Baluch (chair); Renée Caso (academic programs manager, Department of Architecture); and graduate students Courtney Lesoon (2017-19 C2C graduate community fellow; History, Theory, and Criticism section, Department of Architecture), Ellie Immerman (2019-20 C2C graduate community fellow, departments of History and Science, Technology, and Society), Noam Buckman (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Grace Putka Ahlqvist (Department of Chemistry), and Shayna Hilburg (Department of Materials Science and Engineering).

Baluch writes that she “was deeply moved to read about the many … acts of humanity and compassion that prioritized the well-being of graduate students. So many of the nomination letters spoke to the lasting impact these advisors had on their students’ professional and personal development.” The letters illustrated faculty advisors’ remarkable compassion and eagerness to wholeheartedly support their students.

In particular, these faculty tend to personalize their advising styles to the individual student; work collaboratively with students to navigate distressing life events; reassure students and help renew their love of the discipline when research results go awry; and empower students to guide their own research agendas. In the coming months, each of these honorees will be featured in an MIT News article and an accompanying poster campaign.

Faculty Peer Mentorship Program

During fall 2019, the Office of Graduate Education and Associate Provost Tim Jamison launched a pilot Faculty Peer Mentorship Program (FPMP). Ten of 29 entering untenured faculty members chose to participate. Each was matched with a previous Committed to Caring honoree.

The goal is for pairs to connect regularly throughout the year, discussing how to intentionally craft caring mentoring relationships with graduate students and postdocs. In building mentorship networks, the FPMP will help the Institute enact excellent mentorship as a community value.

Pilot faculty participants come from the schools of Science; Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; Architecture and Planning; and Engineering. Blanche Staton, senior associate dean for graduate education, is “enthused by the wealth of advising wisdom and the eagerness of faculty members to help build a stronger MIT.”

Amid times of uncertainty and great stress, C2C honorees provide a foundation of support for the community, helping us to weather the strains and take care of each other, as well as ourselves.

X ITM Cloud News


Leave a Reply

Next Post

How worms move: Dopamine helps nematodes coordinate motor behaviors

Tue Jun 30 , 2020
Spread the love          For a nematode worm, a big lawn of the bacteria that it eats is a great place for it to disperse its eggs so that each hatchling can emerge into a nutritive environment. That’s why when a worm speedily roams about a food patch, it methodically lays its […]

Cloud Computing – Consultancy – Development – Hosting – APIs – Legacy Systems

X-ITM Technology helps our customers across the entire enterprise technology stack with differentiated industry solutions. We modernize IT, optimize data architectures, and make everything secure, scalable and orchestrated across public, private and hybrid clouds.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is x-itmdc.jpg

The enterprise technology stack includes ITO; Cloud and Security Services; Applications and Industry IP; Data, Analytics and Engineering Services; and Advisory.

Watch an animation of  X-ITM‘s Enterprise Technology Stack

We combine years of experience running mission-critical systems with the latest digital innovations to deliver better business outcomes and new levels of performance, competitiveness and experiences for our customers and their stakeholders.

X-ITM invests in three key drivers of growth: People, Customers and Operational Execution.

The company’s global scale, talent and innovation platforms serve 6,000 private and public-sector clients in 70 countries.

X-ITM’s extensive partner network helps drive collaboration and leverage technology independence. The company has established more than 200 industry-leading global Partner Network relationships, including 15 strategic partners: Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Dell Technologies, Google Cloud, HCL, HP, HPE, IBM, Micro Focus, Microsoft, Oracle, PwC, SAP, ServiceNow and VMware