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Community Perspectives

Over the past several months, the MIT community has made crucial contributions to the planning process for the fall and beyond by thoughtfully responding to surveys, actively participating in events, and carefully crafting reports that reflect a range of perspectives and recommendations.

Reading these materials, the diversity of the MIT community shines through in the data and comments. The diverse and often divergent opinions expressed in the feedback reinforce the extraordinary challenge that we face and the necessity of trade-offs and compromises relative to any option. Team 2020’s analysis incorporates and is strengthened by the community’s input on and assessment of the options.

Below, we share a collection of significant community engagement efforts including community-wide and subgroup-specific surveys, community events such as town halls, and links to presentations and reports that reflect the perspectives and recommendations of key stakeholder groups.


Undergraduate Student Preference Survey

Launched June 6 | Overall frequencies | Potential Semesters Lost by Option

Asks undergraduates to consider a set of scenarios describing how Academic Year 2020‐2021 might look at MIT, and indicate for each whether they would enroll in classes and whether they would like to live in MIT housing.

Respondents: All undergraduate students (3511/4613)

Sponsor: Team 2020

MIT Pulse Survey

May 26 | Tableau

The first in a series of periodic surveys so we can stay in touch with how the people of MIT are experiencing this COVID-shadowed time.

Respondents: Current faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and continuing doctoral students at MIT main campus and MIT Lincoln Laboratory (6,638/18,452 or 36% return) 

Sponsor: Community Continuity Working Group (CCG) working in close collaboration with Institutional Research (IR) and with guidance from John Carroll, Professor of Work and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan School of Management.

2020 Feedback Form

May 21 | Tableau data | Summary Narratives for Staff/ Faculty/ Undergraduate/ Graduate | Community Comments on AY21 Options

Online form for community members to provide input about the potential fall options and express other priorities and concerns.

Respondents: Entire MIT community (900 completed, 900 partial)

Sponsor: Team 2020

Remote Experience Survey

May 13 | PDF summary |

The Remote Experience Survey was administered in the second half of May 2020 to gather student feedback on the abrupt transition to remote learning precipitated by the global coronavirus pandemic. The survey focused on how students felt about their connections to the MIT community, student utilization of various support structures, student participation in extracurricular activities, and student perceptions of their remote learning experience.

Respondents: All students (3,342/11,010 students or 30%)

Sponsor: Academic Policy and Regulations Team (APART)

Housing and Student Life Surveys

April 25 and May 3

These results are compiled from surveys sent to students living on-campus in April/May 2020 and off-campus in May 2020. The intent was to learn about their experience during the pandemic; understand how they protect themselves and others from getting sick; get feedback on social distancing housing policies for current and future residents; and find out which tools, resources, and tips have been helpful to them at the time.


  • April–May 2020 Housing Experience Survey: Invited 1571 students (1349 Grads & 222 Undergrads) on 4/25; 41% return: 54% of UG and 42% of grads responding. 
  • May 2020 Off-Campus Survey: Invited ~7300 current and incoming grads & ~4,200 undergrads on 5/3; 57% return: 59% of UG and 56% of grads responding.

Sponsor: Division of Student Life


8 AM Covid-19 Academic Continuity calls

March – Present

Morning briefing calls with MIT community members to discuss issues, announce decisions, and solicit input on a wide variety of topics related to the Institute’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Participants: Deans, Department heads, faculty members, senior administrative staff, students

Host/Sponsor: Vice Chancellor Ian A. Waitz


May 26-27 | Summary report

A charrette is an intense collaborative design process used to engage stakeholders in solving a shared design challenge. In this case, the design challenge was adapting MIT’s educational model and academic calendar to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of three charrette events (hosted on Zoom) lasted two hours; volunteer facilitators helped guide the discussion and notetakers recorded the conversation and ideas from 69 breakout sessions.

Participants: 425 MIT community members (staff, faculty, and students)

Host/Sponsor: Team 2020

Small-Group Discussions

May 21-31 | Summary report

MIT community members were encouraged to organize their own small (6 to 10 person) discussion group to talk about options and adaptations for the upcoming academic year. Team 2020 provided a guide with suggested framing questions and instructions for capturing the discussion to share with the larger MIT community and senior decision-makers. After the discussion, organizers uploaded a concise summary of the main points from the conversation for inclusion into the planning process.

Participants: various including staff from TLO, Registrar’s Office, Dewey Library, and Student Support and Wellbeing; Mechanical Engineering Junior Faculty; students including Educational Studies Program Student Organization, friend groups, CTL Graduate Students, Sloan Fellows ‘21, and members of The Tech; Students, Staff, & Faculty in Maseeh House; Students from common living groups; French House Cultural House; Parent Leadership Council; and IDSS Covid-19 Collaborative

Host/Sponsor: Team 2020

School- and College-specific Sessions with Senior Administration

Week of June 1

Mini town-halls with the senior team (President Reif, Provost Schmidt, Vice President Maria Zuber, and Chancellor Cindy Barnhart) for faculty members of MIT’s schools and the College of Computing

Participants: Senior administration and Faculty of 5 Schools and College of Computing

Host/Sponsor: President’s Office

Town Halls

Presentations, Reports, & Recommendations

Departmental Feedback on Teaching Scenarios


A distillation of initial departmental responses to questions about teaching under possible Fall 2020 scenarios, highlighting common strategies, key needs, and unique ideas.

Authors: Kate Weishaar and Michael Rutter, OVC

Recommendations of the Undergraduate Association (UA) Committee on COVID-19 to MIT Team 2020 Regarding Fall 2020 Options

June 2020

Presents the primary considerations of the Undergraduate Association (UA) Committee on COVID-19 regarding the return of undergraduate students to MIT’s campus in fall 2020. Makes recommendations on 6 options (in favor of both 100% return and two-semester/partial return) and offers feedback on other aspects of the academic calendar, emergency housing, selection of returning students, and grading.

Author: MIT Undergraduate Association Committee on COVID-19 

Heads of House Memorandum

June 9 | Strongly Discourage Fall 100% Return Option

Provides input from 16 of 18 Heads of House teams on the options and summarizes collective input. 94% of the Heads of House who expressed their opinion, representing 15 dorms, urge the senior leadership team to forgo further consideration of the 100% Return Option.

Authors: Heads of House with input provided by: Baker, MacGregor, McCormick, New House, Next House, Simmons, Eastgate, Edgerton, 70 Amherst, Sidney Pacific, Warehouse, Ashdown, Westgate, EastCampus, Random, Tang

Academic Policy and Regulations Team: Consensus Views on Options

June 11, 2020

APART discussed the five options proposed by Team 2020. Slides summarize the consensus view of APART with regard to each option under consideration, and provide a list of team members.

Authors: APART team members