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Inclusion and excellence go hand in hand

Think about nominating a colleague for this year's Excellence Awards.

Can you think of an MIT staff member who works hard to include everyone and takes advantage of their colleagues' various skills and perspectives? Then chances are you know someone you could nominate for the new Excellence award, Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives award.

Formerly known as the Fostering Diversity and Inclusion award, the Advancing Inclusion award better reflects what really happens at the Institute. "The criteria for the Advancing Inclusion award is more inclusive and action-oriented compared to its predecessor," says Alyce Johnson, manager of staff diversity and inclusion. "Through these criteria, we hope to paint a picture of what inclusion means at MIT, and what it actually looks like in a tangible way." The criteria include inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration, raising awareness and actively working to resolve conflicts due to cultural differences.
Through the revision of this category, the community is encouraged to broaden its thinking about this critical element of the MIT experience. The traditional definition of diversity and inclusion still applies, but so do wider interpretations. Inclusion isn't just about bringing together people of different races and nationalities; it's also about encouraging and welcoming diverse perspectives and different approaches to solving problems.

Mission critical

The award also acknowledges MIT's expanding global reach and its many valuable international academic and research partnerships. "This new way of thinking about inclusion demonstrates a clear message from the Institute: Inclusion equals diversity equals global excellence!" Johnson says.

"At MIT, we make reference to the value of leveraging interdisciplinary perspectives when it comes to working together to solve the world's problems. This new award category is the Institute's way of recognizing those actions." Or to put it another way, adds Johnson, "Maximizing our strengths by including all members of our community — students, faculty, staff and visitors, both on campus and across the world — is at the core of the MIT mission."

It's all about action

This notion of "advancing" is key to this award. Advancing is an action, and action ties back to the Institute's core philosophy of mens et manus, mind and hand. At MIT, it's not just about having an idea; it's about knowing how to implement that idea and make it a reality.

The nomination period for the Advancing Inclusion award (as well as the five other Excellence Award categories: Greening MIT, Innovative Solutions, Bringing Out the Best, Serving the Client, and Unsung Hero) is now open.

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