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Letter regarding MIT’s next Institute Community and Equity Officer

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Kimberly Allen
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The following email was sent today to the MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif.

To the members of the MIT community,

I am delighted to share the news that John H. Dozier – chief diversity officer and senior associate provost for inclusion at the University of South Carolina (USC) – has agreed to become MIT’s next Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO). He will join us effective March 15.

At MIT, the ICEO plays a special role: A thought leader on the subjects of community, equity, inclusion and diversity, and a focal point for organizing MIT's related activities and conversations, the ICEO is also a hands-on practitioner who disseminates best practices and inspires the awareness and enthusiasm to help them flourish. More broadly, the ICEO serves as an active partner and convener for the many people throughout our community deeply engaged in this work.

John brings to this role an outstanding record of leadership, great personal warmth and a sense of curiosity, enthusiasm and experimentation that feel very MIT.

In 2013, USC hired John as its inaugural chief diversity officer. In shaping this new position, he built support across the university for a strategic plan to guide and align USC’s many diversity, inclusion and community-building efforts. Laying this groundwork proved immensely useful as the university addressed challenges such as coming to terms with the history of enslaved people on its campus.

Before USC, John spent a decade managing various aspects of Chicago’s extensive community college system, eventually serving as president of the 7,000-student Kennedy-King College. Raised in Columbia, South Carolina, not far from the USC campus, John earned both an MBA and a doctorate in education from DePaul University in Chicago. After several years in corporate management roles, he made a deliberate switch to higher education.

You can read more about John’s background here.

As ICEO, John will report to the provost. However, given the centrality of his work to MIT’s ongoing efforts to build a more welcoming and inclusive community, I will meet with him regularly. He will also serve on MIT's Academic Council.

As we look forward to his arrival, I want to thank the members of the search committee, including the cochairs, Associate Provost Tim Jamison and former interim ICEO Alyce Johnson. I’m also grateful to Provost Marty Schmidt for his efforts to shape the ICEO role to best serve our community.

From the findings and recommendations of past reports, as well as themes that emerged in community forums last fall, we know we have much to do to create a community we can all take pleasure and pride in being part of. John describes his own mission as helping academic communities become places that “nurture a sense of belonging.”

I look forward to working with him, and with all of you, to make that vision real in the life of our campus.

Please join me in welcoming John and his family to MIT.


L. Rafael Reif

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