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Politico

Prof. Cynthia Breazeal discusses her work exploring how artificial intelligence can help students impacted by Covid, including refugees or children with disabilities, reports Ryan Heath for Politico. “We want to be super clear on what the role is of the robot versus the community, of which this robot is a part of. That's part of the ethical design thinking,” says Breazeal. “We don't want to have the robot overstep its responsibilities. All of our data that we collect is protected and encrypted.”

Radio Boston (WBUR)

Associate Provost Richard Lester and Prof. Noelle Selin speak with Tiziana Dearing, host of Radio Boston, about MIT’s Climate Grand Challenges. “To me, the Climate Grand Challenges effort really represents that we’re kind of at a frameshift when thinking about the climate problem. It’s not just a problem that some people can work on,” says Selin. “A climate challenge is a whole of society challenge, and therefore it really has to be a whole of MIT challenge.” Lester adds he hopes the challenges will “inspire a new generation of students to roll up their sleeves, put their shoulders to the wheel and help us solve this problem.”

State House News

MIT President L. Rafael Reif and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry discussed the urgency of addressing climate change during the Climate Grand Challenges Showcase event, reports Chris Lisinski for the State House News Service. “Climate change has been called a ‘super wicked’ problem. In Boston, that might sound like a local way of saying ‘really hard,’ but this phrase is actually a technical term,” Reif said. “It describes any enormously complex societal problem that has no single right answer and no clear finish line as well as multiple stakeholders with conflicting priorities and no central authority empowered to solve it.”

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News reporter Janet Wu speaks with President L. Rafael Reif and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during the Institute’s Climate Grand Challenges showcase event. “If you can capture the emissions -- literally, genuinely -- then you’re reducing the problem,” said Kerry of the importance of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

Boston Business Journal

MIT announced five projects "targeting the world's toughest climate riddles" that were selected following a rigorous two-year competition, reports Benjamin Kail for Boston Business Journal. “Climate Grand Challenges represents a whole-of-MIT drive to develop game-changing advances to confront the escalating climate crisis, in time to make a difference,” says President L. Rafael Reif.

The Tech

Prof. Agustín Rayo ’01, dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, speaks with The Tech about his goals for his time as dean, the importance of an education in the humanities, arts and social sciences, and his plans for advancing the school’s DEI efforts. “The humanities, arts, and social sciences are crucial to understanding the human condition and our complex social, political, and economic institutions,” says Rayo. “MIT’s SHASS classes help develop powerful career, leadership, and problem-solving skills.”

The Tech

Provost Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 reflects on her time as chancellor and her new role at MIT with Jennifer Ai of The Tech. “I really do want to help members of our community thrive here at MIT, because if they thrive, MIT thrives,” says Barnhart. “That very much motivates how I think things must be.”

The Tech

Provost Martin Schmidt speaks with Tech reporter Caroline Powers about his proudest accomplishments as MIT’s senior academic officer, what he will miss most about MIT and the importance of integrating ethics into engineering education. “I’m going to miss the interactions I’ve had with the students and my faculty colleagues,” notes Schmidt. “Part of the joy of being here has been making those relationships and working together.”

Associated Press

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala MCP ’78, PhD ’81, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will address the Class of 2022 at MIT’s Commencement exercises, reports the AP. Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and first African to lead the WTO, noted that: “From the warm and caring welcome of the International Students Office on my first day of graduate school in 1976, to my tough but equally caring doctoral dissertation committee that propelled me to graduation in 1981, my memories of my time at MIT are spectacularly positive.”

Associated Press

President L. Rafael Reif, who bolstered MIT’s stature "as a hub of tech innovation,” is stepping down at the end of 2022, reports the AP. "His achievements include the creation of a new business incubator in 2016 to help scholars turn big ideas into companies,” writes the AP. “In 2018, he announced a $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence and computing, centered around a new College of Computing that aims to apply AI technology across all academic disciplines.”

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News spotlights how President L. Rafael Reif, who “oversaw a revitalization of MIT’s campus and its continued integration with Kendall Square” has announced he will step down at the end of 2022. “Reif’s emphases as provost and president included the shift to more online learning, and innovation in ‘tough tech,’ including the creation of 'The Engine,' an incubator supporting companies to solve the world’s greatest challenges, from fusion energy to new medical devices.”

The Boston Globe

President L. Rafael Reif, who was "instrumental in leading [MIT] to convert its science into innovation, especially in the areas of life sciences, energy, materials, and machine learning and artificial intelligence,” has announced he will step down at the end of 2022, reports Laura Krantz for The Boston Globe. “What I felt was special about Rafael as president was his humanity,” says Prof. Caroline Jones. “He understood when there were problems that couldn’t be solved by technology.”

The Boston Globe

Shirley McBay, the former dean of student affairs at MIT who directed groundbreaking efforts that improved the future of students of color, has died at 86, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “She was very dedicated to ensuring that as more women and minorities came to MIT, they did well – that they could thrive,” said associate dean of engineering for diversity, equity and inclusion Daniel Hastings. “She, in that sense, had a national impact.”

New York Times

Shirley McBay, the dean for student affairs at MIT in the 1980s and a leading advocate for diversity in science and math education, has died at age 86, reports Clay Risen for The New York Times. McBay “confronted the challenge of bringing more students from underrepresented minorities into science, technology, engineering and math, both at her university and in higher education broadly.”

Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed

Provost Martin A Schmidt has been named the 19th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI),  reports Diverse Issues in Higher Education reporter Jessica Ruf. “MIT has been a remarkable home for me,” Schmidt told Ruf. “It has allowed me to pursue my research and teaching passion, and I’ve been presented with outstanding opportunities.”