Annual ODGE Update to the MIT Faculty from the Dean

February 14, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you have had a wonderful start to the new semester. Here (ODGEInfographic2012) please find an infographic summary of highlights of the activities of the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), which includes the International Students Office (ISO) and support for the Graduate Student Council (GSC), during calendar year 2012, grouped by our strategic theme areas ).

Following is an update on selected ODGE new initiatives for 2013:

1)      Educational Innovation: A Task Force on the Future of Graduate Education and MITx will be launched shortly and will focus on the deployment and development of MITx to enhance MIT residential graduate education. This task force will feed into The Institute-Wide Task Force on MIT Education announced recently By President L. Rafael Reif: The charge and timeline can be found here: The Task Force will carry out extensive outreach to the community in the Spring Term and will invite you to contribute your thoughts, ideas and opinions on this topic.

2)    Graduate Funding:  Mr. Scott Tirrell joined the ODGE team on January 22nd, 2013 in a newly created full time position, Manager of Graduate Fellowships. He will support graduate students, departments/programs, and schools in the acquisition of external competitive and internal endowed graduate fellowships, and will communicate with graduate programs to identify areas of need, best practices and recommendations. Feel free to contact Scott to explore collaborations with ODGE on this topic: stirrell@MIT.EDU.

3)    Graduate Admissions: 2012-2013 marked the 2nd year in a transition to an all-electronic graduate admissions platform spearheaded by Professors Frans Kaashoek and Robert Morris in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In the current 2012-2013 graduate admissions cycle, 30 programs used the GradApply platform and 15,127 applications and 53,253 letters of recommendation were received. During the Spring 2013 semester, the Committee on Graduate Admissions ( will survey and convene a meeting of graduate officers and administrators, meet with the graduate admissions implementation team (i.e. EECS, IS&T, ODGE, DUE, IR), and report out with prioritized recommendations regarding the electronic graduate admissions platform by June 1st, 2013. Feel free to contact your graduate officer to provide feedback on GradApply.

4)     Diversity Initiatives: In the Summer 2013 the ODGE will launch an online recruitment tool for undergraduates called “Grad Catalyst.” The application will supplement our in-person workshops at Minority Serving Institutions and allow us to greatly magnify our reach to pipeline candidates for graduate school. Grad Catalyst will allow undergraduate students to create an online profile, access extensive information on preparation for Graduate School, learn about the graduate application process and school/program/advisor selection, and compile their own academic roadmap. It also will allow us to maintain a connection with these students. Once the site is live, it will provide an additional resource to which you may refer interested students.

5) Personal Support, Advising and Quality of Life: The ODGE is working under the direction of the Chancellor with the Division of Student Life, the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, the Graduate Student Council and the Undergraduate Association to administer the first comprehensive Student Quality of Life Survey to be launched in late February, 2013. In 2013, the ODGE and S3 will attend Departmental faculty meetings to discuss student personal support, with an emphasis on resource
information dissemination. Given the large increase in the number of MIT’s international students over the last decade, in 2013 the ODGE will add an additional full-time international students advisor to the International Students Office. The GSC, in collaboration with the ODGE, is currently in the midst of their annual graduate student stipend recommendation process to the administration based on the jointly-sponsored ODGE-GSC 2011 Cost-of-Living Survey. Last year, graduate student stipends increased by 4.75%, a historic high in recent years( I look forward to supporting the Graduate Student Housing Working Group announced recently by Provost Kaiser and contributing to an exciting path forward for the future of residential graduate education at MIT.

6)    Community-Building: The GSC has begun holding a Grad Coffee Hour every other Wednesday in the Stata Center as an after-hours community gathering. A new series of ODGE-funded Graduate Student Life Grants have been announced recently:  We welcome additional proposals for building graduate community and enhancing graduate education all year long: Later this Spring, the ODGE will host “Graduate Women of Excellence;” an event open to the community to celebrate the accomplishments, contributions, and leadership vision of graduate women.

7)      Professional Development: The Task Force on Graduate Student Professional Development ( will be reporting out the end of March 2013. They are currently analyzing the results from a new graduate alumni survey on trends in employment and career trajectories, professional activities and accomplishments, and skillsets for various career paths. 3,762 alumni responded to the survey (24% response rate) and the dataset contains a wealth of information. A summary of the Institute-wide results can be found here: Feel free to contact Lydia Snover at in the Office of Institutional Research, Office of the Provost to compile results for your department/program/school. Lastly, feel free to refer your students to the ODGE PRO-DEPOT: a compilation of over one hundred MIT event videos focused on professional development:

I would like to acknowledge the amazing staff of the ODGE for their dedication and immense contributions to the Institute. I would also like to thank Chancellor Eric Grimson, Provost Chris Kaiser, President Rafael Reif, and all of our partners Institute-wide (for a full list see the end of the attached infographic) for their strong and continued support that makes our work possible.

To keep up to date on graduate news visit  and “like” my Dean’s Facebook page, which I maintain myself (note: “liking” is different from “friending” and your profile will not give me access to any of your personal information – It will only allow you to see my posts in your news feed). To submit graduate news items for posting on the ODGE website and/or the Dean’s Facebook Page, feel free to contact ODGE Communications Officer Heather Konar at konar@MIT.EDU. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly anytime at with suggestions or if I can be of any assistance in the areas mentioned above or other areas related to graduate education.

I wish you a productive semester and look forward to continuing to support our remarkable graduate students and programs.

All the Best,

Christine Ortiz
Dean for Graduate Education
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *