Suzy Nelson

Goals, Mission, &

Our mission is simple: We are here for students.

DSL and Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statements

We come together for a common educational purpose: to help our diverse community of students thrive intellectually, physically, spiritually, and personally.

How We Fulfill Our Mission: We partner with students, faculty, and staff to develop enriching environments and experiences that promote students’ knowledge, wellbeing, independence, and accountability. As educators, we facilitate opportunities for learning more about ourselves and others, developing the capacity for human understanding, and solving problems in creative and innovative ways. We support students in discovering a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and joy. We call upon members of our community to serve locally, nationally, and globally. We foster a safe, accessible, and inclusive MIT campus and sense of belonging for all. We value shared-governance and collaboration, and lead with integrity, innovation, and a commitment to continuous improvement. (November 21, 2016).

Diversity and Inclusion: As a division that is here for our students, our mission is to attract, hire, and retain talented staff members who represent the diversity of the MIT student body. We strive to provide all DSL staff members with the skills, tools, and support to create and maintain a respectful and responsive environment for living, teaching, and learning. We achieve this by:

  • Creating a climate of inclusion that reflects our division's values and promotes an open exchange of ideas where each voice is heard
  • Advancing DSL's policies, practices, and programming for diversity, inclusion, and equity
  • Promoting DSL staff equality of access, opportunity, representation, and participation within the division and beyond
  • Enhancing the awareness, knowledge, and skill of MIT community members through our work across campus

DSL Goals

Under the leadership of Vice President and Dean for Student Life Suzy M. Nelson, the Division of Student Life has developed a multi-year plan for achieving a series of goals that will enhance the MIT student experience. The goals map to the following division priorities:

DSL Goal Areas












These priorities and goals were developed through a collaborative process involving DSL staff, division leadership, and MIT senior leadership. The letters after each goal correspond to the names of departments involved in the work related to that goal.

View DSL's 2019-2021 goals.

DSL Department Goal Abbreviations

RE = Residential Education
SSW = Student Support & Wellbeing
HRS = Housing & Residential Services
OVC = Office of the Vice Chancellor
VPSL= Vice President & Dean for
Student Life

AO = Admin & Operations
DCI = Diversity & Community Involvement
MHH = MindHandHeart
DAPER = Department of Athletics, Physical
Education, and Recreation






GOAL 1 - Enrich students’ holistic wellbeing

INITIATIVE 1: Create a food secure campus and meet urgent student needs

  1. Decrease food insecurity issues through implementation of working group recommendations. [SSW/RE]
  2. Open TechMart at-cost grocery store and add weekend grocery shuttles. [RE/SSW/AO]
  3. Advance mission of ARM Coalition and CASE to support low-income students. [SSW]
  4. Evaluate SwipeShare’s effectiveness and use data to improve program impact. [SSW/AO]

INITIATIVE 2: Develop academic department support networks

  1. Rollout faculty guide and training and online CARE form for reporting student concerns. [SSW]
  2. Begin to develop comprehensive plan for student support and wellbeing education and training, including strengthening connections to academic departments. [SSW]
  3. Continue to advance efforts to build a centrally located Wellbeing Hub. [SSW]

INITIATIVE 3: Focus on physical health as a means to stress reduction and wellbeing

  1. Continue to develop curricula and programming to meets students’ needs (e.g., yoga, meditation). [DAPER]
  2. Implement Engineering Success program for student-athletes. [DAPER]
  3. Enhance the EngineeringYourHealth Plus program. [DAPER/SSW]

INITIATIVE 4: Strengthen living community support networks

  1. Expand the scope and structure of the RPM program. [RE]
  2. Develop and enhance the GRA position, including “cluster” system for smaller groups.
  3. Expand S3 Connector Program to remaining dorms and pilot for FSILGs. [RE/SSW]

GOAL 2 –Improve student spaces and dining

INITIATIVE 1: Improve cost, access, and quality of campus dining.

  1. Better market new meal plans, programming, and menus. [AO]
  2. Upgrade dining POS system with possible addition of mobile ordering platforms. [AO]
  3. Develop a visiting committee-style advisory board for dining. [AO]
  4. Roll out new concepts including ethnic menus, late night options, Oasis station. [AO]
  5. Improve overall dining satisfaction to 75%. [AO]
  6. Review strategies for improving and expanding W20 food operations. [AO]

INITIATIVE 2: Collaborate on housing, dining, and renewal planning (Deputy EVP & Provost)

  1. Implement a multi-year application of the housing TCO model. [HRS/AO]
  2. Create housing renewal plan and schedule. [HRS]

INITIATIVE 3: Improve student common space

  1. Improve the Stratton Student Center (LaVerde’s, Stratton lounge, Athena Cluster). [DCI/AO]
  2. Complete tennis court resurfacing, conversion of Punj area to workstations and conference room/student workspace, and DuPont and Johnson lobby areas in appropriate timeframes. [DAPER]
  3. Develop timeline and final plans for the Boathouse renovation. [DAPER]
  4. Develop a plan for Hobby Shop’s identity related to contributions to MIT and DSL. [DCI]
  5. Open an interfaith prayer space on the east side of campus. [DCI]
  6. Develop a custom facilities assessment action plan for each FSILG. [HRS/RE]

GOAL 3 – Foster a safe campus and sense of belonging for all

INITIATIVE 1: Identify program principles for new residence hall [VPSL]

INITIATIVE 2: Create more welcoming arrival experience for new students. [DSL-wide & OVC]

  1. Position ORL as a leader in interactions around religious, spiritual, and ethical concerns. [DCI]
  2. Create a strategic plan, mission, and vision for the SPXCE intercultural center that includes enhanced diversity orientation, peer education, online module, and LBGTQ support, and a collaboration with ORL to increase the quality and impact of campus dialogue. [DCI]
  3. Develop student diversity and inclusion knowledge, skills, and awareness.
    1. Broaden LBGTQ training in and beyond the house teams. [DCI/RE]
    2. Implement action plan for diversity and inclusion in Athletics. [DCI/DAPER]

GOAL 4 – Enhance the graduate student experience

INITIATIVE 1: Continue to advance work of the Graduate Housing Implementation Team [HRS]

INITIATIVE 2: Implement the Graduate First-Year Program [RE, OVC]

INITIATIVE 3: Coordinate residence-based programming for grad students and families [RE/DAPER]

INITIATIVE 4: Raise awareness of hardship grants for graduate students and families [SSW/RE]

INITIATIVE 5: Expand Leadershape to include graduate students [DCI]

GOAL 5 – Promote leadership, social responsibility and ethics

INITIATIVE 1: Support FSILGs and student organization leadership development [HRS/RE/DCI]

  1. Pilot the FSILG chapter/organization advising template and online platform. [RE]
  2. Develop and implement a fall and spring semester FSILG alumni/ae advisor retreat. [RE]
  3. Develop a plan and vision for AODS office, including implementing and evaluating new training for event/party hosts. [SSW]
  4. Collaborate to develop student officer leadership training. [DSL-wide]

INITIATIVE 2: Create an advisor program for students going through the Committee on Discipline process [RE]

INITIATIVE 3: Develop shared DSL/OVC learning outcomes [DSL-wide]

GOAL 6 – Be student-centered, develop staff and continuously improve

INITIATIVE 1: Develop scorecard for finance, dining, housing, conduct, and wellbeing [AO]

  1. Undertake FSILG external review and assess graduate housing satisfaction, undergraduate post-REX survey, conference guest/coordinator satisfaction, space utilization, and revenue optimization. [AO/HRS]

INITIATIVE 2: Develop shared information technology priorities across the division [AO]

INITIATIVE 3: Enhance business services and marketing to support needs in key functions

  1. Improve Housing and Residential Services technology. [AO/HRS]
  2. Add new technology (Engage) to improve student group membership rosters & financial accounting. [DCI]
  3. Revise housing and dining communication and marketing materials. [AO/HRS]
  4. Develop space-planning and business systems affinity groups. [AO]
  5. Develop fund stewardship process, similar to best practices of DAPER. [AO]
  6. Finalize relationship statement for MIT, chaplains, and sending organizations. [DCI]

INITIATIVE 4: Develop a three-year strategy for employee development

  1. Conduct DSL department staff climate studies using 2017 Staff Climate Survey. [AO]
  2. Reassess in spring 2019 (DSL-only survey) and in spring 2020. (MIT-wide survey)  [AO]
  3. Use NERCHE rubric to guide develop D&I initiatives: search process, staff development, dashboard, compliance with MA pay equity act. [AO/Senior Staff/SEABoard]
  4. Cultivate leadership development for SEABoard co-chairs and members. [SEABoard]
  5. Expand professional development activities during the annual conference and through the year. [SEABoard]
  6. Implement emerging leader luncheons. [VPSL]

INITIATIVE 5: Integrate accessibility and usability group into SDS [SSW]