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Fresh Perspectives and Holistic Approaches to Diversity & Inclusion at MIT

Virtual August 23, 2021 By Invitation Only

Many university trustees who value ideological diversity on campus, and who understand the importance of academic freedom, report difficulty advancing these ideals at their institutions. For this reason, Heterodox Academy invited you to hear the ways John Chisholm, who has served as a trustee of both MIT and the Santa Fe Institute, discovered to advance, comfortably and confidently, an alternative, broader vision for diversity and inclusion than had been envisioned or applied before at MIT. This event was held on Monday, August 23 at 11 am EDT.

Chisholm presented his findings and recommendations, took audience questions, and invited discussion. We hoped the session suggested new ways that other trustees and philanthropists can address diversity and inclusion concerns at the institutions they love.

Please note, this event was by invitation only. 

About the speaker:

  • Chisholm headshot

    John Chisholm served on the MIT Corporation (board of trustees) from 2015-2021 and as president and chair of the MIT Alumni Association from 2015-2016. He became concerned that diversity and inclusion at MIT focused narrowly on two dimensions: race and gender. In part due to this narrow focus, rural, lower-income, and center-right students, who enjoyed no advocacy or visibility, had become the most underrepresented group on campus. In response, Chisholm proposed and developed a broader, holistic approach to diversity, including not just physical/identity attributes but also cognitive/intellectual and myriad related attributes to encompass the entire individual. Chisholm has shared his findings and recommendations with the MIT Corporation, with MIT leadership, and with university leaders across the country.  In the words of one MIT lifetime trustee, “John has had a profound impact on how the Institute thinks about diversity.”

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Heterodox events are public conversations among academics and experts on a focused topic that offer an opportunity to showcase our values in action, and provide timely discussion of pressing topics. We are currently hosting regular virtual events in addition to periodic live events. Nearly all events, virtual or live, will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel following the event.


If you have any questions about our events, inquiries about accessibility, or requests for accommodations, please contact us at

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