MIT SHASS Communications | Resources and Materials

Great Ideas Change the World 

The MIT SHASS Communications group, located in the Office of the Dean, shares the research, programs, and resources of the School with communities within MIT and around the world. Through a wide range of initiatives, publications, and channels, the team helps articulate and advance the mission of MIT's humanities, arts, and social science disciplines. 

The strategic communications initiative for MIT SHASS, which began in January 2008, has been guided by former Deans Deborah Fitzgerald (2008-2015) and Melissa Nobles (2015-2021), and current Dean Agustín Rayo (January 2022-present). From January 2008-June 2022, the program was developed and led by Emily Hiestand with support from the Dean's Office staff, a small group of freelance specialists, and communication colleagues across the Institute. Emily currently serves as an advisor to the SHASS Communications program until her successor is onboard. 

What We Do

Working closely with the Dean and School leadership, we:

Envision and develop the School's communication strategy and infrastructure;

Shape key messages for audiences within and beyond the Institute;

Develop the visual identity and editorial voice of the School's communications;

Work closely with the SHASS faculty to identify important ideas and projects for publication;

Develop, write, and design feature and news stories about the School's research, teaching, and people;

Collaborate with journalists on news articles and broadcast segments;

Advise faculty on engagement with media opportunities; 

Raise the visibility of the School's work and impact via social media and other digital channels;

Collaborate with communications colleagues across the Institute; and

Build community within and beyond the School.


Who We Are

Communications Director
Strategist, Editorial and Design Director, Webmaster, Social Media Manager
Emily Hiestand (January 2008-June 2022)

Media Relations Manager
Strategist, liaison with external media, and with MIT Alumni Association
Stephen Oakes (2019-present)

Senior Communications Associate
Staff Writer, Assistant Webmaster
Alison Lanier (2018-present)

Senior Writer, Associate News Manager
Kathryn O'Neill  (2008-June 2022)

Contributing Writers
Leda Zimmerman
Nicole Estvanik Taylor

Associate Designer + Design Production
Andrea Golden  (2009-present)

Jonathan Sachs (2008-present)
Allegra Boverman  (2017-present)

Design: Emily Hiestand and Jonathan Sachs
Development: Robert J. Wilt


Creative Assets

Some of our communication works include: a feature-rich website; a monthly online publication, Said and Done; regular news and feature stories; original photography; content for three social media channels; distinctive image/text presentations for audiences at home and around the globe; Op-Eds; collateral and printed materials; The Listening Room, an online, curated collection of MIT’s finest music; the annual TOUR de SHASS student expo; and the "Great Ideas" exhibit, a permanent campus installation in Building 14 near the Hayden Library.

Here is an overview of the principal elements and channels in our program:

Graphic Identity
Tagline concept is an echo of the MIT motto, mens et manus
Other elements of the School's visual identity
(composition, color palette, typography, approach to photography, etc.)


Said and Done
      A monthly online image-rich digest combining news, research, profiles, and multimedia;
       distributed via eAnnouncement, website, and social media

Media + Awards Digest
      A monthly online round-up of School faculty in the national and international media;
      along with the latest honors and awards for faculty, students, and staff. 

      News and commentary to champion excellence, belonging, and community at MIT;
      Published 4 times a year.

Website | Features
    Fields of Study, online overview of the School's disciplines
    21st Century Democracy
    Making A Just Society
    Education: Undergraduate and Graduate
    TOUR de SHASS online, designed for Undergraduates
    Information portals for Undergraduates, Graduates, Faculty, and Staff
    The Listening Room | MIT's finest Music online 
    Dean's Office team and contacts
    Funding and Fellowship Application Information

Climate MIT | MIT SHASS section
Addressing the Political, Cultural, and Economic Dimensions of Climate Change

Opinion and commentary pieces
The Power of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT

Great Ideas Exhibit, a permanent exhibit on the MIT-SHASS fields, in Building 14. This exhibit, which displays all the programs in the School, as well as a changing Gallery Wall of news and features, has become a popular station on the MIT Tours.
About + Photographs

Collaborations across the Institute
Ongoing creative collaborations with colleagues at the MIT News Office, MIT Spectrum, Communications Initiatives, Resource Development, Admissions, and the MIT Alumni Association.

Profile Packet
Overview of all MIT SHASS academic areas + individual profiles of each unit
Individual profiles are available to each unit for printing.

Working with two superb freelance photographers we regularly commission photographs of faculty, students, classroom projects, creative works, and events to accompany our editorial publications.

News, Features, Interviews
MIT SHASS Comm is one of the most robust editorial groups on campus, producing research and feature stories, interviews, profiles, award announcements, and special publications, such as Election Insights, the ongoing Human Factors Series, nad special occasion books, such as The Musical Institute of Technology. Our publications are distributed via the SHASS website, MIT News website, social media channels, and monthly newsletters. 

Social Media
Facebook and Twitter accounts (campus, national, and international reach)

SlideDecks for presentations 
Audio SlideShows on School research and creative endeavors
Photogalleries on website and Flickr  
Video collection

The Listening Room - MIT Music Online
A online curated collection of the finest works from MIT's Music Program

Collateral Materials
Posters, brochures, books, bookmarks, invitations, note cards
Product design, aka School Swag!: lamp, SHASSlight, flashdrive, ties, scarf, mug, umbrella, tote bags, etc.
Multi-material annual campaigns for Dean's Office sponsored projects, e.g.
TOUR de SHASS event, De Florez Humor Fund, Levitan Teaching Awards,
Burchard Scholars, Palitz Fellowship, Kelly-Douglas Prize, Infinite Mile Awards,
Muh Award, and other special events