After a national search, the MIT Office of the Vice Chancellor has named Denzil A. Streete senior associate dean and director of the Office of Graduate Education (OGE). Streete succeeds Blanche Staton, who retired this summer after serving for more than 25 years at MIT. He will begin his role at MIT on Sept. 12.
Streete brings significant experience as a leader in critical aspects of graduate student life and learning, including admissions and recruitment, diversity, academic success, and graduate student support. He is currently assistant vice provost for graduate studies and chief of staff, and director of the Office for Graduate Diversity at the University of California at Berkeley, home to 13,000 graduate students in over 126 doctoral and master’s degree programs.
“Denzil is a natural collaborator and passionate advocate for students,” says Ian A. Waitz, vice chancellor for undergraduate and graduate education. “This will serve us well as we navigate some very complex issues, like graduate student unionization and the impacts of the recent SCOTUS [Supreme Court] decision on the use of race in admissions.” In his new role, Streete will work across more than 100 graduate programs to recruit and support roughly 7,000 graduate students at MIT.
“I can tell how critical this new role will be to graduate students and the staff and faculty who serve them,” says Streete. “As I join my colleagues in OGE, we look forward to continuing to serve and uplift the dreams, aspirations. and needs of graduate students in every corner of the Institute.”
Streete’s roles and involvement in graduate education at Berkeley are multifaceted, covering the recruitment, departmental admissions process, and academic success of a diverse body of talented graduate students; operations management; and other key priorities, including graduate diversity, campus and departmental climate, professional development, support for the graduate student community, and development and fundraising efforts to support graduate students.
He has a track record of bolstering graduate student diversity. During his tenure at Berkley, the university received a record number of graduate applications from underrepresented applicants in 2021, while operating within the constraints of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action in admissions in California public universities in 1996.
Prior to that, Streete served as assistant dean for graduate student development and diversity at Yale University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, focusing on recruitment and academic and professional success, and serving as the deputy Title IX coordinator and dean’s designee. Under his leadership, the number of students from diverse backgrounds applying to Yale graduate school increased sharply in 2020.
Originally from Morvant, Trinidad and Tobago, he earned his bachelor of arts in economics, with honors, from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. His passion for graduate education developed at Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in comparative and international education, after what he describes as “taking a providential professional detour through legal research and administration, and media and communications management.” Streete’s scholarly and research interests include access and equity in higher education, the “Free College Movement,” and minoritized males in higher education.
“MIT graduate students have joined our community to pursue groundbreaking research, foster an indomitable spirit of inquiry, and form a vibrant community with their peers. As I embark on this new journey, my commitment is to further these aspirations by fostering an environment where our graduate students can thrive and are made visible, where ideas are valued, and where the pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds. I’m eager to connect, collaborate, and embark on this new chapter together — with a heavy dose of joy,” says Streete.