Taina McField was appointed the new associate dean for strategy at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life this month, the university announced in a statement.
McField was chosen by Dean Dayna Cunningham, who previously worked with McField at the MIT Community Innovators Lab. The lab helps facilitate “the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations,” according to its website.
McField also fills her resume with service at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a Jewish philanthropic organization. During her time as a programs officer, she invested time into issues related to climate, economy and racial justice.
“With over a decade of experience working in a philanthropic institution rooted in the Jewish tradition, I have learned to listen to, trust, and invest in the work of individuals and community organizations at the forefront of innovation and social change across a range of sectors including: racial and economic justice, climate change, arts and culture, and religious traditions,” McField wrote in an email to the Daily.
Cunningham discussed why she chose McField to fill the position at Tisch College.
“There was not a search committee because she was an outstanding candidate. … And she’s really well respected in the fields of philanthropy and in community planning for her tremendous strategic insight and experience,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham — together with her leadership team, including Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Peter Levine; Director of Communications, Strategy and Planning Jen McAndrew and the newly appointed McField — have begun the planning process for a new initiative called North Star.
“[North Star is an] aspirational direction that Tisch College would begin to … pursue,” Cunningham said. She said the initiative is about “building multiracial democracy and driving the institutional transformations that can sustain it.”
McField explained her goals for her new position.
“My position as Associate Dean for Strategy at Tisch College allows me to partner with Dean Cunningham and the Leadership Team in advance and implement the North Star: to build knowledge, train a generation of citizen leaders, and co-create research-based solutions, grounded in community that advance multi-racial democracy and support the institutional implementation,” McField wrote.
Cunningham enumerated the questions her leadership team and Tisch College as a whole aim to tackle.
“And the question for Tisch is: What is ours to do now?” she said. “What is the impact we want to be held accountable for? And that is a question we need to ask across all of our programs, across all of our labs, across all of our events.” Cunningham said.
Associate Dean for Programs and Administration Diane Ryan, another member of Cunningham’s leadership team for the North Star initiative, discussed how she believes McField can help Tisch College succeed in its many missions.
“I’ve been at Tisch College for five years,” Ryan said. “And in that time, Tisch College has more than doubled in size [and] in the number of staff that we have. We serve a lot more students … we have more programs.”
“And while all this growth was happening, we didn’t really grow our leadership capacity until we added this position. So adding another team member to the leadership team is going to help us to sustain that tremendous growth we’ve had and then position us to think toward the future.”
McField has been working in her new position for a few weeks so far, and she expressed enthusiasm about the people she has had the opportunity to work alongside.
“I have been delighted to get to know the amazing and dedicated community at Tisch College – from the thoughtful and passionate student body and staff to the committed community partners – we have a robust network of local, national and international partners,” McField wrote.
McField shared her eagerness and anticipation for her projects to begin picking up speed within the upcoming months.
“I’m most excited about unpacking the rich histories, impactful research and programs, and deepening the value … our programs, people and partners bring to the world,” McField wrote in the email.