Vijay Kumar, J-WEL’s founding Executive Director and Dean for Open Learning, moves to a senior advisory role at MIT Open Learning | MIT J-WEL

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Vijay Kumar, J-WEL’s founding Executive Director and Dean for Open Learning, moves to a senior advisory role at MIT Open Learning

Headshot of Vijay KumarVijay Kumar, Founding Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab and Associate Dean for Open Learning, stepped down from his role on June 30, 2022. In 26 years of dedicated service to MIT, Vijay’s enormous and wide-ranging contributions shaped educational innovation through technology at the Institute and elsewhere.

A personal note from Vijay to J-WEL’s collaborators conveys the depth of his impact. In his own words:

"It has been my privilege and pleasure to  lead J-WEL as its founding executive director, helping to shape its concept and effort and working with a wonderful team of colleagues in advancing its mission. Most significantly, J-WEL has given me an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with you all in imagining and implementing innovative solutions for educational transformation at your institutions and regions. I will continue my appointment at Open Learning, albeit at fewer hours, as a Senior Advisor to MIT’s Vice President for Open Learning.

I take great satisfaction and pride that through the tremendous efforts of the J-WEL team, the core staff, the faculty who have advised and participated in its programs, the constant support of Community Jameel and most significantly your collaboration, we have come from our modest beginnings five years ago, to becoming a visible and viable platform for educational change globally.  

We look forward to this new chapter as J-WEL charts new paths to strengthen and extend its role and impact. Thank you, as always, for your continued commitment and engagement with J-WEL as we co-construct new preferred futures for education."

Vijay now serves as senior advisor to the Vice President for Open Learning and continues to share his wisdom and experience with J-WEL through a variety of engagements. Building on Vijay’s legacy, Dr. Anjali Sastry has been named the new head of J-WEL.

Appreciating all that Vijay Kumar has brought to J-WEL

Vijay joined MIT in June of 1996 as Director of Academic Computing, providing leadership for  infrastructure and services to support MIT education. He launched and led the Stellar project, creating a Learning Management System that served MIT until 2020; helped launch Academic Media Production Services (AMPS); and played a pivotal role in launching MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). He also launched the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) with support from the Mellon Foundation. MIT formally recognized Vijay’s strategic guidance and initiative in 1999 when he was named Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing.
After over a decade in the Provost’s Office, Vijay moved to serve as Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education. There, he founded the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) to help promote innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning. Among the initiatives he helped launch through his work were Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms, and iLabs which enables students to design and run experiments from distant lab equipment. During that time, Vijay co-edited “Opening Up Education” (MIT Press), a book sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation, and also helped launch the MIT-Haiti Initiative.
In 2013, Vijay joined the Office of Digital Learning (since renamed MIT Open Learning) where his contributions reached many and shaped the course of flagship educational innovation efforts. When J-WEL was launched in 2017, Vijay was named Executive Director. Under Vijay's leadership J-WEL has grown into a flourishing community of teaching and learning researchers and practitioners in pK-12, Higher Education, and Workforce Learning at 45 member organizations in 20 countries.
In addition to his immense impact at MIT, Vijay has contributed his thought leadership worldwide. Among his many advisory engagements, Vijay has served as a strategic advisor to the World Health Organization, as an Advisor for Digital Futures for the Smithsonian, as honorary advisor to the India National Knowledge Commission, and as Trustee of EDC. He has been awarded an Honorary Professorship by Tianjin Open University and as the Exxon Mobil Chair for Technology Enabled Learning at the University of Qatar.