Johns Hopkins announces Faculty Diversity Initiative

A new Faculty Diversity Initiative announced by Johns Hopkins leadership seeks to support more expansive and inclusive faculty searches, create a pipeline of diverse scholars, and broaden support for underrepresented members of the faculty.

In an email to the community on Nov. 13, President Ronald J. Daniels said that the university was pursuing a comprehensive approach to increasing diversity among faculty, and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert C. Lieberman and the deans of the nine academic divisions outlined the program more thoroughly in a Nov. 30 announcement.

The Faculty Diversity Initiative "will support our firm commitment to locate, attract, and retain the best and most talented faculty, representing a broad diversity of backgrounds, thought, and experiences," the provost and deans said in the announcement. "Each academic division of the university will develop and execute a detailed plan, tailored to its specific academic discipline, to enhance faculty diversity and cultivate an environment that is inclusive of diverse scholars."

There are five key components to the program.

First, each division will establish clear protocols for faculty searches that will increase diversity within its applicant pools. Those protocols will include a commitment to ensuring that the pools reflect candidate availability, unconscious bias training for search committee members, trained diversity advocates on search committees, oversight of candidate short lists by divisional leadership, and comprehensive reporting on search practices and activities.

Schools also will be encouraged to consider proactive opportunities to recruit senior underrepresented faculty to Johns Hopkins, including outreach to professional societies for underrepresented groups.

Second, the Target of Opportunity Program will build on the former Mosaic Program by offering funding up to $100,000 per appointee to support the targeted recruitment of exceptional and diverse scholars, above and beyond planned search cycles.

Third, a new fund will support visiting faculty members and scholars for short visits or extended stays. Schools may submit requests for full or partial support of visitors whose activities support departmental, divisional, or universitywide diversity efforts.

Fourth, the Provost's Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program will prepare postdocs for tenure-track faculty positions at JHU or peer institutions, particularly in fields where there are fewer women and/or underrepresented minorities. Awardees will receive competitive two-year postdoctoral fellowships as well as comprehensive career and professional development.

Finally, the Provost's Office has created an award for excellence in diversity and inclusion research. It will grant $50,000 in each of the next five years to a full-time JHU faculty member who is pursuing exceptional research that advances our knowledge and scholarship of any issue related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The initiative will establish data tracking and public reporting mechanisms, guided by a newly formed Faculty Diversity Data Metrics Committee, to measure progress and provide accountability. Johns Hopkins has committed more than $25 million in new funding to the faculty diversity efforts over the next five years.

More information on the initiative is on the Office of the Provost website.

The initiative has been developed over many months. Following a meeting of the deans on this topic in the spring, Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, vice provost for faculty affairs, assessed current trends, consulted with faculty and administration, and reviewed strategies and best practices. She then led a team in partnership with Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost and chief diversity officer, to develop a comprehensive plan.

The university announcement said that "the Faculty Diversity Initiative is the result of an intensive effort over the past year to review and assess strategies and best practices across Johns Hopkins and among our peers, and to consider new ideas for recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting a diverse faculty."

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