Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels today shared a detailed and comprehensive report on the university's ongoing and forthcoming efforts to address race, diversity, and equity across the institution, a significant step in what Daniels described as an "important conversation."
In a message to faculty, staff, and students, Daniels encouraged members of the university community to review the JHU Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion and provide feedback, either online, via email, or at public meetings. A final version reflecting broad input and endorsed by university trustees and deans is expected to be published in the fall.
"Diversity of thought, people, and experiences is central to the excellence of our work, and to our education, research, and service missions," Daniels said.
"[This roadmap] reflects the urgency in our community around racial injustice, and also implicates the challenges of equity and diversity faced by many groups across our campuses. It affords an opportunity to engage these important issues as a community, and to solicit input and ideas from throughout Johns Hopkins as we move toward a final plan."
The roadmap targets four key goals:
- Achieving greater diversity of membership in the JHU community
- Improving opportunity for JHU community members of all backgrounds
- Enabling robust engagement with diverse viewpoints
- Fostering a climate of respect
The 39-page draft document includes an overview of existing activities and newly announced plans in six areas: faculty, students, staff, education, climate, and community building. It pertains to all Johns Hopkins divisions and campuses, a community made up of more than 35,000 faculty and staff members and more than 23,000 students.
Actions outlined in the report include a thorough reexamination of current university statements related to diversity and inclusion. A committee will gather input from the JHU community and draft a new overarching statement of principles.
Other previously unannounced plans include:
Adding new positions within JHU's schools and Homewood Student Affairs to support programs focused on issues of diversity
Making a new, mandatory session on cultural competency part of an ongoing fall orientation program for incoming undergraduates
Convening a meeting of department chairs to discuss best practices and protocols for recruiting and retaining diverse faculty
Creating a Homewood Diversity Council for representatives from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering to focus on issues of particular interest to those divisions
Ensuring that students have a voice to influence university policy and programming with standing seats on the Diversity Leadership Council
Those items build on a long and wide-ranging list of existing and recently announced efforts related to diversity and inclusion at Johns Hopkins. They include:
The Faculty Diversity Initiative, a five-year, $25 million effort to support recruitment and hiring of diverse faculty that was announced November
Student recruitment practices that put an emphasis on attracting students from diverse backgrounds
The creation of five new faculty positions connected to the university's Center for Africana Studies
Efforts to increase collaboration among—and awareness of diversity-focused programs offered by—the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of LGBTQ Life, the Office of Gender Equity, and Campus Ministries
The release of the roadmap comes three months after a campus protest led by JHU's Black Student Union, during which student leaders presented Daniels with a list of demands related to issues ranging from faculty diversity and hiring practices, to cultural competency, to concerns about harassment and hate speech.
At an open forum scheduled in response to those concerns, Daniels pledged to take a closer look at the issues raised by the students and said the university community would work together to determine how to take the next, necessary steps. He reiterated that sentiment in a letter that introduces the draft roadmap.
"The concerns raised by the BSU afforded an opportunity for a broad examination of current issues of diversity here at Johns Hopkins," Daniels said.
"We cannot expect that we will agree easily or unanimously on the best approach to every issue brought forward through this conversation. … But, on our path to a more inclusive community, I trust that we will create an environment in which we can have forthright and robust conversations and open debate about who we are, where we've been, and how we want to progress as a community."