Longtime Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski joins Johns Hopkins faculty

Five-term U.S. senator from Maryland who spent four decades in Congress named professor of public policy, presidential adviser

Image caption: Barbara Mikulski speaks at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory after the New Horizons Pluto flyby in July 2015.

Credit: NASA

Barbara A. Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress and Maryland's longest-tenured U.S. senator, will join the Johns Hopkins University next week as a professor of public policy and adviser to the university's president.

Mikulski, who retired from the Senate earlier this month after completing her fifth six-year term, will participate in lectures, seminars, and symposia across the university. She will organize gatherings featuring nationally known policymakers and other leaders.

"Being at Johns Hopkins enables me to continue to play a role locally in shaping Baltimore's future while promoting a national agenda of innovation, leadership, and service."
Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. senator

Though she will work with students and faculty members throughout Johns Hopkins, Mikulski will be based in the Department of Political Science and serve as a Homewood Professor, a title reserved for individuals of international distinction and major accomplishment in their fields. As presidential adviser, she will consult with leaders of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine on public policy and other issues.

"We are delighted to bring Sen. Mikulski into the Johns Hopkins family, as she has been a trailblazer for women and one of the most distinguished public servants in Maryland's—and indeed, our nation's—history," said Ronald J. Daniels, president of the university. "With longstanding ties to Johns Hopkins from her earliest days of service in Baltimore, Sen. Mikulski will share her experience and perspective with all those invested in understanding and addressing the most significant issues of our time."

The former senator has also agreed to donate her congressional papers and records to the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins, where they will be catalogued and made available to scholars.

"I'm proud to join the Johns Hopkins faculty and to share my expertise and experience in public policy," Mikulski said. "I am excited to teach and encourage the next generation and to assist the leadership of this internationally recognized university.

"Being at Johns Hopkins," she added, "enables me to continue to play a role locally in shaping Baltimore's future while promoting a national agenda of innovation, leadership, and service."

Mikulski, 80, was elected to the Senate in 1986 after five terms in the House of Representatives and service on the Baltimore City Council. The lifelong Baltimorean and former social worker, who first gained prominence in a successful fight to block a highway project from cleaving long-established Baltimore neighborhoods, rose to serve as chair and then as ranking member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Mikulski, a Democrat, focused on issues including civil rights, national security, space exploration, education, jobs, research and innovation, women's health, cybersecurity, seniors, and veterans. She was primary sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, addressing salary discrimination against women; it was the first bill signed into law in 2009 by President Obama, just days after his first inauguration. Obama later awarded Mikulski the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Tenacious in pursuit of her policy goals and on Maryland-related issues such as the Chesapeake Bay, research and innovation, and funding for the National Institutes of Health and NASA, Mikulski was also acknowledged as a champion for and mentor of women in the Senate from both major parties.

"With the arrival of Sen. Mikulski to Hopkins, our students will have a remarkable opportunity to learn from a public policy maven who also possesses expertise in areas such as research, civil rights, and political leadership, to name a few," said Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, which includes the Department of Political Science. "I am delighted that Sen. Mikulski will have a strong affinity with the Krieger School and its faculty and students, and I look forward to being inspired by her intellect and enthusiasm."

Mikulski's gift of her papers to Johns Hopkins will make them available to researchers alongside documents from the careers of two other prominent Marylanders who also served in the House and as Senate committee chairs, Democrat Paul Sarbanes and Republican Charles "Mac" Mathias.

The records comprise 1,317 boxes of paper and other physical material and 3.7 terabytes of digital material.

"Sen. Mikulski's archives document more than 50 years of extraordinary public service, encompassing everything from legislative memos to social media accounts," said Winston Tabb, the Sheridan Dean of University Libraries.

"This rich and varied collection will offer future scholars an invaluable insider's view of history—of Baltimore, of Maryland, of the USA—and we are pleased to be stewards of these materials."