Johns Hopkins unveils data, resources for doctoral students

New website designed to help students make informed choices about career options

Every day at Johns Hopkins University, doctoral students use data, background materials, and evidence to inform research and test new ideas.

Yet when it comes to making informed choices about their own training and career options, critical information—and the support students need to use it—is often lacking. Recognizing these gaps, the university has been pursuing new commitments to data transparency and career support.

Those efforts include the creation of an online database of program statistics, which debuted today on the Office of Institutional Research website. The resource includes information on admissions, student demographics, student retention and completion, and duration of study for all PhD programs at the university.

"The data serve as an important baseline for the university and are guiding the schools' efforts to further consider program components and student retention rates," JHU President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar wrote in an email to graduate students today.

The publication of the data represents an expansion of an effort that began in December, when Johns Hopkins announced its founding membership in the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science. Hopkins joined nine other leading universities and research institutes in agreeing to release regular public reports about biomedical science PhD programs.

The new website also includes results from four years of exit surveys given to JHU doctoral students when they receive their degrees. Those results indicate a high level of satisfaction with the graduate student experience, Daniels and Kumar said, and also point to some areas where the university can improve, including assistance finding employment.

That feedback is consistent with the findings of the Johns Hopkins Committee on the Biomedical Scientific Workforce, which in December issued a 40-page report that recommended promoting a culture that enables and supports professional growth and career development, particularly in the area of non-academic professional employment.

Efforts to address those concerns are already under way. To date, the university has:

  • Launched Handshake as a universitywide web portal for career services and employment listings, offering students a broader range of opportunities and access to more employers.

  • Hired the university's first vice provost for integrative learning and life design, Farouk Dey, who will work to identify additional career opportunities for PhD students, particularly those interested in pursuing non-academic careers.

  • Built new relationships with industry, including through the Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program to better prepare students with an interest outside academia.

  • Invested in programs including the Center for Educational Resources' Teaching Academy, the Center for Leadership Education, and the BME-EDGE program, which are designed for students who wish to pursue careers in teaching, entrepreneurship, or industry.

Daniels and Kumar thanked Ratna Sarkar, vice provost for institutional research, and Kelly Gebo, former vice provost for education, for their efforts to prepare the data released today and to improve transparency for students.

"We are excited about all of these steps, and remain committed to identifying additional tools to help our doctoral students succeed," they wrote. "Much has been accomplished; and there is more to do."

Posted in University News