Johns Hopkins University today renewed its commitment and resolve to continue the difficult but critical work of making Johns Hopkins a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive place for all through the release of a draft version of its Second Roadmap for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, an important milestone in an ongoing process the university began six years ago with the release of the first Roadmap.
"As we said in the original Roadmap, becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Johns Hopkins is essential to our excellence as a university," JHU President Ron Daniels, Provost Sunil Kumar, and Chief Diversity Officer Katrina Caldwell wrote in a message to the university community today. "It is central to realizing the full promise of our education, research, and service missions, and to building a vibrant pluralistic community that celebrates and recognizes differences of experience, background, and thought."
The university made important progress under the first Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, which was adopted in 2016, including a $25 million investment in the Faculty Diversity Initiative, a permanent shift to need-blind and no-loan admissions, increased on-campus support for first-generation and low-income students, expanded mentorship and professional development opportunities for staff, extended paid family leave, enhanced local economic inclusion initiatives, among other efforts. University and divisional leaders supported both universitywide and school-specific efforts, and established an ethos of transparency and accountability through annual progress reports and publication of granular data regarding the composition of our faculty, staff, and graduate students.
The development of this new Roadmap began in July 2020, against the backdrop of a national reckoning about race in America and a global pandemic that had further exposed social inequities and demanded an examination of lessons learned. At that time, Daniels and Kumar established a task force to reevaluate the progress made since the release of the first Roadmap and begin the process of creating a new, forward-looking vision and goals. That effort was led by the task force's three co-chairs—Caldwell, former School of Nursing Dean Patricia Davidson, and Professor Rigoberto Hernandez from the Department of Chemistry.
The task force of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and neighbors from surrounding communities was divided into seven work groups focused on: student success, faculty diversity, pathways to staff advancement, training and development, alumni engagement, community engagement, and institutional accountability. It held 28 public listening sessions, and the working groups met 133 times, collectively. The group's 65 recommendations, posted for universitywide feedback in May, formed the foundation of the new Roadmap plan—a detail-rich 42-page document that outlines 24 goals and the steps the university plans to take to achieve them.
Broadly, these 24 goals aim to:
- Infuse the university's principles and commitments on diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of Johns Hopkins' engagement with its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors
- Focus keenly on areas where diversity lags, particularly in STEM fields
- Invest in programs and new ideas to support retention, inclusion, and success for all underrepresented groups and every member of the university community, through professional advancement opportunities, a more inclusive culture, and community building
- Focus on enhancing staff experience and supports, to ensure staff are able to thrive professionally and personally, as they play a critical role in the university's mission
- Elevate and expand community-engaged work and strengthen and extend the university's partnerships with the Baltimore community
- Continue and deepen commitments to diversity-, equity-, and inclusion-related data collection, transparency, and accountability, including universitywide moments of regular, public reporting and discussion
- Build and enhance the university's institutional capacity and support for all these efforts through the elevation of the role of the chief diversity officer and the expansion of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
The goals are organized by into six categories—Institutional, Staff/Employees, Students, Faculty, Alumni, and Community—each with multiple underlying goals. Goals for staff and employees, for example, include the creation of a $10 million Employee Innovation Fund to support professional development and career advancement; the expansion of the Staff Diversity Initiative to strengthen and improve recruitment, retention, and advancement of a diverse workforce; and the creation of a Staff Advisory Council, giving employees a forum through which they can advocate for themselves and colleagues and shape university decision-making.
Collectively, the Roadmap's 24 goals reflect a continued focus on diversity in the broadest sense, across a full spectrum of underrepresented groups, including racial, ethnic and religious groups, people from the LGBTQ+ community, women, Native American and Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities. These goals are supported by significant financial investments on the part of the university and by regular progress reporting to the full university community.
Members of the Hopkins community are invited to read the draft Roadmap and share feedback over the next several weeks. Comments can be submitted via a feedback form on the Diversity and Inclusion website or emailed to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at email@example.com. Additionally, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host conversations with stakeholder groups beginning the week of Nov. 29.
At the conclusion of this feedback period, the Roadmap document will be revised to reflect this input and sent to the JHU Board of Trustees for its endorsement. A final version of the report is expected to be shared with the university community before the end of the calendar year.
"This proposed second Roadmap will undoubtedly spur thoughtful dialogue about the best way to pursue progress as a university," Daniels, Kumar, and Caldwell wrote. "We welcome this. Open dialogue and rigorous engagement across varied and intersecting viewpoints, identities, and experiences are core to our enterprise. They make us stronger, and that commitment to dialogue stands at the heart of the Roadmap itself."
The first Roadmap affirmed the university's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and set the stage for meaningful investments and progress. Since the release of the first Roadmap, the university has increased diversity in every major segment of its population, in some cases significantly:
- Female representation among the faculty grew by 3%, from 42% in 2015 to 45% in 2019
- The representation of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups among the faculty grew by 2%, from 8% in 2015 to 10% in 2019
- Minority staff composition grew from 37% in 2015 to 41% in 2019,
- The percentage of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups among the undergraduate student body has increased from 14.9% in 2010 to 32.5% in 2019.
Alongside this meaningful progress, the need for additional implementation strategies became clear, as did a recognition that while diversity itself is critical, there must also be plentiful opportunities for purposeful participation and innovative efforts to foster a culture and climate that are engaging and respectful of people of all identities, backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and thoughts.
"Through this determined, sustained, and communal effort and the frank conversations about who we are and who we wish to be," Daniels, Kumar, and Caldwell wrote, "we are confident that Johns Hopkins will continue to become a more equitable, diverse, and welcoming place for those who are here now and those who will join us in the years to come."