University leadership has announced the creation of the Johns Hopkins University Staff Advisory Council in the coming months.
The council will be composed of elected members and is intended to give Johns Hopkins staff the opportunity to share their insights about the needs, opportunities, aspirations, and challenges that staff experience in their professional lives at JHU. It also will provide critical input to leadership on decisions and policymaking around university initiatives, programming, and policies.
According to an email sent to all staff on Aug. 10 by President Ron Daniels, Senior Vice President Laurent Heller, and Vice President for Human Resources Pierre Joanis, the council's work "will touch on a broad range of topics that may include university policies; benefits; training and professional development; staff recognition and engagement; our return to campus since the pandemic and related workplace policies; and other aspects of university operations."
The council will report to the senior vice president for finance and administration and the vice president for human resources and will work closely with many university leaders.
In September, a Staff Advisory Council Planning Group, made up of university leaders meeting with staff representatives from various divisions, will be formed to create the infrastructure for future councils, and the first elections for members are anticipated to take place in spring 2023. The planning group is tasked with identifying the composition, term lengths, and procedures for election of membership and leadership.
The council will be composed of staff who represent various organizational levels, job areas, and functions across the university. It is anticipated that the members will have opportunities to also work with ex officio members selected from the population of divisional business officers, Human Resources representatives, and individuals from the Diversity Leadership Council and the Black Faculty and Staff Association.
Participation on the council is voluntary and will be considered work time. The council is expected to meet at least twice each spring and fall semester, and as needed to consider timely issues. Information about membership and activities, as well as a mechanism for staff to submit input, questions, and interest in participating in the creation of the council, will be available on a Staff Advisory Council webpage.
The Staff Advisory Council will focus on issues and opportunities that cut across more than one school as well as the nonacademic divisions of the university. Divisions and departments with their own staff councils will have the opportunity to bring the voice of their respective groups into larger discussions with the Staff Advisory Council.
"We learn a great deal about and from each other in universitywide groups and committees that help shape our work together," Daniels, Heller, and Joanis wrote in their email. "We have already seen the impact of staff input and advocacy on our university in initiatives ranging from enhancements to JHU's tuition benefits assistance program to child care program additions. The council is also an important goal of the Second Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as we seek to foster a more dynamic and desirable workplace and ensure our campus environment is one in which all our staff are welcomed and can thrive personally and professionally."
They wrote, "We are truly grateful for this engagement and the shared commitment to enhancing support for our employees."