Projects and Initiatives

Committee on the Biomedical Scientific Workforce

The United States’ system of biomedical research has been a leading driver of discovery and innovation for over half of a century. 

Its use, in particular, of competitive, peer reviewed grants to independent scientists across the nation has fueled the development of an unparalleled biomedical workforce both inside and outside the academy, one that has charted a path to the very horizons of scientific knowledge. Our model of scientific research is now the envy of the world.  

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Doctor of Philosophy Board

The Doctor of Philosophy Board is a faculty committee of the Johns Hopkins University that is responsible for all Johns Hopkins Ph.D. programs. The Board approves degree programs and sets guidelines and policies that affect Ph.D. students. It was established in January 2010.

On October 25, 2011, the Doctor of Philosophy Board hosted a conference at Johns Hopkins on the future of Ph.D. education, aimed at graduate program directors and others across the University.

Provost Lloyd B. Minor opened the conference with remarks on “Gilman’s Legacy: Ph.D. Education and the Making of the Modern University.” Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard University, offered the keynote address on “The Paradoxical State of Graduate Education.” The conference included break-out sessions on topics such as biomedical education, interdisciplinary learning, and institutional self-study.

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Faculty Diversity Initiative

The Faculty Diversity Initiative (FDI) — a five-year, $25 million effort to recruit, retain, develop, and promote a diverse faculty — includes five key components:

Enhanced Faculty Search Practices: Recognizing that maintaining the excellence of our faculty requires casting our nets for academic talent as widely as possible, each division will establish clear protocols for faculty searches that will increase diversity within our applicant pools. These protocols will include a commitment to ensure that candidate pools reflect candidate availability, unconscious bias training for search committee members, trained diversity advocates on search committees, oversight of candidate short lists by divisional leadership, and comprehensive reporting on search practices and activities.

The FDI will help to identify proactive opportunities to recruit senior underrepresented faculty to Johns Hopkins, including outreach to professional societies for underrepresented groups.

Target of Opportunity Program (TOP): Building on the former Mosaic Program, we have established a fund to support the targeted recruitment of exceptional and diverse scholars, above and beyond planned search cycles. Divisions may request funding to support up to one-half of the cost of the faculty appointment, with a cap of $100,000 per year per appointee, for three years. TOP funds may be used to cover salary, fringe benefits, start-up costs, or other costs that would enhance our ability to recruit the appointee.

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Gateway Sciences Initiative

The provost has announced a university-wide Gateway Sciences Initiative (GSI) to improve learning in gateway sciences and enhance the quality of teaching at Johns Hopkins. The focus is on courses that provide critical introductory material for undergraduate and graduate study in the sciences.

A request for proposals has been released to the Johns Hopkins community for bold, creative ideas for transforming gateway science learning based on sound precedents and accompanied by rigorous assessment plans.

Proposals may focus on existing courses, develop new courses or programs, enhance or advance pedagogy, or develop new learning resources and strategies that function inside or outside the classroom. The proposals will be reviewed by the Gateway Sciences Initiative Faculty Steering Committee. A day-long Symposium on Teaching Excellence, which will include a strong focus on gateway sciences as well as other disciplines, is scheduled for January 20, 2012.

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Open Access Committee

Part of Johns Hopkins University’s mission is “to bring the benefits of discovery to the world,” and modern Internet-connected publication platforms are allowing us to share those benefits of discovery more widely than ever before.  Yet older business models for academic publishing, and related policies, have not caught up with technology, and are preventing our academic research from reaching wider audiences, including audiences in underserved communities that may benefit from our research.  In addition, the culture of the academy privileges publication in prestigious subscription journals that put research articles behind paywalls. 

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Ph.D. Innovation Initiative

The Ph.D. Symposium on October 25, 2011 generated energy and enthusiasm around the subject of Ph.D. education. To capture that excitement, with the goal of not only invigorating Ph.D. education, but also of putting Johns Hopkins at the forefront of innovation in Ph.D. education, the Doctor of Philosophy Board is launching a Ph.D. Innovation Initiative. For each of the next two years, the university will invest approximately $1M/year in support of bold new ideas in Ph.D. education. The funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to proposals solicited from across the Johns Hopkins community. 

  • Goal: This request for proposals (RFP) is seeking to identify and fund projects that will lay the groundwork for transforming Ph.D. education at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere.

  • Who may submit proposals: Proposals may be submitted by individual faculty, groups of faculty, Ph.D. students with their faculty mentors, individual Ph.D. programs, as well as collaborations among various Ph.D. programs. 

  • Subject areas: Proposals may be submitted in any subject area in which Johns Hopkins offers the Ph.D.

  • Budget and project period: The total project period may not exceed two years. The funds requested may not exceed $200,000 during the award period. Matching funds or other in-kind contributions, including faculty release time, are encouraged.

  • Funds available: The president and provost have committed approximately $1,000,000 to the first year of this initiative. It is anticipated that there will be a second call for proposals in approximately one year.

  • Proposal submission deadline: November 30, 2012.

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Signature Initiatives

In 2013, the university identified Signature Initiatives for the Rising to the Challenge campaign that span individualized health, the science of learning, the future of cities, big data, space studies, and global health.  Together with the Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, the Signature Initiatives will leverage and strengthen our divisional expertise to create innovative interdisciplinary solutions for the most critical global issues.

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Student Services Excellence Initiative

The Student Services Excellence Initiative (SSEI) is a multi-year, university-wide effort to improve the experience of Johns Hopkins students by refining administrative procedures and updating technology for delivering services in six key areas:

  • Recruitment and Admissions
  • Registration
  • Financial Aid
  • Billing
  • Career Services and Alumni Tracking
  • Advising

Ultimately, the project will result in the redesign and replacement of the current student information system, which is challenged by functional weaknesses and is quickly becoming outdated. But the effort goes beyond addressing technical concerns to prioritizing the experience of the users—students first and foremost, but also our faculty and staff whose efforts support student experience and student outcomes. Working groups for each area are sharing best practices, considering process improvements, and determining technology solutions that will enhance the university's delivery of student services moving forward.

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Task Force on Academic Freedom

Freedom of inquiry and expression is the heartbeart of our university, the foundation for the bracing discovery, scholarship and experimentation that is the signature of Johns Hopkins.  And indeed, Johns Hopkins has a special kinship to academic freedom, one that stretches to our founding. 

Yet, it is striking that the university does not have an official statement of principles on academic freedom, one that gives expression to our core values in this area, and that can serve as a beacon for our community of scholars on these challenging issues for generations to come.

To address this void, we have convened a cross-university Task Force on Academic Freedom, chaired by Professor of Political Science Emeritus and Academy Professor Joel Grossman to develop a formal university position on academic freedom.  The Task Force will meet through the spring, consult with the university community, and return a recommendation to the President and the Provost by May 9, 2014. 

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