Projects and Initiatives

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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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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Mosaic Initiative

In 2008 Johns Hopkins University announced the award of $5 million over the next five years in matching funds for departments seeking to improve diversity, including hiring and retaining outstanding women and underrepresented minority scholars for faculty positions.

This bold and unprecedented commitment of funding by central administration for faculty diversity has been extraordinarily successful. So far the initiative has resulted in the appointments over more than 20 underrepresented minority and female faculty across the university.

The Mosaic appointments have enhanced the intellectual life of the institution with appointments of accomplished scholars in English, History, Mathematics, Engineering, Nursing, and Medicine.

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 five Signature Initiatives for the Rising to the Challenge campaign that span individualized health, the science of learning, the future of cities, the sustainability of water resources, 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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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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