Great universities are at their best when they bring together scholars and students from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives in an atmosphere of free and open inquiry that encourages the fertile and vigorous pursuit of a variety of ideas. For the university to fulfill its purpose of critical inquiry and discovery, diversity of people and of thought is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Our goal in this area is to locate, attract, and retain the best and most talented faculty, representing a broad array of backgrounds, thought, and experiences. In the best tradition of our university, we will continue to rely on schools and departments to develop new and innovative ways to strengthen our recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty. To support these efforts, the university will provide increased support for the sharing and amplifi- cation of effective strategies and best practices developed by schools and departments. In this manner, the Roadmap builds on our traditions of local experimentation and leadership.
For the past 50 years, the university has declared its support for the goal of increasing faculty diversity. However, in truth, our efforts in vindicating this goal have been ad hoc and episodic, and our progress has often resulted from external pressures or from the courage and determi- nation of individual faculty leaders who understood faculty diversity as a sine qua non of excellence.
In 2008 we launched the Mosaic Initiative, a five-year, $5 million effort to support the recruit- ment of diverse faculty universitywide. Mosaic yielded some success, resulting in the appoint- ment of 38 underrepresented minority (URM) faculty and STEM-focused women faculty across the university. Upon review of program outcomes in 2015, however, it became clear that only a few departments had drawn on program funds, and many departments saw little or no impact. Even more distressing, retention data also showed no net increase in URM faculty at the conclusion of the program and only a small net gain in women faculty, a situation that was most acute in the Homewood schools.
From 2009 to 2015, our percentage of URM full-time faculty increased from 6 to 8 percent. Despite this increase, exit interviews, faculty focus groups, and surveys (e.g., COACHE) of URM faculty members who left during this time reveal serious challenges. Many of these faculty expressed concerns about isolation; excessive service demands that placed strains on their ability to engage in research; few or no networking, mentoring, and professional development opportunities; and perceived racial or ethnic bias—implicit and explicit—from colleagues and students. Thus, our recruitment efforts need to be complemented by a commensurate empha- sis on retention and climate.
With regard to women faculty, our progress in reducing barriers to entry has been stronger, but continued vigilance and effort are required. For example, in 2015, the School of Medicine marked an important milestone when the number of women full professors surpassed 200, up from 100 in 2003. Across all divisions, women faculty make up 24 percent of all full professors, a significant increase from 18 percent in 2003. But we are still far from where we want to be.
The lessons gained from Mosaic are instructive in framing our current commitments. First, strategic investments, even if incremental, can assist in catalyzing recruitment of diverse faculty but are insufficient for sustained progress. Because responsibility for faculty hiring is widely distributed within the university, systemic change will occur only if there is commitment throughout the faculty and across disciplines and levels of seniority. Second, because faculty hiring decisions have traditionally been shaped by formal and informal practices that vary across the university and can disadvantage diverse candidates, we must adopt a broadly consistent approach to recruiting across the university. We must look proactively beyond usual and familiar networks for top-tier candidates and tackle more forthrightly the biases—con- scious and unconscious—that can subvert our search processes.
Our review of the Mosaic program also underscores the extent to which our aspirations for a diverse faculty are complicated by factors outside Johns Hopkins, including the limited pools of prospective URM faculty members in many disciplines and the currently narrow pipeline of minority scholars and teachers across higher education. For instance, in fall 2013, approximate- ly 6 percent of full-time faculty members at degree-granting post-secondary institutions nationwide were black, and another 5 percent were Hispanic. In 2012–13, U.S. universities conferred 9 percent of doctoral degrees on U.S. citizens who were black and 6 percent on Hispanics, with sharp differences in the pools of candidates across disciplines. And while the share of degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral) earned by URMs across all fields has been rising over the past decades, their share of doctorates in science and engineering has flattened at about 7 percent.
This limited pool has fostered an increasingly competitive recruiting environment among our peer institutions. As universities recognize the importance of cultivating a diverse faculty, they are increasing their efforts to recruit candidates from the existing pool of prospective faculty members. But these efforts do little to expand the pool itself. We (and our peer universities) must do more to develop the pipeline of talented URM scholars, increasing our outreach to talented undergraduate minority students to encourage entry into graduate programs, and strengthening the mentoring and support available in our graduate programs and postdoctoral opportunities (as further described in the section on Students).
Our final lesson from Mosaic is the need for focused attention on climate and retention. We will be successful in retaining the outstanding and diverse scholars whom we recruit to Johns Hopkins only if we create a welcoming and supportive environment that nurtures professional and academic development and creates opportunities for collaboration and bridge building within and across departments.
What we are doing
Faculty Diversity Initiative
The Faculty Diversity Initiative (FDI) is a cornerstone of Johns Hopkins’ diversity and inclusion efforts. It recognizes the fact that changes in the composition of our faculty in turn impact the student body, campus climate, research, and pipeline of graduate students.
The FDI was launched in fall 2015, the product of a yearlong effort to develop a multifaceted approach to faculty recruitment and retention. With support from all our deans, the university has committed more than $25 million in funding to this effort over five years. The FDI has two overarching goals: to reorient faculty search and hiring practices, ensuring searches stretch beyond our customary networks to include new and diverse sources of talented candidates; and to provide resources that can support and sustain a more diverse faculty community. By looking beyond familiar horizons for new colleagues, we are confident that we can enhance both the excellence and diversity of our faculty.
The FDI comprises five key components, all of which are now underway:
- Enhanced faculty search processes. Maintaining the excellence of our faculty requires casting the net for academic talent as broadly as possible. To support this goal, each academic division has prepared a faculty diversity action plan that incorporates best practices in several key areas and is tailored to local circumstances. These plans have been broadly distributed within the schools so that chairs, directors, and search committee members are aware of expected practices. They will be available on the diversity website at diversity.jhu.edu. These defined best practices include cultivation of candidate pools that reflect the diversity of available candidates; search committee training to eliminate unconscious bias in hiring; participation of trained diversity advocates on search committees; oversight of candidate lists by divisional leadership; and reporting on search practices and activities.
The hiring of any new faculty is—and will continue to be—a collegial and department-based decision. The FDI is predicated on supporting and inspiring departmental leadership in this area. Our faculty, as experts in their respective fields, are best able to enhance the excellence of their departments through greater diversity, and the local commitment to this initiative is essential for its ultimate and lasting success. We are determined that our commitments not be viewed as empty or aspirational; rather, they are meant to affect behaviors and outcomes.Furthermore, we are deploying additional tools and resources that will assist schools and departments to administer faculty searches and manage newly implemented search practices (such as Interfolio and institutional subscriptions for unlimited job postings in targeted publications). We expect that the use of these tools will increase the pool of highly qualified and diverse candidates for faculty and staff positions in all searches, broaden the visibility of our faculty position vacancies, and enhance our capacity to encourage candidates to apply. These tools will also increase the consistency of our recruiting practices across divisions and improve our ability to capture data around the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.
- Target of Opportunity Program (TOP). The Target of Opportunity Program provides funding that assists our academic divisions in recruiting diverse scholars—at any rank and of any background—for their distinguished academic skills and accomplishments, and for their ability to advance institutional excellence through diversity. Up to $100,000 per faculty member per year, for a period of three years, may be used for salary, benefits, startup expenses, and other compensation costs. This program is designated for searches that fall outside the usual faculty recruiting cycle. Between November 2015 and July 2016, divisions submitted 22 applications, and the university approved 15 requests. Of the approved 15 requests, 12 URM and women faculty were hired into positions across six divisions.
- Visiting faculty initiative. Visiting scholars afford us the opportunity to increase the diversity of our academic community and cultivate collaborations that lead to future faculty appointments. Across the five years of the FDI, we have committed over $700,000 for divisions to invite and support more visiting scholars, with discretion over the scholars’ length of stay and activities. In the first year of the program, five divisions received funding for five visiting faculty.
- Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This program seeks to locate, promote, and nurture the outstanding work of diverse early career postdoctoral scholars at Johns Hopkins. By providing each fellow with a salary, benefits, research support, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities, the university prepares trainees for faculty positions at Johns Hopkins or elsewhere. In its first year, this program focused on current university postdocs who were nominated by a faculty member, showed great promise, and whose engagement would advance institutional diversity objectives, with priority consideration to fields where there are fewer women or underrepresented minorities and individuals whose funding had been exhausted. This competitive program received 51 nominations, and the university provided funding to eight fellows across three divisions. In addition, FDI funded three programs in 2016 to support professional development activities for postdoctoral scholars.
- Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Research Award. The Provost’s Prize for Faculty Excellence in Diversity is a new, annual $50,000 award that recognizes a full-time faculty member who has made meaningful scholarly or creative contributions related to diversity and inclusion across a broad spectrum of disciplines. For this award, diversity is broadly defined, including issues related to underrepresented minorities, women, gender identity, sexual orientation, viewpoint, disability, and other considerations. In spring 2016, the faculty selection committee received 14 nominations of outstanding and diverse JHU faculty from five schools, and awarded both a prize winner and a finalist.
Reporting and accountability are central tenets of the FDI.
The Office of the Provost in fall 2016 released an inaugural report of faculty composition by rank at the divisional and departmental level across the university. We believe that the dissemination of these data on such a disaggregated basis stands as a critical (and, as against peers, novel) mechanism for bonding our commitment to measurable change. With the publication of the 2016 report, we have a clearly defined baseline against which we can track progress and convey our accountability to the community.
A draft of these data was reviewed in spring 2016 at an unprecedented meeting of department chairs and other academic leaders from across the entire university. The goal of the all-chairs workshop was to heighten appreciation for, and accountability surrounding, our faculty diversity efforts. In addition to facilitating discussions surrounding best practices and strategies for recruiting diverse faculty, the meeting helped identify colleagues across the university who may be able to share best practices for faculty recruitment.
We are increasing our use of innovative strategies to accelerate progress, such as cluster hiring. This approach, which involves recruiting multiple scholars into one or more departments based on shared, interdisciplinary research interests, has proved effective in not only increasing faculty diversity but also building immediate strength in fields of strategic impor- tance, and stimulating support and collaboration among faculty members. This year, for example, the Krieger School advertised four faculty positions connected to the Center for Africana Studies, with expertise in African studies, African history, and African-American history. Two faculty in English and History have been recruited to date, with additional hiring ongoing. Given the long-standing interest that many community members have expressed in the flourishing of the center, we regard the recruitment of these colleagues as another important step in realizing our diversity agenda.
In late 2014, the university’s schools were asked to develop comprehensive faculty mentoring programs designed to foster the development of early- and mid-career faculty members. The goal is to ensure that every junior faculty member will benefit from the advice and counsel of senior mentors aimed at creating the strongest possible foundation for future success. An integral part of the initiative is the recognition that underrepresented minority faculty members face distinctive challenges (such as excessive committee service or student advising demands) in the earliest stages of their careers that can undermine their professional development, and the need for workable strategies that anticipate and respond to these demands.
In spring 2015, each school submitted plans for enhancing their current faculty mentoring efforts. Implementation of these plans began in fall 2015, including one-to-one and group mentoring. In addition, the university expanded the Master Mentor program, started at the School of Medicine, to include senior faculty from across the institution. The goal of the program is to create cohorts of experienced mentors who can champion the development of effective mentoring programming in their divisions. Other universitywide faculty mentoring activities include a revision of the JHU Principles of Mentoring, the establishment of a Task Force on Faculty Mentoring, and the establishment of the Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring in spring 2016.
We will continue to implement, monitor, and strengthen the FDI and Faculty Mentoring Program over the next year. Among the key milestones we will reach over the next several months in our comprehensive efforts regarding faculty include:
- Faculty mentoring survey results and website. A preliminary analysis of data from a universitywide Faculty Mentoring Survey administered in 2015–16 has been prepared. In collaboration with the Faculty Mentoring Task Force, analyses will be completed and a public report will be distributed by the end of 2016, coupled with the launch of the planned faculty mentoring website.
- Continued tracking of faculty data. Following the release of the first JHU Report on Faculty Composition, we are committed to biannual production and publication of these data. The next report will be disseminated in the 2018–19 academic year, reflecting data as of November 2017.
- Year two pipeline Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The second call for applications will occur in fall 2016. We are discussing methods for strengthening this program, including whether to expand the application process to allow applications from faculty to sponsor candidates not already on campus.
- Faculty climate. The Provost’s Office will continue to work with the divisions’ vice deans of faculty to develop innovative, meaningful faculty support and address faculty climate issues, such as leadership training, the needs of dual career couples, training and support for junior faculty, and improving the experience for candidates whom we bring to campus.
- Annual updates on divisional faculty diversity action plans. The first set of faculty diversity action plans focused on operationalizing the best search practices identified in FDI. Annually, the Provost’s Office will follow up on implementation and help promulgate innovative practices for improving the diversity of faculty pipelines, recruitment, and retention.