The second JHU Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is based on a vision of Johns Hopkins as a pluralistic community that embraces the values and imperatives of diversity, equity, and inclusion as integral to our institutional missions of education, research, and service and our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. We strive to be a place that celebrates the vital importance of differences of experience, backgrounds, and thought and recognizes such diversity is essential to critical inquiry and the robust debates that are core to our university and to achieving our ideals of excellence. We believe that diversity, inclusion, and equity are critical to the well-being of democratic society and to a university environment that allows each member of our community to feel valued, engaged, and empowered to succeed.
Looking back on the first JHU Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion
The first JHU Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion was developed over the fall and winter of 2015–16, at a time of student protest at our university and beyond. Student groups, led by our Black Student Union, drew attention to racial disparities in higher education and across society, calling for dramatic change. Six years later, our nation still aches under the painful weight of systemic and divisive inequities and acts of hate, even as people and organizations across our country, our cities, and our campuses come together to fight for better. We also find ourselves living in an increasingly polarized and divided nation with fewer and fewer means and opportunities to build bonds that not only reinforce our own affinities and identities but also allow us to bridge divides and connect across our differences.
When Johns Hopkins embarked upon the first Roadmap, our collective aim was to codify our commitment to key values and to focus on strategic initiatives that would advance our aims on a sustained and transparent basis.
Over the past five years, the university and our divisions have made meaningful progress. Together, we invested $25 million in a Faculty Diversity Initiative, adopted model search practices universitywide, shifted permanently to need-blind and no-loan admissions while increasing on-campus supports for first-generation and low-income students, expanded mentorship and professional development offerings for staff, expanded paid family leave, and set and exceeded measurable public goals on all aspects of our local economic inclusion programs, among other efforts. We also built new institutional and divisional capacity for transparency and rigorous accountability, particularly through regular engagement with our board of trustees and their endorsement of the Roadmap goals, annual progress reports and the development and introduction of detailed composition reports, down to the department level, on staff and faculty and graduate students.
In this period, at a universitywide level, the university as a whole increased diversity in each major segment of our population, in some cases substantially, such as the percentage of undergraduate students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in incoming classes increasing from 14.9% to 32.5% from 2010 to 2019 and across the entire student body from 25.0% to 27.4% from 2010 to 2019. In other areas, there was a meaningful but more modest increase, with faculty from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups increasing from 8% in 2015 to 10% in 2019, while the percentage of staff who self-identified as being part of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group increased from 37% in 2015 to 41% in 2019 and those in managerial roles increased from 22% in 2015 to 27% in 2019.
Yet, in this and other dimensions, we did not achieve all we had aimed to accomplish.
We had hoped, for example, that the unprecedented availability of data in the composition reports would drive even greater discourse and action at the departmental and organizational level. In the aggregate, important growth occurred, but the results are inconsistent and, as the composition reports point out, in some areas there has been no progress at all. We heard again and again that more must be done to ensure there are more effective local implementation strategies and supports for our universitywide commitments, and that campus climate remains a persistent challenge. Equity and inclusion in daily university life needs more attention, as does the visibility of diversity-related initiatives, affinity groups and DEI leaders.
Now it is time for the next leg of the journey. The Roadmap was designed to be a living document and an evolving effort, not a set of one-time tasks or declarations, because we know that change of this scale and scope requires not only regular assessment and evaluation but also openness to new approaches, ideas and directions.
Building and implementing the second JHU Roadmap on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
This second iteration of the JHU Roadmap intends to deepen and expand our commitments around diversity, equity and inclusion, building on what has worked while digging deeper into areas that are vital to the current and long-term success of our institution. Learning from recent efforts at the university and divisional levels, we are focused on the individual and shared commitment that it will take to realize our full promise as an institution through the pursuit of our DEI aspirations and by heeding the call to develop a culture of belonging and success for all members of our community.
This new plan stems from the collaboration and insights of hundreds of people across Johns Hopkins. In July 2020, university leaders announced the creation of the Roadmap 2020 Task Force. This body of students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the Baltimore community candidly assessed the first JHU Roadmap and made recommendations on the commitments, strategies and measurable results necessary in its second iteration. The task force held 28 public listening sessions, and the working groups met 133 times, collectively. From these deliberations, the task force presented 65 recommendations across working groups focused on staff, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, community, training, and institutional accountability. These recommendations have been invaluable in providing the foundation and direction for the university’s next set of robust goals and commitments. They were posted for universitywide feedback in May 2021, and through the summer and fall, responsible divisional and unit leaders and university administration worked to prioritize and pull out key themes across the 65 points and to identify funding needs and resources.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion published a draft of the plan in November 2021 and solicited feedback through 6 open listening sessions as well as in meetings with individuals and stakeholder groups across our institution and our Baltimore community and online via email and the JHU Office of Diversity and Inclusion website. This final version of the plan reflects this feedback from our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners on the November draft report as well as feedback from and the endorsement of our Board of Trustees.
Over the course of the spring 2022 semester, we will begin developing detailed implementation plans, in consultation with stakeholders, and will aim to post a multi-year timeline for the Roadmap as a whole so that our university has a clear sense of what to expect each year. In parallel, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will provide central support to the divisions as they prepare school-level implementation plans.
Our new Roadmap goals
The 24 goals presented in the second Roadmap on DEI tie together the recommendations of the task force, the feedback from our community and the insights of divisional leaders across the institution. They range from major investments in new and expanded programs to support and engage staff, students, faculty, alumni, and the Baltimore community; to a commitment of greater resources at the university and divisional levels for DEI personnel, education and professional development, and network and community building; to institutional commitments to articulate our DEI principles as one university, expand support for and elevate the chief diversity officer and Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and delve deeply into our institutional history and the impact of racism and discrimination of all kinds at Johns Hopkins. All are undergirded by accountability mechanisms, including regular reporting to the full community and the expansion or creation of mechanisms for researching, measuring and conveying our progress on a regular basis.
This plan’s 24 goals reflect our continued and necessary focus on diversity in the broadest sense, across a full spectrum of underrepresented groups, including those identified by race, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, ability, citizenship/nationality, veteran/military status, or political viewpoint. We have also decided to adopt the term “underrepresented groups” (URG) throughout this report to reflect a more inclusive approach to the language used to capture diversity in our university’s context. This second plan also aims to go deeper on equity and inclusion, and in particular to elevate the experience and opportunities of our staff and to create a culture and climate that are engaging and respectful of people of all identities, backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and thought.