Vision, Guiding Principles, and Key Terms

In our JHU Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion, it is critical for us to articulate and reaffirm our shared vision and the guiding principles driving our work as we embark on the next phase of the Roadmap together.


A rich diversity of people, background, experience and thought is critical to our university’s excellence and success. Critical inquiry, exceptional scholarship, and innovative discovery cannot be achieved without engaging all voices and perspectives. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that each individual and group feels welcomed, respected, and able to thrive in our Johns Hopkins community. We approach this imperative for diversity in the broadest and most inclusive sense, valuing all dimensions of diversity and aspects of identity of our community members. At the same time, our position in and of Baltimore City and within the national context makes us keenly aware of our responsibility to the individuals and groups who have been dispossessed or historically underrepresented, among them our Black/African American and Latinx/or Latino/a, Asian and Asian American, LGBTQ+, Indigenous and Native American, and first-generation limited income (FLI) community members, and members of our community with disabilities or from marginalized religious groups.

We strongly affirm and support JHU community members and groups with respect to their varied, diverse, and intersecting identities and unequivocally condemn hatred and discrimination in all its forms, including virulent forms of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Asian, homophobic and transphobic hate. We are also a place uniquely suited to modeling the best of a pluralistic society and our university seeks to create opportunities and spaces where people can learn to speak and engage across differences in a respectful, meaningful, and productive way that allows the diversity of our community to fuel our best ideas. We envision a Johns Hopkins in which every division or unit, every department, and every member of our community, regardless of their role, understands and is able to contribute to the work of ensuring that our systems, practices, and interactions reflect these core values.

Over the course of our first JHU Roadmap, the university and its divisions established a firm commitment to a granular transparency around key metrics, including the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students, and to shining a light on our institution at all levels, to recognize progress and illuminate shortcomings. With this next phase of the Roadmap, we are extending further our commitment to transparency and accountability as a foundation for the future.

Guiding Principles

Over the last five years and through the Roadmap Task Force process, we’ve identified a set of principles to guide, inform and focus our work.

  • An institutional commitment to the equal dignity and worth of every person guides our active endeavors to remove barriers to equitable outcomes and full inclusion.   
  • A rich diversity of people, background, experience and thought is central to­—and will elevate— our work in education, research and service.
  • Diversity itself is necessary but not sufficient. All members of our community should have equal opportunity to participate meaningfully and thrive at Johns Hopkins.
  • Robust engagement with diverse viewpoints facilitates an environment in which we understand, value and learn from each other, realizing the benefits of divergent perspectives.
  • Johns Hopkins’ strength as an institution stems from the collective assets of One University and the distinctive qualities of each school, department and program; both are invaluable.  
  • Transparency is a driving force in our sustained progress, ensuring that people across our community have access to information that will drive our decisions, locally and globally.
  • Accountability requires all individuals and organizations within Johns Hopkins to have a clear understanding of and commitment to their roles in our pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Progress will come through a systems approach, one that deeply considers underlying issues and seeks broadly impactful change at all stages of planning and implementation.
  • Data and evidence shape our decisions. We will leverage qualitative and quantitative data from internal and external sources to measure both processes and outcomes.
  • A hearts-and-minds balance of passion and pragmatism is necessary both to inspire people to action and to ensure those actions will lead to achievable and measurable progress.

Key Concepts and Terms

Terminology in the DEI arena is evolving, sometimes quickly, and not everyone is equally familiar with terms or how they apply in a university context. Offered here are several of the key concepts and terms used throughout this report.  

Diversity: is an affirmation of individual and group identities, which in turn ensures and builds capacity for the robust exchange of diverse and at times challenging ideas; improves the educational experience of our students; fuels success in the workplace; and contributes to better institutional decision making. To uplift diversity, the university must affirm the intersecting identities of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community in our research, teaching, and service.

Equity: is the acknowledgment of our shared responsibility for removing institutional and systemic barriers that prevent members of marginalized groups in our community from thriving. To facilitate equity, the university must develop structural supports that provide opportunity and address the diverse needs of our community.

Inclusion: is ensuring our university is open and welcoming to everyone and taking action when identity-based treatment harms individuals and groups. To foster inclusion, the university must build a welcoming environment, address discriminatory behavior, and recognize and fuel the impact of inclusion on the advancement of our students, faculty and staff.

Underrepresented Groups (URG): for purposes of this report, is the term used in lieu of the term “underrepresented minorities” (URM) to reflect the evolution of language as it relates to our collective reference to subgroups of our population whose representation is disproportionately low relative to their numbers in higher education or the general population. Throughout the report this term may refer to groups or individuals identified not only by race or ethnicity, but also by age, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation, ability, citizenship/nationality, veteran/military status, or political viewpoint. Where appropriate, the report indicates when a particular goal is designed to address the specific needs of a small subset of these groups.