A new university facility in the nation's capital will showcase the breadth of Johns Hopkins' academic offerings and expertise.
This month the university introduced an interdisciplinary lunchtime lecture series in a space that it is leasing in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. in downtown Washington. The site, which the university has occupied since October, also is being used as classroom space for part-time programs, flexible office space and an information center for all Hopkins institutions.
This new facility is the result of a unique collaborative effort on the part of all Hopkins divisions, said Paula Burger, vice provost for academic affairs and international programs.
The main tenant of the International Trade Center is the Environmental Protection Agency, and the building also contains offices for other government agencies focused on international trade and for dozens of international companies. Burger said that having an office in the well-trafficked building--between 6,000 and 11,000 government employees flow through it on any given day--is a way for the university to increase its visibility in Washington.
"This is a facility that broadly serves the interests of the university and allows the university to be seen as a whole," Burger said. "Given the nature of the building's occupants, it also should highlight our international efforts."
The Reagan Building office will not replace the need for classroom space for Washington-based part-time degree programs but will rather serve as a location for courses and seminars that are geared to the government agencies that reside within the building.
To take advantage of the close proximity to the EPA, for instance, this past semester two courses in the Part-Time Graduate Program in Environmental Engineering and Science were offered in the new office.
The site also hosts executive education classes, and more course offerings are being planned for the future.
Burger said that government agencies and private companies in the building also might take advantage of the university's presence by calling upon Hopkins experts to give lectures and talks.
"If the EPA were to give a seminar for its staff on some aspect of water quality, for example, they might invite faculty from our environmental science program," Burger said. "Part of this is seeing what kinds of opportunities will emerge because we don't know all the opportunities that will be available. But being the only university with a physical presence at the center was an attractive feature to this [decision to open]."
The ongoing lecture series, which is free to the public, will feature Hopkins faculty from the various university divisions. An interdivisional committee will coordinate the series and schedule speakers. The inaugural series, which ran from June 8 to 10, was represented by six academic divisions of the university. The first lecture, "Environmental Engineering and Human Health: Education and Science for the Future," was co-sponsored by the schools of Public Health and Engineering and featured faculty members Charles R. O'Melia, John D. Groopman and Thomas A. Burke. Other series lecturers were Hugh Calkins of the School of Medicine on "Wired: How Electrophysiologists Treat Abnormal Heart Rhythms, Fainting and Chronic Fatigue"; Benjamin Ginsberg of Arts and Sciences on "Is American Politics Ready for the 21st Century?"; Irene Finel-Honigman of the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education on "Euro-Dollar Competitiveness: The First Challenge for a United States/European Union Millennium"; and Eliot Cohen of SAIS on "Leadership Lessons of the Civil War for Managers and Corporate Executives."
Sarah Steinberg, the Montgomery County representative for the Hopkins office at the International Trade Center, said the representatives from each division are looking for general topic areas with broad appeal.
"We also want to get out that Hopkins faculty are involved in lots of different areas," said Steinberg, program and marketing director of the Part-Time Program in Engineering and Applied Science at the Montgomery County Center. "Overall, we hope to bring in a lot of people to see the facility, pick up literature on Hopkins and talk to our faculty."
The office is being administered on behalf of the university by Ted Baker, associate dean for finance/administration at the School of Advanced International Studies.
The next lecture series is planned for sometime in the fall.