The Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 1, 2001
October 1, 2001
VOL. 31, NO. 5


Krieger School Unveils First Strategic Plan

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

In order to "create and maintain one of the best environments in the world for learning and research," leadership in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences has crafted and begun implementation of a strategic plan that charts the future course for the division. The ambitious plan, the first of its kind for the school, sets priorities in areas ranging from faculty strategies and academic programs to educational resources and community relations.

Richard McCarty, the James B. Knapp Dean of the school, says that while the school remains well-positioned among its peers, a blueprint for the future was clearly needed.

"The significance of the strategic plan for the Krieger School cannot be overemphasized," McCarty says. "The implementation of the plan will provide a strong impetus for making the Krieger School even better than it is now. This plan has already played a key role in the development of priorities for fund raising."

The strategic planning process began with the preparation by each of the school's 23 academic departments of long-range plans to be used by a faculty planning committee, convened by the dean, to develop specific proposals. Meeting weekly from November 2000 to May 2001, the committee consulted with university President William R. Brody, department chairs and various other members of the Hopkins community. The Krieger School's Advisory Council played a key role in the development of the plan. The formalized plan was completed last spring.

Daniel Weiss, dean of the faculty and chair of the faculty planning committee, says that much of the strategic plan reaffirms the school's research mission.

In meeting with various members of the Hopkins community, Weiss says he discovered a strong consensus of opinion on the focus: a continued commitment to the synergy between research and teaching and improving the undergraduate experience.

"I felt it was an extremely healthy sign that what was emerging from this process, from all the constituents that we talked to, was a pretty clear sense of what it is that distinguishes Johns Hopkins and what our aspirations ought to be."

Weiss says, "The real challenge of the process was to determine how to manage such a large and ambitious undertaking in a way that advances the work while at the same time is inclusive of all the different members of our community that have something to contribute, and to scope the project appropriately so that we can turn it into meaningful recommendations.

"A useful strategic plan," Weiss says, "is a short strategic plan. Long ones people don't read and don't do anything about."

The final version, a 17-page document, was approved by the dean in July.

Stressing the role faculty must play in the school's continued success, the plan focuses on six major areas associated with this group: faculty growth, compensation, resources, recruitment and retention, promotion practices and succession planning. Specific recommendations include increasing the number of faculty by 15 percent and giving serious consideration to awarding tenure to associate professors as a measure to improve recruitment and retention. Weiss says such recommendations address the need to maintain a critical mass of faculty relative to the quality and quantity at Hopkins' peer institutions.

"In many areas, we need to increase our size in order to be able to provide the kind of quality work that is required of us," Weiss says. "While our student-to-faculty ratios are appropriate for a school of this quality and caliber, the initiative to increase the size of the faculty is to do better. We have fallen a little bit behind in this area."

Other recommendations include the annual review of long-term plans for each academic department; the creation of new marketing techniques to attract students with more diverse interests; the appointment of a special committee to develop a diversity strategy for recruiting faculty and students; and the immediate development of facility plans, among them renovations to Gilman Hall and building a new chemistry facility.

Weiss says that while some of these recommendations are not new, they now have been put on top of the school's "to do" list.

"There are priorities. We will have to do certain things at the expense of other things. You can't do everything," Weiss says. "These decisions come out of some collective sense of what our real imperatives are. So, for example, Gilman Hall is a high priority because it serves certain academic needs of the school that have to be met."

Weiss says the strategic planning process will be ongoing and the plan revisited on a regular basis. The strategic plan with a timetable for its implementation is available at plan.