With a fresh crop of new faces, the
Council this fall continues its mission to promote and
support diversity throughout the Johns Hopkins divisions.
Now in its seventh year of existence, the council last
month held its first meeting of 2003-2004 to lay out for
the coming year the group's priorities, which include the
recruitment for and retention of women and underrepresented
ethnic minorities in senior faculty and leadership
positions, and to increase visibility, awareness and
appreciation of diversity throughout Hopkins.
In May 2003, President William
R. Brody appointed Gwendolyn Boyd to chair the group.
Boyd, assistant for development programs at the Applied
Physics Laboratory, replaces Christina Lundquist, an
administrator in the departments of Orthopaedics and
Dermatology at the School of Medicine, who had completed
her two-year term as chair.
The Diversity Leadership Council, which advises the
president on diversity issues in both the university and
hospital, currently has 30 members representing all
university divisions and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Each
spring, the president appoints new staff, student and
faculty members to serve one- or two-year terms.
Boyd said that after its traditional summer hiatus,
the group is ready to get to work.
"We have gotten past the getting-to-know-each-other
phase and now we are in the process of trying to find out
what are some of the burning issues regarding
diversity coming from the various divisions of the
university," Boyd said. "Our next steps will be to
determine what are some of the plausible means with which
to deal with them."
The council was established in 1997 by President
Brody, who appointed Ron Walters, a professor of history in
the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, as its first
chair. The group's main charge is to support and foster
policies, programs and other initiatives that will attract
and retain a diverse mix of faculty, staff and students. In
addition, the council seeks to promote diversity awareness,
support personal growth and development, and recommend
changes that foster greater inclusion.
The DLC meets once a month during the academic year,
and each May it issues an annual report to the president.
"Part of the council's mission is to make sure that
diversity remains a priority at Johns Hopkins and that we
understand what diversity is and what it isn't," said Boyd,
an original council member. "It's not just about race and
gender or OEEO issues that are legislated; it's also about
diversity of thought and a respect for how we are
The council is focusing its attention this year on
five major areas: education and outreach, faculty,
students, staff and disability issues. Each will be
addressed by a separate working group.
Specifically, items on the agenda include faculty
recruitment and retention; the establishment of
diversity/cultural competence standards to be included as
part of annual performance evaluations; increased support
for Middle Eastern students who may feel vulnerable in the
current political climate; and providing support and
recommendations to enhance the higher education experience
for students, staff and faculty with disabilities.
The group's past accomplishments include obtaining a
two-year Hewlett Foundation grant for the Program in
Pluralism and Unity, the support of the Domestic Partner
Benefits policy that was adopted by the university in 1999,
involvement in the Homewood campus's open space
construction project to ensure access for persons with
disabilities, the adoption of a diversity training policy
for new supervisors and managers, support for an African
and African-American studies program, the creation of
divisional diversity councils and the establishment of
Diversity Recognition Awards to honor faculty, staff and
students for their efforts to foster greater appreciation,
advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusiveness
In academic year 2002-2003, the council started to
invite deans and directors to present to the DLC divisional
activities and initiatives related to diversity. In
addition, the council met with John Latting, director of
undergraduate admissions for the Homewood schools, who
provided the first of what is to become an annual report on
his office's recruitment efforts and relevant diversity
Ray Gillian, associate provost and director of the
Office of Equal
Opportunity and Affirmative Action, said that the DLC
has developed a long history of accomplishment.
"This group has been very effective in raising
important issues for the campus communities to address,"
said Gillian, an ex-officio member of the DLC. "I'm really
optimistic about the new members, who bring with them a
high level of energy and commitment to diversity issues,
and I expect an even more active group in the future."
Lundquist, the immediate past chair, who has served on
the council since 1998, said that the pool of membership
candidates this past spring was the "largest ever," which
resulted in the expansion of the group. Membership requires
previous experience in community activities, leadership
capabilities, change management skills, a commitment to
inclusion and the ability to communicate across and about
Boyd said that the DLC both welcomes and needs input
and feedback from the Johns Hopkins community in order to
meet its mission.
"It is our charge to become aware of all diversity
issues and to highlight those issues that need to be
changed or brought to the attention of the university," she
For more information on the Diversity Leadership
Council, including how to contact members, go to