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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University July 21, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 40
Mosaic Impact Is Immediate

Diversity initiative begins with eight new hires

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

A newly created program aimed at fostering a diverse workplace at Johns Hopkins has already borne fruit — a bumper crop that exceeded expectations.

The Johns Hopkins University announced in April that it will provide at least $5 million over the next five years in matching funds to assist deans, department chairs and search committees to continue to recruit diverse faculty. In June, the School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital pledged an additional $1.25 million to the initiative.

The initial call for applications for funds drew a robust response and resulted in the hire of eight new faculty in five university divisions. All the hirings, which were confirmed this month, were made possible in part by support from Mosaic funding.

Twenty applications for funding were submitted to the Provost's Office by the June deadline. Johnson said that she was "extremely pleased and overwhelmed" with the initial response to the initiative, both in the number of applications and the high caliber of people being considered for faculty appointments.

"With this new funding source, we were able to put together some attractive packages and help recruit some very talented individuals," she said. "It's all about deepening our excellence, and I'm very excited about this initiative."

Johnson said that recruiting a faculty of leading scholars that also reflects America's diversity is essential to accomplishing the university's mission of teaching, research, patient care and service.

The Mosaic Initiative is initially funded at a minimum of $1 million per year. A department may apply for funds to the dean or director of its division, who will prioritize requests and forward them to the provost. Departments may make proposals for up to $250,000, to be spent over three years, on such items as salary, research support and laboratory equipment. Funds will be allocated on a rolling basis; allocation will continue as long as dollars are available in any recruiting year.

Johnson said that Johns Hopkins has made great strides in diversity in recent years, and the Mosaic Initiative adds momentum to and facilitates ongoing efforts.

"We're trying to help the deans achieve their diversity goals, and this initiative puts more funds behind their efforts," she said.

Ray Gillian, vice provost for institutional equity and administrator of the Mosaic Initiative, said that Mosaic funding supplements the resources available from the schools and divisions. He said the recent eight hires were made through the regular search process, but Mosaic funds were able to assist and complete these appointments.

Gillian is a part of a review panel that recommends the most deserving individuals from the pool of eligible candidates. "We are looking for people who add to the diversity and academic excellence of the university," Gillian said. "There were actually more outstanding candidates than we were able to support."

Both Johnson and Gillian said the initiative increases the visibility of the university's diversity efforts.

"It really shows our commitment in this area," Gillian said. "The response was immediate. Some very talented individuals considered us in a way they may not have considered us in the past."

Johnson said she hopes the Mosaic Initiative can help attract 25 to 30 new faculty within the next five years. The actual number of diversity hires during that time can be much greater, she said.

"I think this initiative will have a strong ripple effect," Johnson said. "It will not only raise awareness to diversity issues, but it can expand the applicant pool and bring in a lot of great candidates to our campuses. In existing searches, if we have two top candidates for a position and one fits the Mosaic criteria, we are able to hire both. Even if there is not enough Mosaic funding to go around, the department might find the funds internally in order to secure the hire."

The Mosaic Initiative also has a long-term component to address pipeline issues. Funds are available to invite eligible faculty and graduate students to Johns Hopkins for professional development workshops to better prepare them for a career in academia.

The initial funds for the Mosaic Initiative came from President William R. Brody's discretionary account and financial support from the Society of Black Alumni.

Edward D. Miller, dean of the medical faculty, said that Johns Hopkins Medicine chose to support the initiative because it fits in with its long-term diversity goals.

"We have been working on this since our retreat two years ago, but our efforts in this area actually started much longer ago than that," Miller said. "The Department of Medicine has been leading the way, but even having a chief of surgery who is a woman is another example of our diversity. We need to look for the brightest people we can find and then make sure they feel welcome."

One of the School of Medicine's hires was Carlton Haywood, currently a doctoral candidate in the Bioethics and Health Policy program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Haywood said it was a dream come true when the School of Medicine hired him to be an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. Specifically, Haywood will focus on hematology and quality of care issues affecting persons with sickle cell disease. Haywood himself suffers from the blood disorder.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to work with great faculty who have been very supportive of me, particularly the health issues I face," Haywood said. "They also share my interests of improving the lives of people affected with sickle cell disease. This is a wonderful initiative. It helps Johns Hopkins reflect the diversity that is here in the United States. I'm very appreciative of Provost Johnson's efforts to champion this initiative and to value diversity."


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