Johns Hopkins Magazine -- June 1998
Johns Hopkins 
     Magazine Home

June 1998

O N    C A M P U S E S

Upping the Initiative ante... new deans at Engineering and Arts & Sciences... urban river cleanup... Nursing business... sports highlights... commencement speakers... gift horse sentinel

Brody: upping the ante
Initiative surpasses $900 million mark
In early May, the university announced news that set champagne corks popping among many members of the Hopkins community: the
Johns Hopkins Initiative has surpassed its initial $900 million goal nearly two years ahead of schedule.

But that doesn't mean the fundraising work is done. At their May 3 meeting, Hopkins trustees voted to set new priorities for the remainder of the campaign and to up the ante to $1.2 billion.

Student financial aid will be the primary fundraising focus between now and the campaign's conclusion in 2000, the trustees announced. The university will also seek support for Homewood's Milton S. Eisenhower Library, as well as funds for several not-yet-completed building projects, including Medicine's cancer buildings and a student recreation center.

University president William R. Brody described Hopkins's current endowment for student scholarships as "grossly inadequate." At Homewood, the endowment for aid to undergraduates is $29 million. The average aid endowment for Hopkins's peer institutions is $163 million. "The need for scholarship suppport--throughout the university--has grown far greater than our resources can sustain," the president said. "Only with new endowment can we ensure that no student, graduate or undergraduate, need turn down an invitation to Johns Hopkins for lack of funds."

The Initiative, which had reached $905.8 million as of May 3, will receive a $10 million boost from trustee A. James Clark, whose gift will support the construction of a biomedical engineering building at Homewood (part of plans for an eventual biomedical engineering institute). The 60,000-square-foot building will include 13 faculty labs, 10 labs for visiting scientists, four undergraduate teaching labs, and classrooms and computer facilities. Administrators hope Clark's gift will also attract additional money to make possible the hiring of 10 new faculty in the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering--half in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which has ranked at the top nationally in recent years.

The institute will enable Hopkins to widen its biomedical engineering focus--which has traditionally been driven by basic science research--to include the development of biomedical technology, including treatment devices and software. Said Brody, "New areas of research in the field are going to revolutionize diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases." The new institute, he said, will ensure "that Hopkins biomedical engineers will help lead that revolution."

The Johns Hopkins Initiative, publicly launched in 1994, has so far attracted eight of the 10 largest gifts in the university's history. (The largest was Bloomberg's $55 million, which got the campaign under way.) Already the Initiative has raised more than $135 million for facilities, and more than $69 million for student aid, created 72 named professorships, and supported new research in all divisions. For more on how campaign dollars have made an impact on virtually every facet of university life, see the Office of Development report in the center of this issue. --SD

A first for the School of Engineering
The university's
Whiting School of Engineering will soon have a woman at its top post: Ilene Busch-Vishniac, a 43-year-old mechanical engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has been named dean. Busch-Vishniac is the first woman ever to be named dean of a Hopkins division, other than the School of Nursing, and is also thought to be one of a handful of female deans of engineering nationally.

The MIT-trained engineer is an expert in acoustics and electromechanical transduction. At the University of Texas, where she was named full professor in 1991, she served for four years as associate chairman of mechanical engineering--a large department with more full-time students and nearly two-thirds as many faculty as the entire Whiting School.

At Hopkins, where she starts August 1, she intends to foster greater collaborative efforts: among Whiting School departments, between the school and other divisions, and with outside institutions. "We have some very strong competitors in engineering programs in the Maryland area," Busch-Vishniac says. "Rather than always having an adversarial relationship, I'd like to see about building strong ties with them."

Kessler named dean of Arts & Sciences
At press time, the magazine learned that longtime Hopkins faculty member Herbert Kessler has been appointed new dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. Kessler, a specialist in medieval, Jewish, and Byzantine art, has chaired the History of Art Department for most of his 22 years at Hopkins.

Noting Arts & Sciences' traditional mission as a research and graduate institution, Kessler said he will work on better integrating undergraduates into that tradition. "I really care about teaching, and I expect the faculty to embrace the dual mission of teaching and research," he said.

Look for more on the new dean in our September issue.

Beer (on tractor) has a facility for "roping
people in."

Photo by Jay Van Rennselaer
An infectious cleanup effort
For decades, Hopkins professor Michael Beer nurtured
biophysics students through their studies of macromolecular microscopy. Post-retirement, he's been nurturing the city's polluted rivers through restoration.

In 1988, Beer and like-minded volunteers started restoring a section of Stony Run, a thin meandering waterway west of Hopkins that's become a secret nature getaway for students at Homewood. "It's a nice urban river, and we've done a lot of restoration there," the professor emeritus says.

Since retiring three years ago, Beer has started cleaning up the Jones Falls, picking up litter, furniture, children's bikes, and other flotsam. He's been joined by other Baltimore volunteers, including members of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, Hopkins faculty and staff, and students from nearby Greenmount School. Among other efforts, they've landscaped city river banks with young trees and plants.

"Michael Beer has almost a proprietary attitude toward Stony Run. It's part of his dedication to the natural world," says Jack Goellner, retired director of Johns Hopkins University Press, who has worked with Beer along the river banks. "He makes it kind of infectious. He has a facility, if you want to put it a slangy way, for roping people in.

"I don't know if he ever gets tired; if he [does] he doesn't let it show," Goellner says.

Beer explains his recent focus on the Jones Falls this way: "Most people driving on the highway named for the Jones Falls have no sense of the river. We want to clean it up and restore it, and make it a beautiful resource instead of an embarrassment. Some sections were so full of garbage, it was nauseating."

Beer, 72, spent much of the past year exploring the river, as he put it: "thinking through what can be done in different sections." He hopes to bring people to the Jones Falls, and other restored city waterways, through nature tours, rock climbing, canoeing, or paths for biking and walking. As part of his vision for the Jones Falls, artists might even paint the pillars holding up the expressway.

In recent years, Beer's efforts have drawn financial backing: the nonprofit Parks & People Foundation has contributed about $30,000 in grants, including funding for a part-time community organizer- -sort of a staffer for Beer's environmental crusade.

"I'm not deliberately slowing down," says Beer, who taught at Hopkins from 1958 until his retirement in 1995. "I have less stamina than I did 20 years ago. But I'm lucky to be pretty fit." --JPC

At Nursing: getting down to business
You've heard the phrases: managed care, HMOs, and cost-benefit analyses. All have become part of health vernacular for patients in the 1990s as business takes a bigger role in medicine. Now, nurses and doctors are learning the vocabulary, too.

This spring, Hopkins launched a new graduate certificate program called the Business of Nursing. Through four courses, participants will get an overview of the new health insurance paradigm, as well as training in accounting and financial management. More and more, nurses who oversee patient care are asked to gauge the cost of treatments, and possible health and bottom-line outcomes. Nursing managers are being asked to put together business plans to convince HMOs to cover patients if hospitals agree to hold down costs.

"Healthcare has seen a massive amount of change," says Stella Shiber, associate dean for the Professional Education Programs and Practice for the School of Nursing. "The power has shifted pretty dramatically from providers, physicians, and hospitals to the insurance companies.

"Physicians and nurses need to be able to take control of their practices," Shiber says. "If I don't understand how the system works, I don't know how to change it or bend it. On the other side, the system doesn't have endless amounts of money, so how do you do all this and maintain quality care?"

The 12-credit program, which has drawn 24 mid- career nursing professionals, is fashioned after a four-year-old Hopkins Business of Medicine program that teaches financial and management skills to doctors and hospital administrators.

Launched at the School of Medicine, that program has boomed in the new marketplace--about 350 doctors and other healthcare providers from around the region have finished the nine-month program, more than half going on to get a master's in business degree at Hopkins, say administrators at the School of Continuing Studies, which co-runs both programs with the nursing and medical schools.

This spring, because of growing interest, the Business of Medicine program expanded into video- and computer-interactive distance courses. More than 150 doctors in 17 cities have enrolled in the courses, which are based at centers run by Caliber Learning Network, a division of Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., and a Hopkins business partner.

The three-hour evening classes are broadcast live via satellite to the centers. The instructor lectures from a Hopkins classroom, and the physicians can ask questions, view graphs, and otherwise interact via computers and other links. Such "electronic classrooms" are expected to expand.

"In managed care situations, doctors deal with business people and yet they don't understand business practices," says Stanley C. Gabor, dean of Continuing Studies. "Now they are getting to know the vocabulary and the skills needed to be effective in this changing health care environment." --JPC

Photo by Louis Rosenstock
Sports highlights
The heavy-hitting
men's baseball team set a school record for victories in a season (35-2), averaging slightly more than 10 runs a game. The Jays earned top seed in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, which began May 14 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. For end-of-season updates on Hopkins baseball and lacrosse action, see the magazine in September.

Hopkins guard Angie Arnold '98 recently won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which recognizes the nation's best women's college basketball player under 5 feet, 6 inches.

For the fourth year in a row, senior swimmer Matt Johnson won the 100-meter butterfly at the NCAA Division III championships in March. The victory placed Johnson in elite company: He's only the third individual in Division III history to win a championship event four times. Overall, the Hopkins swim team placed sixth--marking the 28th consecutive season that the Hopkins men have finished among the top 10.

And the speaker was...
While the June issue of the magazine goes to press too early to include Commencement coverage, we can tell you who was slated to speak at the 10 graduation ceremonies that took place across the university on May 20 and 21.

University-wide Commencement
William R. Brody, Johns Hopkins University president

Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering Undergraduate Ceremony
Elizabeth Hanford Dole, president of the American Red Cross

Whiting School of Engineering Master's Ceremony
John Stuelpnagle, director and deputy for science and technology, Northrup Grummon

Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Master's Ceremony
William Clinger, alumnus and former U.S. congressman from the 5th District in Pennsylvania

School of Continuing Studies Undergraduate and Graduate Ceremony
Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland State Department of Education, state superintendent

School of Public Health Diploma Award Ceremony
Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health

School of Medicine Ceremony
Daniel Nathans, University professor of molecular biology and genetics at Hopkins School of Medicine and former interim president of the university

School of Nursing Diploma Award Ceremony
Ada Davis, associate professor and director of baccalaureate programs, Hopkins School of Nursing

Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Ceremony
John Browne, group CEO of The British Petroleum Company

Peabody Diploma Award Ceremony
Anne Brown, renowned teacher and performer; originated role of Bess in Gershwin's Porgy & Bess

Gift horse sentinel
The weather gods smiled on Hopkins's 27th annual
Spring Fair for at least part of the weekend-long fest of fun and food. While Sunday was a washout, thousands turned out on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, for Odyssey '98--a theme that brought out laurel-wreathed student volunteers and a huge Trojan horse. There were horses (and elephants and camels) of the live variety as well, which proved especially popular with the preschool set.

Written by Joanne P. Cavanaugh and Sue De Pasquale.