Johns Hopkins Magazine - November 1996 Issue

On Campuses: In Short

Knapp named provost ... Block resigns from hospital... new SAIS institute to study Central Asia... defining Generation X... "getting ahead" at Medicine...

Knapp named provost

Two years after joining Hopkins as dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, Steven Knapp has been appointed the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs. He had been serving as interim provost, as well as dean, since January.

In announcing the permanent appointment, Hopkins President William R. Brody said he had been impressed by Knapp's "deep understanding of academic values," as well as his "penetrating vision of where Johns Hopkins must go to remain a model of excellence in the future."

As the university's new chief academic officer, Knapp said he would give special priority to Hopkins's role in the community-- both locally and nationally. "Maintaining academic quality increasingly means reaching out beyond the boundaries of the university itself," he said.

Knapp's other top priorities include increased international collaboration for faculty and international experiences for students; continued growth in the university's program to license its discoveries and inventions to private business; and an emphasis on building Hopkins's information infrastructure and incorporating new technology into classroom teaching.

Knapp said he also intends to strengthen programs for students across the university. The planned construction of a new student arts center, for example, will increase collaboration between Peabody and Homewood, he said.

A specialist in 18th- and 19th-century English literature and literary theory, Knapp served on the English faculty at Berkeley for 16 years before joining Hopkins in 1994. He will continue as Arts & Sciences dean until a national search, which he is leading, yields a successor.

Block steps down

James A. Block resigned in August as president and CEO of the Hopkins health system and hospital. His resignation came at nearly the same time as the announcement that U.S. News & World Report had named Hopkins the nation's best hospital for an unprecedented sixth straight year.

In a letter to colleagues confirming press reports of his impending resignation, Block noted that Hopkins is restructuring its medical institutions, and plans to combine management of the hospital and medical school under the new post of medical chancellor. Whoever fills that position will need to be a physician with a strong academic background who can also work effectively as a chief executive. Block, a radiologist, acknowledged that he does not have the required academic experience.

"As the new governing structure is implemented and its first leader selected, he or she must have the latitude and opportunity to build the kind of team needed to get the job done," Block said in his letter. "Recognizing is time for me to explore other opportunities."

President William R. Brody will serve as interim CEO of Hopkins Medicine until the new chancellor is selected.

Studying "the Stans"

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 created a passel of new nations and a new geopolitical reality. Diplomats and policy makers faced new countries in sudden transformation from Soviet domination to independence.

Prominent among these countries are the newly independent republics of Central Asia, what one can think of as the Stans-- Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. To help policy makers play an informed role in the transformation of this region, the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) recently opened the Central Asia Institute in Washington, D.C.

Says Roger Kangas, deputy director, "The primary mission is to highlight the importance of the region to Western policy makers and the media, and to become a switchboard that can connect the many persons who share an interest in Central Asia."

The Central Asian republics rarely make headlines, but they sit atop one of the world's largest known oil reserves (as well as abundant natural gas and mineral deposits). Their largely Muslim and Turkic populations fret neighboring nations, like Russia and China, that do not want to deal with restive Muslim populations within their own borders. And the resources now under their control must travel to the rest of the world through the volatile Transcaucasian nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

The institute will be under the direction of S. Frederick Starr, former president of Oberlin College and a founder of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. It plans a series of twice-monthly Central Asia forums to promote exchange of ideas and information among scholars and policy experts; planned topics include energy resources and pipeline routes from Central Asia, the Tajik civil war, and the impact on the region of U.S. policy toward Iran. Starr says the institute will also offer courses to SAIS students, probably beginning in the spring.

Talkin' 'bout their generation

The words of America's four-time Olympic diving gold medalist rang through Shriver Auditorium: "I'm Greg Louganis. I'm a gay man living with HIV."

Louganis was one of the first speakers featured as part of the 1996 Milton S. Eisenhower (MSE) Symposium. The theme of this year's student-run lecture series, "Defining Generation X," focuses on the values and influences that have shaped the minds of the demographic cohort that followed the Baby Boomers.

Speakers ran the gamut: from MTV news journalist Alison Stewart, to best-selling author Tom Clancy. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke about pollution and other environmental challenges, while supermodel Tyra Banks talked about how important fashion has been to the group's consumer culture.

In speaking about the AIDS epidemic, Louganis entreated young adults to practice safe sex. "The HIV-infected community is rising amongst our youth, gay and straight, and it's very disturbing," he said. "I know that a lot of times there are self-esteem issues. That's why I encourage young people to love themselves enough to protect themselves."

Dave Capece '97, co-chair of this year's symposium, was pleased to see Shriver Hall packed with students for Louganis's talk. "One of the largest goals we had going into the project was to provide a series of events that the Hopkins community could unite behind," Capece said. "Greg Louganis accomplished that. The issues we are trying to cover affect not only all students, but all people. We knew we wanted someone to speak on the AIDS epidemic, and Greg was our first choice."

Working smarter, not longer

For faculty members in the Department of Medicine, the path to "getting ahead" is far different today than it was just six years ago. As a result, many fewer are planning to abandon their academic careers, according to a study done by Hopkins researchers and published in the September 17 Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 1990, under then department chair John Stobo, Medicine set out to reverse its poor track record in retaining and promoting female faculty members. Somewhat ironically, in taking steps to improve the atmosphere for women, the department also succeeded in creating a better workplace for men, the researchers report. Consider: from 1990 to 1993, the number of women who expected to leave academic medicine declined by 63 percent, while the number of male faculty who expected to leave declined by 42 percent.

"Our goal is to help people work smarter, not work longer," said Stobo, who today is associate vice president of Medicine and vice president of the Hopkins health system.

Some of the steps taken by the department were directly aimed at women. For example, salary inequities were corrected, and women were added to departmental committees that had lacked them. To address the fact that women lacked mentoring and opportunities for informal (but career-building) decision-making, professors were asked to tap female faculty more often as leaders in research and presentations.

As a result of these and other interventions, the total number of female faculty more than doubled during the five-year period, from 30 to 65. And the number of women at the rank of associate professor jumped 550 percent, from four to 26--with no changes in promotions criteria.

Other steps taken were beneficial to men as well, particularly those with families. Perhaps the most symbolic change was switching Grand Rounds, which for the past century had been held at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, to Friday morning. In addition, department heads switched their regular meetings from evenings and weekends to weekday hours. Attendance at both rose markedly.

"Women need to be with their families on weekends, and feel they have obligations pulling them in both directions," says Linda Fried, a Hopkins geriatrician who was the study's lead author. "Men in two-career families have similar needs."

Baltimore's beauties

Alfred Jenkins Shriver (Class of 1891) was a successful lawyer and a lifelong bachelor. When he died in 1939, he left nearly $1 million to Hopkins for the construction of a large lecture hall, known today as Shriver Hall. His bequest was contingent upon the university agreeing to certain conditions, chief among these being that several murals (all to be painted "by the best artists obtainable") should be placed in the hall. But Shriver didn't stop there. He specified the subjects of these murals, including the early Arts & Sciences and medical faculties, the Class of 1891, and famous Baltimore philanthropists (including Johns Hopkins).

But the mural that raised eyebrows then, and continues to do so, was titled "Famous Beauties of Baltimore." Not only did Shriver specify the 10 women to be included, all acquaintances of his, he stated that each was to be depicted "at the height of her beauty." Although several of the women were opposed to being included, by the time the paintings were commissioned in the early 1950s, all had dropped their objections.

Had the Hopkins trustees rejected the bequest, it would have been offered to Loyola College and then to Goucher College, subject to the same conditions. One can only wonder what Loyola or Goucher would have done with murals of the Hopkins faculty and Class of 1891 gracing a building on campus.
--Jim Stimpert, archivist of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library

Campaign sets record

The Johns Hopkins Initiative, the five-year campaign to raise $900 million for Johns Hopkins, toppled two previous records last fiscal year, rolling into its third year in good financial health.

Hopkins development officials announced that alumni and friends gave the Johns Hopkins Institutions $125.9 million last fiscal year, surpassing the previous one-year giving record of $111.8 million, set in fiscal 1990. Last year's total includes the largest gift in Hopkins history, $55 million from Michael Bloomberg (Engr '64), chairman of the Board of Trustees. Since it was launched two years ago, the campaign has drawn $596.9 million in gifts and pledges, putting it two-thirds of the way toward the $900 million goal.

Written by Sue De Pasquale, Melissa Hendricks, Keri Hicks '97, and Dale Keiger.

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