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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 3, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 10
Diversity Leadership Looks Ahead

Gwendolyn Boyd, chair of the DLC

New chair, members outline five priorities for year

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

With a fresh crop of new faces, the Diversity Leadership 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 different."

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 at JHU.

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 statistics.

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 differences.

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 said.

For more information on the Diversity Leadership Council, including how to contact members, go to


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