Johns Hopkins Magazine -- June 1999
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JUNE 1999

O N    C A M P U S E S

An evolving identity... seed money for academic innovation... protests in Nanjing... malpractice awards on the rise... paying a "living wage"

Gabor is soon to retire
Photo by
Keith Weller
A school by any other name...

The Hopkins School of Continuing Studies is undergoing an identity change. Starting July 1, Continuing Studies will become known as the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.

"Business and education are now the focuses of the school, and Hopkins has an even greater opportunity to grow within these two significant areas of American life," says Dean Stanley Gabor, who will retire September 2.

Continuing Studies today has the largest enrollment of the eight Hopkins schools; more than 4,700 students registered last fall in courses for credit, on campuses in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Columbia, and Rockville.

Over the years, some of the school's part-time, mostly graduate offerings have been absorbed by related divisions within the university: most notably by the School of Nursing and the Whiting School of Engineering.

At the same time, business and education have grown in prominence. Hopkins now has the ninth largest part-time business program in the nation, with 2,815 students enrolled last fall; that number is expected to increase with the recent addition of an MBA program (which replaces the existing Master of Science in Business program). In the field of education, graduate courses are geared to prepare elementary and secondary school teachers, school principals, and counselors for a nationwide school system in flux. This year there were 1,365 students enrolled within the Division of Education.

With the change in focus, the popular Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) program will become part of the part-time program in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

A rendering of the school's previous monikers reads like an A.K.A. (also known as) list. The current school had its origins in Hopkins's College Courses for Teachers, which was founded in 1909. Over the next four decades, courses in business and engineering were added.

In 1947, all part-time programs became part of the McCoy College, named for John W. McCoy, Baltimore merchant and Hopkins benefactor.

In 1965, the division was renamed the Evening College and Summer Session. And in 1983, it became the School of Continuing Studies, partly because classes were not being taught only in the evenings, and the growing list of graduate courses meant "college" didn't quit fit.

Gabor began his 17-year tenure as dean in 1982, and has led the school through a period of dramatic growth. Today more than half of all Hopkins students are enrolled in part-time programs. The increase reflects a national trend involving adult learners, who are returning to the classroom to keep pace with the changing job market and the skills it requires.

Says Gabor, "I think that the name change is a good indication that Hopkins is [an] evolving educational enterprise that takes new initiatives. --Joanne P. Cavanaugh

J. Barclay Knapp
Seed money that's purely academic

Youthful entrepreneur J. Barclay Knapp '79 has made his fortune through forward-thinking technologies. So it seems particularly fitting that his recent $10 million gift to the university will provide a sort of academic "venture capital" fund for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

The 42-year-old university trustee is president and CEO of NTL Inc., one of the largest operators of cable and telephone systems in the United Kingdom with 1.4 million customers. The company also provides the U.K.'s widest range of television, telephone, and Internet services and can count virtually all U.K. homes and businesses as customers. He recently launched a U.S. version of NTL, CoreComm, which he also leads as president and CEO.

Knapp's gift will endow the deanship of the School of Arts and Sciences in memory of his father, James Barclay Knapp, a highly decorated major general who served in the U.S. Army and later retired from the Air Force. The gift will act as "seed money," enabling Dean Herbert Kessler to fund new initiatives and to respond quickly to innovative proposals from the school's faculty.

First on Kessler's agenda: launching the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program, which will provide selected A&S students (beginning in the fall) with $10,000 over their undergraduate years to fund scholarly research projects under faculty guidance. "This gift is particularly welcome," says Kessler, "because its benefits go to the very heart of our academic programs."

Knapp's $10 million commitment counts toward the $1.2 billion goal of the Johns Hopkins Initiative. As of April 1, total commitments to the fundraising campaign had reached $1.17 billion.

Protests in Nanjing

Anti-American protests spilled into the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in the days following the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade: on a bulletin board normally reserved for notices about movie night and such, there was a poster "Blood For Blood." A few days later, another sign appeared: "Discussion in Room 303 at 8:30 p.m. You know the topic."

In the wake of the May 8 missile attack, 86 or so Chinese and international students, who had lived together for nine months as roommates and friends, shuffled into a classroom, sitting on desktops and leaning against walls. It was a meeting they had called themselves.

The open discussion that followed was highly unusual in China, where American students at other universities were debating whether to cut short their programs and go home. "A lot of students really put their hearts on the table," says Elizabeth Knup, the center's American co-director. "American students were crying. . . . The students who put up the posters admitted it, and said it wasn't aimed at their friends in the center. They apologized."

The Chinese students said the anger and grief they felt over the bombing in Belgrade led them to post the slogans. Some Chinese students wanted to join the marches in Nanjing, in which an estimated 25,000 students from nearby universities had taken part. Others looked to the political future of the two nations. "I hope that no matter what happens, U.S.-China relations keep going well," said student Wu Zhi, 35. "If America treats China as a friend, it will be a friend; if America treats China as an enemy, it will be an enemy."

The center itself was spared much of the violent protests that went on elsewhere in China. On Saturday night, May 8, protesters in groups of 1,000 walked by the center shouting anti-American slogans. International students were instructed to remain inside for part of the weekend for their own protection. On Sunday, top Nanjing public security officers stationed themselves at the center to help protect program participants, among them faculty and students from countries including Australia, England, and Sweden. No further demonstrations took place there, though protests throughout the rest of Nanjing left a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in shambles, and at least one statue of Ronald McDonald toppled and broken.

"Basically all that was left was his little red boots," says student Stuart Young, 30, of Scotland, who watched one symbol of America's presence go down. --JPC

Illustration by
Kevin O'Malley
Malpractice costs skyrocket

Huge jury payouts and out-of-court settlements in recent years are ratcheting up the cost of malpractice insurance for both Johns Hopkins Hospital and the health system. For the first time in five years, premiums are expected to jump, by 15 percent, and will continue to go up for the foreseeable future, according to Richard Kidwell, director of claims and risk management.

But while the amount of awards has gone through the roof, the actual number of cases filed against Hopkins has gone down.

Consider: From 1990 through 1996, Hopkins averaged just one settlement per year of over $750,000. In 1997 alone, there were eight cases that exceeded that amount, and in 1998 there were six, Kidwell says. From 1995 through 1998, the hospital averaged $16 million a year in settlement and jury awards. In the preceding years, the average was $5 million.

Yet, in the last decade, the number of open claims pending against the hospital has gone done by around 100 a year.

Kidwell expects to see that trend reverse. He told Change, a newsletter for faculty and senior staff at the School of Medicine, "once people see juries making the big awards to patients, the number of claims often increases. It's like the theory of sharks being attracted to blood in water."

University adopts "living wage"

In March, President William R. Brody announced that Hopkins would be adopting the so-called "living wage" standard for all its contract and part-time workers.

"We have a dedicated and loyal workforce, and we recognize that treating all of our employees fairly and equitably is the right thing to do," said Brody. The new guidelines will raise the minimum compensation of university employees to $7.75 per hour within the next three years.

Hopkins took its action in response to a two-and-a-half-year campaign by groups like the Student Labor Action Committee (SLAC)--which held rallies and repeatedly met with university officials--and Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, a community group that had successfully pressed the city of Baltimore to increase wages for city contract employees. Some 111 faculty members also signed a petition to support the living wage at Hopkins.

Critics had pointed out Hopkins's wealth and its importance as an employer in Maryland, asserting that it had a responsibility to pay its contract employees, such as cafeteria workers, enough money to keep them above the poverty line. Brody noted that although Hopkins does take in a great deal of money, including funds from state and federal governments, much revenue and endowment money is restricted. The university is also finding it increasingly necessary to contain rising costs.

SLAC member Steve Newman said his group, though pleased by Brody's decision, would like more. "We're not satisfied with his definition of a living wage, which we find to be too little, too late. The wage is not yet a real living wage, the timetable is too long, and there are no promises concerning health benefits or ongoing negotiations." --Dale Keiger