Johns Hopkins Magazine - June 1994 Issue

On Campuses

Toward Diversity, etc.

The "16 Demands," two years later

In the two years since the Black Students Union (BSU) submitted its "16 Demands" for improving race relations at Homewood, the Committee on Academic Diversity has been working to address such concerns.

In April, the committee announced a summary of its findings, most notably the hiring of two African-American faculty members at the School of Arts & Sciences (which will bring the number from two to four), and the recommendation for a new major in comparative cultural studies that would offer concentrations in African, Asian, or Latin American issues.

While BSU members had pushed for the establishment of a black studies department, the committee concluded that a small freestanding program would lack political power and be unable to attract its "fair share of the fiscal pie" at Hopkins.

"In all good faith, we can't create something that will fail," said committee chair Mary L. Poovey, professor of English and acting director of women's studies.

BSU members were disappointed by the decision. "In a department with three primary focuses, how many resources can be devoted to black studies?" asks Kobi Little '94, past president of the BSU and an author of the "16 Demands." "There's no provision here for a thoroughgoing analysis of the African experience yesterday, today, and tomorrow."

Among the committee's other findings:

Said Poovey, "This commitee feels very committed that the university should be diverse in a multitude of ways. These changes will benefit everyone, not just minorities." --MH & SD

Hopkins's "hot" scientists

Hopkins's Bert Vogelstein has been named the hottest scientist of 1993. The professor of oncology published 16 frequently cited, or "hot," papers last year--more than any other scientist, according to Science Watch, a newsletter of the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia. All his seminal papers report on mutations linked to cancer, particularly a mutation in the p53 gene. Several years ago, Vogelstein uncovered how a mutation in the p53 gene leads to colon cancer. Since then, p53 has been implicated in several forms of cancer.

Several other Hopkins scientists also made Science Watch's top rankings. They include two who published with Vogelstein: Kenneth Kinzler, an assistant professor of oncology published nine hot papers last year, which puts him in second place on the list; and Stanley Hamilton, a professor of pathology and oncology, who earned sixth place for five hot papers.

Two Hopkins neuroscientists garnered hot rankings for publications on the role of nitric oxide as a neuro- transmitter: Solomon Snyder (third place, for eight hot papers) and David Bredt, formerly a post-doc in Snyder's lab and now an assistant professor at the University of California in San Francisco (fifth place, with six hot papers).--MH

Kudos from U.S. News

Johns Hopkins won three honors in U.S. News & World Report's annual rating of America's graduate schools, in the magazine's March 21 issue. Hopkins's Master of Public Health program was ranked number one, based on questionnaires sent to a group of deans, top administrators, and senior faculty from each of the nation's accredited schools of public health.

Biomedical engineering at Hopkins also scored tops in the country, a ranking determined by engineering school deans.

Hopkins's School of Medicine won second place among research-oriented medical schools, following Harvard. Factors used to determine the ranking included scores on the Medical College Admission Test; faculty-to-student ratio; reputation, as determined by medical school deans and faculty, and directors of intern-residency programs; and the total value of NIH grants awarded. --MH

Spring Fair goes tropical

Beset by dismal rain in recent years, the student organizers of Hopkins's Spring Fair breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday morning, April 22, when they awoke to sunny skies and balmy temperatures. If anything, the weather only got better as the weekend progressed, luring more than 100,000 visitors to the Homewood campus for Carnaval '94.

"When looking at past Spring Fairs, you try to see what worked and what didn't. And then you try to come up with something more creative than the last guy," explains co-chair Ted Tobin '95. "It's a challenge because the fair has accomplished a lot in the past, so expectations are high."

This year's Carnaval theme--made obvious at a glance by an enormous Brazilian flag that stretched the height of the MSE Library--blended South American and Caribbean culture. In addition to the regular assemblage of food, arts and crafts vendors, non-profit booths, entertainers, clowns, and amusement rides, the fair featured a tropical rain forest display and the Afro-Brazilian dance troupe Cambalacho.

Many of the 200 or so vendors who staked out their spots on the Upper and Lower Quads have been taking part in Spring Fair since it started back in 1972. "The first year it was pretty small," recalls perennial sausage vendor Dave Watson. "It rained a lot, and there weren't that many people, so we weren't sure if it was going to be successful. But the next year changed our minds. It was better organized, we made a lot of money, and we've been coming back ever since." -- BOC

At your disposal

An informal system for the disposal of unwanted furniture has arisen in several buildings on the Homewood campus. If a department has a chair, desk, filing cabinet, or other piece of furniture that it considers no longer serviceable, it puts the item in the hallway with a sign affixed to it reading, "Trash." After a while, usually only a day or two, the piece of furniture disappears--into a student's apartment, a staffer's home office, or who knows where.

As a consequence, furniture temporarily stored in a hallway must be clearly labeled, or it too will vanish. On the first floor of Gilman Hall recently, a large wooden desk bore the following sign:


Give me a caffe latte and a copy of Gray's Anatomy

Imagine yourself in a crowded bookstore, knocking over books and bumping fannies with people as you sidestep down the narrow aisle. The book you want isn't there, and you can't find a salesperson. It's hot. You're tired. There's got to be a better way.

Soon there will be. The Johns Hopkins Medical Bookstore, recently leased to Matthews Medical Books, is being remodeled to make more efficient use of its space. The redesign will allow the store to expand its offerings from 3,000 titles to 15,000. In addition, the bookstore will be more comfortable and efficient, say bookstore administrators.

New computer terminals stationed throughout the store will allow customers to look up information about a book, such as how long it will take for an order to come in and when a new edition will be published. Customers will even be able to key in their orders themselves. A "high-tech center" will display the latest medical software, videos, and computerized reference guides. A coffee bar is even being planned.

For customers wanting to relax, reading areas featuring books by Hopkins authors will be equipped with sofas and comfy chairs. "Students used to lie on the floor and block the aisles," says operations manager Mary Crum. "We'd like to make it more comfortable for them."--MH

What comes around goes around

In these days of spiraling tuition costs, universities across the nation think they may be on to a good idea: Why not shrink the standard undergraduate program back from four years to three, thereby saving Mom and Dad beaucoup bucks? Turns out this isn't such a new idea. Up until 100 years ago, Hopkins undergrads routinely earned their degrees in just three years. Then, on April 30, 1894, Hopkins's Board of Trustees voted to lengthen the undergraduate program to four years. --SD

Music and motion

"I wanted the whole piece to be like a sheet of music, pulsating with energy," says Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, of the painting he did to commemorate the Peabody Preparatory's 100th anniversary. He created the work by layering painted cutouts atop a sheet of linen that stretched 6 by 9 feet. Cutouts "provide a way of getting your eye to keep moving," the artist explains.

Commissioned by Carol Jean Young, a piano faculty member at the Prep, the painting was reproduced as a Limited Edition poster, and copies were sold at the Prep anniversary that took place at Peabody on April 16-17. The celebration included a Saturday Night Gala Concert that featured Baltimore-born opera and TV star Damon Evans, and it culminated in a free Festival on the Plaza that featured over 200 performers, ranging from chamber musicians to Mexican hat dancers.

The Peabody Prep is the nation's oldest and largest community music school.

Written by Sue De Pasquale, Melissa Hendricks, and Brendan O'Connor '95.

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