Monthly Archives: May 2019

Mona Eltahawy: “Enough With Crumbs — I Want the Cake”

Mona Eltahawy’s op-ed is from the New York Times on May 28, 2019. Her website is hereScreen Shot 2019-05-31 at 12.28.10 PM.

Tiny excerpt:

We must imagine the world we want so that we can redefine what power is, what a powerful woman looks like and how power can be used to subvert rather than uphold patriarchy. We must imagine better. We can imagine better. By imagining that better world, we invent the power required for our freedom.


You are invited: Celebrate diversity awards with Prof Karen Fleming at 3:30pm today, Charles Commons, Salon A

The Provost and Diversity Leadership Council will be celebrating staff, faculty, and students who work toward diversity & inclusion at all nine divisions of Hopkins. Come cheer for them, including WFF@H co-chair and biophysics phenom Karen Fleming (really! read her American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology feature interview). Plus, snacks.

(Not sure where Salon A is? Just come in the door on 33rd street near Insomnia Cookies and walk/elevate upstairs. There will be a sign.)

Hope you can come.

About the image: Theodor Svedberg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1926 and invented the analytical ultracentrifuge, which measures the size of molecules. He also, in 1955, needed new drapes, so he designed his own. They featured squares that looked like this; Dr. Fleming has this fabric in her office.

Snapshot: From the Office of Karen Fleming

Prof Karen Fleming wins Provost’s Diversity Prize!

In my happiest post in the history of WFF@H, I am thrilled to write that my co-chair, biophysics professor Karen Fleming, won this year’s Provost’s Prize for Faculty Excellence in Diversity!!

Please join her Wednesday (tomorrow–May 15) at 3:30 in Charles Commons Salon A to celebrate. All are welcome!

It’s hard to put into words how fabulous this is not just for Karen but also for all the people–across genders, ranks, and campuses–who are trying to create and sustain a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable Hopkins.

Fortunately, I don’t have to put it into words because I can borrow Karen’s (excerpted from her full nomination essay):

What difference can one person make? And could that be worthy of this prestigious Provost’s Prize for Diversity? One example of the impact of my work is summarized by a black female PhD student I met at Oberlin College after I conducted a workshop on Bystander Intervention there. While I was packing up, she came to the podium, thanked me and shared, “I’ve never heard an actual, real, live scientist talk about diversity and inclusion before. I am so grateful.

This student’s comment gets to the heart of what the STEM pipeline actually is. We need to know its structure in order to fix it. And I argue that we the people – each one of us – form the so-called STEM pipeline. We are its core structural elements. Especially as faculty, we are the lives and souls of universities. What this means is that we have met the enemies to equity, and it is us. The institutional transformation we so urgently need is not the metamorphosis of a nameless, faceless entity that is someone else’s problem. Rather, our institutions are composed of people: presidents, provosts, deans, faculty, staff, and students.

Carry on, everyone–


Building diverse leadership: Michigan’s college of engineering

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 7.37.16 AMIn the Chronicle article “An Engineering School With Half of Its Leadership Female? How Did That Happen?”  Alec D. Gallimore, the dean of University of Michigan College of Engineering, traces Michigan’s progress to work begun back in 2001 through an ADVANCE grant. A quick excerpt (although the whole article deserves a read):

Often when I tell people that we have filled half of the top leadership positions at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering with women, I can almost see the unspoken assumption in many of their eyes: They think we did it by passing over better-qualified male candidates.

At the 10 U.S. engineering schools with the largest research budgets, women make up about 17 percent of the faculty. It’s always noticed when women constitute a higher-than-usual proportion of an engineering college’s leadership, but somehow we don’t make the same assumptions about talent when all of a school’s top positions are filled by men.

In our case, the numerical skew toward hiring women comes from expecting more — not less — of our top administrators. Being an accomplished engineer is still a requirement, but it is no longer sufficient. Our leaders also need to be able to see and articulate biases in the organization and propose ways to counter them. It turned out that the women who were hired as leaders in our latest round performed better on those measures.

Dean Gallimore offers this advice:

  • Find out where your playing field isn’t level. [gather data]
  • Train your hiring committees to challenge unconscious biases.
  • To cultivate leaders, ensure equal access to mentors. [launch committees]
  • Redefine “merit” to include “taking inequality seriously.”
  • Diversity is not a charitable cause. It’s about staying competitive.