Category Archives: JHU

Advising PhD Students: Innovative Instructor

Check out the most recent post on the Innovative Instructor blog from JHU’s Center for Educational Resources, including fresh advice from Science:coffee cup

  1. Approach the power dynamic between mentor and mentee by invoking relevant research. Aspects of mentoring line up with aspects of parenting; to say this is not to infantilize students but rather to acknowledge the power difference as well as (often) the generational difference—and to avoid reinventing the wheel. Research shows the benefits of “authoritativeness, which is defined by both high expectations and high attentiveness; offering a safe haven in times of distress; and fostering a secure base to promote exploration.”
  2. Communicate your confidence in students’ abilities and potential. Again, from the research: “if students think their professors believe that only a few special people have intellectual potential, it can harm their sense of belonging and their performance.”
  3. Model a growth mindset, and “help mentees embrace failure as growth.” One of the authors, Jay J. Van Bavel, shares his unofficial bio alongside his formal one. Some faculty circulate failure CVs.

(The whole article, from March 2019, is here: “Three research-based lessons to improve your mentoring”)

And these closing remarks from JHU Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design Farouk Dey: “Try not to ask [students] ‘What do you want to do?’ Instead ask, ‘What has inspired you lately?’ ‘What action can you take to turn that inspiration into reality and how can I help you with that?’”

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–


Jessica Marie Johnson: Pay the Thunder No Mind

Take a moment to read Professor Johnson’s recent essay reflecting on the Hopkins police force debate. Here is an excerpt:Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 10.13.28 AM

Johns Hopkins University isn’t a person. It’s a lot of moving parts. Those parts can be dismantled, reassembled, refurnished into something more human, more loving, more attuned to the people around it, people hurt by its monstrosity. This bill may pass, but it won’t be the same bill it was before students and community members began organizing it. More important, those organizing, reading, writing, testifying in Annapolis, running public meetings in Baltimore, signing open letters are not the same people they were before they began organizing against it. This is a long game and we lose it if we walk through this city as though our disempowerment is a foregone conclusion.

Archival Justice for Black Baltimore

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 8.14.36 PMCongratulations–and gratitude–to faculty members N.D.B. Connolly (history and Africana Studies), Shani Mott (Africana Studies), and Jennifer P. Kingsley (Museums and Society), whose project to collect oral histories of African-Americans at Hopkins won a grant from the Berman Institute of Bioethics’ Exploration of Practical Ethics program and was featured in the Chronicle this week.

An excerpt–but if you click on the article you can listen to two of the oral testimonies:

Save for a few examples, Johns Hopkins’s catalog of its own history is “very administrative, bureaucratic, and elite,” said N.D.B. Connolly, an associate professor of history. Evidence of the black people who’ve toiled at the university is largely concealed, he said. There’s mention of Vivien Theodore Thomas, a surgical technician who helped develop a treatment for cyanotic heart disease, and of Minnie Hargrove, a longtime assistant to university presidents. But for the most part, though they breathed life into the institution with their daily labor, Connolly said, African-American employees are invisible in the record books.

Now, a cohort of scholars and students are correcting what they see as systemic archival neglect. Through a project called “Housing Our Story: Towards Archival Justice for Black Baltimore,” they’re building a new collection of oral interviews with African-American employees at Johns Hopkins. They’ve asked workers to detail minute aspects of their lives on and off campus. And in asking the small questions, the scholars have touched on a big one. Whose history gets told in higher education, and why?

As universities are increasingly asked to account for their historical faults, the project at Johns Hopkins may provide a roadmap for institutions that want to dive headfirst into their archival gaps, and help write a more accurate history. Doing so is key because the history of a place “is always written by the people on top,” said Jasmine Dong, an undergraduate student involved with the project. But “when you have history like that, it’s not really history,” she said. “It’s a story that’s been made.”

The full article: “Whose History? Scholars and Students Attempt to Correct Years of Archival Neglect at Johns Hopkins”