Happening Today: Women in Leadership Panel

The Career Center and Alpha Phi Omega are co-sponsoring a Women in Leadership panel from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, in Bloomberg 272. The panel features Jeannine Heynes, Hopkins’ director of women and gender resources at Johns Hopkins. Another panelist, Karen Fleming, is a biophysicist and advocated for the Women of Hopkins exhibit at the Mattin Center. The final panelist, Illysa Izenberg, has more than two decades of business experience and received the 2016 JHU Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Q&A discussion focuses on the gender climate of the professional workplace, from the point of view of the panelists, who work in business, STEM, and gender equity fields.


Where We Stand: Women at Hopkins 2017

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 8.32.57 AMThe Committee on the Status of Women will host their annual “Where We Stand: Women at Hopkins” event this Wednesday, November 15, at 5:30pm in the Mudd Atrium.

The goal is to bring together faculty, staff, and students who are concerned about gender equity at Hopkins.

There will be good food and good company, and you are welcome to bring children along (we’ll have toys and coloring pages there).

Dean Beverly Wendland will kick off the evening. This year, we are following up on the report card we wrote, at her request, last year on the Vision 2020 report (published in 2006).

At the event, we invite you to share ideas for concrete, incremental steps we can take along the way to meeting the goals summarized in the report card.

Bling for Women of Hopkins!

WoHGllitter02Dominic and I have received the awesome news that the Women of Hopkins project will be recognized by a 2017 Diversity Leadership Council Award. We are humbled and thrilled by this recognition because it shines light on the true heroines in our community: the Women of Hopkins.

This art exhibit created by three engineers and a biophysicist grew out of a desire to expand the images about who we are and who we can become. Pictures can be remarkably persuasive in challenging entrenched stereotypes and can expand the dreams we all carry for ourselves and others. The accomplishments of the Women of Hopkins are models for us all because the barriers faced by many of these women were huge and could easily have prevented their success.

Yet they persisted.

We hope this award will inspire similar persistence and confidence in women at all stages in the pursuits of their goals.  Our challenge to all the young women as they pass by the exhibit in the Mattin Courtyard: will you be among the next Women of Hopkins?

Now for some kudos! An effort like this takes a village of people to make it happen, and thanks goes out to everyone who contributed:

 Our team!  Special recognition goes out to Professor Jeff Gray and graduate student Anna Coughlin from the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, who actively participated in assembling and culling the list of distinguished candidates for inclusion in the first exhibition.

The DLC: Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council, who funded our Diversity Innovation Grant that made Women of Hopkins a reality.

The Prez: President Daniel’s office, who has been overwhelmingly supportive.

The folks at the Mattin Center, who host the actual exhibit.

Jeanine Heynes, Director of Gender Equity – Johns Hopkins is lucky to have such a thoughtful and proactive person in this role.

Valerie Hartman, JHMI instructional designer, who edited each and every biography.

Women of Hopkins biography writers. Thank you all!! We crowd sourced this part of our exhibit to facilitate greater inclusion in our project. Many of our biographers were extraordinarily passionate about their chosen heroine. We encourage you all to peruse their stories.

Jim Stimpert and Jenny Kinniff of the Sheridan Library Special Collections and Timothy Wisniewski of the Chesney Medial archives, who helped us research the Women of Hopkins.

When & Where: The awards ceremony will take place Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 3:30 in the Glass Pavilion on the Homewood campus. It is open to the public. Come celebrate with us!

Why are NIH grant success rates lower for women?

It’s international women’s day, and I’m thinking a lot about my own grant renewal, which is coming due soon. And I ask myself (and you the reader):

Why are the NIH grant success rates consistently lower for women?

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 9.16.53 PM

Data from the NIH Data Book. Data by gender–>Success Rates

Seems like these lines should cross back and forth if there were random fluctuations. Yet, they don’t. All the data available online – almost 20 years worth! – show that women have experienced less success in obtaining the lifeblood of a scientific lab.

It’s no wonder the pipeline is leaky….

High Table Happenings & Hopes

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-11-36-53-amOur team members are busy getting some Women of Hopkins portraits ready for the Johns Hopkins High Table event. This is a first-year undergraduate experience in which the students join the deans and professors for a formal “Harry Potter” type dinner. Read about last year’s event here.

It’s cool. The Rec Center is transformed for an evening into a medieval-like banquet hall. Fancy gold plated dishes and flatware placed along long, stately tables are the settings for this sit down dinner. The walls are covered with formal curtains that give the feel of velvet drapes, and the faculty, deans and the JHU president march in all decked out in their academic robes. It doesn’t hurt that the president’s robe is a brilliant Hopkins gold. If you’ve ever been in any of the dining halls of Cambridge or Oxford, you’d have to agree that the organizers do a great job of capturing this ambiance.

I have been a participating professor at this dinner for several years. It has a super fun feel and comes at a good time when the semester is gaining full steam whilst the students are still somewhat rested. But one thing always bugged me about it. As a female faculty member marching in, I passed by numerous ornately framed portraits of (presumably) the luminaries of Hopkins past. Although I’m sure these past leaders were better than Moaning Myrtle, what struck me immediately is that there were no portraits of women. Only men.

Really? No women?

This realization was one of the motivators for our Women of Hopkins exhibit. And I’m pleased that our Diversity Innovation Grant funded not only the main art show but also enabled us to add women to the portraits that students and professors will pass by on the procession into this Hopkins Harry Potter banquet. After all, 49% of the undergraduate students at Hopkins are women. I’m hoping that these images will be noticed by the young women students. I’m hoping it will spark a recognition that female luminaries can lead the way. And I’m hoping that these heroines of Hopkins will inspire confidence in the students to become the next generation of scholars, doctors, business women, leaders, engineers, writers and scientists of prominence and brilliance.

Gender-Diversity Dividend of Discovery

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-4-49-48-pmFrom Forbes to Scientific American, it is well known that being around people who are different from us makes us more creative and increases our personal investments. It should therefore come as no surprise that an opinion piece published in the current issue of PNAS draws the same conclusion: Gender diversity leads to better science.

Encouraging greater diversity is not only the right thing to do: it allows scientific organizations to derive an “innovation dividend” that leads to smarter, more creative teams, hence opening the door to new discoveries.

This opinion piece covers many ways that gender diversity paves the road to excellence and speaks to the importance of supportive institutional contexts. As universities strive to increase their diversity numbers, this article also recognizes the crucial aspects of inclusion in the scientific community. Make no mistake: numbers are still important. Achieving a critical mass of women (between 15% and 30%) will be required for women to flourish. Only then will they experience “less stereotyping, more involvement in decision making and teamwork and higher levels of support”.

Inclusion is a second key ingredient. No matter what the diversity numbers, an open and accepting work culture can accelerate this needed transformation. Putting aside the social justice motivations, the scientific enterprises of universities, medical schools and research institutes all seek the same things: a greater understanding of the world’s natural laws as well as novel cures for diseases.

Surely we can achieve this?

After all, the university setting strives to be the epicenter of open inquiry, the hotbed of newfangled ideas, and the center of excellence. If institutions invest in this stock, the gender-diversity dividend is guaranteed to pay well.

That’s a better promise than the stock market….

‘Hidden Figures’ movie screening and panel discussion

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-12-17-13-pmDon’t miss this event tomorrow!

Sunday, Jan 29, 2017 from 12:30 – 4pm

The Senator Theater
5904 York Rd

Pre-registration is required
Full details in the Hub:

Aside from the movie itself, what looks particularly interesting about this screening is that there will be a panel discussion on the role of women in aerospace, engineering and other technical fields moderated by Ashley Llorens, chair of the JHU Diversity Leadership Council and Dr. Beverly Wendland, dean of the Krieger school.


Family-Friendly Scheduling

Hopkins CSW

Must all talks and receptions start at 5:30?

(yes, like ours did…)

Here’s a memo from the Brown University Provost’s Office with advice for scheduling talks in ways that work for more faculty members–and why it matters.


Don’t have time to read it right now? Here are the basics:

Best Practices for Chairs and Directors

Recognize that 5:30 is not a time at which “everyone is free.”

Acknowledge the challenges (logistically, financially, and interpersonally) that 5:30 events and late afternoon teaching blocks pose to faculty with family responsibilities.

Distinguish between programming meant to serve the broader community and programming meant to bolster the research capacity of the faculty. Programming in the latter category should happen during the workday.

Vary the times of workshops, seminars, and lectures so that the same people are not perpetually excluded.

Accommodate faculty with family responsibilities by creating opportunities for workday interactions (e.g. coffees, lunches)…

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