Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 17, 2022

University Ten by Twenty aims high

By JACK BARTHOLET | November 29, 2012

On Nov. 6, President Ronald J. Daniels sent out an University-wide broadcast informing the Hopkins community of his plan for the institution over the next eight years. This plan is called “Ten by Twenty: A Path Forward for Johns Hopkins to the Year 2020,” and it lays out 10 specific goals that he hopes to achieve by 2020.

On Nov. 15, Daniels, along with interim Provost Jonathan A. Bagger, held an open discussion on the Homewood campus for undergraduate students to give their perspectives on the strategic goals laid out in the draft of the plan.

Daniels began the discussion by stressing that the plan is an ongoing effort, and that the discussions with students and faculty will help shape the final form of the plan.

“We have not set out all of the different things that will happen and the pace at which they will happen in this document,” Daniels said. “We’re coming into these discussions with a real sense of openness.”

Many students discussed the increasing role of technology in the classroom and its relation to the eighth strategic goal in the plan, which calls for efforts to “Strengthen the institutional, budgetary, technological and policy frameworks necessary to set priorities, allocate resources, and realize the highest standards of academic excellence. “

Senior Alexandra Larsen, who chairs the SGA Senate Committee on Academic Affairs, brought up a concern that many students had raised regarding an organic chemistry class. She explained that the class lectures were given via a monitor that displayed recorded lectures from a different section of the course.

Daniels highlighted discussions surrounding technology’s role in the classroom.

“To be fair, this is a real struggle that we’re all having in this digitized world,” he said. “It’s got to be interactive; it’s got to be dynamic.”

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Sarah Steinberg countered this claim by calling attention to a new lunch program that aims to cultivate faculty-student interactions outside of the traditional classroom setting.

“The lunch program is absolutely widely available. It’s actually called the ‘Faculty-Student Interactive Program,’” Steinberg said.

Nevertheless, both Bagger and Daniels explained that there are continuing efforts to improve interactions between students and their professors and to gain more insight into how this can be achieved.

“What are the barriers? What prevents that from happening?” Bagger said.

Likewise, Daniels explained that he aims to explore the question “Where do we regard the best pedagogical experience between that face-to-face classroom interaction?”

The first strategic goal outlined in the plan, titled, “Selectively invest in those programs and activities that will advance significantly our core academic mission,” was also a topic of discussion.

Junior Michael St. Germain asked Daniels and Bagger what they believed to be the core academic mission.

“To me, the core academic mission is faculty and students. That’s what it’s about: trying to bring the best faculty and students,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot that we do that is not necessarily all about the job market; it’s about conveying knowledge,” he said.

Senior Will Shepherdson also asked about the academic mission of the university, specifically probing the administration’s philosophy regarding celebrating researching and teaching.

“The best universities are ones that are able to harmonize these different parts. One of the things that we’re learning over the past couple of years is that research universities tend to put a lot of stock into research… But I think one of the things we need to be more attentive to is… teaching,” Daniels said.

Bagger reiterated the beliefs of Daniels.

“We try to keep that line as fluid as possible between instruction and research,” Bagger said.

Another topic brought to the forefront was financial aid. Daniels called for increased transparency with respect to financial aid in the future.

Daniels also conveyed his views on needs-blind admissions.

“This goal of achieving needs-blind status and improving financial aid is imperative… both John and I feel very strongly about this,” Daniels said.

Discussions also surrounded fostering a strong community, which Daniels explained has been one of his priorities.

“We have spent a lot of time over the last couple of years trying to create that sense of community,” Daniels said.

The fourth strategic goal, which calls for “Build[ing] Johns Hopkins’ undergraduate experience so it stands among the top ten in the nation,” generated much discussion. Daniels explained that this “top ten” is not referring to any specific indicator, but rather a collection of indicators.

“We don’t say ‘U.S. News & World Report;’ we just say ‘top ten in the nation’… I thought long and hard on that,” Daniels said.

However, Bagger did indicate that the U.S. News & World Report is a decent indicator for progress towards this goal. He explained that a lot of the values used by the U.S. News & World Report are consistent with the university’s goals.

Daniels emphasized that this goal is within reach for Hopkins, and that it is of crucial importance.

“If you look at a lot of these measures, we’re just on the cusp of being in the top ten. We’ve got to be in the top ten. We’ve got to be there,” Daniels said.

Daniels and Bagger concluded the discussion by underlining the importance of students’ contributions to the report.

“You’ll see the comments you’ve given us reflected in the plan,” Daniels stated.

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