Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 2, 2021

Step up week should thank faculty

May 2, 2013

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations kicked off Step Up Week on Sunday to thank donors for contributing to the University. The annual program celebrates charitable giving and those who “sustain the legacy of philanthropy established by Johns Hopkins himself.” This year’s events include various giveaways, including one in which students receive free Chipotle burritos after writing thank you letters to donors.

While the editorial board commends the University for encouraging philanthropy, we believe that efforts aimed solely at donors and students ignore those who contribute most to Hopkins.

Professors and faculty work tirelessly to provide students with a first-rate education. These men and women “step up” every single day. Their work is a constant and unending contribution to the University. While donors certainly deserve a thank you, so do our professors and faculty members.

The University spends countless hours and resources on Step Up Week. Those who donate monetarily receive heaps of praise from grateful students, but those who donate time and energy receive little. The editorial board encourages the University to reconsider its priorities. The least it can do is encourage students to send some thank you letters to faculty and professors as well.

Not only is not including professors and faculty in Step Up week inconsiderate, but it also runs counter to the goals of Step Up Week. Step Up is intended to encourage donations and charitable gifts so Hopkins has the funds to improve its campuses, student life and academics. But by not acknowledging the hard work of our faculty and professors, Hopkins is sending the message that teaching is not its first priority. When professors feel that a particular university is not wholly dedicated to academics, they are more likely to take their talents elsewhere.

Hopkins is often accused of caring more about its medical school and research, while allotting fewer resources to undergraduate education. This common perception is particularly injurious to the University writ large. If a prospective student feels as if she is an afterthought, she is less likely to attend Hopkins, and if a current student feels as if she is an afterthought, she is less likely to enjoy her undergraduate experience. When students don’t enjoy their undergraduate experience, they are less likely to donate to that institution after graduation.

The University, in short, must encourage an atmosphere conducive to teaching, and that starts by respecting those who teach.

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