Johns Hopkins is on a vision quest, with 2020 as its ultimate goal. At least that’s how I’m choosing to translate the recent announcement by university president Ron Daniels from academic-speak (“underscore the importance of strategic prioritization and institutional resiliency”) into human-language. I’ve parsed through the talk of touchstones, strategic visions, and overarching themes to get a sense of what the university is really up to, and here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
- More cross-disciplinary work. As Johns Hopkins’ various campuses continue to spread their tentacles through the neighborhoods of Baltimore, pretty soon they’ll all connect. So it only makes sense for seemingly disparate parts of the university to collaborate. This is already happening in programs that fuse, say, public health and entrepreneurship.
- Figure out where the money is. Johns Hopkins is one of the nation’s top research universities, and it’s traditionally received ridiculous amounts of money from the federal government for said research. But with federal dollars drying up, where will the school get its cash from? Some are betting on more investment from private business — but are there other ways?
- Develop the undergraduate program. For years, Johns Hopkins undergrads grumbled about feeling like afterthoughts. And, well, they kind of were. After all, they weren’t bringing in the research money! As a consequence, the school — though widely respected in research circles — started dropping in the rankings. A decade or so ago, the school wised up and started paying attention to its youngest students. Daniels’s goal is to get the undergrad program “among the top ten in the nation.” Ambitious, but doable — last year, U.S. News ranked the school thirteenth among national universities.
Read the entirety of the school’s “Ten by Twenty” plan here.
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