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Johns Hopkins University
Management Philosophy


The following is a letter to colleagues from President William R. Brody:

I have carefully reviewed a management philosophy for the university that was published during President William C. Richardson's administration.

I fully subscribe to it and have asked that this policy be reprinted.

I hope that everyone will use this as a guide as we work together to make Johns Hopkins a model environment in which we work.

I. Basic values and beliefs

Johns Hopkins is one of the foremost institutions of higher education in the world, and our responsibility is to help sustain it in a challenging time and assure that it is always looking and moving forward. We are guided by the recognition that change is as essential as it is difficult to accomplish, and also by the maxim First, do no harm.

The fundamental task of university administration is to sustain and enhance the activities of research, education and service that are carried out in the university's classrooms, laboratories, libraries, health care facilities and other settings. The most successful administration will provide clear leadership, but also will perform its supporting staff functions as unobtrusively as possible, while granting to faculty and students what really is the defining quality of academic life-- freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of criticism and freedom from unreasonable intrusions and regulations.

II. Core principles and approaches in our management philosophy

Within the above framework, there is room for any university administration to promote principles, qualities and values that will serve to make our institution as humane as possible.

Areas in which the administration can and should properly play a decisive role are:

Strategic focus: helping to keep the enterprise focused on its core missions--teaching, research and science--by encouraging the highest possible levels of achievement and quality in all the activities undertaken by the university, by integrating the creative efforts of individuals with the support of groups and organizational units and, finally, by facilitating collaborative effort across such units.

Fairness and equality: ensuring full equality of opportunity with respect to race, ethnic origin, gender and other dimensions of diversity in the recruitment, retention and promotion of faculty, staff and students.

Humane values: developing an organizational culture that is inclusive, facilitates collaboration and accepts and rewards individuals' particular strengths, talents and experiences. The culture should encourage individuals to balance their work and personal lives, and be supportive to them both developmentally and interpersonally.

Civic-mindedness: being mindful of the institutions' public responsibilities and privileges, and helping to find ways for them to be appropriately responsive to the needs and interests of society as a whole and continuously to earn the public trust.

Personal and professional integrity: promoting the methods of operation that emphasize honesty in our interactions with each other, adherence to legal and ethical standards and the wise applications of university policies.

Managerial effectiveness: providing effective leadership of the various organizational units of the university through the application of sound principles of management, efficient utilization of resources, reasoned judgment and strategic vision.

III. Professional development

All members of the senior leadership are encouraged to be involved in activities and service groups that will acquaint them with the state of practice nationally in their field of responsibility. We assume that they will have received appropriate academic training prior to achieving their current positions. However, if anyone should wish to participate in short courses, workshops or other programs to extend or deepen his or her professional competencies, we would encourage him or her to do so.

In administration, as in the academic disciplines and in the professions, we must be receptive to the need for lifelong learning. Each member of the senior leadership group should work within his or her own organizational unit to create opportunities and expectations for developing its faculty and staff.

IV. Performance management

We support the concept and practice of performance evaluation. The methods used for faculty evaluation are well-developed. With regard to staff performance, we would look to the professionals in Human Resources for guidance in constructing an appropriate methodology.

Our performance management practices should reflect and reward congruity with the principles and values outlined above.

Published in The Gazette on March 30, 1998.


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