The Status of Women
During the 1996-97 academic year, the Provost's Committee on the Status of Women continued to monitor a number of issues of significant concern to women at Johns Hopkins University. In five meetings of the full committee, members heard regularly from the Vice President for Human Resources on progress on a number of projects encouraged by the committee. Human Resources staff appeared on several occasions to respond to questions and suggestions about specific programs and services. Through its four subcommittees, the committee pursued additional topics in greater depth, and one of these subcommittees, Academic Issues, laid the groundwork for a major initiative to assess policies and practices related to the recruitment, retention and development of women faculty.
Regular status reports were made on the following issues:
Sexual Harassment Prevention and Resolution Program. The committee received several reports on progress in implementing the Sexual Harassment program advocated by the Provost's Committee. A statistical summary of complaint activity was reviewed along with information about training activities, including those organized for several divisions. The committee expressed concern about the mechanism for evaluating the program and urged the importance of training for faculty and staff. The committee also reviewed the position description for a full-time Sexual Harassment Program Director.
Staff Salary Equity Study. The committee received reports on a pilot study of staff salary equity conducted within University Administration, initially, with plans to undertake the study across the university. The Director of Compensation, Belinda Crough, distributed an analysis of the results of this first phase and explained the process by which the review was administered. In general, the pilot study was successful with some corrective action taken in individual cases and overall, a positive evaluation by senior officers who found the opportunity for a comprehensive review of staff salaries quite helpful. The committee noted several concerns for future consideration, including the need to develop strategies to move staff through the ranges.
Career Development of Women Faculty. Considerable attention was directed, in 1996-97, to the question of how to apply more broadly what had been learned from the Department of Medicine's major intervention to foster the career development of women faculty. Dr. Linda Fried, former Chair of the Task Force on Women in Academic Medicine, reviewed for the committee the task force's goals and progress to date. She presented data indicating both quantitative progress and qualitative improvement in the Department of Medicine. The perception, by both men and women faculty, that the climate was more positive is supported by retention data. The importance of departmental leadership was emphasized, as was the necessity of effective mentoring. The committee endorsed the wider application of the Department of Medicine initiative as an important goal for the year and the major project to be pursued by the Subcommittee on Academic Issues. The committee subsequently debated the most effective strategy for involving other divisions, and the provost pledged his support for a systematic effort to gather data about recruitment and retention of women faculty in each of the divisions.
Staff Mentoring Program. Lisa Heiser, Director of the Career Management Program at Johns Hopkins, reported to the committee on the status of the mentoring program being developed for university staff, with support and encouragement from the Staff Issues Subcommittee.
Training Programs for Faculty and Staff. The committee continued to monitor training programs and expressed special interest in supervisory training which the committee sees as critical in addressing many concerns. Plans for new employee orientation and a new leadership development program were also previewed by the committee, whose input was welcomed by Linda Dillon Jones, Director of Training and Education. Suggestions for giving the center's programs increased visibility were also offered.
Ombuds Office. The Vice President of Human Resources discussed the status of the Ombuds Office and the alternative mechanisms available for the resolution of grievances with the committee and solicited members input on the best ways to meet the various needs of the Hopkins community. The availability of a vehicle for complaint handling outside the regular chair of command was thought to be very important, as was a recourse for graduate students for whom the paths are not so clear. The committee raised a number of concerns and urged that access to an identifiable, accessible, confidential resource for dispute resolution be established.
Diversity Council. In light of plans to create a Diversity Leadership Council for the university, the committee addressed its relationship to this body. Issues of clarification of role and nature of representation were also considered, as was the necessity of avoiding a duplication of effort. Good communication is deemed necessary to avoid overlapping agendas.
Other Issues. Throughout the year status reports were also provided to the committee about progress on the Human Resource Information System deemed critical to the provision of the data necessary to facilitate both management analysis and staff access to career development information.
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