A recently completed internal study has shown that
workplace satisfaction at Johns Hopkins is somewhat in the
eye of the beholder.
In March 2006, the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership
Council launched the JHU Institutions Diversity Climate
Survey. Four versions of the survey, the first of its kind
at Johns Hopkins, were created, tailored specifically to
the School of Medicine, the Applied Physics Laboratory,
other university divisions and the Johns Hopkins Health
System in order to capture information specific to that
More than 8,000 of the 13,000 employees queried
responded to the surveys, which featured between 40 and 50
statements and questions related to workplace satisfaction.
Last fall, the DLC Climate Committee completed the
initial analysis of the survey data, which showed that
women and ethnic minorities, especially African-Americans,
have a different and somewhat less positive work experience
than white males.
The findings and preliminary recommendations of the
Diversity Leadership Council have since been presented to
President William R. Brody and to various deans and
James Calvin, chair of the DLC Climate Survey
Committee and associate professor in the Department of
Management in the Carey Business School, said that the
results of this study provide both a snapshot of the
workplace climate and a starting point for a continued
dialogue on diversity issues.
"Our hope and real expectation is that the deans and
leadership of the various
divisions will examine the results, make their own
assessments and then engage faculty and staff to determine
how to move forward," Calvin said.
In the examination of the survey results, the
committee highlighted 12 statements and questions to get a
representative look at the current climate for employees.
For statements, participants were asked to respond on
a scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." For
questions, par-ticipants might have been asked to answer on
a scale of "very satisfied" to "not satisfied."
The data, Calvin said, suggested that
African-Americans respondents are much less satisfied with
the workplace environment. For example, when asked to
respond to the statement "My colleagues treat me with
civility," 77 percent of respondents overall agreed or
strongly agreed, but only 50 percent of African-American
respondents answered favorably. When asked, "Overall, how
satisfied are you with the climate at your
school/division?" 73 percent of white respondents answered
"satisfied" or "very satisfied," as compared to only 35
percent of African-American respondents.
The survey also showed that a higher percentage of men
of all ethnicities selected "very satisfied" and "strongly
agree" responses, whereas women responded with less
affirmative "satisfied" or "agree" to many of the same
questions and statements.
The survey also showed relatively low favorable
responses, across the board, to such statements as,
"Workplace policies, practices and procedures are applied
consistently at JHU." To this statement, only 45 percent of
respondents overall answered "agree" or "strongly agree,"
including only 28 percent of Latinos. The numbers of
positive responses, however, were significantly higher in
all categories when this same question was asked to School
of Medicine employees, who overall responded more favorably
to the survey.
In response to all the findings, the DLC recommended
that deans and directors conduct "focus groups" in their
units during the current year to better understand their
employees' responses to the climate survey. A desired
future outcome is the development and implementation of
effective strategies in the units that lead to an improved
workplace climate. In this vein, the committee also
recommended that the university establish a requirement
that all undergraduates complete at least one course that
explores the complexity of ethnicity, culture and
pluralism, a recommendation modeled after the award-winning
America Cultures Program at the University of California at
In addition to these recommendations, the DLC
expressed strong support for two recent university
initiatives, diversity training and the adoption of the
Statement of Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and
Respect for All, which was originally proposed by the
University Committee on the Status of Women and brought to
the forefront following a Johns Hopkins fraternity's
Halloween party whose invitation invoked offensive racial
Calvin said that the DLC anticipates that more
recommendations will be presented to university leadership
following further examination of the survey on the
divisional and departmental levels.
"This is a starting point. Hopefully, the focus groups
that are created will offer more strategies and initiatives
that, within the school and perhaps throughout the Johns
Hopkins Institutions, will seek to improve the workplace
climate and make it more responsive, supportive and
healthier," he said. "When faced with such disparities
among ethnicities that this survey displayed, we need our
leadership and people to ask, Why is this happening? and
What can we do to make it better? The DLC plans to be very
active in an effort to continue this dialogue."
Longer term, Calvin said that the DLC plans to conduct
a follow-up climate survey within two to three years in
order to assess the effectiveness of measures taken from
this point forward.
The DLC was formed in 1997 and is composed of
students, faculty and staff from all divisions throughout
Johns Hopkins. One of its primary missions is to examine
formal and informal structures and processes that inhibit
Johns Hopkins Institutions from being more inclusive and to
recommend changes that foster greater inclusion.
To see more results from the survey, go to www.jhuaa.org/dlc.