Equity Initiatives

The PBS Equity Committee pursues initiatives within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University that aim to promote an equitable and diverse academic environment. We are organizing our efforts in four distinct thematic areas to work towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive department: hiring and training, outreach, climate, and action and policy.

The missions of each area and examples of specific initiatives are presented below. The committee also aims to engage with Baltimore citizens through organized outreach, with the goal of making science more accessible to everyone. To contact the committee about any of these initiatives, please email pbs-equity-contact@jhu.edu.

Hiring and training

We strive to promote a safe, supportive environment that brings together motivated individuals, regardless of their identity. We aim to support our department in recruiting diverse scholars and staff at every level, with a focus on the resources and infrastructure necessary for their continued success. We also seek to identify grants and funding that will help accelerate these goals.  

Example initiative: Early Career Colloquium

Starting in Fall 2020, PBS established an Early Career Colloquium (ECC). This inaugural year is specifically dedicated to learning from and promoting under-represented minority scholars. One goal of this series is to fill a gap in providing exposure and networking opportunities for early career researchers, even before they have entered the job market. 

Outreach

PBS aims to promote equitable access to science education in our community, the city of Baltimore. Promoting the exchange of scientific content, thinking, and resources between JHU scientists and schools/teachers/scientists in Baltimore City is a critical step towards mitigating the effects of prejudice and classism that prevent science from being broadly accessible.

We are working to achieve this goal by developing and fostering sustained relationships with schools and outreach organizations in the Baltimore community, promoting scientific outreach and knowledge-sharing initiatives with members of the Baltimore community, and supporting local students who wish to  learn about and pursue careers in science.

Example initiative: science packets for local public schools

The outreach committee has been working with local, public middle and high schools to fill an unmet need for access to engaging scientific materials. In a collaboration with Johns Hopkins Project Bridge, we have created science packets to provide fun and interactive activities that teach students about a wide range of science topics. These activities are designed to complement the existing science curriculum for elementary-level students in Baltimore and beyond. Use our downloadable packet for your own work.

Getting involved in our initiatives

If you are a Hopkins affiliate and would like to get involved in our outreach initiatives, visit our group on Hopkins Engage. (Hopkins login required).

Climate

We seek to create a departmental climate that is inclusive, engaging, communicative, supportive, and accessible to members at all levels, from undergraduates to staff and faculty.

Example initiatives

  • Climate survey: A survey was designed to make regular, qualitative, and quantitative assessments of our department members’ sense of community, respect, and support. These data will be used to build on existing strengths and also to identify and ultimately dismantle barriers to inclusion and engagement, from academic and classroom settings to professional and interpersonal relationships. 
  • Training workshops: We are organizing  department-wide training workshops to increase awareness of barriers to diversity and inclusion, learn about and counteract conscious and unconscious forms of bias, and improve mentor-mentee interactions.

Action and policy

Our initiatives also include taking action, when needed, to continuously support and increase equity in our community. When such action is necessary, we will not hesitate to jump in.

Example initiative

  • Letter opposing a university police force: In June 2020, we wrote a letter to the president of Johns Hopkins, opposing the development of a JHU police force.

Committee Members

This committee is comprised of graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty members of the PBS department, including: 

  • Kishore Kuchibhotla, Assistant Professor
  • Chaz Firestone, Assistant Professor
  • Patricia Janak, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
  • Cynthia Moss, Professor and Chair, PBS