The Challenges Before Us
Johns Hopkins must meet the challenges of the 21st century aggressively. Serious environmental threats to the future of private universities exist, but so also do tremendous opportunities for those institutions willing to seize them. Our traditions have served us well, but our institutional health will be improved if we are willing to adapt. Taken together, we believe that our suggestions present the opportunities for significant change for Johns Hopkins. A fundamental assumption has been that we can build on and further develop the considerable distinction of our individual academic divisions by emphasizing greater collaboration, both within the University and beyond.
If we deal with change positively and creatively, rather than negatively and narrowly, our future can be as distinguished as our past. We at Johns Hopkins again have the opportunity to be standard bearers for higher education as we enter a new century. In the late 19th century, the founders of Johns Hopkins responded to profound patterns of change in American society and the nation's position in the world to create a new and dynamic vision of academic excellence the template for the 20th century American research university.
Hopkins has a number of qualities that equip us well to serve once again as a leader in higher education. We have, first of all, the important advantage of the very high quality of faculty, students, and staff across the Hopkins divisions. Moreover, we have dedicated alumni willing to continue to share their talents with the University. Because of our relatively small size and our decentralized nature, we also have a degree of flexibility a nimbleness that many universities do not have. Equally important, in every division, at every level, there is a great deal of energy, pride, and determination to excel. This is coupled with a high degree of institutional commitment, both to the academic divisions and to the University as a whole. In addition, we have already invested substantially in campus facilities and have maintained generally a superb physical plant to support our research and educational programs.
Finally, we have a basic strategy, which was defined at the birth of Hopkins and which still provides a formula for achievement. More than most universities, we have accepted from the beginning that we cannot do everything. Our size will not allow us to do everything. This philosophy of selective excellence has served the University well; we expect it to become even more critical to our future success.
The men and women who founded Johns Hopkins a little more than a century ago were bold and courageous. They pursued a vision at a time as challenging and revolutionary as ours. The challenge of today demands responses of comparable boldness in order to serve the best interests both of Johns Hopkins University and of American higher education.
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