Centers, Programs, and Institutes

The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences includes many centers, programs, and institutes which facilitate interdisciplinary research and/or teaching. They exist outside of any single department even as they share faculty, students, and resources with various departments. They extend the scope of the academic mission of the Krieger School and occasionally reach into the larger Johns Hopkins community and beyond the university. 

KSAS interdepartmental and interdisciplinary units are extraordinarily varied in their structure, mission, funding models, and genesis. The names used to designate these entities—programs, centers, institutes—obey no strict definition. As a loose rule, Program refers to an interdisciplinary and non-departmental academic unit that offers its own courses to undergraduates and/or graduate students. A program may offer a degree major or minor, or certificate. Additionally, it delivers an array of programming of interest to faculty, students at all levels, and the community. A Center, by contrast, does not usually offer its own courses or degrees, prioritizing instead interdisciplinary research and scholarship and serving as a site for intellectual collaboration. The name Institute tends to designate a unit with a clearly articulated research and academic project, often with public-facing activities.

Center, Program, and Institute Leadership

There are several key figures in centers, programs, and institutes including:  

  • Director. Each program has a director, appointed by the dean to oversee its operations and provide intellectual and practical leadership.  Depending on the individual program, the duties of the director may vary, but the basic responsibilities are to direct the day-to-day operations of the program its, event, and where relevant, its curriculum; to manage the program budget and resources; to appoint a faculty advisory board and convene meetings of the board at least once per semester; produce the annual report for the program; and prepare a self-study for periodic program reviews. If the program or center can appoint faculty, the director also devises hiring strategies, reviews teaching and resource faculty for reappointment and promotion; and reports or directs complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation to the appropriate offices. Contact information for current directors.
  • Associate Director. In some cases, the size and scope of a program may warrant an Associate Director, usually to oversee student advising and the day-to-day administering of the program. Where there is an undergraduate major in the program, the Associate Director will fill the role of a director of undergraduate studies. Along with the Director, the Associate Director attends meetings of the Advisory Board ex officio. 
  • Faculty Advisory Board. All programs have an Advisory Board selected by the Director in alignment with the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. A tenured member of the faculty will serve as chair of the advisory board, collaborating with the director to set the agenda for each meeting.
  • Administrative Support. The dean’s office provides staff for the administrative support of the program. That support may include academic coordinating, event planning, web maintenance and budget. Depending on the size and scope of the program, that support may be shared with another unit. In some cases, the program may require the support of more than one staff person. 

Guidelines for KSAS Centers, Programs and Institutes

In fall 2022, the Shared Governance Council Subcommittee on Centers, Programs and Institutes drafted KSAS Guidelines for Centers, Programs and Institutes. The guidelines establish an essential if flexible structure for these units, their leadership, and review schedule.  ​​​​​​​