Senator Barbara Mikulski Joins Faculty

By kvitare1@johnshopkins.edu

Barbara Mikulski, Maryland’s longest-tenured United States senator, joined Johns Hopkins University in January as a professor of public policy and advisor to President Ronald J. Daniels.

Mikulski retired from the Senate in early January after completing her fifth six-year term. At Hopkins, she is based primarily in the Krieger School’s Department of Political Science, serving as a Homewood Professor, a title reserved for individuals of international distinction and major accomplishment in their fields. She will also consult with leaders of the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine on public policy and other relevant issues.

“I’m proud to join the Johns Hopkins faculty and to share my expertise and experience in public policy,” says Mikulski. “I am excited to teach and encourage the next generation and to assist the leadership of this internationally recognized university.”

This semester, Mikulski has already been a guest lecturer in a class on sociology and health care, and she has met with sociology and political science faculty members. She is also working with members of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, particularly with some of the school’s Baltimore-focused programs. In the fall, Mikulski will co-teach an undergraduate course—The Politics of Public Policy—with Robert Lieberman, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science.

“I love the energy and commitment at Hopkins,” says Mikulski. “Everyone has been so welcoming. I have just jumped in—in the classroom as a guest lecturer; meeting with deans, faculty, and students; and working with Hopkins and the greater community. Expect sightings of me all over!”

Mikulski, 80, was elected to the Senate in 1986, after five terms in the House of Representatives and service on the Baltimore City Council. The lifelong Baltimorean and former social worker, who first gained prominence in a successful fight to block a highway project from cleaving long-established Baltimore neighborhoods, rose to serve as chair and then as ranking member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Mikulski, a Democrat, focused on issues including civil rights, national security, space exploration, education, jobs, research and innovation, women’s health, cybersecurity, senior citizens, and veterans. She was primary sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, addressing salary discrimination against women; it was the first bill signed into law by President Obama, just days after his inauguration in 2009. Obama later awarded Mikulski the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mikulski has donated her papers to Johns Hopkins to eventually be available to researchers and historians.

“Our students and faculty are so excited to have the chance to meet and learn from Senator Mikulski,” says Dean Beverly Wendland. “She brings a wealth of expertise and experience to so many issues that we study here on campus—everything from civil rights to income equality to research and innovation. Her intellect and enthusiasm are inspiring, and her boundless energy is contagious.”