Code of Conduct

Our Values

The William H. Miller III Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University shares our university’s unwavering commitment to excellence, inclusion and respect. We are a diverse community of faculty, students, scientists, staff and visitors and seek to promote an environment that in its diversity is integral to the academic, educational, and community purposes of the institution.

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is the wellspring of an open and free university. Free inquiry and discourse are essential for the pursuit of knowledge. We affirm our commitment to academic freedom – as well as its associated balance between rights and responsibilities – as described fully in the University’s Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom.

Code of Conduct

Everyone is a citizen of the Department community. Each of us shares responsibility for the welfare of this community. Productivity and educational success are enabled by a respectful and professional environment. Therefore, the Johns Hopkins University Department of Physics and Astronomy adopts this Code of Conduct, which aims to foster an environment where everyone may reach their full potential. It applies to all members of the Department, including visitors. This code does not usurp University policies and procedures for proper workplace behavior (see

Integrity, Professionalism & Collaboration

We commit to acting in a professional manner regardless of rank and role. The Department is dedicated fully to its academic and educational vision, it is expected that an individual’s personal integrity will be reflected not only in honest and responsible actions but also in a willingness to offer direction to others whose actions may be harmful to themselves or the community. This includes:

  • Behaving responsibly, professionally and ethically in all our work and working relationships
  • Being truthful and forthright
  • Clearly defining and communicating our expectations and standards of excellence
  • Striving to keep our commitments to each other and professional obligations
  • Not engaging in behavior that endanger their own effectiveness or that has ramifications for others e. making decisions concerning the use of alcohol that are responsible, legal and in compliance with any obligations arising from the individual’s relationship with the University.
  • Helping community members maximize their potential and ensuring that their contributions are recognized

Diversity & Inclusion 

We provide equal opportunities for all and share a commitment to performing our duties in accordance with the highest standards of ethics and in compliance with University policies and all applicable laws and regulations.

  • Discrimination and harassment are prohibited. All members of our Department community are to be treated fairly.
  • Harassment, sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. Harassment includes: unwelcome and sustained/repeated disruption of teaching, studying, talks or other department-related events or tasks; inappropriate physical contact, sexual attention or innuendo; deliberate intimidation; stalking; and photographing or recording of an individual without consent. It also includes offensive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion.
  • All formal communications from members of the Department should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Disrespectful, profane, abusive or exclusionary language or imagery is not appropriate.

Respect & Courtesy

We commit to maintaining a collegial work environment in which we all treat each other with dignity, courtesy and respect, regardless of position or status in the department, and for all our activities both on and off campus. Including:

  • Establishing a safe and supportive workplace and learning environment, free from harassment, discrimination, bullying, physical or mental abuse, or other harmful behavior.
  • Being respectful of others’ right to express their own points of view.
  • Being constructive and professional in interacting with others and in providing feedback on their work.
  • Maintaining University-defined norms of behavior in all our activities. JHU Student Conduct Code


A person or persons making a complaint about violations of this code, or expressing a concern about the departmental climate, is protected from retaliatory actions. Anyone who is concerned that someone violated the code of conduct is encouraged to bring that concern to the attention of the Department Chair. The Chair then decides how to address the situation, which may include the involvement of resources outside of the Department. The Chair will seek information on the nature of the problem, will discuss the complaint with all parties involved and will appropriately inform the parties of the outcome of this process. Graduate Students are encouraged to discuss their situation with the Academic Program Administrator as appropriate.

Any complaints brought to the Department Chair or the Academic Program Administrator will be held in confidence unless doing so would violate a University policy.

Outside of the Department:

If discussion with the Department contacts would be inappropriate, the option exists to bring a complaint to the attention of appropriate authorities outside of the Department. In this situation, the process depends on the nature of the complaint. Examples of possible remediation steps are listed, but other options may exist depending upon the particulars of the situation:

ADA Compliance

Title IX


  • The Office of International Equity offers courses dedicated to training supervisors, faculty and staff on preventing discrimination and harassment, diversity and collaboration in the workplace and addressing bias
  • Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) is made up of members from across the JHU community, the DLC’s role is to foster diversity and inclusion.
  • The National Science Foundation has recently introduced policies for reporting harassment or discrimination of any kind in the context of NSF-sponsored research; see

Committee on Departmental Environment

The Code of Conduct is intended to be a living document that reflects a shared responsibility for maintaining a professional environment in our workplace. The Chair will annually request nominations for elections to the Committee on Departmental Environment that is the caretaker of this Code.

Committee members will be nominated to be representatives from the following groups: faculty, graduate students, scientists, post-doctoral researchers, and administrative/technical staff. When more than one nominee is presented from any departmental group, the committee members will be elected by vote of the relevant component of the department. Once formed the Committee will annually elect its Chairperson and committee members may serve terms of up to 3 years that are renewable.

The initial Committee:

  • Representative TBD (faculty)
  • Representative TBD (graduate students) (chair)
  • Representative TBD (scientists)
  • Representative TBD (post-doctoral researchers)
  • Representative TBD (administrative/office staff)

The Committee on Departmental Environment is available to assist any person with resolving a concern that is brought to their attention, reviewing campus options for remediation, and providing this information on a web page that is accessible to all members of the Department.

This Committee also is charged with maintaining the formal Code of Conduct, and as appropriate will present suggestions for revisions to the Chair and the Department.

In addition, the Chair of the Committee on Departmental Environment will provide an annual report to the Chair and Executive Committee on the departmental environment. This report normally will be presented in an executive session during the last departmental meeting of each academic year.

The Committee on Departmental Environment will cooperate with the Chair to ensure that we are sustaining a healthy workplace. To this end the Committee Chair may bring concerns to the Department Chair provided that the conditions for anonymity discussed above are not violated.

Whom Do We Contact with Questions?

You can direct questions regarding the intent or applicability of this Code of Conduct to the Committee on Departmental Environment.

More information can be found at:

Diversity Leadership Council

Student Conduct Code

JHU Relevant Policies, Codes, Statements and Principles

University Policies and Statements Policy and Document Library

The operation of our Department depends on its citizens carrying out a wide range of necessary tasks. Civil behavior helps everyone to work or study effectively. Be kind and respectful of the opinions, views, and rights of others.