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Baltimore Community Engagement

Guiding Principles

Throughout the strategic planning process for the Johns Hopkins University’s Roadmap 2020 Task Force, University and community partners highly recommended the development and implementation of guiding principles for community engagement. Informed by consultations with community-engaged colleagues and community leaders, as well as best practices for community engagement, these principles are intended to guide our collective work in equitably and authentically engaging in community-campus partnerships. These principles can be broadly applied to all community-campus partnerships affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. 

Shared Vision and Values

Goals:  Initiate partnerships with the intention of drawing together University and community in unity of purpose. 

Must co-develop shared vision, purpose, mission, values and goals. 

Partnerships should actively co-design projects that dismantle oppressive systems, confront disinvestment, and work toward justice. 

Practices: A written vision, mission, goals, values; action plan is co-developed.  

Mutuality and Respect

Goals: The structures, policies, and participants of a partnership will reflect the importance and value of all contributors for their unique expertise and experience.  

Participants will commit to building trust, exploring history, working for reconciliation and equity, and practicing humility. 

Co-design partnership practices and policies that acknowledge and leverage power and privilege for the shared vision. 

Practices: Community representatives are leaders in the partnership, and they are rewarded for their roles. 

Design an asset-based approach to addressing the project mission—relying on community expertise and experience alongside University resources.  

Transparency and Communication

Goals: Co-develop transparency and communication partnership guidelines. Guidelines should be updated as needed. Include plan for how to share partnership outcomes.  

Participants will disclose relevant and accurate information with each another and communicate clearly, authentically, and regularly using a variety of different methods to optimize engagement.  

Practices:  Guidelines are written and available to everyone in the partnership.  

Accountability measures include tracking/reporting/ monitoring. 

Shared Decision Making

Goals: Partners will co-develop process for making decisions together. Create guidelines/structures for shared power. Projects should establish leadership structures with community partners. 

Participants will gather the best available information to inform their decisions, incorporate the values and preferences of members in an inclusive manner, and share power, responsibility, and accountability.  

Practices:  Projects are co-led with the University and community.  

Shared policies are written to address conflict resolution. 


Goals:  Hold each other accountable to deliver as promised on the partnership’s shared vision and expectations.  

Remain faithful to partnership and vision in the face of opposition or challenges. 

Build, when relevant, a sustainability plan to maintain and grow partnership outcomes.  

Practices: Timelines are co-developed. 

Responsibilities for each partner are outlined alongside measures for evaluation.