Affirmative Action Plan Informs Efforts to Increase Faculty and Staff Diversity
by Laura Eckert
One of Western’s strategic goals is to: “Serve as a model for institutional effectiveness, innovation, diversity, and sustainability.” Among other methods, Western evaluates the extent of its faculty and staff diversity by creating an annual Affirmative Action Plan (AAP).
Because it is a federal contractor, Western is required by law to create an annual AAP. The 2012 AAP, signed by President Shepard on February 28, 2012, is available on the EOO website. As part of the AAP, Western analyzes the race and gender demographics of all employees by job group. This allows us to better understand the extent to which people of color and women are employed at Western, benchmark where we are, and ask where we could be. Ultimately, the affirmative action analysis asks whether Western is employing women and people of color at rates we would expect based on the availability of qualified diverse individuals in the recruiting areas for each job group.
If women or people of color are underrepresented in a job group at Western in which a hiring action is occurring, the hiring committee is legally required to engage in “good faith efforts” to increase the number of women and/or people of color in the applicant pool for that position. “Good faith efforts” that seem to have resulted in diverse applicant pools include (1) personalized outreach and networking to share information about the job opening and (2) sharing the job announcement with academic and professional associations specifically serving people of color or women in the particular discipline or profession.
The EO Office is committed to ongoing collaboration with the campus community to increase faculty and staff diversity at Western. The Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity is in the process of meeting with the Deans and Vice Presidents to review 2012 AAP goals and discuss best practices to obtain diverse applicant pools, which will be provided in our forthcoming equal opportunity handbook for search committees. Please contact Laura Eckert with any questions or suggestions about the AAP.