Official Reports on Ohio State Diversity Issues
Diversity Report 2000-2001
Submitted by The Council on Diversity Carole Anderson, Chair; John D. Chovan, Trish A. Cunningham, Patty F. Cunningham II, Audeen W. Fentiman, Leslie M. Fine, Kim S. Foster, Judith B. Fountain, Timothy A. Gerber, Charles R. Hancock, Valerie B. Lee, Jeanne C. McGuire, Teresa Y. Morishita, Rebecca L. Parker, Elliot E. Slotnick, Mac A. Stewart, Lee C. Tashjian, Larry Lewellen
February 5, 2002
The Academic Plan adopted in October 2000 identifies the universitys aspiration to become one of the worlds great public research and teaching universities. To realize this aspiration, the plan calls for the university to build academic excellence by focusing on six strategies. One of these strategies is to "Create a Diverse University Community" by hiring and retaining women and minority faculty and staff, by recruiting, retaining and graduating minority students. Since its release, The Academic Plan has functioned as the primary force driving major decisions and actions and provides the overarching context for the Diversity Action Plan also adopted in October 2000.
The Diversity Action Plan, developed by an appointed faculty and staff committee, sets forth a plan of recommended actions for the university to assist in meeting the overall goals of the Academic Plan. The Diversity Action Plan was accepted by the President and Provost who pledged their total commitment to realizing the goals of the plan and to making the university a place where "all persons will be valued and respected and feel valued and respected." By the time the Diversity Action Plan had been released to the community, the president and provost had already implemented several of the recommendations of the plan including providing funding for a university wide-diversity lecture series, the creation of an Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and The Womens Place, increased funding for minority student scholarships, and a multicultural center. Importantly, in January 2001 they appointed the first university-wide Council on Diversity. The Councils charge was to:
An important first step in holding deans and vice presidents accountable for meeting the goals of the Diversity Action Plan was to require that each of them submit an action plan for 2000-2001. In the spring of 2001, all deans and vice-presidents were then asked to submit the results of their plan. The Council on Diversity reviewed each of the unit plans and, based on that review, designed a standardized template which was recommended to the president and provost to be used for the submission of the 2001-2002 plans. This recommendation was accepted, and the template was used to develop the second year plans.
This report is the result of a review by the Council on Diversity of the 2000-2001 plans and progress reports. In reviewing the progress made and in making our recommendations, the Council was guided by the following:
This report is organized according to the goals of the Diversity Action Plan. We are hopeful that this "report card" provides the university community with baseline data to use as we move forward. We also hope that it provides the entire community with the realization that there is a firm and unflagging commitment on the part of the President and Provost of the university to hold everyone accountable for meeting the goals of the Diversity Action Plan as an essential component to achieving academic excellence.
A. Create a Supportive Environment that is Welcoming for All
Another successful initiative was the year-long President and Provosts Diversity Lecture Series that brought experts from across the country to campus to discuss various aspects related to diversity such as recruiting and retaining minority students, the role of non-minorities in achieving racial justice and diversity law. These outstanding lectures provided thought provoking discourse that some units, such as the College of Social Work, used as a starting point for their own internal discussions of the topic. This is an excellent strategy that other units may want to adopt. The lecture series is being continued in 2001-2002.
Several colleges hosted special events such as the Fisher College of Business program on minority entrepreneurship; the Lena Bailey lecture in the College of Human Ecology, and the Arts and Lecture series on the Mansfield campus make diversity a major theme.
Other colleges, such as the College of Medicine and Public Health, the College of Engineering and the College of Education appointed individuals with administrative responsibility for shepherding the diversity agenda in that unit. In addition, the Colleges of Education, Nursing, Humanities, Biological Sciences, Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Libraries, and Humanities and the Newark and Marion campuses, appointed standing committees or task forces to focus on diversity matters in the unit. These are important first steps in identifying specific problems that need to be addressed. Critical to real progress, however, will be the extent to which the units devise and implement more permanent solutions.
Several colleges such as Pharmacy, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, chose to begin their efforts by administering a climate survey. Again, real success will be achieved once issues derived from those assessments are identified, and meaningful solutions implemented. This strategy is recommended for all units as a way of marking a starting point that can be used to measure progress in the future.
The President and Provost held meetings with representatives of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) community to discuss GLBT concerns. Those concerns focused both on climate issues and, in the absence of extending full domestic partner benefits, the need to take a step in the right direction by extending various "soft" domestic partner benefits. These discussions continued with the Office of Human Resources and progress is being made on the implementation of these benefits during this years open enrollment period. In addition, a university-sponsored financial planning seminar was held for GLBT employees.
The opening of the Multicultural Center became a reality in 2001 and its first director was appointed. This center is concrete evidence of a commitment to diversity. The planning committee for the center also inventoried campus courses and identified those relating to diversity. This list was verified by the academic units and compiled into a comprehensive directory to be made available to students, academic advisors and the university community.
Some colleges, for example, Education and Human Ecology, involved students directly in the planning of events designed to recruit a more diverse student body. This is a highly recommended strategy because it both heightens students awareness for the need for diversity and also empowers them to have a meaningful role in achieving the colleges diversity goals.
Academic support units have also developed and implemented plans to enhance diversity. For example, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs conducted a campus survey to assess the Campus Climate for Diversity and issued several reports with the results of that survey. Their plan is to use the results as baseline data to monitor change over time.
Student Affairs also has initiated several proactive programs to create a welcoming environment for all students. For example, in the residence halls "Charter Groups" have been formed around specific interests/identities, and an Allies for Diversity Program provides students who are committed to diversity with the option of being housed with a student similarly inclined. Student Affairs has also offered numerous educational programs in support of GLBT and womens issues and developed student support groups and programs that foster multicultural understanding.
Significantly, Student Affairs sponsored 40 individuals to attend a National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), a prejudice reduction and diversity awareness-training program. Subsequently, an NCBI Campus Affiliate was created that then conducted eight more workshops involving the entire Student Affairs leadership team. This interesting initiative holds promise for the development of a model to be used by student organizations and, perhaps by faculty and staff. Importantly as well, this office continues its leadership in the coordination of the annual African-American Heritage Festival and other campus cultural celebrations.
University Relations has done a superb job of disseminating information about the universitys diversity initiatives. The staff developed the diversity website, met with community leaders, frequently featured diversity programs and stories in university and community publications, developed a video describing campus diversity initiatives, promoted several research stories with diversity themes, and ensured that WOSU provided adequate coverage of wide-ranging topics related to diversity. In addition, University Relations was instrumental in helping units charged with diversity initiatives expand and enhance communication efforts to targeted populations.
The Office of Minority Affairs continues its ongoing and historical efforts to recruit and retain minority students in order to support the goals of the Diversity Action Plan. A special and new focus this year was the development of a targeted retention program for Africa-American males.
As well, the Womens Place continues to thrive on campus and this year saw the appointment of the Presidents Council on Womens Issues. That council has established several work groups to address various aspects of concerns related to the recruitment and retention of women into faculty and staff roles. The initial focus for the efforts of this office is the retention of the newly recruited cohort of faculty women on the tenure track.
The Diversity Action Plan recommended that the Council on Diversity establish a subcommittee to examine the specific concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GBLT) students, faculty and staff. This was done and consisted of five members of the Council.
That group organized a meeting with individuals from across the university who were known to have in interest in this topic and included leaders of the Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Faculty and Staff (AGLBFS) conveners of the GLBT alumni organization and representatives from the Office of Human Resources. Several issues emerged from this meeting, particularly the difficulty in obtaining real numbers of GBLT employees due to lack of the means to self-identify and the fear in doing so. Another was the reluctance of the Board of Trustees to approve full domestic partner benefits and its negative impact on the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff.
B. Recruit and Retain Greater Numbers of Women and Minorities Into
Faculty, Staff and Administrative Positions.
It is mandatory that effective retention strategies be designed and implemented. An outstanding retention model is the senior colleague-mentoring program in the College of Humanities that has resulted in the leadership of the college consisting of 40 percent women and 18 percent minorities. In addition to a mentoring program, support for faculty and staff to have work/life balance can substantially contribute to retention. The Lima campus is an example of local support for work/life balance. The campus functions within the universitys policies but has adopted a "family first" policy that is especially important to retaining women and minorities.
Noteworthy, are the various strategies being employed to increase the number of women and minority faculty. For example, the Colleges of Human Ecology and Biological Sciences successfully utilized a targeted search that also involved a spousal placement. In the College of Social and Behavior Sciences and the College of Engineering, the Dean matches the FHAP money received from OAA and the Fisher College of Business converted a post-doctoral position to a faculty position. Several of the regional campuses are "growing their own" by supporting staff to obtain advanced degrees. Innovative initiatives such as these, that involve thinking "outside the box" are critical to success in this area.
Several vice-presidential units have made significant progress on recruitment and retention goals. For example, of the 19 senior staff in University Relations, 11 are women; 4 are African-American; and one is self-identifed as GLBT. Increasing diversity has been a high priority for the Office of Business and Finance resulting in 16 percent minority and 38 percent women among the 42 senior positions demonstrating that real change can occur when diversity is made a priority and there is commitment to that goal. In addition to a recruitment priority, this office also has developed a retention plan focused on personnel practices and designated accountability.
Several colleges have made substantial progress over several years in increasing the diversity of their faculty. They include the colleges of Humanities, Law, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts and Business. Many colleges however, face a situation in which women and minorities are seriously underrepresented in the pool of applicants. In these instances, the challenge is to develop the pool. The College of Engineering has made doing that one of its priorities.
Several colleges made key administrative appointments of women and minorities. For example, the College of Engineering appointed an African-American man as Department Chair and the College of Humanities appointed an African-American female as Associate Dean and another African-American as Department Chair.
The College of Medicine and Public Health appointed a task force to examine the progress of women in the college. That task force made several recommendations and it will be interesting to track progress on those over the next few years. The College of Medicine and Public Health also employed an external consultant to assist in the development of effective strategies for their diversity initiatives, a desirable strategy to bring new ideas for consideration. Other units may want to consider this strategy as well.
C. Recruit, Retain and Graduate Greater Numbers of Minority Students
The gains in undergraduate recruitment are likely the result of a multi-year aggressive recruitment plan implemented by the Office of Enrollment Services and the Office of Minority Affairs. This strategy includes names searches; special mailings to minority groups; ongoing student, faculty and staff telephone calls to prospective and admitted minority students; on-campus programs; and a variety of programs in collaboration with target high schools and community organizations. The Council applauds these efforts and encourages these offices to continue to focus their efforts in Ohio and urban areas in the Midwest. We believe that these are the places that most likely will provide the greatest yield.
Faculty in the College of Mathematics and Physical Sciences tutor in mathematics and science at the African-American and African Studies Community Extension Center as one strategy to interest minority students in these majors. Also, the College of Education was successful in retaining funding for Project TEACH that supports 5-6 students of color in their program and, the regional campuses are working with schools and various minority agencies. For example, the Marion campus works with the local NAACP as a means to increase their minority student enrollment.
The university is moving to increase the numbers of undergraduates directly enrolled in the colleges as a means of enhancing recruitment and retention. As this occurs, resources must be allocated to those units to continue to maintain the gains that have been made in increasing diversity.
Several programs have been developed to assist in the retention of minority students. Several colleges have designed special programs to assist these students in continuing on to graduation, for example, the Peer Power program in the College of Humanities and a mentoring program in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Other colleges such as the Colleges of Nursing and Engineering have dedicated student affairs staff/offices to monitor student progress and provide assistance and referral as needed. For some colleges, particularly Engineering, the numbers of female students is very small and must be increased. The College of Engineering has created a full-time position for a Director of Women in Engineering and has hired a female engineer in that position.
One of the ways to attract and retain women and minority students is to offer programs and courses that are of interest to them. A very few colleges specifically indicated that they are devoting or will devote time and effort into reviewing their offerings to ensure that they are inclusive of diversity. The Fisher College of Business, for example, began to review the case studies used in their courses to ensure that they reflect diversity, and the College of Humanities has placed priority on developing areas of study that are likely to draw minority faculty and students to them such as a new program in comparative ethnic studies. In addition, the college continues to make a distinctive contribution to the universitys diversity efforts by offering curricular diversity as part of the academic program. A number of departments in the College of Humanities teach courses that theorize difference and diversity. As such the unit connects the diversity plan with the academic plan. The faculty in this college are a rich resource to others in helping them look at their curriculum and the teaching strategies they employ.
Graduate and professional student recruitment is primarily the responsibility of the graduate program although there are some centralized initiatives housed in the Graduate and Professional Admissions Office and the Graduate School aimed at recruiting minority graduate and professional students. These include the Graduate School Enrichment Fellowship Program, the Graduate Professional Student Visitation Day sponsored by the Office of Minority Affairs; the CIC and National Name exchange; the McNair Scholars; the Professional School Minority Fair and the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP).
Autumn, 2001 enrollment figures show a 15.7 percent increase of African American graduate professional students. However, in this same group, there were decreases of Hispanic (10.9 percent) and Asian Pacific Islanders (2.5 percent). Enrollment in graduate programs showed slight decreases of African Americans (2.5 percent), Asian Pacific Islanders (5.7 percent) and Hispanics (4.5 percent) and an increase of American Indians (40.0 percent). These figures suggest there is room for more aggressive recruitment utilizing different approaches to increase the numbers of ethnic minority graduate and graduate professional students. There are more women than men enrolled in the graduate professional and graduate programs. However, there representation is uneven across the disciplines.
A variety of strategies are being employed by several colleges to recruit a more diverse graduate and professional student body. These include recruiting at various historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and attending recruitment fairs when it is believed larger numbers of minority students will attend. However, many of these strategies have been followed for several years with disappointing results. The Council recommends more innovative and better-coordinated approaches to achieve substantial gains.
For example, when representatives from colleges or the Graduate School attend recruiting fairs, some thought should be given to finding ways in which they could be distinguished from other schools rather than be seen as just one of many. Several colleges are working with one or more of the HCBUs and the Council recommends that rather than these isolated initiatives that the Office of Minority Affairs organize a central, coordinated and multi-year effort. Another recommendation is to identify OSU alumni who are employed in HCBUs and work through them to recruit graduate and professional students.
Recruitment is costly. Recognizing this, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences allocated additional funds to the departments to assist in the effort to recruit greater numbers of minority students. The College of Dentistry obtained a federal training grant to support DDS/Ph.D. students. If successful this funding will also increase the pool of individuals prepared for faculty positions. In addition, the Graduate Schools Academic Enrichment grant partially supports the recruitment costs associated with campus visits of minority fellowship applicants.
The College of Optometry has linked its profession to potential students through the development of optometric services to minority populations, a strategy that could be replicated by other health science and professional colleges. The Colleges of Optometry, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine have utilized their minority alumni to assist in the recruitment of students, which appears to be a viable strategy.
Another potential source of graduate and professional students is the minority fraternities and sororities on campus and their national affiliates. For example, this year Ohio State hosted the National Black Greek Leadership Conference. This would have been a great place to make connections and doing so with this and other similar organizations is encouraged.
D. Provide Incentives to Academic and Academic Support Units for Developing
Models of Excellence for Increasing Diversity
In the non-academic, support units, accountability needs to be built into annual performance reviews and the development of good personnel practices. The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance has developed an excellent model for doing this.
It would be helpful if each unit would develop a strategic plan for meeting its diversity goals so that progress could be measured on some regular basis. At the same time, however, the Council on Diversity is of the opinion that decentralized planning may not be sufficient to meet the universitys diversity goals and that what is needed is to reorient the leadership and thereby change the infrastructure of the institution. At the end of the day, real change is measured in part by the change in the faculty, staff and student mix. It is imperative that the entire leadership namely deans, vice-presidents, department chairs and senior administrators be committed to that goal because change will not just happen. A process is needed that will transform the leadership of the institution to firmly believe that excellence cannot be achieved without diversity and subsequently acting in accordance with that belief. The Council recommends that a centralized training program for academic leaders be initiated to achieve this perspective.
and Organize Data to Create Databases in Order to Systematically and Effectively
Assess Progress and Align/Realign Programs to Achieve Diversity Goals
One of the work groups resulting from the SRI study on women faculty and staff is developing a longitudinal database on women faculty. Several of the colleges and vice presidential units are utilizing exit interviews to assess the climate. We recommend that this strategy be utilized whenever feasible.
F. Assign Accountability to Achieve Progress Envisioned in This Plan
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This report from the Council on Diversity is the first in what will be an annual status report on progress made toward meeting the universitys diversity goals. The plan is to release this report to the campus community and to hold an open forum to discuss the findings. The report will also be posted on the universitys diversity website for dissemination.
A good start has been made this year in addressing the goals of the Diversity Action Plan. However, it is clear in reviewing the unit plans that the level of commitment to these goals varies widely. Nonetheless, each unit did make an effort to address diversity. Some units on campus had a head start on meeting the goals because there had been an ongoing effort to improve diversity in that unit and that was apparent. What is encouraging here is that dedicated attention to this issue brings positive results and this is a major recommendation for all units in the coming years. At the same time, the quality of the reports was very uneven. It becomes quite clear that some units take diversity very seriously. In addition, the lack of new thinking about solutions suggests that units may need additional assistance from internal resources to create a new perspective on these issues. Given the fact that this was the first year of this process, allowance can be made. However, in subsequent years, if only perfunctory attention to diversity goals is evident, concrete corrective action certainly must be taken.
It was disappointing that only the College of Education, the College of Social Work and the Office of Student Affairs included GLBT issues in their diversity plans. The Council recognizes that because this population is, in part, invisible, there are inherent difficulties in addressing some of their concerns. Nonetheless, the Council believes that substantial effort needs to be directed to the concerns of GLBT faculty, staff and students.
It was also disappointing that specific recommendations regarding work/life balance were not mentioned in unit reports. There are institutional mechanisms currently in place, such as flextime, that can be implemented to improve the climate for all employees while enhancing the quality of the work effort. The presidents commission on staff development and work/life, using an outside consultant, has just completed a survey of all staff members with a 66 percent response rate. The findings from this report and the report from the SRI work group on work life will assist units and the university in developing models to successfully expand support for work/life balance.
There are areas in the Diversity Action Plan that have not yet been addressed. Important among them are the development of seed grants for research on diversity issues, establishing a university-wide minority alumni council, initiating a comprehensive development plan to increase funds to support diversity initiatives and wide-spread work on the curriculum. These areas should be emphasized in the coming years.
The Council on Diversity is encouraged by the receptivity of the President and Provost to our suggestion that a template be used for subsequent diversity reports. This recommendation was the result of our analysis of the 2000-2001 Diversity Plans in which we found significant variation in both format and substance. We believed that using a standardized reporting form would facilitate a campus-wide analysis and the development of institutional measures of success. We look forward to reviewing the 2000-2001 plans that have been prepared in the standardized format.
One of the challenges facing the university is how to disseminate the information about the progress that has been made. The office of University Relations is poised to assist in this endeavor but needs to obtain the needed information from the individual units. In doing this, a balance must be struck with championing our progress while also continuing to set goals for improvement. This will not be an easy task, but we must try; and the Council on Diversity is willing and eager to participate fully in this endeavor.
Based on our assessment of the progress made in 2000-2001, the Council makes the following general recommendations:
In addition, we have made specific recommendations related to several of the goals of The Diversity Action Plan:
A. Create a Supportive Environment That is Welcoming for All
B. Recruit and Retain Greater numbers of Women and Minorities into Faculty, Staff and Administrative Positions.
C. Recruit, Retain and Graduate Greater Numbers of Minority Students
D. Provide Incentives to Academic and Academic Support Units for Developing Models of Excellence for Increasing Diversity
E. Collect and Organize Data to Create Databases in Order to Systematically and Effectively Assess Progress and Align/realign Programs to Achieve Diversity Goals
F. Assign Accountability to Achieve Progress Envisioned in This Plan