Diversity and Excellence
Diversity is a core element of the NIU Strategic Plan, and was a required format parameter in the strategic planning proposal process. Diversity characterizes the nature of the modern economy, marketplaces, and workplaces in which our students are preparing to participate. Higher education serves as an essential linkage between career preparation and the real-world socioeconomic environment for faculty, staff, and students. Thus, it is imperative that the concept and practice of diversity emerge as a comprehensive strategic focus, fundamental to the mission of the university. Accordingly, the Diversity proposal is broad in scope, integrating several concepts and programs throughout the university organization.
The goals of the proposal are generally to implement policy changes and strategic initiatives that have the result of improving, increasing, and sustaining faculty and staff diversity, and enhancing campus culture relative to diversity. As such, Diversity and Excellence is well correlated with the Strategic Planning Imperatives:
- Preserve, strengthen, and extend NIU’s teaching and learning environment
- Invest in multidisciplinary scholarship and artistic clusters
- Strengthen and extend NIU’s regional and global impact
- Make NIU an institution of “first Choice” for faculty, students, and staff
Given the scope and prioritization of diversity as a component of strategic planning, champions include the Offices of the President, Executive Vice Presidents, President’s Cabinet, and the Council of Deans. Champions also include areas of the university assigned direct responsibility for diversity initiatives such as Affirmative Action Diversity Resources (AADR) and Human Resource Services, along with the network of designated AADR representatives across NIU’s colleges and divisions. Other partners also include the Presidential Commissions, various units identified within our system of shared grievance, resource centers, advisory committees, and student-centered programs. The specific roles and contributions of the different champions and partners will vary considerably depending upon the strategies and methods used to accomplish the goals of this proposal.
Action Step Status Report as of March 1, 2009
(Goal 1 - Increase Faculty/Staff Diversity)
Strategy 1 - Policy Procedure Review:
- Update of Affirmative Action Plan (AAP): AADR Staff have attended OFCCP training and are in the process of updating the AAP narrative and statistical sections. A revised AAP will be completed in the March time frame. The representation analysis system is being updated with revised Job Group parameters in preparation for department/college specific representation reports and customized recruitment assistance to be provided to search committees and hiring centers.
- Revision of Search Procedures and Staff Assistance to Search Committees: Search procedures are under review by AADR and will be updated to incorporate specific recruitment plans and representation analysis information. AADR has allocated staff resources to assist with search procedures and recruitment plans. This will be a continuous updating process guided by feedback from colleges/divisions and advisory committees. AADR is designing Search Committee Training materials.
- Affirmative Action Associates: The college/divisional Affirmative Action Associate designations will be reconfirmed with the Vice Presidents and Deans. These representatives will assist with search procedures and other diversity enhancement programs.
Strategy 2 - On-line Applicant Tracking and Application System:
- RFP has been issued for Applicant Tracking system.
Strategy 3 - Civil Service Trainee Programs:
- Participated in amending state-level Trainee Program procedures with the State Universities Civil Service System to reference university workforce diversity efforts. Recruitment has continued.
Strategy 4 - SPS Leadership Development and Recruitment Program:
- Supervisory Training program is under development. Leadership Development program will be discussed with the SPS Council.
Strategy 5 – Senior Faculty Scholar/Mentor Program:
- The first Faculty Leadership Initiative began in October 2008 and will continue through May 2009. Fourteen faculty representing five colleges are participating in monthly half-day or full-day programs on various aspects of leadership. The project is being coordinated by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.
Strategy 6 - Persons with Disabilities – Requests for Reasonable Accommodation:
- Accommodation procedure is under review by AADR. ADA Committee will meet to discuss. Persons declaring disabilities through the annual questionnaire issued by AADR are automatically contacted seeking any accommodation requests.
Strategy 7 - Initiative Grants:
- Proposal process is under development.
Strategy 8 - Survey of Diversity Initiatives:
- AADR and Student Affairs have collaborated to compile a comprehensive summary of various initiatives related to students and employees. The document is nearly complete and will serve as a base-line for information. Additional input will be solicited from the Colleges.
(Goal 2 – Review and Benchmark University Diversity Initiatives)
Strategy 1 - Policy Benchmarking:
- AADR has reviewed Affirmative Action Plans at major peer institutions and participated in OFCCP training.
- AADR and HRS staff will continue benchmarking on a policy-specific basis.
- Benchmarking will be discussed with the Affirmative Action Associates when the Survey of Diversity Initiatives is completed.
Strategy 2 - Revised Exit Survey Process:
- AADR has drafted an updated Exit Survey procedure. Updated procedure requires development of database and electronic distribution system, which is underway. Draft procedure will be finalized with campus input.
Strategy 3 - Adoption of Diversity/EEO Statement:
- Review of location and content of various statements is underway. Updated consistent statement will be drafted. Enhanced statements, web-based presentations, and search-related correspondence are also under development.
Strategy 4 - Dedicated Position for Diversity Initiatives:
- Staff levels have been affected by budget. HRS/AADR has allocated staff resources to cover strategic planning initiatives.
Strategy 5 - Evaluation of Existing Academic Minors and Curricular Change:
- This initiative will begin in the fall semester 2009.