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May 29, 1990

          University Committee on Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

 

 

 

                              1.1.1  May 29, 1990

 

 

  Present:  Robin Ball, Alan Bayer, Virgil Cook, Muriel Flynn, Valerie

            Giddings, Laurie Good, Jane Harrison, Pat Hyer, Larry Lawrence,

            Kathy Lewis, Cornel Morton, Harry Pence, Chris E. Tayloe, Linda

            Woodard

 

  Absent:   Susan Asselin, Danielle Carpenter, Paula Dail, Mark Flora, Janine

            Hiller, Michele Holmes, Dennis Jones, Keith Jordan, Michael

            Lambur, Donna McEldowney, Brian McConnell, Pat Morris, Charles

            Nunnally, Mary Ross, Wayne Speer, Anne Zajac

 

 

  Cornel Morton called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.

 

  1.  ADOPTION OF AGENDA

 

      Linda Woodard distributed copies of the GUIDELINES FOR ACCOMMODATION OF

      EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES and asked that discussion of this document

      be added to the agenda as item #4b.

 

      The agenda was adopted as amended.

 

  2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

      The minutes from the meeting of April 24, 1990, were approved as dis-

      tributed.

 

  3.  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      o   Dr. Morton announced that the State Council of Higher Education for

          Virginia requires receipt of the Virginia Tech's Affirmative Action

          Plan update by June 15, 1990.  He added that the deadline may be

          extended to June 26. This year the update is a comprehensive one

          that will include information for faculty, staff, and students.

 

      o   Dr. Hyer asked that the 1989 Workforce Profile Data report (dis-

          tributed as an attachment to the 1989-90 Final Report of the EO/AA

          Subcommittee on Minorities) be routinely circulated among EO/AA

          Committee members.  She also referenced Recommendation #21 in the

          Final Report concerning the development of a speaker series as one

          way of providing a more comforting social environment for black

          faculty, staff, and students. Dr. Hyer expressed her concern about

          this suggestion, stating that Virginia Tech already sponsors a siz-

          able number of black speakers.  She added that the university's

          limited resources might be better spent on attracting and hiring

          additional black faculty members.

 

          Dr. Morton thanked the three Subcommittees for their work this past

          year and suggested that their progress reports be provided to the

          full EO/AA Committee as early as possible so that any recommen-

          dations can be discussed and acted upon.  He acknowledged, however,

          that his absence from two meetings probably impeded a more timely

          "reporting-out" process during this past year.

 

  4.  NEW BUSINESS

 

      a.  Draft of Affirmative Action Strategies for Classified Staff

          ___________________________________________________________

 

          Dr. Hyer commented that what she felt was missing from the document

          was a sense of what really needs to be done.  For example, how many

          people does Tech need to recruit, using what strategies, and in

          what types of categories?

 

          Linda Woodard responded that goals this year will be much the same

          as in previous years, meaning that nearly every staff category con-

          tains a specific numerical goal.  These figures are derived from

          computations involving the number of people presently employed in

          that category and availability data.   Ms. Woodard added that this

          year's hiring focus may rest in executive recruitment, to be con-

          ducted nationally.   Ms. Woodard also elaborated on the identifica-

          tion and use of task forces "to identify and/or develop effective

          recruiting sources, strategies, and guidelines to increase minority

          and female applicant pools (p. 5)."  Such a university- and/or

          community-wide task force would be made up of individuals with

          skill in hiring a particular type of employee (such as an account-

          ant or computer programmer), and could be used in preparing a set

          of written recruitment guidelines.

 

          Dr. Morton suggested that a paragraph (a draft of which he provided

          to Ms. Woodard) should be inserted on page 1 between paragraphs 1

          and 2 that distinguishes the difference between "affirmative

          action" and "equal opportunity." He explained that all too often

          the terms are used interchangeably. Dr. Morton also stated his

          preference for the term "physically or mentally challenged," rather

          than "handicapped"; committee members, however, felt the phrase was

          too cumbersome and instead suggested that "handicapped" be replaced

          with "persons with disabilities." Dr. Morton also suggested the ad-

          dition of a paragraph on page 8 that would read "Administrators and

          managers should provide appropriate, timely, and constructive eval-

          uation of job performance for African Americans, women and other

          minority staff."

 

          Larry Lawrence referenced the final paragraph under "Recruitment,

          #1."  He stated that it seemed more like an opinion statement and

          should be relocated to another part of the document.  Ms. Woodard

          responded that she would reconsider the proper placement of this

          section.

 

          Dr. Hyer suggested that exit surveys or interviews should be con-

          ducted for staff in order to determine job vacancy trends and rea-

          sons for leaving.  Robin Ball noted that although Personnel

          Services has offered optional exit surveys, they have generally not

          provided much in the way of viable information.  Ms. Woodard agreed

          that a more thorough reporting system for staff vacancies would be

          useful and added that she and her staff would consider how to more

          effectively implement an exit survey for classified staff.

 

          Larry Lawrence inquired how the program would be funded?  Ms.

          Woodard replied that the proposed budget request (as yet unfunded)

          includes additional staff support within Personnel Services, as

          well as funding for supervisory training programs. Ms. Woodard also

          mentioned the development of further apprenticeship programs, and

          the use of high school and community college co-op programs to pro-

          vide work-study opportunities.

 

          Dr. Hyer asked if plans have been implemented to monitor whether or

          not a search has resulted in an affirmative action hire? Ms.

          Woodard responded that if an available position has an associated

          hiring goal, it is subject to a pre-hire review before an offer is

          extended. Dr. Morton suggested that a description of this review

          process be included in the document. Ms. Woodard also noted that

          Personnel Services would like to break down university-wide goals

          to smaller units or administrative areas so that hiring personnel

          are encouraged to be more accountable for meeting targeted goals.

 

 

          Discussion also focused on the importance of accurate job classi-

          fications when reporting numerical targets and on ways to improve

          the relevance of the Workforce Profile.  Dr. Hyer noted that Insti-

          tutional Research is in the process of revising methods of data

          collection and reporting.

 

          Linda Woodard reminded members to send her any additional comments

          or suggestions by the end of the summer. She plans to circulate the

          faculty, staff, and student plans as a package to deans and senior

          administrators.  Dr. Hyer suggested that stated recruitment goals

          be included as an appendix to the plans to obviate the need for

          university-wide affirmative action strategies; committee members

          generally agreed that numerical goals should be included in the

          Plans.

 

      b.  Guidelines for Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities

          ___________________________________________________________

 

          Linda Woodard distributed a draft of the Guidelines dated 5/17/90

          and explained that recent revisions did not involve any substantive

          procedural changes, but rather were more textual in nature.  For

          example, Ms. Woodard noted that a definition of the term "hand-

          icapped individual" has been added.  Ms. Woodard did mention that

          one of the "Other Alternatives" listed on page 3 -- namely the ter-

          mination of the employee when no mutually agreeable accommodation

          can be reached -- has been deleted as it might discourage disabled

          employees from seeking assistance.  Once the document has been ap-

          proved by the Committee, it will be circulated among members of the

          Executive Staff and the Deans' Council. Several committee members

          suggested that the title of the Guidelines include the word "clas-

          sified," thus clarifying that it does not delineate recourse proce-

          dures for faculty members.

 

          Chris Tayloe asked that the reference to "University Architect" on

          page 2 be changed to "Facilities Planning and Construction."  Ms.

          Tayloe also suggested that the Department of Health and Safety be

          included in the list of representative departments.

 

          Ms. Woodard asked committee members if the required steps in the

          "Placement Process" were clearly stated.  Basically, she described

          a "concentric circle" process whereby first efforts are made to re-

          turn the employee to his/her current position, providing that rea-

          sonable accommodations are made.  If that cannot be accomplished,

          the employee will be relocated within the larger organizational

          unit at the same pay scale.  If those efforts are still unsuccess-

          ful, the search for another position is expanded university-wide,

          providing the disabled employee meets the new job criteria.  Ms.

          Woodard noted that a disabled employee cannot be be upgraded in a

          non-competitive process. Dr. Hyer inquired if receiving departments

          are required to accept a disabled individual.  Ms.  Woodard replied

          that Personnel Services will advise that, in the case of a

          workman's compensation claim, the receiving department will be re-

          quired to hire the individual. Other cases may have to be consid-

          ered on a case-by-case basis, although Ms. Woodard admitted that

          voluntary placement has been largely unsuccessful in the past. She

          also stressed that a handicapped individual is relocated only to a

          position for which she/he is qualified; Ms. Ball added that the em-

          ployee is actively involved in the accommodation process.

 

          Ms. Woodard noted that a videotape produced by IBM concerning vari-

          ous supervisory accommodations made for disabled employees has been

          ordered.  She hopes to show it to the EO/AA Committee at a subse-

          quent meeting.

 

          A motion was made and passed to endorse the draft of the GUIDELINES

          OF ACCOMMODATION OF CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES with the

          suggested amendments.

 

 

      c.  Composition of the 1990-91 University Committee on Equal

          ________________________________________________________

          Opportunity/Affirmative Action

          ______________________________

 

          Dr. Morton noted a recent conversation with Dr. Lud Eng, 1990-91

          President of the Faculty Senate, who plans to forward at least one

          nomination from the Senate for membership on the EO/AA Committee.

 

          Dr. Hyer initiated discussion of the purpose, structure, and

          programmatic focus of the EO/AA Committee.  Dr. Morton stated that

          the Committee ought to be representative of the entire campus and

          should include students, line management, and representatives of

          each of the employment groups.  He also expressed a preference for

          the inclusion of one or more deans, vice presidents, and department

          chairs. Dr. Hyer asserted that the first criteria in assembling the

          committee should be selecting people who care about the issues.

          She also stressed the need for regular attendance.  Dr. Morton sug-

          gested that a retreat be planned for current members so that issues

          surrounding the composition, purpose, and goals of the EO/AA Com-

          mittee can be discussed in greater depth. He also noted that the

          Affirmative Action Plan includes a discussion of some of these is-

          sues and plans to circulate the final draft with EO/AA members upon

          completion.

 

          In response to a question from Mr. Lawrence concerning the purpose

          of the EO/AA Committee, Dr. Morton declared his belief that the

          Committee should first act as an advisor to the President. Contin-

          ued discussion also focused on the most effective composition of

          the Committee.  Dr.  Cook reiterated Dr. Hyer's earlier statement

          about soliciting members genuinely interested in serving on the

          Committee.  Mr. Lawrence suggested that members be encouraged to

          send a representative when they are not available to attend.  Dr.

          Morton recommended that future EO/AA Committee minutes list absen-

          tees, as well as those who were present. Valerie Giddings noted

          that she would be on leave during the 1990-91 academic year, but

          plans to serve her final term;  Ms. Giddings suggested Joann Boles

          as her possible replacement during the upcoming year. Dr. Hyer men-

          tioned Judy Bond, Head of Biochemistry and Engineering, as a possi-

          ble replacement for Mary Ross, who is rotating off the Committee

          this year.  Dr. Bayer wondered if Anne Zajac, whose term ends this

          year, might be willing to serve another term.  Jane Harrison noted

          that Wyatt Sasser represents a large constituency and thus might be

          a possible classified staff representative.  In closing, Ms.

          Woodard stressed that the role of the EO/AA Committee should be de-

          termined prior to soliciting new membership.

 

          On the subject of the committee chair, Dr. Morton advised that this

          individual should be someone who has served in the past and who has

          a direct link to the central administration.  Dr. Bayer concurred

          and added that perhaps this individual should be appointed directly

          by the President.  Given that James Wolfe has already expressed an

          interest in serving on the EO/AA Committee, Dr. Hyer suggested that

          he be contacted as a possible candidate for the position of chair.

 

          Dr. Morton again raised the possibility of conducting a full-day

          retreat in July to flesh out these issues.  Dr. Hyer declared that

          among other issues, such a retreat should focus on 1) the Commit-

          tee's leadership, membership, and purpose, and 2) "bringing new

          members up to speed."  Ms. Woodard suggested that Wayland Winstead

          might be willing to assist the Committee in defining its purpose.

          Mr. Lawrence questioned how other university EO/AA committees func-

          tion?  He suggested that it might be helpful to have such informa-

          tion in advance of the retreat.  Dr. Hyer volunteered to contact

          several institutions about these issues and will begin to draft a

          purpose statement; Ms. Tayloe and Dr. Bayer will be working with

          her on this task. Dr. Morton noted that he would speak with Dr.

 

          McComas about possible nominations to serve as chair for the EO/AA

          Committee.

 

 

  The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

 

 

  Respectfully submitted,

  Laurie S. Good

  Executive Secretary

 

 

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