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February 18, 1992

         University Committee on Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

                               February 18, 1992

 

 

  Present:  Robin Ball, Alan Bayer, G.W. Clough (guest), Marion Farmer, John

            Garrison, Valerie Giddings, Laurie Good, Michele Holmes, Pat

            Hyer, Norrine Klein, Gail Lopes, Cornel Morton, S.J. Ritchey

            (guest), Richard Sapon-White, Nancy Simmons, Wayne Speer, Chris

            Tayloe, Janet Tuckwiller

 

  Absent:   Chris Broderick, Penny Burge, Virgil Cook, Melinda Emerson,

            Muriel Flynn, Randy Grayson, Betty Greene, Jane Harrison, Richard

            Haymen, Melissa Holland, Dennis Jones, Alice LoMascolo, Harry

            Pence, Sheri McConnell, Patricia Summers

 

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

 

  1.  APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES FROM JANUARY 21, 1992.

 

      These minutes were approved as written.

 

  2.  REPORT FROM DEANS

 

      Cornel Morton introduced G. Wayne Clough, dean of the College of Engi-

      neering, and asked him to speak about his college's efforts to attract

      and retain female and minority students and faculty.  As background,

      Clough provided an historical overview of the lack of females and mi-

      norities at most colleges of engineering, including Virginia Tech, and

      the steps he and others have taken to increase these numbers.  These

      include:  (1) the formation of a Minority Affairs Committee;  (2) the

      development of a student assistance center in Randolph Hall;  and (3)

      the establishment of a Minority Affairs Center adjacent to the student

      assistance area (dedicated Fall, 1991).   Clough informed the Committee

      that a search is underway to appoint a director of minority affairs.

      He also noted that the National Society for Black Engineers has relo-

      cated their facilities to this same area, thus providing further men-

      toring and support for freshmen.  He then addressed the lack of African

      American graduate students in engineering, but expressed his belief

      that these numbers would increase as a result of having joined "GEM" --

      the Graduate Education for Minorities Program.

 

      A more encouraging trend, he announced, is the growing prevalence of

      female undergraduate and graduate students, now at 16% and 13%, respec-

      tively.  In fact, he stated that the number of female engineering ma-

      jors at Virginia Tech is higher than the national average.  He also

      reported an tremendous increase in the number of female applicants for

      faculty positions.

 

      Clough described the $1 million dollar grant from the National Science

      Foundation (the Charles Minor Fellowship Program) to fund a special

      Ph.D. program for women, minorities, and the disabled.  Although ten

      graduate students are now supported by this project, the goal is to

      graduate 25 students in the underrepresented areas over the next five

      years.

 

      Clough spoke about the $15 million dollar National Science Foundation

      grant awarded to Virginia Tech and eight other universities to fund the

      NSF Educational Coalition Program.  The three objectives of this pro-

      gram are:  1) innovate the engineering curriculum, 2) increase the num-

      ber of women and minority high school graduates entering colleges of

      engineering; and 3) improve retention rates.  The 5-year goal of this

      program is to increase by 50% the number of minority graduates from the

      recipient institutions.  Clough stated his belief that Virginia Tech

      could exceed those official expectations.

 

 

      Clough also acknowledged the efforts of Michael C. Vorster, David W.

      Burrows Professor of Civil Engineering, who developed and directs the

      Construction Mentor Program for DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enter-

      prises) Contractors.  This program, he explained, funds the positions

      of several civil engineering "mentors" who routinely visit and assist

      some of the minority- and female-owned contracting firms in Southwest

      Virginia.

 

      In closing, Clough described the links that Virginia Tech shares with

      Norfolk State University and North Carolina A & T, principally involv-

      ing sponsored undergraduate and graduate student visits to Virginia

      Tech.

 

      Cornel Morton then introduced S. Jewel Ritchey, dean of the College of

      Human Resources, to speak about his college's EO/AA efforts.  As back-

      ground, Ritchey reminded committee members that his college is unique

      at Virginia Tech in that its students and faculty are predominantly fe-

      male.  Thus, he explained, affirmative action recruitment and retention

      efforts are primarily directed at African Americans (who comprise about

      7% of the faculty, and less than 3% of the students).

 

      Ritchey described one program whereby prospective graduate students

      from predominately black institutions in Virginia and several surround-

      ing states have an opportunity to visit Virginia Tech to meet faculty

      and discuss program interests.  He added that, typically, two to three

      who apply for the program are then accepted into graduate programs

      within the College of Human Resources.  He also noted a similar program

      in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management that promotes

      Ph.D.-level study among African-American faculty at historically Black

      colleges and universities.

 

      Ritchey highlighted the "working relationship" that the College of Hu-

      man Resources shares with South Carolina State University (SCSU).  As

      an example, he noted that his college routinely sends extra books and

      journals to SCSU, in addition to providing other types of supportive

      assistance.

 

      He then described the several ways that the college encourages young

      minority students to assume leadership positions, and also spoke about

      the aggressive approach his office takes in recruiting minority under-

      graduate students through personal contacts and scholarship offers,

      when feasible.

 

  3.  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      Laurie Good announced the upcoming "Breakfast With. . ." program on

      Friday, February 21st, featuring Wayne Pawlowski, director of education

      and training for Planned Parenthood in Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

      His topic is "Homophobia:  Developmental Issues."

 

      Morton noted the two upcoming half-day campus climate workshops on

      March 2 and April 2.  They were shortened, he explained, so that more

      faculty could attend.  He encouraged committee members to share this

      information with their colleagues.

 

  4.  AFFIRMATIVE ACTION INCENTIVE GRANTS PROGRAM

 

      Pat Hyer announced that the third round of the Affirmative Action In-

      centive Grants Program, which makes $15,000 available for funding of

      appropriate projects, will be publicized in early March.  The tentative

      due date for proposals is April 13, for funding after July 1, 1992.

      The Committee discussed appropriate ways to publicize the program while

      keeping costs down.  Members agreed that the EO/AA Office will widely

      disseminate a letter describing the program, requesting that interested

      individuals contact the EO/AA Office for an application form.  Morton

      also agreed to send an E-Mail note to all deans, directors and depart-

      ment heads and other appropriate groups reminding these individuals to

      share information about the program with their colleagues.

 

  5.  SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS

 

      a.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON WOMEN:  Robin Ball discussed the family-leave pol-

          icy that is being rewritten for the Faculty Handbook.

                                              _________________

 

      b.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON MINORITY CONCERNS:  No Report.

 

      c.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON DISABILITY CONCERNS:  Wayne Speer described the re-

          cent workshop designed to assist faculty in working with learning

          disabled students.  He indicated that the workshop/video presenta-

          tion, which will be repeated as needed, was very positively re-

          ceived.

 

          Speer then spoke about the Americans with Disability Act, recently

          passed by Congress.  He predicted that it could have a much greater

          impact than was thought.  He described some of the ramifications of

          the act, the most profound of which, he stated, would probably im-

          pact the "communications" areas at Virginia Tech.  This could in-

          clude, for example, providing sign language interpretation and

          closed-captioned television, and improving amplification equipment

          in public areas, such as Burruss Auditorium.

 

  6.  AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AWARD PROGRAM

 

      Michele Holmes reviewed the guidelines, highlighting the subcommittee's

      recommendations to date.  Among the issues discussed by committee mem-

      bers were:  1) whether or not to provide a monetary award to winners,

      2) should recipients of an Affirmative Action Incentive Grant be eligi-

      ble for the award?, and 3) the frequency of the award and appropriate

      number of recipients.  She invited comments from committee members

      about any aspect of these guidelines.

 

  7.  CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991

 

      Cornel Morton summarized the history of the Civil Rights Act of 1991,

      noting that it took two and a half years to pass.  He reviewed each of

      the "titles" of the act, and described some of the implications for

      universities.  Overall, Morton explained that passage of the act did

      nothing to change the voluntary nature of affirmative action plans, as

      they are still primarily driven by goals and timetables, rather than by

      quotas.  He added that, in most cases, the burden of proof of non-

      discrimination returns to the employer, instead of the employee.  He

      reminded committee members that details about the Civil Rights Act of

      1991 are available in his office.

 

  The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

 

 

  Respectfully submitted,

 

  Laurie S. Good

  Executive Secretary

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