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Campus Climate Study

Equity Study Committee Report March 2001


Report Index
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Table 1: Faculty Response Rate by Sex, Ethnicity and Unit
Table 2: Unclassified Staff Response Rate by Sex, Ethnicity and Unit
Table 3: Faculty: Comparison of Mean Responses for Male – Female and Minority – White Faculty
Table 4: Female Faculty: Mean Responses in Descending Order of Perceived Inequity
Table 5: Faculty of Color: Mean Item Responses in Descending Order of Perceived Inequity
Table 6: Faculty: Top Five Issues of Concern and Five Issues of Least Concern
Table 7: Unclassified Staff Mean Item Responses by Sex and Race/Ethnicity
Table 8: Unclassified Staff: Female Item Means in Descending Order of Perceived Inequity
Table 9: Minority Unclassified Staff Item Means in Descending Order of Perceived
Responses to the Equity Study

Responses to the Equity Study


3 April 2001

            TO:          Members of the Equity Study Committee

            FROM:     David Shulenburger

At the most recent Deans and Chairs meeting (March 30), I distributed copies of the Equity Study Report and we spent the greater part of the meeting discussing it.  Within the week, the report will be on the Provost's Office website, and available to the entire campus community.  Again, I wish to express my thanks to those of you on the committee for all the work you did to bring these data together and to fashion a cogent report. 

As the chief academic officer of the University, I was very pleased that my perceptions were confirmed by your report--that is for both faculty and unclassified staff, the University of Kansas is an equitable place to work. This finding, of course, does not dismiss individual instances of inequity, or perceptions of inequity, and the positive tone of the report in no way relieves any of us from working to improve conditions for every member of the University community.  Accordingly, my staff and I have studied the recommendations in the report, and attempted to respond to each of them.  Our responses are below.  We will also disseminate these to a wider University audience. 

Please let me know if you have additional comments.

Equity Study Report Recommendations

1. Evaluation procedures (promotion and tenure and annual evaluation and merit). We will continue efforts to promote equity in evaluation procedures but want you to know of these several important efforts that are now underway.

In accordance with University policy, each academic unit has a plan for the annual evaluation of faculty performance.  Approved by department faculty, the plans articulate department and discipline expectations for performance, the review process itself, and required documentation.   Every three years, academic units must review and update their faculty evaluation plans and submit them for review and approval by the Provost's Office.  This review provides the opportunity to adjust plans if department or discipline expectations change and is the ideal opportunity for colleagues to make changes in evaluations that will promote equity in the implementation of the review processes. The three-year review of faculty evaluation plans has just been completed.

University procedures on promotion and tenure are subject to ongoing review through the University governance system.  During the current academic year, the University Council Committee on Organization and Administration (O&A) and the University Committee on Promotion and Tenure studied the promotion and tenure procedures and recommended several amendments.  Some changes deal with the membership of promotion and tenure committees at the department, school/College, and University levels and are intended to promote the perception and reality of equity in the review process. Other changes are designed to codify existing practices and also should further the same end. O&A recommendations have been reviewed by Faculty Senate Executive Committee and will be presented to the Faculty Council later in April.

Section C.4.f of the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, 1998, describes University procedures for the annual evaluation of unclassified professional staff.  The Department of Human Resources periodically offers workshops on the evaluation process, the HR website includes a several sample evaluation forms in the section dealing with “Unclassified and Student Evaluation Forms" (http://www.hreo.ku.edu/documents/category_details/36).  HR staff are also willing to assist individual units in developing evaluation procedures and practices for unclassified staff.  In addition, the Department of Human Resources is currently piloting a management development program geared specifically to mid- and upper-level management; one of the topics of that program is the evaluation process.

In May, the Department of Human Resources will survey both unclassified professional staff and classified staff on issues related to work climate.  A section of the survey focusing on the relationship with the immediate supervisor includes questions about performance evaluations. The survey results will help us determine whether additional efforts are needed to improve the quality and timeliness of performance evaluations for unclassified professional staff.

2. Recognition (teaching and research awards). Nearly all of the University-wide teaching awards are open to all tenured and tenure-track faculty across the institution and nearly all allow for self-nominations; thus no individuals are systematically excluded.  The major research prizes are targeted at senior faculty, and while there are more male faculty in these ranks, this demographic is changing.  The recommendation states that,

Potential award winners should be actively sought from the entire university community rather than relying solely on nominations,

But this is already the case.  A better strategy, we believe, will be to encourage departments and schools to appoint recognition committees to nominate deserving faculty for the many awards available internally.  Some departments have done this with great success, and it is an idea that should be replicated across the institution.  One of the Performance Indicators submitted to the Regents calls for KU to increase the recognition of faculty scholarly work at national and international levels.   Department-level committees charged with nominating colleagues for teaching and research awards, both on campus and outside, will fulfill the intent of the Equity Study recommendation and advance our progress in one of the Performance Indicator categories.  Thisrecommendation has been discussed with Deans and Chairs.

3. Equity-related hires and salary adjustments. In response to this recommendation, the Provost's Office has drawn up a statement on University-wide Domestic Partner Accommodation:

The University of Kansas has a tradition of strong collegiality in academic and governance matters and this tradition shapes our efforts in hiring.  With two- career couples becoming the norm rather than the exception in academia, we are willing, indeed eager, to investigate possibilities for domestic partner accommodations when such accommodations will increase our number of quality faculty and staff.  Our success in these efforts will depend principally on availability of financing within the academic, research or service units involved and the compatibility of need within the potential home unit with the credentials of any prospective hire.

We recognize that the success over time of any domestic partner accommodation strategy rests on the goodwill and flexibility of faculty and administrators, coupled with the budget flexibility over which we often have little control.  It is important to remember that the department helping in an accommodation may well in future be requesting one. 

The Provost's Office encourages Deans, Directors and Chairs to work together whenever possible to further the overarching University goal to bring the best people into the University. 

We hope that this statement, which has been discussed with and promulgated to Deans and Chairs, will help clarify both the efforts that will be taken to accommodate partners and the limitations inherent in these efforts.  We will explore the efficacy of including this statement in all full-length position descriptions for faculty.

For many years, the Provost's Office (and before, the Academic Affairs Office) has conducted salary reviews where discrepancies were suspected.  Where salary discrepancies were found to be unwarranted, salary adjustments have been made.  This practice will continue, but because of the sensitive nature of these personnel matters, they must continue to be confidential. 

4. Chair training and evaluation.  The Provost's Office schedules meetings with department chairs and deans each semester to provide continuing communication between the Provost and department chairs.  The meetings focus on specific issues of institutional concern; e.g., institutional changes such as implementation of the GTA Memorandum of Agreement and curricular issues such as undergraduate research and service learning.  Specific sessions have been devoted to diversity/equity issues within the university and creating departmental climates that support all faculties.  We will continue to systematically focus on these issues both as separate topics and as integrated into topics such as faculty mentoring.  In addition, the Board of Regents annually sponsors a system-wide training sessions for chairs, in which KU's chairs actively participate.   Department chairs will be encouraged to participate in the Management Development program mentioned in #1 above; and several have been invited to participate in the pilot program.  

The committee recommended that a regular means be developed for evaluating chair/director performance that includes specific items addressing equity and climate issues.  At present, all chairs are subject to annual performance evaluations by the dean, and University equal opportunity policy (IV.A.11) requires that “Criteria affecting promotion and salary increases of unit heads, university administrators, and supervisors shall include an evaluation of their efforts toward the attainment of university affirmative action goals and equal opportunity."  The Provost's Office will work with deans to ensure that concerns related to equity issues continue to be addressed in the annual evaluation.

University policy requires that all chairs be reviewed periodically and sets forth detailed procedures for such reviews (Section C.1.b.1, Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, 1998).  Though the policy requires five-year reviews, it also provides for earlier review whenever two-thirds of the faculty call for such a review, or when, in the judgment of the dean, such a review is necessary. 

Both Human Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity staff can provide diversity training sessions for departments, if requested.

5. Communication of policies.  The committee recommended that the University publish a brochure of relevant family, parental, and other related policies that affect faculty and staff and further suggested that the brochure be published separately from theHandbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff.  The Provost's Office staff will work with the Department of Human Resources and the Office of University Relations to develop a resource guide that will include brief summaries of relevant policies and direct users to the documents or web sites where the full policies can be found. We plan to have this available by the beginning of the fall 2001 semester.

6. The University's practices must be consistent with its statement of non-discrimination. The University of Kansas fully intends to keep policies and practices consistent with its promulgated statement of nondiscrimination.  When inconsistencies are reported, every effort will be made to rectify them. In recent years, we have succeeded in obtaining a mechanism at the Board of Regents level whereby a faculty member's “tenure clock" can be stopped for a period in order to accommodate difficult family situations, increased parental responsibilities, illnesses, etc. 

During the past academic year KU was supportive of the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Regents statement of nondiscrimination, and we are hopeful that this expansion will someday be recognized by the legislature in terms of health care and other benefits.  However, as noted in the study, these are issues over which the University has no control.  As long as benefit packages for same-sex partners are not within the University's power to implement, there is little reason to conduct a study to determine appropriate policies.  National studies exist to which we have easy access.  The problem with implementing such studies, however, remains outside our control, but we will continue to support reform in this area.

7. Further inquiry on issues raised by unclassified staff. The inequity in salary between faculty and other unclassified staff is a source of great concern to the administration of the University.  As long as the allocation of merit salary was strictly within the purview of the University, merit allocations to the units for faculty and staff were the same.  The implementation of SB 345 has resulted in an unfortunate skewing of salary distribution, and we are very aware of the morale problems that have resulted.  We are hopeful that at the end of the phase-in of SB345, and with permission for block funding, we will begin to be able to address the inequities that have grown up in this period.  It must be remembered, however, that market plays a very great role in salaries at the University, and competition for our best faculty and staff will continue to be a dominate factor in salary allocation.

Although not cited in the recommendations, the University has increased both in numbers and in dollars the awards presented to the classified and unclassified employees of the month.  These amounts will be increased again in the coming year.

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