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Name of Contractor:

The Texas A&M University System’s Texas A&M University

Web Site:

http://tamus.edu

http://www.tamu.edu

Description of company:

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a statewide network of nine universities, seven state agencies, and a comprehensive health science center. Its flagship campus is in the city of College Station, Texas, which has a population of approximately 67,890. The university population includes 41,207 students, of which 33,597 were undergraduates and 7,610 were graduate students during the spring 2006 semester. Texas A&M University (TAMU) offers degrees in more than 150 courses of study through ten colleges and schools. It has awarded more than 320,000 degrees, including more than 70,000 graduate and professional degrees. The university has consistently ranked in the forefront over the past decade among public universities in Texas in retention rates and is a leader for overall minority students. Faculty members include Nobel Laureates, National Academy of Science members, National Academy of Engineering members, and National Medal of Science recipients (Attachment A).

Geographic Region:

  • Size:

While Texas A&M University is a public land grant university established to provide educational services and outreach to the residents of Texas, its student body, faculty, and staff are recruited throughout the United States and the world.

  • Industry:

State of Texas educational, research, and service institution of higher education.

  • Company story:

The oldest institution and founding member of the A&M System is Texas A&M University, established in 1876. Texas A&M consistently ranks in the forefront among public universities in Texas in retention rates, keeping students enrolled and on course for graduation both overall and for African-American and Hispanic students.

Texas A&M University has over the years implemented effective and innovative affirmative action programs for faculty, staff, and students, thus establishing it as a leader among other universities and colleges throughout the region and nation. In 2006, the A&M System became a co-host of the region’s annual Spring Higher Education Symposium sponsored jointly with OFCCP.

  • What makes it great:

The Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, Robert D. McTeer, provides clear leadership for equal opportunity and affirmative access through the A&M System’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Established as a separate office in 2002, OEO coordinates responses to charges of discrimination and oversees each System member’s affirmative action programs, serving as a central point of contact for state and federal compliance agencies. Since its establishment, the number of charges of discrimination filed with state and federal agencies Systemwide has decreased by 60%, attesting to the effective proactive approaches taken to prevent discrimination, rather than simply to respond to allegations.

TAMU President Robert Gates, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has made diversity a top priority for his university. Commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action flows from the top down to each faculty and staff member. Each year, in response to the Chancellor’s Reaffirmation of Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, Access and Affirmative Action (Attachment B), the university president similarly issues a “Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Inclusion” (Attachment C). This is followed by needed support to implement effective affirmative action programs for faculty, staff, and students.

Criteria:

  • Description of innovative EEO programs:
Program 1 – OFCCP Region VI Higher Education Symposium (Attachment D)

In 2006, The Texas A&M University System, through its Office of Equal Opportunity, joined with OFCCP, Southern Methodist University, and The University of Texas at Austin to conduct a two day higher education symposium for institutions of higher education in the Southwest Rocky Mountain Region and other OFCCP regions. The Symposium attracts administrators and professionals who work in and are responsible for addressing diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action issues on their campuses. It includes discussions of technical compliance, Executive Round Tables, and Legal Round Tables that provide university executives and legal counselors an opportunity to share their perspectives and goals. Trainers include officials from OFCCP, EEOC, and other experts in related fields.

Included this year on the Executive Round Table was the A&M System’s Vice Chancellor for Administration, James A. Fletcher. He energized the audience with his description of the A&M System’s new Affirmative Access Strategy, which includes a new Employee Demographics Monitoring System to track diversity trends over time (see Results -- Attachment T), System-wide discounts on advertising with diversity employment publications and organizations, a free System-wide workshop held on April 6, 2006, on the topic of “Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce,” the use of recruitment firms for targeted job vacancies, and other initiatives. He emphasized that progress cannot be made without commitment from the top of the organization as well as accountability. The keynote speaker for the symposium luncheon was Dr. George Wright, President of the A&M System’s Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black University. Dr. Wright gave an arousing account of his experiences at various universities as an African American, to which he was given a standing ovation. He also received the symposium’s Silver Sponsorship Award on behalf of the A&M System.

Approximately 150 individuals attended the 2006 Symposium. One participant observed on his/her evaluation form: “Everything about the conference/symposium was EXCELLENT! I will bring all of my staff to the next conference/symposium. The topics, speakers, and presenters were directly related to EEO/AA. I find it very worthwhile to attend a conference where all the speakers are experts in EEO/AA. Luncheon speaker was great!”

Program 2 – VISION 2020 (Attachment E)

Initiated in 1997, Vision 2020 is TAMU’s roadmap for attaining its quest to be recognized as a consensus “top 10” public university by the year 2020. Vision 2020 identifies 12 specific areas in which the university will focus and underscores them with well-crafted “imperatives” that clearly define the objectives.

President Gates has enthusiastically embraced Vision 2020, putting into action his resolve to achieve the aspirations reflected in Vision 2020 planning and articulation. He elected to focus initially on four areas embedded in the original imperatives, plus one new imperative. Diversity and globalization are one of his four major priorities. Specifically, two aspects of this imperative are to:

  • Create an environment that respects and nurtures all members of the student, faculty, and staff community. Reduce to zero the number of students, faculty, or staff who leave because of a perception of a less-than-welcoming environment.
  • Increase the geographic diversity represented in the faculty, students, and staff. Target areas of the state, country, and world from which to recruit our populations of faculty, students, and staff.

The following descriptions of programs and initiatives demonstrate that TAMU has implemented actions to meet the diversity and globalization imperative with very effective results (see Results Section T).

Program 3 – Establishment of the Office of Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity (Attachment F)

In 2003, Dr. Gates established the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Institutional Assessment and Diversity to provide further leadership in designing and implementing campus programs to support diversity. Dr. James A. Anderson was selected for this position. Attachment F contains just a sampling of the diversity initiatives recently undertaken by this office.

In October 2005, Dr. Anderson announced that he had accepted a vice presidency at the State University of New York at Albany. Dr. Karan Watson, Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost, has assumed his additional duties on an interim basis since then. The appointment of a successor, whose duties will be exclusively of a diversity nature, is expected within the next few weeks.

Program 4 – Faculty Reinvestment Initiative (Attachment G)

With $40 million from the state legislature, TAMU has hired 251 faculty members since 2003 and plans to hire 196 more by 2008. The university has used the hiring campaign to diversify the faculty and reduce the ratio of students to professors. The university has made use of two growing practices in higher education: creating clusters of scholars in a particular niche and finding jobs for academic couples. Of the new hires, the university has hired 27 women in the colleges of science and engineering and added two prominent black professors, Forster Ndubisi and Valerie Taylor, to lead the landscape-architecture and computer science departments respectively. Thirty-nine percent of the new hires are minorities, and 35% are women.

The year before the hiring campaign began, TAMU found jobs for four spouses of other new hires. Since then, the university has hired 95 couples, an average of 32 a year. This has been of critical importance in the decision of some scholars to come to College Station due to its relatively small size and limited alternatives for academic careers. The Employment Office’s Dual Career Services staff also provide relocation assistance and community links/resources.

Program 5 – Diversity Recruitment (Attachment H)

The Human Resources Employment Office provides in-person training and on-line tutorials for hiring managers on how to increase diversity in the hiring process. The Employment Office also provides contact information for minority and women’s universities and colleges, local diversity professional organizations, as well as general advertising guidelines. In addition, the university sends a monthly e-mail to over 100 institutions inviting individuals to consider TAMU’s posted positions. TAMU also participates in job fairs and conferences such as the local Chamber of Commerce Job Fair and the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education Conference.

TAMU utilizes annual, on-line recruiting contracts for additional advertising of faculty, staff, and research positions. The Employment Office posts positions on HigherEdJobs.com and Workplacediversity.com at no charge to hiring departments. The Office also contracts with the Chronicle of Higher Education to receive discounts for the hiring departments. Statistics from June 1, 2004, to July 17, 2006, for nonfaculty/staff positions posted with the on-line sites have shown great effectiveness. During this time, TAMU had 5,091 on-line recruiting applicants. Thirty-eight (38%) of the on-line recruiting applicants reported minority status. Of those reporting minority status, 171 were interviewed and 48 hired thus far.

Program 6 – Department of Multicultural Services (DMS) (Attachment I)

TAMU’s Department of Multicultural Services was created in September 1987 to prepare all students for a multicultural world through diversity education opportunities, student success and outreach programs, and student leadership experiences. However, DMS’ clientele is not limited to students. One of its initiatives is an annual Texas Higher Education Diversity Conference, which presents an opportunity to discuss issues in creating a more pluralistic, diverse, and globally aware populace. Approximately 400 faculty, staff, and students attend this conference each year.

DMS provides extensive diversity-education programs, including the Maximizing Opportunities for Staff to Achieve an Inclusive Campus (MOSAIC) workshops. These workshops allow participants to explore their own cultural identity, discuss how cultural variables affect each person in the workplace, and set an action plan for enhancing inclusion in each person’s workplace. Approximately 2,000 TAMU employees have participated in a MOSAIC program.

Going the next step, DMS runs a Diversity Training Institute, a three day dynamic and interactive train the trainer program that combines theory with practice to give participants from across the country the essential tools necessary to design, promote and present a variety of diversity education opportunities.

DMS also oversees CommUnity Conversations, a bimonthly dialogue program that provides a place for discussion of social issues. TAMU staff, faculty, and students gather to partake in interesting and enlightening talks in a non-threatening environment.

DMS acknowledges and honors the efforts of members of the campus community who have promoted understanding and appreciation of diversity at TAMU through its “Keeping the Dream Alive” Diversity Awards. The event is co-sponsored by DMS, Disability Services, ALLIES (an organization supporting the Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transsexual-GBLT community on campus), and the Student Government Association. The 15th Annual Awards presentation was held on April 26, 2006.

Finally, DMS also maintains a Resource Library that addresses a variety of diversity, equity, and social justice issues. The library currently consists of 969 titles, including books, videos, scholarly journals, magazines, audiocassettes and articles. Faculty, staff, and students may utilize the resources in the library.

Program 7 – TAMU’s Children Center (Attachment J)

Texas A&M has acknowledged the difficulties faced by faculty, staff, and students with small children by establishing a Children’s Center. The Center is open year-round and educates as many as 152 children, who can range from six weeks to five years old. Tuition supplement assistance is available for families who qualify. On May 26, 2006, the center was named after Dr. Gates’ wife, Becky, who became involved with the center after a tour of the facility.

Program 8 – Affinity Groups (Attachment K)

TAMU has a plethora of affinity groups designed to provide an environment supportive of all backgrounds and open to all ideas. New faculty and staff are also able to identify mentors through these organizations, which assists in professional success and retention. Examples of such organizations are the African American Professional Organization, the Mexican American/Latino Faculty Association, the TAMU Hispanic Network, Faculty and Staff Committed to an Inclusive Campus, the Women Engineering Faculty Interest Group, the GLBT Professional Network, and the Women’s Faculty Network, which annually provides research scholarships for female graduate students. The university also operates a Women & Gender Equity Resource Center to provide activities and support for women on campus.

Program 9 – Texas Diversity Council (Attachment L)

Texas A&M has joined the Texas Diversity Council, which is committed to fostering a learning environment for organizations to grow in their knowledge of diversity. Its mission is to enhance appreciation for and understanding the value of diversity and inclusion through advancing corporate leadership education/awareness of the varied dimension of diversity, to commit leaders to discuss issues and challenge attitudes and promote organizational change that supports diversity, and to promote outreach efforts to our youth that inspire mutual respect and understanding. Dr. Gates is scheduled to be the speaker at the October 26, 2006, Diversity Council Meeting and Award Luncheon for the Central Texas TDC Region.

Program 10 – Faculty Diversity Training (Attachment M)

The Office of the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost provides diversity training for academic search committees, faculty, and department heads. A diversity training retreat hosted by President Gates was held on May 25, 2006, for all TAMU department heads. The retreat was facilitated by internationally renowned race studies scholar, Joe Feagin, the Ella McFadden Professor of Sociology at the university. The Dean of Faculties office is committed to providing on-going faculty professional and academic administrator development seminars and workshops throughout the year to enhance the scholarly and quality of work life at the university.

Program 11 – Community of Respect (Attachment N)

Each year, the College Station community welcomes over 4,000 international students, faculty, and scholars who live, work, and study in the Brazos Valley. The Community of Respect initiative is a result of community partners collaborating to create a coordinated set of learning modules that address cross-cultural understanding and communication. To date, over 500 participants have been trained throughout the community. Based on pre- and post-test evaluations, the overall results show that individuals have felt that their understanding of their own cultural values/behaviors and those of others’ have improved through training.

Program 12 – Texas A&M University Libraries Diversity Initiatives (Attachment O)

Promoting diversity has been part of the TAMU Libraries for many years. In February 2002, the Dean of University Libraries established a diversity program as a component of the Public Relations Office. The program educates staff about diversity issues and encourages positive change in the library environment through a variety of programs, such as a diversity and democracy seminar series, lectures on race and other diversity topics, and a Latino Conference on Contemporary Hispanic Issues.

Program 13 – Memorial Student Center OPAS Theatre (Attachment P)

Being a relatively small college town, College Station has limited cultural activities and events for the community. TAMU has filled this void by providing professional productions of theatre, music, and dance that entertain and inspire audiences of the Brazos Valley. MSC OPAS programs are supported entirely by revenue generated from ticket sales, membership dues, and contributions. Programs offered for the 2005 – 2006 season included Ballet Hispanico, the Kodo Drummers of Japan, The Life and Music of Ray Charles, the Man of La Mancha, and the Irish Tenors. Special programs are also available for the community’s youth.

Program 13 – College, Department, and Individual Faculty/Staff Initiatives (Attachment Q)

Apart from university-wide initiatives, TAMU’s colleges, departments, and individual faculty and staff members have undertaken diversity leadership roles and activities. For example, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recently established a new Council on Diversity and Professionalism. The Council aims to foster open mindedness in veterinary professional students and to act as a support network for any and all students, faculty, and staff who wish to be involved in encouraging diversity.

Another example was a two day African American Summit was held in February 2006 to provide faculty, administrators, staff, students, and African American former students the opportunity to discuss the institution’s progress in fully integrating African Americans at all levels of the university.

A third example comes from the university’s radio station, KAMU. The station recently debuted a new talk radio program on “Peoples and Cultures.” A fourth example was a “Campus with a Dream” celebration was held on January 18, 2006, sponsored by the Memorial Student Center Carter G. Woodson Black Awareness Committee. These are just a sampling of the diversity activities undertaken by individuals and groups across TAMU’s campus. Individual faculty, administrators, and staff have also received honors for their diversity leadership.

Program 14 – Other Work/Life Balance Services (Attachment R)

Texas A&M is dedicated to the well-being of its faculty, staff, and students. As a result, it provides a variety of services and facilities to meet individual needs and desires that may not otherwise be available in the community or may be available at a cost prohibitive for some employees.

TAMU’s Employee Assistance Program, staffed by trained and certified Psychologists, provides a variety of services for university employees and their dependents including problem identification, mediation, and crisis intervention. Assessment and Referral Services offers faculty, staff, and their dependents an opportunity to discuss personal and job related issues affecting their lives. A counselor will assist in identifying problem areas and when appropriate, make recommendations that facilitate resolution. Faculty, staff, and their dependents may seek services to determine whether substance abuse is a problem in their life.

TAMU’s Student Recreation Center is open not only to students, but also to faculty, staff, and members of the community. Opened in 1995, it remains one of the premier recreational sports facilities in the nation, with gymnasiums, basketball courts, soccer courts, a natatorium, a competitive diving pool, an instructional pool, a weight and fitness room, an indoor climbing facility, handball/racquetball courts, an activity room, an outdoor activity area, an Outdoors Center, an archery range, a walking/running track, squash/handball courts, and a dance/activity room.

Human Resources provides a wide range of training opportunities for faculty and staff. The A&M System has developed an on-line training program on “Creating a Discrimination-Free Workplace,” which was the first to be certified by the Texas Workforce Commission, which deemed it “excellent.” New hires must take the course, and current employees must retake the course every two years. Other courses include topics of both professional and personal use, such as “Interpersonal Communication Skills” and “Sexual Harassment Prevention Strategies” (see attachment). Professional development is encouraged through certificate programs such as the Professional Leadership Program and the Interpersonal Dimensions of Management Program.

Program 14 – Services for Veterans and the Disabled and Compensation – Attachment S

Respect for current and former members of the Armed Forces has a long history at Texas A&M – back to its establishment in 1876. The first forty students who arrived for classes that year became the first Corps of Cadets, currently the largest military officer training program outside of the service academies. Some 2,000 men and women students are members of the Corps.

As such, TAMU extends all preferences to hiring veterans as applicable laws allow. All TAMU vacancy notices are transmitted to the Texas Workforce Commission, which refers qualified veterans on a priority basis, as mandated by state law. Also as mandated by state law, if a veteran is as equally qualified as the highest ranked candidate for a job, veterans preference is extended and the veteran is hired.

Job applicants with disabilities who need assistance with the preparation and submittal of an application are provided individualized assistance by the university’s Employment Office. Individuals with disabilities who are hired are provided needed assistance and reasonable accommodations as provided for in the Americans With Disabilities Act by the university’s Employee Relations Office.

TAMU not only posts its job vacancies with WorkplaceDiversity.com, but it has a banner ad and employer profile on the site. Two of WorkplaceDiversity.com’s identified target groups are the disabled and veterans.

Apart from the university’s Affirmative Action Plan process, position descriptions and job classifications, including salary levels, are reviewed every time a vacancy occurs. The position is compared to similar positions within the university and external to it to ensure compensation equity. Equity adjustments are made periodically to ensure that no protected group is affected disproportionately by salary adjustments as a result of membership in that group. As a further check on compensation issues, the university is in the process of bringing in an outside consultant to conduct a thorough review of its compensation system.

The Results – Attachment T

              Affirmative action and diversity are not just talk within The Texas A&M University System and at its flagship campus. The results speak for themselves. Diversity is represented at the A&M System’s Board of Regents (Attachment U) and executive management at the System level. TAMU’s executive leadership includes K. Sue Redman, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Charles Sippial, Vice President for Facilities. The university’s Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost is Karan L. Watson, a Regents Professor of Engineering.

Even more telling are the statistics. The Texas A&M University System’s Employee Demographics Monitoring System has generated reports documenting TAMU’s success over time. The following are concrete examples of the progress TAMU has made in diversity and affirmative action from April 2000 to April 2006.

Females in the Executive/Administrative/Managerial job group have increased from 149 to 225.

Female faculty members have increased from 565 to 691.

Female Professional/Non-Faculty employees have increased from 1,000 to 1,370.

African Americans in the Executive/Administrative/Managerial job group have increased from 13 to 31.

Hispanics in the Executive/Administrative/Managerial job group have increased from 19 to 31.

Hispanics in the Professional/Non-Faculty job group have increased from 117 to 200.

Asian and Pacific Islander faculty members have increased from 148 to 255.

Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Professional/Non-Faculty job group have increased from 140 to 218.

Further,

From the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2005, the number of female full professors increased 51%.

From the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2005, the number of African American faculty members increased 56%.

From the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2005, the number of Hispanic faculty members increased 44%.

From the fall of 2000 to the fall of 2005, the number of Asian/Pacific Islander faculty members increased 83%.

As far as women in nontraditional fields are concerned, at present:

27% of the faculty members in the College of Architecture are women.

28% of the faculty members in the Mays Business School are women.

11% of the faculty members in the Look College of Engineering are women.

17% of the faculty members in the College of Geosciences are women.

22% of the faculty members in the College of Science are women.

34% of the faculty members in the College of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences are women.

Concerning minorities:

32% of the faculty members in the Look College of Engineering are minorities.

19% of the faculty members in the College of Science are minorities.

Conclusion

Affirmative action at Texas A&M University, and throughout The Texas A&M University System is just that—ACTION. It is not a plan that is prepared once a year and then filed away. TAMU recognizes the obstacles of attracting a diverse workforce to a primarily rural area of central Texas, and has developed effective programs to overcome these obstacles, with the leadership of Dr. Gates, Dr. McTeer, and each and every dean and department head. Diversity and globalization are essential to compete in today’s educational and business environment, and are justly a high priority in enabling Texas A&M University to become one of the “top ten” public universities by 2020.