UK - Diversity Plan 2011-2015

University of Kentucky 2011-2015 Diversity Plan

Download the PDF copy of the 2011-2015 Diversity Plan.

Employment Commitments and Actions

Employment retention and promotion

The UK 2009-2014 Strategic Plan Goal 3 is Develop the human and physical resources of the University of Kentucky to achieve the institution's top 20 goals. The following strategies within Goal 3 support improvement in diversity efforts and progress for the future:

3.1.2 - Assist chairs/directors and search committees in attracting the best candidates in the country for success in the recruitment of a high-caliber and diverse faculty and professional staff.
3.2.1 - Ensure that work allocation and advancement policies and practices for faculty and professional staff, including those pertaining to compensation, are fair, transparent, and clearly communicated, and that they reflect best practices among top public research universities.
3.2.3 - Design and implement a research-based program to improve career advancement support and opportunities for faculty and professional staff at all stages of their careers.
3.3.1 - Reinforce values and practices necessary to foster a culture of respect, learning, innovation, efficiency, and service to support students, colleagues, and customers.
3.4.3 - Sustain continuous progress in employment of women and all minorities at all levels of the University.

In summary, recurring practices for recruitment, retention, and promotion of female and minority faculty include:

  • Outreach at regional and national conferences and/or research meetings
  • Posting vacant positions in journals and appropriate venues
  • Searching candidate databases for potential prospects when positions are available and contacting these individuals
  • Follow-up on potential candidates received each year from the Southern Region Education Board (SREB) Conference
  • Fellowships for on-campus and off-campus graduates
  • Policies and practices to ensure that all faculty members of the same ranks, seniority, quality of service, and quality and quantity of scholarly achievement have the same opportunities for advancement.

Women Faculty at the University of Kentucky: Trends and Progress 1994-2010. This 2010 report contains information in the employment of women faculty in four distinct categories: total faculty; tenured and tenure-track faculty; instructional faculty; and endowed faculty. The comprehensive data set was extracted from UK Human Resource data files for the years 2000-01 to 2009-10. This report analyses IPEDS data on full and part-time UK "instructional" faculty. Data analyses on salary equity and time-in-rank are based on 1993-94 to 2009-10 faculty data set for the purpose of investigating trends on issues related to UK's tenured and tenure eligible faculty.

Cooperative Extension Service: While Cooperative Extension Service employees are not faculty members, their role as educators in the Commonwealth bears mention. Women have historically outnumbered men as agents in Family and Consumer Science, 4-H Youth Development, and Fine Arts. As little as two decades ago no women served as Agriculture or Horticulture agents. Today Agriculture and Horticulture agents are twenty percent female. Additionally, forty-three percent of the Cooperative Extension Service administrative positions are held by female employees.

Overall Employee Hiring, Retention, and Promotion: In order to improve employee retention rates, turnover must be analyzed and reviewed to determine issues of concern and courses of action for improvement. Although a certain amount of employee turnover can be viewed as positive, it is critical that the University demonstrate strong efforts to enhance success for its new hires, especially in the context of its diverse employee population. To continually improve the hiring and selection process, Human Resources provides relevant training and resources to assist in the utilization of best practices in the recruitment efforts for faculty and staff. In addition, targeted efforts are being made to reach out to the most qualified and diverse applicant populations to garner the most diverse applicant pools and thereby, improve employment opportunities for women and minorities.

Because the hiring and selection process is decentralized at the University of Kentucky, Human Resources (HR) initiatives strive to seek and develop more proactive resources and tools to assist hiring officials and departments.

Education and Training for Hiring and Selection

The Hiring Enhancement Program, developed by the HR Employment Office in January 2009, provides training, resources, and tools for hiring officials throughout the University. The program is intended to educate hiring officials on effective, legally credible hiring practices. To accommodate the needs of the numerous hiring officials in the organization the HR Employment Office employs three Employment Consultants who offer a variety of customizable resources including: behavior-based interview guides (phone, in-person and/or reference checks); department consultations; and trainings. Additional tools created since the start of this program include:

  • a hiring fundamentals checklist,
  • an application review checklist,
  • a spreadsheet of inappropriate and appropriate interview questions, and
  • a UK personnel file review guide.

The Hiring Enhancement Program also offers several featured trainings across campus:

  • Legal Considerations: The Do's & Don'ts of Interview Questions,
  • How to Develop an Effective Job Posting,
  • Behavior Based Interviewing Series, and
  • UK's Hiring Fundamentals and Interviewing Techniques.

The HR Employment Office conducts the "interviewing and selecting" portion of the SuperVision training courses offered to all new supervisors to ensure managers are equipped to make sound and effective decisions as leaders.

Employment Advertising Improvements

University of Kentucky Human Resources has acquired the services of an advertising agency to improve UK employment branding and establish more effective advertising capabilities through improved exposure and visibility. This vendor contract became effective January 2005. The advertising firm provides cost-effective options targeting the specific needs of each position search, reaching a diverse candidate pool as well as ensuring the University maintains a consistent look and message with external media regarding recruitment for faculty and staff positions. Unlimited posting partnerships with and have been established to ensure UK's employment opportunities are directed to qualified candidates within higher education while encouraging applications from all backgrounds. To meet the ever-expanding needs of the UK HealthCare system, a posting partnership with has also been created. Additionally, the HR Employment staff routinely encourages hiring officials to participate in broader employment advertising and review the largest applicant pool available for positions in job categories which are underrepresented in minorities and/or females. Targeted advertising research overviews are customized for interested departments to provide a cost analysis and suggested niche site advertising options.

In addition, the HR Employment unit has taken a leadership role in the annual Summer Youth Program. This six week program exposes minority high school students to the academic and work environment at the University of Kentucky. Financial support is provided by the Office of the President for the annual program, which allows 10-15 students to work in UK departments over the summer to gain valuable work readiness skills. The program continues to be a valuable opportunity for UK staff to support the Lexington community by coaching and developing assigned Summer Youth employees. The program also continues to be a successful employee and student recruitment tool. During the past nine years, the HR Employment staff has worked with over 70 participants.

Employee Assistance and Support

The Work-Life Office provides an integrated, systematic approach to addressing work-life issues at the University. The Work-Life Office recognizes and builds a culture of understanding and support for the effective management of employee work and personal responsibilities. Two campus-wide climate surveys for both faculty and staff have been completed. Results of these surveys allow the university leadership to review existing strengths as well as opportunities for improvement and consideration throughout the organization. The Work-Life Office has initiated new and evolving services and programs to assist employees and supervisors of broadly diverse backgrounds in their daily work and personal challenges. For many employees who are faced with difficult challenges in the workplace and at home, the Work-Life programs and services may provide resources that enable these employees to remain employed longer at UK than anticipated. Work-Life Office programs and resources include:

  • Flexible Work Arrangement Guidelines
    • Individual, supervisor, and departmental consultations
    • Reduced Seasonal Hours Program
    • Online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit
  • Child Care and Parent Support
    • Near-site child care via the Woodland Early Learning Center
    • Lactation Support Guidelines and Resources
    • Working Moms' Network Group
    • Parents of Teen and Teens Support Group
  • Elder Care
    • Information and Referral
    • Consultations
    • Care Giving Support Group
  • Disability Support
    • Information and referral for individuals, family members, and sponsored dependents who experience physical and intellectual disabilities available via UK Disability Connect (supported by Human Development Institute)
  • Mental Health
    • Voluntary, confidential mental health counseling for employees, their family members, and sponsored dependents via Work+Life Connections (free) and REFER (low cost employee assistance program)
  • Financial Counseling
    • Financial counseling for basic budgeting
    • Emergency referrals to community resources
    • Administrative support for the CRISIS program (CRISIS program provides temporary financial assistance in the form of a one-time payment of up to $500 and is self-sustaining through contributions by faculty and staff.)
  • Assessment
    • Work-Life Survey every 4-5 years
    • Workplace Flexibility Supervisor Study
    • Client surveys

These resources and services provide support and flexibility that can translate into greater employee success at all levels of the organization.

Employee training and experienced-based programs provide opportunities to increase awareness of elements of diversity and prepare participants to address diversity issues of concern within the employment context. The Humanity Academy, a week-long program offered since 2006, prepares staff, faculty, and students to raise awareness of diversity issues and to provide leadership in supporting the diversity of the University community. Specific training is also available to healthcare employees to increase their knowledge of diverse patient populations. Training for new healthcare employees includes development of cultural competency. Training for new supervisors embeds diversity elements throughout the curriculum and addresses supervisors' roles in preventing discrimination and harassment. Other courses address specifics of cultural diversity or differences among generations.

Career advancement support contributes to higher promotion and success rates for employees of all backgrounds and experience levels. The Career Development (CD) unit was established in 2008 as a result of high demand articulated by staff in the 2005-06 Work-Life Survey. The mission of the CD unit is to help employees manage and develop their careers, both for their own professional growth and job satisfaction as well as for the success of the University as a whole. Career specialists are available to provide training and assessment services to all employees. Workshops and training opportunities are available in the areas of writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and taking charge of the employee's career by outlining job search strategies. Assessment services are available to determine skill sets of strength and developmental focus, in addition to other job-related assessments.