VII.   Action Oriented Programs

  1. Addressing Discrimination Complaints
    • Discrimination and harassment are covered in the UW Policy on Sexist, Racist, and Other Discriminatory Conduct, and complaints may be handled in several ways. Often an informal resolution of the problem is possible through a conference with the involved parties and a university mediator, the Affirmative Action Officer or a senior administrator. If this is not possible, the person reporting may wish to file a formal complaint with the Chancellor, who will have it investigated and then either dismiss it, act on it directly, or refer it to the Complaints and Grievances Commission (if the accused is faculty) or the Personnel Commission (if the accused is academic staff). Complaints against classified staff are handled under the terms of the union contract and should be addressed to the Director of Human Resources. These university procedures do not preclude filing of complaints with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division or the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
    • While the procedures for handling complaints are in place and the policies are enforced when reports are brought forth, comments from individuals who do report concerns indicate the need for more publicity and educational activities regarding discrimination and harassment. Improving the effectiveness of publicity in this area is a goal of both the Affirmative Action Office and Office of Minority Affairs for the coming year. A consultant was here to provide presentations regarding harassment and discrimination for academic departments and divisions.
  2. Training and Professional Development
    • The University has a commitment to conduct training and professional development programs to aid in the promotion and career advancement of women, minorities and disabled persons. One of the initiatives stated in the UW Platteville Strategic Plan (April 2002) is to “require and support professional development of all employees.” Programs available include: UW System Academic Staff Professional Development Program; UTIC Teaching Fellows, Faculty College and other UTIC programs for faculty; sabbaticals and retraining leaves; tuition reimbursement for work-related courses; and university support for participation in conferences, workshops and seminars. In addition, UWP sponsors SAIF grants (the Scholarly Activity Improvement Fund) and the UWP Foundation offers a Grant for Excellence program to encourage and support faculty and staff projects. The University Office of Human Resources will conduct training programs for all classified and LTE employees. The assistant to the Affirmative Action Office will solicit training topics from interested campus groups, individuals, and committees.
    • While the above programs can be specifically aimed at affirmative action target groups, special efforts will be made by the Affirmative Action Office, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and other members of the administration to alert target group members to these opportunities and to encourage their participation.
    • Orientation or training programs are offered to new hires, including faculty, academic staff and classified staff, to assure maximum knowledge and utilization of campus facilities, services, fringe benefits, payroll, new programs and office forms and procedures. Additional programs are periodically offered when new information and/or procedures are implemented.
  3. Internal Programs to Provide a Warmer Campus Climate
    • ADA Self-Study – As part of implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act, UW-Platteville conducted an institutional self-study that includes a review of all employment practices. Student focus groups are held during the year with administrators and the Coordinator for Services to Students with Disabilities. (See Appendix I for the self-study and update). The assistant in the Affirmative Action Office continues to coordinate services to employees with disabilities.
    • Mentoring – Divisions and colleges have developed mentoring programs for women in their respective areas.
    • Women in Engineering Program – a program designed for the recruitment and retention of women students in engineering.
    • Women in Science & Engineering – WISE is a group of women faculty and academic staff in mathematics, science, engineering and technology-related fields. While one of its primary purposes is to promote the recruitment and retention of students in these areas, it also serves as a support group for the faculty and staff who belong. In addition, WISE has a university-supported budget that includes a travel fund to supplement other sources of funding for the professional development of WISE members.
  4. University Committees with Gender/Diversity Issue Concerns
    • The Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Committee identifies problem areas relative to affirmative action and equal opportunity. It encourages the holding of special meetings, as they are needed for the discussion of the affirmative action program's impact on policies and procedures. It also recommends to the Faculty, Academic Staff, and Student Senates and/or the Chancellor at appropriate times those actions that are necessary for the adequate implementation of the program.
    • In summer and fall 2006 this committee, along with the Multicultural Educational Resource Center, was involved in diversity training for all faculty and unclassified staff with 50% or more appointments. Training was done by the Affirmative Action Office during the summer 2006 training persons as secretaries of search and screen committees in order to make sure the hiring procedures are being followed. Tim Wise came in August to conduct workshops with all faculty and staff in four sessions on white privilege. Starting in September 2006 all faculty and staff participated in 7-8 hour workshops of about 30 persons each on “Preparing for Positive Change in Human Relations at UWP.” Diversity advocate training was also arranged for persons wishing to be diversity advocates on search and screen committees. It was decided that there would be at least one diversity advocate on each search and screen committee in the future.
    • The Race & Ethnic Affairs Council identifies and advocates for university-wide issues that are of particular interest to people of color on campus. It forwards these issues to the appropriate committee for consideration and possible action. If there is no appropriate committee, the council may recommend the establishment ad hoc committees. It recognizes and promotes the accomplishments and contributions of people of color to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and higher education and advises the Provost/Chancellor regarding issues related to people of color on campus.
    • The Sexual Assault Committee is a committee of faculty, staff and students working together to address the issue of sexual assault on campus. All new students, athletic teams and social fraternities/sororities are required to participate in programming dealing with sexual assault. Additionally, the task force assists in bringing prominent speakers to campus during Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
    • College of Engineering Committee on Recruitment & Retention of Women targets women and minorities for recruitment efforts and provides support services and mentoring for those groups.
    • College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture Equity and Diversity Committee promotes diversity and equity in education and employment in the College; provides awareness of equity and diversity issues to college members and provides education on issues related to a positive environment for everyone in the College; and arranges or publicizes workshops designed to assist college members to better understand equity and diversity and related issues. The committee received approval from the IRB in Fall 2006 for a survey instrument written by the BILSA Equity and Diversity Committee to assess faculty and teaching academic staff feelings, perceptions, and incidents related to race and ethnicity in interactions with students and colleagues. The committee wrote an Assessment Activity Fund grant proposal entitled "Assessing the Overall Level of Satisfaction of Minority Faculty and Academic Staff with the Campus Environment," which was accepted, in Spring 2007. They conducted the survey of all UWP faculty and instructional academic staff in late August and early September 2007 and compiled the survey results during the Fall 2007 semester.
    • Women’s Council is a cooperative effort of students, faculty, staff and administration formed to identify and solve problems relating to gender equity in education. The Vice-Chancellor/Provost has reactivated this organization on campus. It is developing guidelines for the selection of a recipient of the new UW-Platteville woman of the year award. Each year applications and nominations are accepted for the Woman of the Year Award. Faculty members, classified employees and student employees have been selected for this award. A celebration of women leaders on campus and in the community is being planned for Spring 2008.
    • The Women’s Studies Program is an academic program that was established to increase awareness of the need for gender equity and the elimination of discrimination, harassment and stereotypes based on gender. Women’s Studies seeks to enhance the educational and career opportunities of traditional, part-time and continuing education students as well as those with interests in women’s studies. Classes which deal with gender issues include women and the arts; major women writers; women’s health issues; women’s history; women and the law; psychology of women; women in science and technology; sex roles and society; society, gender and management; and gender issues in education.
    • The Ethnic Studies Program promotes a more inclusive analysis and understanding of society, with its major focus being the nature of the issues of race, gender and class in our culture. One of the program goals is to serve as a collaborative junction for faculty and student development in this area. This program also oversees the UW Platteville Design for Diversity curriculum requirement.
    • The Womens’ Center offers support services and advocacy, a resource collection and programming related to gender issues. In addition, the center conducts a formal assessment on the status and needs of women and provides programming which creates awareness of multicultural issues as related to women, nontraditional student concerns, health and wellness issues, sexual assault and harassment, domestic violence and child care issues.
    • University Health Services offers personnel a complete range of health care services as well as information and referral concerning women’s health care issues, which is provided by professional staff and trained peer educators.
    • The Office of Special Services exists to provide special academic and non-academic services designed to assist and encourage eligible students (limited to those qualified by income, disability or being a first generation college student). This organization assists in determining and implementing a plan of support in order to maximize the opportunities to achieve academic success.
    • The Office of Services to Students with Disabilities provides an important link for students with disabilities to community, faculty and staff by providing information, referrals and awareness programming. In addition, policies and procedures which support special needs students are the responsibility of this office. This office has sponsored university focus groups in conjunction with the chancellor to identify student needs.
    • The Multicultural Educational Resource Center is responsible for providing academic, social and cultural support services for African American, Native American, Asian and Hispanic students. Culturally sensitive counselors provide information and/or counseling for admission, financial aid assistance, academic advising, personal problems, and cultural awareness. In addition, MERC provides referrals and mentors to assist the multicultural student.
    • The Children’s Center exists to provide top quality, reasonably priced childcare services and educational opportunities for the children of students, faculty, staff and community members (as space permits). In addition, the Children's Center supports the academic and community service missions of the University as well as the affirmative action goals: The Children’s Center supports access to educational and employment opportunities for women, minority group members and non-traditional students by providing flexible child care scheduling and a supportive environment for children and parents. The Center is committed to meeting the needs of a diverse clientele and to offering a multicultural, non-sexist program.