CfDC Minutes — August 8, 2007

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Doug K. Smith, Vice Chair, Jill Rice, Carole Dubritsky, Gerald Hoff, Joe Lentini, Martha Reck, Susan Smart, Liz Wilson, Pek S. Jo, Els Nieuwenhuijsen, Carolyn Grawi, Lynne Shivers, Sam Good, Special Guest Jean Tennyson (welcome, Jean!) and Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes--with the able assistance of Martha Reck after my early departure from the meeting).

In view of the Special Guest, Jean Tennyson, the prescheduled agenda was set aside until the next meeting.

Introductions were made around the table.

Jack, our Council Chair, made several announcements:

He is still working to obtain funding for our Council but so far unsuccessfully (with President and Provost).

The good news is that Jack will be an official representative at the Diversity Summit Committee, which will perhaps enable him to present a broader view of diversity, one that includes disability. Jack was also appointed by the Office for Institutional Equity to be a member of the UM Diversity Council, thus presenting perhaps another opportunity to broaden the definition of diversity to include disability.

Carolyn announced that August 19th is the end of a 4-day state bicycle ride from Holland MI to Ann Arbor, and that the last stretch will be between Gallup Park to Fuller-Mitchell and then back to Gallup. Folks are welcome to accompany the cyclists during this last segment of the “Freedom of Independence” ride for the cause of disability.

Jean Tennyson, newly appointed to a newly established position as diversity recruiting coordinator for UM staff (only) presented the Council members with a synopsis of her background, training, and history at UM (she is 36 year employee, having started out in a temporary position in the Health System and having worked as an employee representative in various units, including the Dearborn campus). Jean asked us to give our views of what is needed in terms of affirmative action on campus that is broader than just sex and gender. Metrics are, of course, important in recruiting for both external and internal positions.

Jack began the discussion by enumerating barriers to those with special needs, starting with the inaccessible nature of the employment web site. He further said that every successful candidate for employment should be offered a position in writing with an offer of accommodations, if necessary, prior to employment. Also, persons with disabilities are not handled well, too tersely, with inappropriate language, in many cases when they are seeking employment. Would-be employers need to be trained better and searches should be conducted with an appropriate pool of individuals which would encompass those with disabilities.

Lynn also discussed the web site and said that candidates need to be contacted in timely fashion. Supervisors can positively or negatively affect people with disabilities. We needs statistics on what has been occurring.

Sue stated that the pool of number of people in the disability category should be increased by 30% as a goal. We should check the progress of this goal in six months and see what the results are.

Carole said that it is not legal according to ADA regulations to ask for disclosure of disabilities but that focus groups (AACIL or Michigan Rehabilitation, AA Commission on Disability, Washtenaw County Library for Blind—all can provide candidates for focus groups) might be useful in delineating what needs to be remedied in employment area.

Another possibility raised was an online survey among HRCG members. Carolyn made three points: 1) The same information, be it in different formats, should be offered to each person applying for a position; 2) Sometimes applicants for focus groups are afraid to be truthful; and 3) A survey for HRCG members is desirable, and so is better training so that no inappropriate questions are asked or offensive language used during interviews.

Carolyn- Mentioned that at trainings related to disability HR people were absent. Reiterated that fact that training is important.

Jean- Do and will continue to do training. Should always encourage consistency. Improvements need to be made in some areas and this is a good place to start.

Jack- The point of Jean coming to the meeting was that we wanted for her to get a sense of what is going on and to know and understand that the Council exists.

Jean- Thanks the Council for making important points.

Carol- Suggests a survey, identifying training, need to be sure that the information gets to supervisors

Jean- Need to review the mechanisms that we have already, as well as communicate that something needs to occur.

Talked about VOICES business case for career services function- the group has requested this and are waiting. Did get portion of funding to implement things that can be done in the next year to help staff with career services.

She will take issues that the Council raised back and wants to make this part of the work plan she is creating.

Briefly discussed process and progress with MCARE employees.

Jack suggests that at the next meeting we discuss priorities for the upcoming year. Doug asks that in preparation everyone please look at the strategic plan and goals on the Council web site.

Doug gave out the current draft of the IAW schedule. Mentioned that it is close to being final.

Gerald mentioned that the IAW website is also close to being ready and there will be a link from the CDfC website to it.

Jack said the events look great. Doug commented that the dogs would be the Friday before to attract attention and help advertise the other events.

Doug said that the cost for IAW and the Neubaucher award is currently at $6475 (we have the money to cover this now). We will need more money, as t here will be more expenses, but this is a start. $4000 of the total sum of $6475 has been donated by the Health System and is earmarked for Gary Guller. Carol mentioned she has sponsors for the symposium so costs are already covered. Sam promised to echo his support from last year. Doug suggested Student Affairs, Carol OIE, Lynne Rackham.

There was discussion about what warranted sponsorship. Decided that money and in-kind donations were appropriate.

Carol and Els will work on getting the information on CTN.

Gerald said he was still waiting on high school basketball schedule.

Doug mentioned that it is important to note that the two Gary Guller presentations have a separate focus. Lynn suggested that the descriptions change to reflect this more quickly, in case people didn’t read the whole thing.

Doug is working on materials for marketing/development.