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Affirmative Action and Equity Plan and Recruitment Procedures

Original document approved September 2000; revisions approved November 2003

Affirmative Action Plan

The Department of Social Science is committed to a policy of employment equity, and in particular to foster the recruitment of women, aboriginal people, members of racial minorities, and people with disabilities (i.e., "handicaps," as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code, Part II, s.10, [1], [a]) within the framework of hiring needs, academic standards, and the university's contractual obligations. The Departments's Affirmative Action and Equity Plan seeks to correct any previous patterns of discrimination in academic hiring, to reap the benefits of diversity, and to have its faculty more nearly reflect the multi-racial and multi-ethnic nature of its student body and the metropolitan region in which the university is located.

Contact: Kimberley White (Chair) Department of Social Science, kjwhite@yorku.ca

Affirmative Action List

The Chair of the Deparment is responsible for communicating to the Department by 1 September of each year a list of tenure-stream faculty and the percentage of females among them. Cross-appointed faculty are counted in conformity with the fraction of their appointment in the Department. Faculty seconded from other units are not included in the Departments's count.

Affirmative Action and Equity Representative

Each year, the Department of Social Science elects an Affirmative Action and Equity Representative (hereafter referred to as the AAE Representative) who is responsible for counselling the Department on implementing its Affirmative Action and Equity Plan (hereafter referred to as the AAE Plan) in its recruitment processes, and who brings to the attention of the relevant committees any matter of concern relating to affirmative action and equity within the hiring process. This officer is expected to meet with and advise the Chair of Social Science, the Executive Committee, and each search committee at the beginning of the recruitment process to ensure that the principles and procedures of the Plan are adhered to.

Identifying Hiring Priorities

The Department formulates its hiring priorities within the framework of a five-year academic plan and annual updates of the plan. Priorities are determined through a process of wide and open consultation within the Department and are recommended by the Executive Committee to the Department Council, which votes on the final recommendations on new appointments to the Dean of Arts. The priorities take into account such factors as student demand, imminent retirements, existing commitments within the Department to particular fields, and emerging fields of interdisciplinary inquiry in social science. The Department recognizes that the choice of fields of research and teaching as hiring priorities may influence the number of applicants from designated groups (i.e., women, aboriginal people, members of racial minorities, and people with disabilities), and therefore attempts to consider fields, or branches of fields, in which these groups are well represented. Programs and fields within the Department making a recommendation about hiring priorities should indicate how affirmative action for designated groups has been taken into account in determining areas of specialization and required qualifications.

Hiring Procedures - The Search

Once hiring priorities have been established and approved by the Dean of Arts, advertisements for any positions to be filled during the current academic year are drafted by the Chair of the Department and the Executive Committee. The wording of the advertisement must contain the university's standard language on affirmative action and equity. A preliminary draft of the advertisement is then presented to the Department Council for amendment or ratification.

The Department then engages in proactive search procedures to elicit the largest possible number of qualified candidates from designated groups. The Chair and Executive Committee, in consultation with the chair of each staffing sub-committee, circulates the advertisement(s) to all of the following:

a) the Department's home page;

b) CAUT Bulletin and University Affairs;

c) specialized journals, websites, computerized lists, and university departments relevant to the position being filled;

d) journals, organizations, computerized networks, and individuals that are likely to reach female applicants, including Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (Ottawa), Resources for Feminist Research (OISE), Canadian Women's Studies (York), and any other more specialized channels of communication devoted to scholarship on women;

e) journals, organizations, computerized networks, and individuals that are likely to reach communities of aboriginal people, racial minorities, or people with disabilities.

Direct contact is also made with academics and others active in the field for which applicants are sought, to ask them both to encourage qualified candidates to apply and to provide names of such persons whom the Department might seek out directly.

From year to year, the AAE Representatives are expected to accumulate a list of such contacts for advertising positions.

A list of all contacts made in one search must be presented to the AAE Representative at the beginning of each search and inserted into the search file.

Hiring Procedures - Appointment Committees

Once a decision has been made to proceed with an appointment, the Executive Committee is constituted as the Executive Staffing Committee. The Chair and the Executive Committee are responsible for recruiting individual faculty members within the Department to a staffing sub-committee, at least one member of which is a member of the Executive Committee, and at least one of which is from outside the field from which the candidate is being recruited (faculty members from outside the Department may be included where appropriate). The AAE representative is a non-voting, ex-officio member of the staffing sub-committee. The Chair of the Department (or his/her designate) is a non-voting, ex-officio member of the sub-committee. Each member of the sub-committee is given a copy of this Plan.

The sub-committee is responsible for:

a) advertising the position(s);
b) short-listing the qualified candidates;
c) arranging on-campus interviews that allow for the participation of faculty, teaching assistants, and students;
d) soliciting input from Department members;
e) recommending a candidate for appointment

The Executive Staffing Committee and the staffing sub-committee should always include both male and female members. The Department will arrange for Equity Training workshops to be held for members of staffing sub-committees.

Where an applicant for an advertised position has self-identified as a member of one of the designated minority groups, the acknowledgement letter from the Chair should repeat this identification.

The sub-committee meets following the closing date for applications. The sub-committee agrees on a non-exhaustive set of common questions to be asked to all candidates. The AAE Representative must be in attendance at its first meeting to inform the sub-committee about provisions in the collective agreements of unionized instructors at York University (i.e., YUFA and CUPE) governing full-time appointments and to assess the extent and success of the advertising for the appointment. The sub-committee begins its deliberations by considering a written list of the places where the position was advertised (which must be inserted into the search file) and the appropriateness of the number of applicants from designated groups in the light of the recruitment process and the potential pools of applicants from designated groups in the area. If, in consultation with the Chair of the Department and the AAE Representative, the sub-committee believes that additional advertising efforts might increase the number of qualified applicants, then it may recommend to the Executive Staffing Committee that the search be extended. If the Executive Staffing Committee is satisfied that appropriate efforts have been made to elicit the application of candidates from designated groups, the sub-committee proceeds with the preparation of a short list.

Hiring Procedures - The Short List

Members of the sub-committee examine and evaluate each file in view of the requirements outlined in the job description and in this Plan. Each member of the sub-committee prepares and presents his/her short list to the sub-committee as a whole. Whether or not their names appear on individual short lists, the files of all female applicants and all applicants from minority groups who have self-identified are fully discussed and considered by the whole sub-committee.

The sub-committee submits its short list to the Executive Staffing Committee, which, with the chair of the sub-committee and the AAE Representative in attendance, considers whether the principles and procedures of the AAE Plan have been adhered to. It either approves the list and passes it on to the Dean of Arts for vetting, or sends it back to the staffing sub-committee for reconsideration.

Hiring Procedures - The Interviewing Process

With the Dean's approval, the short-listed candidates are invited to the university. The interview process includes:

a) briefing by the Chair of the Department on the university, the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Department of Social Science, any relevant programs, and other general information;

b) where possible, a meeting with the AAE representative to explain the collective agreement, including the affirmative action provisions;

c) informal meetings with the relevant program co-ordinator(s), members of their program executives, or any other members of the Department who express an interest;

d) a formal presentation of research interests and teaching ideas in a well-advertised meeting of Department members, chaired by a member of the sub-committee and open to faculty, teaching assistants, and students, who are given an opportunity to pose questions to the candidate; except in unusual and unavoidable circumstances, all voting members of the sub-committee must attend these presentations;

e) a meeting with the sub-committee.

Every effort is made to ensure that female faculty members meet with female applicants informally, and especially that they attend the applicants' presentations.

During this process, Department members are encouraged to submit written assessments of the candidates based on the interviews and, if possible, a reading of the applicants' files, which contain letters of application, curriculum vitae, letters of reference, publications, and other materials submitted by applicants themselves. These written assessments must be signed.

Hiring Procedures - Criteria for Selection

Within the process of affirmative action and equity hiring and consistent with the level and nature of the advertised appointment, all successful candidates should have displayed the following qualifications through their applications and interviews:

a) Canadian citizenship or permanent-resident status (only after determining that there are no eligible Canadian applicants does the sub-committee consider candidates without Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status);

b) Ph.D. or equivalent (professional degree, or experience/expertise strongly recognized in the area), or Ph.D. pending;

c) an interdisciplinary perspective and an awareness of new areas of intellectual development;

d) demonstrated strength in scholarship, and an active, ongoing program of research, communicated through professional channels and, where possible, through other modes that reach a broader public;

e) demonstrated excellence or clear potential in undergraduate teaching and capacity for graduate instruction and supervision;

f) a commitment to collegiality in university decision-making;

Hiring Procedures - The Selection

Once all the short-listed candidates have been interviewed and all material in their files (including letters of reference and submitted publications) have been read by members of the sub-committee, it meets to select the most suitable candidate for the position. The sub-committee's AAE representative must be present at this meeting.

Candidates are substantially equal unless one candidate can be demonstrated to be superior. If the annual count of tenure-stream faculty in the Department indicates that the proportion of females is below 40 per cent, when candidates' qualifications are substantially equal, the candidate who is both female and a member of a visible/racial minority, an aboriginal person, or a person with a disability is recommended for appointment. In the absence of female minority candidates, when candidates' qualifications are substantially equal, a candidate who is female, or one who is a male and a member of a visible/racial minority, an aboriginal person, or a person with a disability is recommended for appointment. If there is no female or minority candidate, the male candidate is recommended.

If the annual count of tenure-stream faculty in the Department indicates that the proportion of females is 40 per cent or more, a candidate who is a member of a visible/racial minority, an aboriginal person, or a person with a disability is recommended for appointment, unless a candidate who does not belong to these groups can be demonstrated to be superior.

If the sub-committee is not satisfied that there is a qualified candidate in the pool of applicants, or if there is serious disagreement among sub-committee members, it may also choose not to recommend any of the candidates.

The chair of the sub-committee prepares a written report on its recommendation for an appointment, which must be approved by a majority of the sub-committee. That report must review the search procedure, giving particular emphasis to the requirements of this Plan, must contain a comparison of all short-listed candidates, and must indicate clearly why the chosen candidate is superior to the others. It must also incorporate the report of the sub-committee's Affirmative Action and Equity representative on affirmative action and equity issues during the search.

The sub-committee's recommendation is forwarded to the Executive Staffing Committee, which assesses the procedures followed during the search. If not satisfied with the procedures, that committee may return the recommendation to the sub-committee for further deliberation. If satisfied with the procedures of the search, the Executive Staffing Committee approves the recommendation for presentation to the Department Council. The AAE Representative must attend the meetings of the Executive Staffing Committee and the Department Council meeting where the recommendation is to be ratified. The Department Council may accept or reject the recommendation, or refer it back to the staffing sub-committee for further deliberation.

After the Department Council has ratified the recommendation, the Chair of the Department prepares a written report to the Dean of Arts, reviewing the search procedure and providing a rationale for the recommendation.

Hiring Procedures - Affirmative Action and Equity Representative

  • accumulates a list of appropriate contacts for advertising positions to women and designated minority groups. receives a list of all contacts made in one search.
  • meets with the staffing sub-committee to explain the Department's AAE Plan and to consider whether the advertisements for the position have generated sufficient applications from women and designated minority groups.
  • meets with the Executive Staffing Committee during its consideration of the sub-committee's recommended short list.
  • prepares a written report on all procedures relating to the Affirmative Action and Equity Plan for the Executive Staffing Committee, which is included in the recruitment file to be forwarded to the Dean of the faculty.
  • meets with the Executive Staffing Committee to participate in its consideration of the sub-committee's recommendation.
  • attends the Department Council meeting where the recommendation is ratified.
  • presents a written assessment of the operation of the Plan at the end of each academic year.

Updated June 23, 2004