A level playing field

The affirmative action plan at Ferris State

The above information was taken from Ferris State University's 2016-2017 Fact Book

Ferris State University is known for its striving dedication to achieve diversity among the student population. But what about diversity among Ferris faculty and staff?

In a report in Ferris’ fall 2016 fact book, white males made up 91.74 percent of the male faculty and staff at Ferris while white females made up 90.68 percent of the female faculty and staff. African American was the second largest racial group among faculty with 3 percent making up the male faculty and staff population and 2.72 percent making up the overall female faculty and staff population.

In comparison to the student population in 2016, 77.62 percent of students were white, 6.75 percent black and 4.74 percent Latino or Hispanic, drawing the question how Ferris maintains diversity among faculty and students as well.

According to Ferris Vice President of General Counsel Miles Postema, Ferris has multiple policies pertaining to equal opportunities within the hiring process.

“Ferris is also required to maintain an affirmative action plan, because the university is a higher education institution that occasionally enters into federal contracts,” Postema said. “This plan, however, does not establish so-called ‘quotas,’ which require a number, percentage and or proportion of any racial or gender/sex category to be hired; quotas, in fact, are unlawful.”

The affirmative action plan in place at Ferris helps to measure how much the profile of labor pools, used to recruit and select new employees and reflect the existing workforce, according to Postema.

“The university uses this plan to measure when and if protected groups are underrepresented in order to guide good faith search and recruitment efforts to seek out and broaden the diversity of candidate pools,” Postema said.

The hiring process at Ferris, according to Postema, is conducted by departments individually and, therefore, all prospective hires go through the Equal Opportunity Office.

“The Equal Opportunity Office reviews pools of candidates for open positions to determine if candidates selected for additional rounds of consideration meet minimum qualifications and to ensure that the university’s hiring practices remain consistent and equitable to all,” Postema said.  

Some of the objectives maintained in the Ferris affirmative action plan regarding the recruitment of a diverse workforce include training for search committees, “Inclusion and Equity” training and targeted advertising for open positions in an array of sources and publications, according to Postema.

“In fact, the university’s Diversity and Inclusion office pays to have all job postings listed at LatinosinHigherEd.com, Diverseeducation.com and Diversejobs.net,” Postema said. “The same office also created an online recruitment resource, accessible at ferris.edu/HTMLS/administration/president/DiversityOffice/recruitingworkforce.htm and the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion also meets with individuals and groups for the same purpose of discussing the univeresity’s commitment to creating a diverse workforce.”