To: Oregon State University Community

From: Paul G. Risser, President
        Timothy P. White, Provost and Executive Vice President

Re: Hiring Initiative to Promote and Enhance Diversity at Oregon State University

The true essence of our university is its people - the intellectual, social, and human capital that makes OSU what it is today, and what it will become. We are already engaged in a process of creating our future university - we must also continue to build an institutional culture that will support and affirm the diverse people who make up the very university we envision.

Beginning immediately, Oregon State University will implement new procedures in hiring. The new policy requires that all position announcements include language that meet one of the following two expectations:

  • All individuals appointed to positions of leadership must demonstrate a commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity. This policy applies to all members of the University Cabinet, the President's Council, the Provost's Council, deans, directors, department heads and chairs, and all other leadership positions, including titles of assistant, associate, vice, and their equivalents.

  • All other unclassified and classified positions will include a demonstrable commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity as a preferred qualification.

We have a compelling need to build a culture that welcomes and affirms diverse community members, supports diverse perspectives and worldviews, and diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being. There is a direct relationship between excellence and diversity. Increasing diversity will help us to continue to build organizational effectiveness, engage the communities we serve, and enhance organizational creativity and innovation.

The world is changing rapidly in many ways. For the Oregon State University community to meet those challenges and to thrive we also must change. We must recognize that our students have different needs and perspectives, the demographics of Oregon are changing, our partners in business and industry have new expectations, and the communities with which the university interacts are different in many ways than those same communities were just a few years ago.

Oregon State needs to recognize this growing diversity and respond to it in a positive and proactive manner. Diversity comes in many forms, including ethnicity, gender, age, religion, cultural background, political perspectives, sexual orientation, family structure, ability/disability status, and socio-economic status. For Oregon State University to respond with agility and success in this changing world, we must rely on the full range of human diversity to inform our thoughts and actions. We must hire leaders and other people who can make a difference at every layer of the university.

A great deal of thought and consultation has gone into these new hiring procedures. For the past two years, a cross-section of faculty, students and administrators have met to discuss ways in which the university can continue to promote diversity. By requiring all leadership appointees to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, we are showing our own commitment to these efforts.

The Offices of Human Resources and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity have collaborated to develop tools that will help units implement these initiatives. They can provide guidance throughout the hiring procedure, including the creation of job announcements, interview questions, and screening criteria. Please see the attached document for a more detailed discussion of this initiative.

Thank you.