Climate and Diversity Team

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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Information Technology Services (ITS)
Date Started: 
June 2009
To develop a comprehensive strategy for integrating climate and diversity into the fabric of the Information Technology Services existence.

Based upon extensive analysis from both an ITS Climate and Diversity survey and the Faculty Staff survey, we wrote and communicated the “ITS Community Principles” upon which all human resources, management and employee behaviors, policies and practices are modeled. The Principles state ” We actively seek to incorporate the following principles in all of our endeavors:”

* Personal integrity, honesty, and accountability
* Individual initiative and responsible risk taking
* A culture of teamwork, collaboration, openness and transparency
* A passion for customers and technology
* Diversity, inclusiveness, fairness, and respect

With the most recent Framework for Diversity, we have introduced a seven point action strategy. Our goals are:
Framework Goals:
Goal Summary Collated:
Each of our seven goals below is linked to our three strategies (TEA) to create recommendations for action. The links between these goals and University Challenges are listed with each. Each goal also has broad, associated metrics (including time frame for completion) to determine the effectiveness of the implementation of our strategies and tactics. In our first goal, we address the everyday actions of ITS staff, from which we believe all improvement in climate and diversity must flow.

Goal #1: Follow ITS Community Principles - individual-based initiatives With the development and publishing of ITS Community Principles, we now have a set of guidelines to follow in our daily operations: personal integrity and accountability, individual initiative, responsible risk taking, focus on teamwork, collaboration, openness and transparency in daily operations, passion for customers and technology, diversity, inclusiveness, fairness, and respect in our work environment. These guidelines will be followed through regular process of reinforcement and holding each other accountable.
Bearing the results of our surveys in mind, we believe that it is imperative that we live up to these principles and call on those around us to do the same. To achieve our future goals, especially with diversity, all levels of ITS management and staff need to be aligned with the Community Principles and and the vision for ITS, and how they support this vision. . This theme is echoed across several goals, and is highlighted in Goal #5, Improved Management Practices.
Proposed Actions Related to Challenges 2 and 7
o Demonstrated and accountable leadership around ITS Community Principles
promoting diverse and healthy work environments
using appropriate communication styles
practicing fairness and respect for all employees
o Develop and provide a curriculum of courses offered to new and existing ITS staff to support Community Principles
assertive communications
diverse team-building
cultural awareness
o Managers review and reinforce Community Principles during SRDP process - both manager and employee sign a copy of the Principles and discuss their relevance in unit activities and employee performance
o Develop and run Pulse survey assessments to evaluate the impact the Community Principles adoption is having in unit interactions and climate
o Metrics:
Number of courses offered
Number of participants
course evaluation feedback
Pulse Survey Results

Goal #2: Diversify ITS Workforce, Leadership and Management Review of ITS demographics shows little change in ethnic diversity from previous years. The recruitment and retention of people of color remains a daunting challenge in a rural area whose population lacks diversity and it's support systems for persons from underrepresented groups. Thus, we need to work collaboratively and think more creatively to explore new ways to increase the diversity in the ITS staff profile at Penn State and that of IT staff across Penn State. Since job progression often leads to IT staff moving between central and distributed IT organizations, an improvement in the diversity of ITS can help improve the diversity of ITS at Penn State as a whole. In pursuit of that goal, we have made initial efforts to develop a comprehensive approach in identifying diverse applicant pools. Our efforts at creating a welcoming and nurturing environment should aid in increasing and maintaining our diversity.

Proposed Action Items Relating to Items 1,3,4, and 6
o Continually expand and modify recruitment pools to increase diverse representation
Continually evaluate and advertise position vacancies in new and relevant media to expand exposure to diverse cultures/communities
Include CIO in the Administrative Fellow program to increase underrepresented groups at executive/SLT Level
Develop relationships with student organizations (like MISA - Management Info Systems Association) to take leverage diverse student body and help with student retention
Develop relationship with Steve Hayes, assistant manager, diversity recruitment, Inclusion and Special Programs in the Office of Human Resources, to facilitate Internship for IT students from diverse backgrounds in Philadelphia
o Role of ITS Human Resources in Diversity Recruitment
Have the ITS HR Rep partner with HR Reps in distributed units to develop an overall IT position recruitment strategy across Penn State
Coordinate recruitment efforts at diversity job fairs with other HR Rep partners
o Monitor and increase the diversity profile of student wage staff
o Metrics
University Diversity data provided by Office of Educational Equity (Attachment)
Number of student wage staff and diversity profile
Number of diverse recruitment vehicles
Recruitment Program ROI - Number of new diversity hires to dollars spent on program within ITS
Turnover rates for underrepresented groups

Goal #3: Communicate
One of the greatest challenges to improving our climate is to improve internal ITS communications. We believe there is a need for clear, streamlined communications procedures. Many climate problems trace their roots to a lack of transparency and clarity in vertical communications, the tumultuous multitude of communication and media sources that bombard us every day at work, and a perceived lack of synergy among the various ITS divisions. We cannot overstate the importance of this communication goal. It is critical that all members of leadership consistently and actively communicate the vice provost's achieve a welcoming, supportive environment that encourages diversity of people and ideas.
Proposed Action Items Related to Challenges 1, 2, and 7
o Broadening of communication focus from ITS-centric to reaching across IT at Penn State (Kevin's CIO role)

o VP/CIO commission a "Communications Task Force" for IT at Penn State to develop a strategy around classifying communications, along with effective methods and audience of delivery for each communication type. This aids in creating a welcoming environment for employees feeling "in the loop" and being engaged in the climate and diversity goals as well as broader IT organizational goals.
o Include regular and frequent communications from Kevin with the following:
o Focus on ITS Definition of Diversity
o Refresh of Kevin's vision around a diverse, respectful, and collaborative community to enable better IT planning and implementation
o Review and reinforce the Four Themes - expand Theme #4 to the following:
o "Develop a diverse culture of collaboration and teamwork"
o Outline top priorities for IT at Penn State to help with inclusiveness and attachment to mission
o Create transparency regarding financial issues and decision-making processes
o Focus on IT at Penn State - use ITS as an example of a welcoming organization aware of its diverse human assets. Demonstrate ITS Community Principles to break down Penn State unit boundaries

Electronic collaboration space for IT Communication - increasing C&D Team communications through this space
o Include quarterly diversity profile of IT at Penn State - make available to all IT staff and leadership (executives) across Penn State
o Report metric scorecard to staff - informing of improvements and progress toward Framework goals
o Include diversity and climate course/event offering opportunities across Penn State - tie into other Penn State resources
o Diversity BLOG (is this supposed to stand for something? Otherwise, "Blog" is a word, not an acronym) - from Climate & Diversity Team encouraging on-line discussion of diversity issues and attitudes
Initiate a "Focus on People" internal ITS campaign to highlight staff contributions, roles they play in ITS and their individual uniqueness - setting the example that all staff are valued
o "A Day in the Life" stories about staff
o Internet profile of employee - testimonials from staff
o Metrics
IT Staff at Penn State Diversity Profile Numbers
Number of staff highlighted and profiled
Communication Task Force metrics - to be developed during planning and implementation phases

Goal #4 - Provide Support and Educational Resources for Staff ITS climate surveys have indicated that staff members believe that equal access to job and professional development opportunities is important and must be improved. In addition, many other climate and diversity issues may be improved through education, e.g. increased knowledge of cultural differences encourages acceptance and respect. We recommend three broad strategies: increased peer-to-peer support, coaching, and a strengthened delivery by human resources of appropriate resources.

Proposed Action Items Related to Challenges 1,2,4, and 7
o Provide professional coaching for ITS leadership
MoR Associates to advise and coach IT Senior Leadership
MoR Associates to work with IT initiative work teams, composed of staff from units across Penn State. This Action Learning Program (ALP) reinforces positive leadership concepts throughout the project development and implementation, providing a practicum for learning appropriate leadership styles and skills to leverage the wealth of diversity in work teams
o Develop and facilitate a formal IT mentoring program and informal peer-to-peer coaching program for all IT staff at Penn State - Penn State IT Leader program
o Increase HR resources and availability to mediate diversity/equity issues
Develop a peer to peer support network of trained, objective mediators, advised by HR staff, to help employees process experiences related to diversity and equity, air interpersonal challenges and learn about tools to aid in issues resolution.
o Analyze and design a comprehensive on-boarding program, including educating new employees on ITS Community Principles and climate and diversity issues
o Build an electronic "employee toolbox" of resources designed to set expectations and help all employees, new and current, to meet those expectations. Include diversity resources in this toolbox.
o Metrics
Evaluation of Action Learning Program outcomes
Mentoring program numbers
Peer to Peer network contact numbers
Number of visits to employee toolbox and pages most visited Goal #5: Improve Management Practices ITS needs to enrich its management practices to increase transparency, education, and alignment across and within ITS units, especially around climate and diversity issue. Cross-unit equity and coordination of resources will better serve ITS in reaching its goals. We will rely on our internal human resources staff, climate and diversity team, and partnering with the Office of Human Resources and HR representatives across the University.l Proposed Action Items Related to Challenges: 2,3,4,7
o Create and facilitate a supervisory community within ITS to develop resources based on best practices around workforce management, taking advantage of collaborative and communication technologies
Develop resources to support good management/supervisory practices
o Provide easily accessible action lists that include policy and best practices for a variety of workforce issues
o Develop a variety of forums for supervisors to come together to share experiences and get training
o Infuse diversity and ITS Community Principles into routine management practices
o Regular training for employees around the following management topics:
Workforce Management (strategic focus)
o Policy Training
o Hire Power Training
o Managing across cultures and underrepresented groups
Team and interpersonal dynamics
o Facilitation Training
o Communication Skill Training
o Collaborative/Team building training
Supervision Training (tactical focus)
o Performance Management and Coaching
o Documentation procedures for performance issues
o SRDP writing and delivery training
o Policy training as appropriate
o ITS Leadership should develop methods to benchmark progress toward improvement of management practices
Hold focus groups of ITS staff
Develop specific criteria, including demonstrated support for diversity, for management as part of SRDP and review outcomes
Mid-year 360 evaluation of managers for coaching purposes only
o Metrics
number of opportunities provided to Supervisory Community and attendance
use of electronic resources developed and provided
survey results on quality of community interaction
number of training classes
number of participants in training classes
training class evaluation results
focus group feedback on progress toward improvement of management practices
overall 360 evaluation results (trends over time) Goal #6: Reward and Recognize Staff ITS developed a new program of regular, meaningful rewards and recognition for IT employees built around the vice provost's Four Themes. One of the formal awards will recognize employees within ITS to have a positive impact on climate and diversity. Informal recognition of staff efforts contributes to a positive climate for all IT staff across Penn State.
Proposed Action Items Related to Challenges 2, 4, and 7

o Provide formal IT and ITS award program - See Attachment
Institute the CIO/ITS-VP IT Impact Awards Program (insert webpage link)
o Cash award program for staff
Awards reaching across IT staff at Penn State
o Collaboration Award
o Nominees ranked by Penn State IT LEADER Steering Committee
o Innovation Award
o Nominees ranked by College and Campus IT Directors
o Resource Responsibility Award
o Nominees ranked by University Financial Officers
Awards internal to ITS staff
o Coaching/Mentoring Award
o Nominees ranked by ITS Leadership Team
o Cimate and Diversity Award
o Nominees ranked by ITS Climate and Diversity Team
o Provide informal recognition opportunities
IT Thankworthy Efforts
o Modeled after University Libraries program, provide a mechanism for IT staff to publicly thank one another for the good work that happens every day across Penn State.
o Encourage non-monetary reward and recognition as well as diversity and cultural awareness program development within individual units across ITS and collect best practices in staff motivation and reward.
o Metrics
number of award nominees, awardees
number of thankworthy efforts submissions
evaluation of award program - survey results Goal #7: Provide Information Resources in Support of University Diversity Goals - ITS adds value to the university's diversity efforts by increasing awareness and support of University diversity events and opportunities, as well as sponsoring programs that support diverse populations and their IT needs.
Proposed Action Items Related to Challenges 2,3,4,5,7
o Adult Learning Technology Bootcamp - Partner with Outreach and the Center for Adult Learners to design and offer a technology bootcamp for returning adult students who may not have the same technology skills as incoming high school students.
o Continue working with Undergraduate Education to provide the most welcoming FTCaP experience possible for diverse, incoming students and families
o Adult and Disadvantaged Student Equipment Donation Initiative - Explore with Salvage and Surplus and Corporate Controller the possibility of assistance for underrepresented/at risk student support through recycling of lifecycled ITS equipment
o Metrics
Technology Bootcamp enrollment number's
Number of machines donated
FTCaP customer satisfaction feedback

Contact Person: 
Susan Morse
  • Kevin Morooney, Sponsor
  • Cristol Gregory, Chair
  • Shelley Gette, Chair Elect
  • Rod Khayat, Past Chair
  • Pamela Fuller, Goal Chair
  • Vicki Hoffman, Goal Chair
  • Susan Morse, Goal Chair
  • Lucy Taylor, Goal Chair
  • Abdul Aziz, Member
  • Kathy Beck, Member
  • Robin Dickson, Member
  • Andrea Harrington, Member
  • Michael Hill, Member
  • Paul Kletchka, Member
  • Heather Mannion, Member
  • Jerry Mihaly, Member
  • Jamie Oberdick, Member
  • Shirley Patton, Member
  • Darlene Ritter, Member