There is a new administrative staff member who is responsible for ensuring equal employment opportunities among faculty and staff, and her name is Nicole Butts.

Her official title is interim director of employee diversity, inclusion and campus climate. 

Nicole Butts has big plans for creating diversity. (Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski)

Butts will report to Kimberly Allian, associate vice president of employee and organizational development and advancement, who said she plans to work closely with Butts.

Although Butts just started her position less than a month ago, she said she has big plans for the future. 

Butts’ first plan of action will be creating an employment-related affirmative action plan that will include faculty, staff and administrators. 

“During this process we will look at the hiring, retention, and promotion of employees to make sure there is some diversity,” Butts said.

“Nicole is responsible for the affirmative action plan for campus and equal employment reporting but will also have some campus climate responsibilities which are still being scoped,” Allian said. 

Allian said the plan will also include training for staff and the implementation of a campus-wide climate survey.

Another area of Butts’ job includes looking at the diversity and inclusion efforts that are made on campus and determine what the results of those efforts are, so that when new programs are implemented, they are effective.

She is also tasked with looking at data in terms of hiring and promotion to see if there are any barriers that prevent equal employment, so Butts can come up with new strategies and techniques to try to eliminate them.

Butts said it is important to analyze the different types of complaints faculty and staff are reporting. She will look to see if there is a pattern in the kind of complaints that are received and determine if further research is needed. 

For example, if one department has more men than women, she can see if more men are being hired in that department and look at why or why not women are being promoted. 

Butts said she is coming into this role with over 20 years of experience. She owned her own consulting firm that focused on diversity and inclusion. After that, she worked for a national consulting firm where she advised companies on their equal employment and affirmative action practices.

“It’s mostly looking at data,” she said. “You’re analyzing a company’s data to see what decisions they are actually making. All companies will say ‘Yes, we practice equal employment’ but it’s not [true until] you start analyzing data.” 

This data is then used to understand and analyze how a company can make better decisions, she said.

Butts said she left consulting because she wanted to actually see the changes she was making. 

“When you’re consulting companies you don’t see the results as much,” she said. “I wanted to see the after-effect of my work.”

Butts said she hopes she will aid the university in its goal of creating diversity and equal opportunity in employment practices and campus climate. 

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