The Staff Diversity Opportunity Program (SDOP) permits opportunity hires and the development of talent in the form of apprenticeships, pipeline positions, and other hires that enable us to onboard high potential, diverse candidates who do not fill a specific, immediate need.
The purpose of SDOP is to promote employment of minorities and women in Professional and Scientific (P&S) classifications, thereby increasing diversity within the P&S staff and on the University of Iowa campus overall. This program provides opportunity for development through professional employment for a period of up to two years, increasing the new employee's skills, knowledge, and abilities in such a way as to increase the likelihood of a successful candidacy for future P&S vacancies.
A pool of funds exists to enhance future campus efforts to recruit and retain minorities and women in P&S classifications. Funds are available to areas highly dependent on General Education Funds.
SDOP candidates are identified through the following means:
1. A search process for a P&S classification is completed and the position filled by the most qualified candidate. A woman or underrepresented minority from the remainder of the search's candidate pool is identified as a potential opportunity hire. The hiring department/unit requests funds based on one of the following factors:
- Original search was for an underrepresented classification (see note below) per data updated annually by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD).
- Women or minorities are underrepresented in the hiring department/unit (requests based on underrepresentation within an org will be considered on a case-by-case basis).
2. A search process was not planned nor initiated and instead, an opportunity is being created. The hiring department/unit proposes to hire an identified woman or underrepresented minority based on any of the following factors:
- Placement into an underrepresented P&S classification (per above)
- Underrepresentation within the department/unit (requests based on underrepresentation within an org will be considered on a case-by-case basis)
3. An accompanying woman or underrepresented minority spouse/partner is identified as a candidate by the Dual Career Network and contributes to furthering the diversification of either underrepresented P&S staff classifications or of the hiring department/unit.
Funding is available for up to two years and 50% of the salary plus fringe per year to support the hire of a diverse candidate into a P&S position. The candidate must be hired into a classification for which the candidate meets the required qualifications.
After this initial period, SDOP funding ceases and either:
- The employing college/division provides an alternative source of funding for the staff member's salary
- The department and college/division works with the SDOP employee to gain other university employment in anticipation of the end of the supported position.
NOTE: Underrepresentation of women or minorities in the University of Iowa workforce is determined by conducting an annual "availability analysis" in accordance with U.S. Department of Labor guidelines (41 CFR § 60-2.14), estimating the availability of women and minorities with requisite skills in the reasonable recruitment area. This analysis is reported in the university's annual Affirmative Action Plan and Report of Activity.
Requests for Funding
Upon determination that all other options for funding an opportunity position are exhausted, the hiring department requests funding through the senior HR leader for the respective college/division. The senior HR leader evaluates the request and, if agreeable, forwards the request to University Human Resources. Requests may be submitted at any time.
Requests for funds are made in the form of a letter and attachments that include the following:
- Quality: How does the proposed opportunity hire enhance the quality of the department and college/division? (Brief, strong statement supporting the individual's qualifications, accompanied by a copy of the electronic application or resume, and information from professional references)
- Diversity: How will the proposed opportunity hire increase the diversity of the department and college/division? (Identify which option above justifies this application and provide a statement to support the option; note whether the candidate is an international candidate.)
- Recruitment plan: Is an opportunity being created for this candidate or will s/he fill an otherwise needed position? (E.g., in anticipation of a future retirement or termination)
- Appointment: What is the expected classification, FTE, type, and date of the appointment? Use the SDOP Offer Letter Template.
- Costs: What are the salary and fringe benefits, and any other costs, for the first and second year? (Provide a detailed cost breakdown, indicating the typical source of funds for such a position, what portions of the costs are requested from SDOP funds—maximum $50,000—and the source of funds for the balance of the costs.)
- Contact: Who in the department and college/division will be the responsible representative(s) or contact(s) for the proposed development activity?
- Professional development: What are the department's and college's/division's plans for developing the candidate once hired and reviewing his or her professional progress? (Include a plan for professional development and followup in order to receive favorable consideration. The initial plan submitted to gain SDOP approval may be an overview. Upon approval, the template must be submitted within 30 days of the individuals hire.)
- Continuity: What are the department's and college's/division's plans for facilitating the employee's continued employment at the end of the second year? (At the end of the first year, the hiring entity provides either a plan for converting the employee's position to local funding or a plan to assist the employee in finding other university employment in anticipation of the end of SDOP funding. In the event that the employee is hired into an advertised university position, SDOP funding will cease.)
This program will be evaluated on a biennial basis to examine its utilization and the successful placement of employees upon cessation of SDOP funding.
The following indicates the process for instituting the position and for continuing the position for each of the identifying options upon approval of SDOP funding.
- Identify candidate: Provide requisition number of completed search and name of the most-qualified individual hired as part of application. Place the opportunity hire into a) an underrepresented classification, or b) an underrepresented department/unit (underrepresented org on case-by-case basis).
- Initial hire: Upon approval of SDOP funding, seek EOD approval of search waiver. Create a local job description.
- Position retention after two years: May continue employment simply by extending appointment either as term, probationary, or at-will.
- Identify candidate: No search planned or initiated—instead an opportunity is being created. Place the opportunity hire into a) an underrepresented classification, or b) an underrepresented department/unit (underrepresented org on case-by-case basis).
- Initial hire: EOD approval is not necessary; however, the opportunity hire must meet required qualifications for classification. Create new position through Position Management.
- Position retention after two years: A search must be undertaken or approval of search waiver obtained from EOD.
Dual Career Reference
- Identify candidate: Dual Career Network identifies accompanying spouse/partner who is woman or minority.
- Initial hire: Upon approval of SDOP funding, seek EOD approval of search waiver. Create new position through Position Management.
- Position retention after two years: May continue employment by simply extending appointment either as term, probationary, or at-will.
You can adapt this Staff Diversity Opportunity Program (doc) letter template when offering a position through the program.