Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

Affirmative Action can be summarized as those result-oriented actions and good faith efforts in which OSU (as an agency that contracts with the federal government) engages to ensure equality of opportunity in our employment processes. It refers to concrete steps in recruitment and hiring designed to minimize the present effects of past discrimination and unintentional present-day biases.

The written Affirmative Action Plan produced each year by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA) incorporates a set of specific and results-oriented practices, including good-faith efforts to address significant underrepresentation of women or people of color in particular job groups, and to minimize the present effects of past discrimination and present cognitive bias. OSU hiring managers, search chairs, and search committee members are responsible for implementing OSU’s good faith efforts by making conscious efforts throughout the search process to be inclusive and to offset the effects of bias.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access completes an Incumbency vs. Availability analysis as part of the Affirmative Action Plan. The analysis compares the percentage of persons of color and women in OSU’s workforce (and the jobs they occupy) to the availability of women and people of color in the appropriate labor area. If the analysis shows underrepresentation of women or people of color in certain job groups, then extra recruitment efforts must be taken to ensure that these protected-class members are well-represented in applicant pools for positions in those job groups. These include outreach efforts and advertising in publications that promote placement of women and people of color, etc.

The goal of an Affirmative Action Plan is genuine equality of opportunity in employment. Selection is based upon the ability of an applicant to do the work. The Plan neither advocates nor condones the selection of an unqualified applicant. Applicants are not selected on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or other identity characteristics (a common misconception).

OSU extends the benefit of our affirmative action practices to individuals who self-identify as qualifying veterans (in this case, qualifying veterans means all veterans or disabled veterans who served on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States and were honorably discharged).

The EOA website at contains resources related to the implementation of affirmative action and equal opportunity practices in the search process. Hiring managers and search committee members/chairs are advised to obtain general guidance and strategies for equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity in the search process from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.