By Katia Lifshiz
Ryerson’s Board of Governors will start monitoring employment equity goals to ensure adequate hiring of minorities and women in response to the university’s low hiring targets. But some faculties feel there isn’t a problem.
The board set employment targets that it will monitor over the next three years to hire more women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, and people with disabilities.
Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse says the fact that nearly 40 per cent of Ryerson’s faculty are women shows the university has made strides, but falls short in other areas.
“We’re doing extremely well in terms of our performance, and in some areas we are above whatever the particular representation in the population would be,” he says. “In others we are not yet.”
Dean of Engineering and Applied Science Stalin Boctor, and Dean of Arts Carla Cassidy believe the most important factor in the hiring process is whether the candidate has the right qualifications.
Despite the demand for better employment equity initiatives, Boctor and Cassidy say faculties are doing an excellent job reaching the target set for them.
“I think we’ve made a huge step forward,” Cassidy says about her faculty’s hiring targets. “We’ve developed some curriculum that will attract people from a diverse pool.”
Sue Wilson, Dean of the Faculty of Community Services, says her faculty currently employs a majority of women on staff. Cassidy says some programs tend to lean more toward one gender, but this trend is currently being evened out.
Vice Provost Faculty Affairs Michael Dewson said at last Monday’s Board of Governors meeting that targets for female staff in engineering are currently set very high, but few women are hired.
“It’s easier to hire male scientists than female engineers,” he said.
Boctor says the percentage of women recently hired in engineering has exceeded the target from the last assessment by nearly two per cent, and the future looks good.
“In the next three years we have 24 open positions and five of these positions are targeted for women,” he says. “I think we’ll accomplish this target this year.”
He also says his faculty has exceeded its target to have 28 per cent of the staff be visible minorities. They make up 40 per cent of the faculty staff.
Still, Chair of the Board of Governors Michael Guerriere says he is concerned about the targets some faculties are facing.
“In other cases some of the faculties that didn’t have good equity had no target at all –their target was zero,” he says. “And even if it’s really difficult to find somebody you’d think that the target would at least be one [per cent], so there was some active expectation that we were trying to recruit from that area.”
The three deans agree that the greatest challenge is the hiring people with disabilities, since this has to be self-declared at the candidate’s discretion.