The University of Michigan Personnel Office was established in 1945 to develop and implement personnel policies, administer faculty promotion and tenure-granting policies, and negotiate and monitor contracts with unionized university employees. While recommendations for faculty promotions and tenure began in the department, school, or college, the Personnel Office was responsible for conducting them to the president, the provost, and to the Board of Regents for final action. This office also maintained the official employment record for all university faculty and staff. The Personnel Office annually published salary information of all university employees. Researchers will find these listings in the University of Michigan Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action publications group.
In 1972 the University of Michigan created the Affirmative Action Program to develop recruiting practices and set goals and timetables to respond to federal laws passed in the 1960s guaranteeing equal opportunity in employment to women and minorities. The first director of the Affirmative Action Program was Nellie M. Varner. Her chief responsibility was to interpret the specific guidelines of the Department of Education (Title VI, Title IX), the Department of Labor (Title IV and Title VII) and to build a structure within the university to meet these guidelines. In addition she served as a liaison between the university, federal government officials, and the university's Commissions for Minority Affairs and Women, established by President Robben Fleming in 1971. His charge to the commissions was to examine university policies, procedures, and practices which might contribute to discrimination against minority groups and women, and make recommendations. The commissions and the Affirmative Action Program worked together to develop procedures and submitted recommendations to the president to improve various programs within the university.
Reorganized in 1976 the Affirmative Action Program was changed to Affirmative Action Office and the Commissions for Minority Affairs and Women were integrated into the office. The move eliminated duplication of effort and focused activity on the eradication of discriminatory practices. Gwendolyn Baker was appointed the new director of the Affirmative Action Office. In 1978 Charles Allemand replaced her as director of the Affirmative Action Office.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the role of the office grew to include the protection of handicapped individuals, people between the ages of 40 and 70, and veterans of the Vietnam War. In addition, non-discriminatory policies included religion, national origin, height, weight, marital status, and sexual orientation.
In 1980 Virginia Nordby became director of the Affirmative Action Office. The office was divided into compliance and programs teams, reflecting the major functions of the office, to meet federal affirmative action guidelines, and to serve the needs of groups or individuals on campus protected by nondiscrimination laws. Nordby directed both teams.
The compliance team was responsible for the data retrieval, analysis, and writing the reports on minority student recruitment and retention, faculty and staff employment, and affirmative action compliance required by the university and the federal government. In addition, it monitored the race and gender composition of the faculty, staff, and student body; set affirmative action goals and followed their progress, and oversaw faculty and staff recruitment. The program team addressed the needs of members of protected groups through grievance counseling, program development, and policy recommendations. It also provided workshops to the university community.
The Affirmative Action Office also worked with constituency groups, providing direct staff and financial support to such groups as the Academic Women's Caucus, the African-American Organizations Coalition, the Age Concerns Council, the Association of Black Professionals and Administrators, the Commission for Women, the Women of Color Task Force, the Men of Color Task Force, the Task Force on Sexual Orientation, and the Women's Initiative Group.
In 1988 Virginia Nordby left the Affirmative Action Office. Mary Ann Swain became the interim director. In 1989, Zaida I. Giraldo became the director. In 1992, Jimmy A. Myers took over the position as Interim Director.
On February 15, 1994 the Affirmative Action Office combined with the Personnel Office to become the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action. Jackie McClain was appointed as the executive director.