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The mission of the Equal Opportunity Planning Committee (EOPC) is to promote greater equity for historically underrepresented/underserved groups within the University and/or those groups that have been historical targets of discrimination. EOPC was formed in 1983 as a response to a desegregation mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Education to all public institutions within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although the desegregation mandate was lifted by the federal government several years after it was initiated, the Penn State administration decided to continue EOPC's mission and role in promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity at all Penn State locations.

The primary task of EOPC is overseeing the allocation of institutional funding to Penn State units for developing and implementing programs and activities intended to advance the diversity mission of the University. Funding from EOPC is intended to provide seed money for innovative pilot programs and existing initiatives that create and support a climate of equity throughout Penn State. Programs funded initially by EOPC that prove to be successful should, in time, become part of a unit's regular operating budget or obtain support through external funding sources. EOPC will fund ongoing projects in decreasing increments for a period not to exceed five years, and a new proposal must be submitted every year to receive funding. After five years, EOPC will not fund projects even if program support has not shifted to the unit or external sources. Also, program costs often must be shared with the unit and/or external funding sources.

All members of the University community are encouraged to develop funding proposals. To ensure the appropriate coordination of EOPC programs within units, all proposals must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate academic or administrative executive prior to submission to EOPC for consideration. Proposals are funded on a competitive basis based upon available resources. To ensure that programs are advancing our strategic goals, each proposal must demonstrate a clear link to:

  1. Penn State's Strategic Plan or
  2. the unit's strategic plan (see this link for a list of unit strategic plans).

Funding requests for ongoing initiatives must demonstrate that the program has been rigorously assessed and is producing its desired outcomes.

The funding categories of EOPC follow:

  1. Campus/Unit Climate;
  2. Curriculum;
  3. Faculty/Staff Recruiting;
  4. Faculty/Staff Retention;
  5. Leadership Development;
  6. Student Recruiting;
  7. Student Retention/Graduation; and
  8. Organizational Change.

Often, projects receive less funding than requested by project directors. Given the competitiveness of the EOPC award process, units are encouraged to develop contingency plans to ensure that high-priority projects will continue to operate even if EOPC funds are not allocated. In order to maximize the programmatic impact of EOPC funds, neither EOPC nor unit/external funds can be included in proposal budgets for the following items:

  • Gifts, "giveaways," or prizes
  • T-shirts, buttons, balloons, and other such items
  • Conferences where travel is required
  • Research projects, computer hardware, art, or library collections
  • Wages/honoraria for 12-month full-time Penn State faculty/staff or graduate assistantships (EOPC will consider funding graduate and/or undergraduate students on wages)
  • Instructor salaries for Penn State courses where tuition is charged unless the tuition dollars generated by a specific course are inadequate to cover the instructor's salary (programs should contact the EOPC office if they anticipate this problem)

EOPC will consider funding student conference participation ONLY if the student is making a presentation at the conference, and this support must be equally shared with the academic department. Faculty or staff conference attendance also must be shared with the unit and can only be included in the proposal budget (for either EOPC or unit costs) if it is for the purpose of facilitating student presentation at a conference. EOPC will consider funding wages/honoraria for 9- or 10-month full-time Penn State faculty and staff if they work on an EOPC program during their "non contract" period. In other words, faculty and staff who only work during the academic year may receive wages/honoraria if they work on an EOPC program during the summer. They could not receive wages/honoraria for a program that occurs during the academic year. Finally, EOPC will not consider in-kind support from a unit as part of their contribution toward a program. In-kind support is defined as any contribution that does not involve direct dollar support that would not ordinarily have been made unless the program occurred. Please see this link for further information in in-kind support.

Proposal evaluation

Proposal submissions (in addition to the aforementioned guidelines) should explain clearly:

  • Engagement of the EOPC mission;
  • Alignment with the University or unit’s strategic plan;
  • Program outcomes (e.g., “we will enroll 20 participants,” “we will create four lectures”) and learning outcomes (e.g., “as a result of this program, participants will be able to define implicit bias, and identify three campus diversity and inclusion resources”);
  • An appropriate evaluation and assessment plan inclusive of each outcome;
  • Program components that we could reasonably expect to support the achievement of the outcomes; and,
  •  A budget compliant with EOPC guidelines and aligned well with program components. 

After EOPC programs have been completed, any unused EOPC funds must be returned from programs back to EOPC.

Other Funding Sources

In addition to EOPC, Penn State funds several other programs that contribute to the support of diverse faculty and staff. The President's Opportunity Fund supports initiatives that increase new faculty hires from diverse racial/ethnic groups and women faculty. Please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity for further information about this fund. Also, faculty and staff from diverse racial/ethnic groups and women are especially encouraged to apply to the Administrative Fellows Program, which provides high-level administrative experience for those seeking advancement to leadership positions within the University. Information on similar programs also can be found at the Office of Human Resources.


Programs will comply with all applicable University, state, and federal policies, regulations, and laws. For example, an individual will not be denied “the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, or otherwise adversely [affect] a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or living environment, because of the individual’s age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas” (AD91).