Honoring Diversity: Why Now?

  • Demographics in Oregon and around the country are changing. People who were once considered minority groups are now are a larger percentage of the population: United States 33.1%, California 56.2%, Washington 22.9%, and Oregon 18.4%. The Diversity Program is helping position OSU Extension to meet the educational needs of new, emerging, and underserved populations.
  • Access to higher education and social justice are central values of Extension professionals (Morrill Act of 1862, Morrill of Act 1890, Smith Lever Act of 1914). The Diversity Program is helping OSU Extension to help minority communities, including first, second, and third generation immigrants to access the opportunities made possible through higher education.
  • In 2008, individuals who were born in 1946 turned 62 years of age and became eligible for retirement. In the next ten years, OSU Extension will see a tidal wave of baby boomer retirements. The Diversity Program is helping to position OSU Extension to thoughtfully manage the succession of generations of Extension faculty and staff.

The OSU Extension Diversity Programs works to provide:

Accurate Demographic and Needs Assessment

  • Gather accurate information about the population trends in the local, state, and regional communities we serve
  • Determine the educational needs of new, emerging, and underserved audiences in the communities we serve

Outreach and Engagement

  • Reach new, emerging, and underserved audiences while continuing the meet the significant needs of our traditional clientele groups
  • Partner with agencies and organizations that have access to audiences that are currently underserved by Extension
  • Partner with OSU Extended Campus; use distance learning and hybrid (distance plus face-to-face) learning approaches to reach new, emerging, and underserved audiences
  • Expand Extension workforce development initiatives for Natural Resource Based Industries (Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and fish processing, wood products manufacturing, other)
  • Strengthen Extension initiatives to reach Latino youth (positive after school activities, family friendly programs) and help them be successful in school
  • Expand Nutrition and financial education for low-income families
  • Collaborate with other campus and community based diversity initiatives

Leadership Development

  • Participate in the National Change Agent States Project
  • Establish and maintain an Extension Diversity Catalyst Team
  • Develop and continually refine a Diversity Action Plan
  • Provide regular diversity-leadership training for Outreach and Engagement Administrators, Department Heads, and Staff Chairs
  • Provide diversity-leadership training for county commissioners and local Extension advisory groups

Professional Development

  • Articulate clear expectations of faculty and staff regarding skill building in working with diversity, cross cultural communication, and communicating across difference (performance appraisal policies and procedures, position descriptions)
  • Provide training (search committee training, cross cultural communication skills, other)
  • Encourage international and cultural immersion experience


  • Hire talented new faculty and staff with the needed skills and experience to work with new, emerging, and underserved audiences in the communities we serve.
  • Revise position descriptions, develop proactive search committees, new search committee policies, offer search committee training

Retention and Workplace Climate

  • Form and sustain alliances between new faculty and staff and experienced faculty and staff (mentoring and beyond)
  • Create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive workplace environment
  • Develop and maintain respectful and supportive relationships between tenure track, fixed term, professional, and classified faculty and staff (overcome unintended sexism and class-ism)
  • Learn to respect, honor, explore and communicate across differences
  • Get feedback from exit interviews of faculty and staff who leave OSU employment.