Draft updated 4/21/2022
Nebraskans can count on Nebraska Extension to connect with their families, children, business and communities by being:
- uniquely local
- research based
As part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Sciences (IANR) at UNL we align with the IANR commitment to growing the future of Nebraska's people, businesses, and communities and the IANR Diversity Strategic Framework.
Nebraska Extension is committed to cultivating inclusive excellence – embracing diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and equity. Extension professionals will engage with community partners, organizations, and other audiences, as well as individuals within the organization in ways that reflect an understanding and value for individual differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, abilities, gender, sexual orientation, religion). Extension professionals will also recognize that particular populations have been and remain marginalized in US society and intentionally identify ways to remove barriers to those who have been historically underrepresented or excluded. Extension will strive to ensure that creative activities, research, learning experiences, and policies promote equity to address systemic causes of disparities. Nebraska Extension policies and practices will not discriminate based upon any protected status.
While we have several teams working to address diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our system, much of the work has been independent of each other. This plan brings together our current work to build a model that is clear and is focused on all of Nebraska Extension and those we work with and serve.
RORA is a team within Nebraska Extension that provides research and professional development resources around complex issues related to diversity and cultural/global competence. RORA provides a myriad of interactive training to our team and community members to include: Navigating Difference, OUCH! That Stereotype Hurts!, Seeing i2i: Adventures in Diversity and Cultural Awareness, and Poverty Simulation.
“A culturally, racially and ethnically diverse Nebraska Extension workforce that embraces these characteristics as a norm in daily work activity contributes to a rewarding footprint of excellence in terms of who we are and how others see us. These qualities, combined with our Excellence themes and indicators for all Nebraska Extension Professionals, set the framework for an inclusive, creative, engaging, and effective work environment.”
- Extension Reaching One, Reaching All
The ability to incorporate and effectively weave inclusive excellence into the fabric of UNL relies on our ability to make decisions that reflect an understanding of the complex ways that diversity, history, and systemic oppression influences our institutions. We must equip leaders with the knowledge and the tools to expand their learning and put these concepts into practice. We then have a responsibility to ensure that our entire community has a greater understanding of the issues that impede inclusive excellence.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Native American Coalition (NAC) builds relationships and partnerships between the Nebraska Extension and Native American communities and organizations. The work of NAC is to help Nebraska Extension staff work more effectively with Native American communities, to build bridges between tribal and non-tribal communities, to facilitate community development and leadership in Native communities and to bring Native American traditional worldviews, languages, cultures and histories to the University of Nebraska and non-tribal communities.
Connecting with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Nebraska Extension participates in and is represented in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Council of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity (CIED) . CIED is intended to represent institutional leadership from colleges and primary units on campus, administrators whose responsibilities include diversity and inclusion, and representatives from key institutional groups. The Council is designed to serve as a communications channel between and across units and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; a space for collective and organized thinking and action; a space to receive updates and share concerns or issues related to campus climate, and to identify opportunities for collaboration and innovation; and a hub to build capacity among leaders to advance our institutional prowess for inclusive excellence.
A component of collective impact or collective action relies on the institution moving in the same direction, albeit different departments and areas. An overarching framework is used often in setting a tone. Furthermore, a diversity framework is meant to guide decisions, dialogue, and actions across the entire university and provide leaders with a tool for driving college-specific and unit-specific diversity and inclusion efforts. It intends to foster a coordinated approach to developing strategies.
Darryl Smith’s Four Domains will provide Nebraska Extension with an approach to organizing thoughts and ideas, while serving as a way to integrate and map with the efforts across the UNL system. It engages the entire spectrum of identities and differentiates the concerns related to each. The four dimensions are access and success of underrepresented populations, campus climate and intergroup relations, education and scholarship, and institutional viability and vitality (Smith, 2015 p .71)
Mission-Driven Domains (Smith, 2015)
Goal 1: Climate, Culture, and Intergroup Relations
Nebraska Extension will create and support an inclusive yet differentiated culture where everyone has awareness, knowledge, and skills to support all faculty, staff, stakeholders, and community members, including those who are marginalized or minoritized, and diversity of thought is openly valued.
- The RORA Issue Team will continue to provide training and professional development to UNL faculty, staff, stakeholders, and community members.
- Support the development and launch of Nebraska Extension’s Native American Coalition.
- Create an open, accessible, continuous, and anonymous link for feedback and suggestions to improve DEI efforts.
- Utilize the Excellence in Extension framework for DEIB key practices to inform Professional Development needs and coaching opportunities.
- Develop and implement a logic model and objectives for RORA Team.
GOAL 2: Education and scholarship
Nebraska Extension will develop/implement educational experiences that are inclusive – ensuring that delivery modes and content are accessible to all audiences -- particularly those of minoritized and protected individuals and communities.
- Operate from a worldview mindset to assist communities to recognize the implications of the benefits of a global society and utilize engagement with communities to co-create experiences.
- Continuously evaluate effectiveness in achieving diversity and inclusion in our own work and adapt strategies as needed.
GOAL 3: Access and Success
Nebraska Extension will identify, develop, and promote programs/learner engagement strategies that will meet the needs of all learners, audience members, and communities, including those who are marginalized or minoritized.
- Create opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to participate in educational programs.
- Remove barriers to ensure that underrepresented clientele have equal access to fully engage in all programs and services.
GOAL 4: Institutional Viability and Vitality, Policies, Practices, and Systems
Align Extension policies and practices with the newly elevated culture that eliminates marginalization and a culture of domination. Put systems and practices in place that will promote and enhance diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in research, teaching, service/outreach, and Extension.
- Align and participate in IANR’s Strategic Framework for policies, practices and systems.
Communication and Coordination Plan
- IANR (Internal and External) https://ianr.unl.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-ianr
- UNL Extension (Internal and External)
- Social Media
- 2022 Timeline
- Messaging for External
- Messaging for Internal
- Internal Monthly
- CIED representative Monthly Email
- Extension Huddle monthly segment - (rotate with Professional Development and RORA representatives, IANR council)
Annual Update Plan
In 2022, updates to this plan will be made through a more interactive and detailed report.