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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Members of the subgroup are committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the Cooperative Extension System and the communities we serve. We discuss policies, practices, strategies and programs for ensuring that all people are valued and supported in their journey toward self-fulfillment and well-being.
The mission of this community is to cultivate an Extension System where faculty, staff, and community members feel valued, heard, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. Through education, awareness, and proactive initiatives, we aspire to create programs and practices that champion diversity, foster collaboration, and drive equitable opportunities for all. All members are welcome to make posts to the site. Posts can focus on any dimension of DEI work, but generally focus on five areas. These include education and training, recruitment and retention, inclusive policies, cultural competence, and community engagement. For example, a blog post might highlight a training program designed to raise raise awareness of DEI issues, challenge biases, or promote understanding. If you are actively involved in hiring, consider sharing successful strategies for attracting a diverse talent pool that helps build a workforce inclusive of a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. Have you adopted policies that ensure inclusion and belonging are at the center of the program design process? How have you fostered the development of cultural competence by encouraging open dialogue, cultural celebrations, and initiatives that promote cross-cultural understanding. Might you share a success story that demonstrates our DEI commitment beyond the workplace by engaging in community-based initiatives which leverage our resources for positive social impact. Thank you for engaging in this important work.

Blog Posts

Balancing Online Education with the Benefits of In-Person Education

This article, focused on the surge in online education in tribal colleges, offers thoughtful discussion on how educators balance the convenience and accessibility with online access versus the social, cultural, and collaborative benefits of in-person education. *Accompanying image is from the referenced article. Photo caption is "Students Tim James, left, and Sky Johnson share a lunch table...

Over 80% of Women Leaders in Education Experience Bias...

Despite some narrowing of the gender gap between men and women in academics, women continue to face significant obstacles such as bias. *Generative AI was used in preparation of the accompanying image using Microsoft CoPilot. The results generated by this tool were verified for suitability and use through the application of face validity.

Diversity In College Classrooms Improves Grades for All

Diverse learning environments continue to be shown to have a positive effect on all learners. This article shares a recent study that found that learners in STEM classrooms had better grades when sharing the educational space with minorities and first generation students. "This year has seen ample debate about the value and fairness of colleges prioritizing diversity among the students they serve. New research suggests one way to consider the question: by looking at how the mix of students...

Article Review: Every Black Student Should Have a Black Teacher

A recent article (Link) from the opinion section of EdSurge discusses the importance of Black students having Black teachers. While written from the view of formal education, this discussion has great relevance for the Cooperative Extension Service as we examine whether or not our youth/adult clients, staff, and faculty are able to find "cultural mirrors" within our systems. What can Extension learn from the approach used in this article? What efforts are in place to mitigate bias in the...

Pathways to a Racially Just Food System

From ChangeLab Solutions "Food should nourish our bodies, strengthen community connections, and provide a sustainable income for the millions of people working throughout the food chain. But much of the current food system in the United States runs counter to these values. Addressing how structural racism has shaped food systems and inequitable health outcomes is critical to reversing the health gaps experienced in BIPOC communities and communities with low income. "ChangeLab Solutions...

Cultivating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Extension Programs: Pioneering Crucial Work in Today's World

by Ana Lucia Fonseca In a rapidly evolving world, where diversity is celebrated, and inclusivity is championed, the role of extension programs has taken on a new level of significance. As a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) leader, I am excited to shed light on the crucial work to ensure that extension programs are at the forefront of fostering an inclusive environment that empowers individuals from all walks of life. Embracing Diversity: A Source of Strength The essence of extension...

Advancing Racial Equity in Rural Communities

Here is a new set of resources from ChangeLab Solutions that you may find useful. "In rural communities across the United States, increasing meaningful participation in the policymaking process for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) while decreasing place, race, and class divides is essential to achieving prosperity. Adding to their suite of resources for increasing racial justice and equitable economic development in rural America, ChangeLab has released two new...

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat