Diversity Committee History

Vital for Extension's Future


More than ever, an understanding of and appreciation for similarities and differences among members of the global population is critically important. Extension has the opportunity, and the obligation, to take a proactive approach to building acceptance and understanding of the interconnected nature of the global society.


History of the Diversity Committee


In order to talk about the history of the Diversity Committee, formerly IACE (Intercultural Action Committee for Extension), we first need to talk about the history of Extension in Indiana. When Extension was created over 100 years ago, the culture of Indiana was much different than it is today. Over 95% of its residents were connected with agriculture and the rural way of life that this occupation entailed. The goal of Extension at that time was to educate the people of the state of Indiana so they could have a better life.


The goal of Extension is still to educate people to help them improve their lives, but now this is taught not only in Indiana, but around the country as well as the world. Indiana, in several ways, is much different now. Only 2.8% of the population is involved in agriculture and the population demographics are much more global. The majority of the population lives in an urban area or in a city.


In 2005, the IACE Committee (Diversity Committee 2011) was formed to help address some of the emerging challenges our university and state faced regarding diversity and inclusion:

  • What is inclusion?
  • How do we become more inclusive?
  • What is diversity?
  • Do we provide programming on this topic?
  • If so, where do we begin?

Strategic Initiatives


Strategic Initiative 8

Purdue Extension will:

Expand awareness of global market opportunities for Indiana businesses.


Increasingly, our local communities are global communities. For example, global events have very real effects on our local economies, our products are exported at higher rates than ever, and our communities are influenced by new residents, some of whom are immigrants. To compete globally, Hoosiers need to understand the global marketplace. In addition, we need to understand other cultures and be comfortable and competent working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Our goal is to build Indiana's capacity to compete in a global economy by enhancing our understanding of global issues and building cultural competency.

Who We'll Engage

We will engage community leaders, government and nongovernment organizations, businesses and residents throughout the state.

Intended Outcomes

Indiana residents will better understand global interdependence in terms of business, economy and societal issues. Community organizations, businesses, and individuals will initiate meaningful global projects, programs, and business ventures. In addition, organizations and businesses throughout Indiana will demonstrate multicultural competency with enhanced diversity and inclusion in their organizations and with their public.

Action Objectives

We will form a Global Competitiveness Team that will:

  • Conduct educational programming to enhance multicultural competency.
  • Broaden understanding of global issues and the international marketplace by facilitation exchange programs, celebrating cultural and national events, and sponsoring international study programs both locally and abroad.
  • Facilitate global ventures and initiatives for Indiana residents and businesses.
Success Indicators
  • Program participants will demonstrate multicultural and/or global competency.
  • New projects, programs, or business ventures will engage in international work.
  • Diversity and inclusion will become the norm within organizations and their public.

Internal Initiative 4

Purdue Extension will:

Be a more inclusive organization that attracts diverse employees and engages Indiana's multicultural society.


When Purdue Extension was created more than 100 years ago, 95 percent of Indiana's residents were involved in agriculture. As a result, Purdue Extension's deepest roots are in agricultural communities.

Indiana is much different today. Less than three percent of the population is involved in farming. Furthermore, demographics are making Indiana a more global community. For Purdue Extension to meet its mandate and mission of "Transforming lives and livelihoods through research-based education," we must engage all Indiana residents and communities to address the challenges and opportunities they face.

Providing meaningful programs that meet the demands of a diverse and challenging world is our moral and social obligation.

Who We'll Engage

We will engage Extension professionals, College and University leaders, clientele, stakeholders, programming partners, and advisory groups.

Intended Outcomes

Purdue Extension will become a more inclusive community that values diverse skills, talents, and understanding. Furthermore, we will become a statewide leader in reaching out to people who represent the changing demographics of our communities.

Action Objectives
  • Engage Purdue Extension professionals, our partners, and our stakeholders in a conversation focused on understanding the benefits of diversity and the values of inclusiveness.
  • Create opportunities to foster diversity and enhance inclusion within Purdue Extension.
  • Recruit and engage volunteers representing diverse groups across Indiana. Work to ensure that Extension Boards and other advisory groups reflect the demographics of our communities.
  • Expand educational programming that is sensitive to the needs of diverse audiences.
Success Indicators
  • Leadership and staff hires will reflect Indiana's demographics.
  • Partners and advisory boards will be composed of people who represent Indiana's diversity.
  • New partnerships will help us engage new audiences with appropriate and effective educational programs and services.
  • A diversified portfolio of educational programs, services, and delivery methods will be available and accessible to all people.

Resources for Extension Educators

  • Bridges Out of Poverty - This training gives participants key lessons in dealing with individuals from poverty. Participants will learn how to use mental models to communicate effectively, and to assist clients from poverty to learn quickly. Bridges reaches out to the providers and businesses whose daily work connects them with the lives of people in poverty. If your business, agency or organization works with people living in poverty, only a deeper understanding of their challenges and strengths will help you partner with them to create opportunities for success.
  • A Diversity Leadership Knowledge - Sharing Solution - Diversity Officer Magazine offers articles written by professionals on the front lines of diversity and inclusion along with solutions you can use right away.
  • Causes and Consequences of Ostracism (PDF) - PowerPoint notes of presentation to the Purdue Extension Human Development Educators and Specialists June 8, 2011 by Kipling D. Williams, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University.
  • The New Americans - New Challenges of American Immigration (PDF) -Tells the stories of five very different immigrant and refugee groups, as seen through their own eyes. The series puts a human face on immigration. It looks, not only at why immigrants come to America, but what they leave behind, and who they were before they came to wear the defining label of "immigrant". Their experiences illustrate themes of identity, adaptation, and assimilation so familiar in America's long history of immigration.
  • STATS Indiana - Provides specific statistical data encompassing all demographic and economic areas, managed by the Indiana Business Research Center.
  • Fight Hate and Promote Tolerance - A wealth of resources on tolerance for teachers, parents, teens, and children provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Cornell Farmworker Program - Dedicated to improving the living and working conditions of farmworkers and their families.

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