Promoting Social Justice
Every person wants to be respected and should show respect to colleagues, staff, and community members. Efforts must be made in the following areas in order to make WVU and Extension an organization that values diversity and is truly multicultural:
The single most important element in managing diversity is strong leadership. Strong leaders can have profound effects on an organization when they advocate for the importance of diversity, show how diversity is related to broader strategic objectives, and when they model the behaviors they want to see.
2. Continuous research and measurement of diversity related matters
To maintain a diverse and inclusive organization, we must look at our data. We need to be able to diagnose our diversity disposition, measure the progress, and adjust our diversity initiatives appropriately. To establish our diversity disposition, we can gather opinions via surveys or focus groups, implement strategies, and continually collect data to monitor our organization.
We must provide educational training that goes beyond the one-day, one-time training sessions. The sessions need to provide specific communication and leadership skills while helping trainees understand their responsibilities in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.
Accountability can be strengthened by having follow-up meetings, surveys or focus groups and by sharing knowledge about diversity efforts.
Pathways to Diversity
The Cooperative Extension System prides itself on valuing people and the contributions of all segments of the organization, including volunteers. The system continues to build a variety of educational programs and other resources that can be delivered to diverse audiences.
As in any organization undergoing dramatic change, barriers to achieving diversity throughout CES still exist. These barriers are often expressed through subtle “isms” and inequities. Lack of communication impedes understanding of diversity and implementation of multicultural programs.
Opportunities exist for CES to build on its strengths to increase diversity within staff, programs, audiences, and stakeholders. These opportunities include:
- Recruiting and hiring a more diverse work force as current staff leave or retire.
- Developing, training, and evaluating methods to assist current staff in their efforts to work with diverse programs and audiences.
- Developing reward and recognition systems that acknowledge staff at all levels who provide effective educational programs for diverse audiences.
The Cooperative Extension organization recognizes the need for strong leadership to address diversity issues through issue-based programming initiatives.
This commitment to diversity and pluralism across the organization gives the System an opportunity to develop and maintain a competitive advantage into the 21st century.
“You walk on a path cleared by others, so it is your responsibility to clear the path for others.”
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