The OSU Extension Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force held a meeting on June 15 and followed up on the dialogue session from early June, which included CFAES HR, the Office of Institutional Equity, Extension Administrative Cabinet, CFAES leadership team members, and DEI task force members. We reflected on the previous dialogue and had additional discussion around the following:
- What do we as employees and as part of this team need in this moment?
- What are some immediate actions that can be taken to move our organization forward?
- What should be next steps?
The majority of attendees agree that we must work on ourselves internally before we can begin to address issues outside of Extension. Various ideas shared for achieving individual and organizational internal work included:
- Build awareness of other cultures
- Develop personal diversity statements, standards of behavior
- Enable exchanges/immersion in different environments, with people different from us (geographic, cultural, etc.) to build connections
- Provide local and/or organizational trainings facilitated by LOD and other college and university partners
- Create pathways from within (address policies and recommendations)
- Hire people who reflect the population that we serve
- Reflect via self-evaluation, conversations, and sharing with co-workers
- Equip people to have difficult conversations at all levels: employees, offices, communities
- Identify shared values, agreement on language to establish safe spaces for discussion
- Identify signage in offices re: diversity, our best practices and position on diversity
- Develop statewide campaign in offices and virtually
- Reflect on implicit biases, then help employees make changes
- Make time and space to grapple with our own implicit bias, and history of racism as an organization/land-grant institution
- Build capacity to respond to DEI-related requests
- Assess, reflect, educate
- Live our mission to serve everyone
- Commit to being One Extension/University, break down silos and become one united
We will continue to update you on the recommendations and opportunities to engage with our DEI Task Force and in the efforts of OSU Extension as we work together to address issues of importance related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.