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Extension Operations

Ohio State University Extension


OSU Extension Core Competency Model

One performance goal in OsU Extension's most recent strategic plan was “To develop and sustain world-class Extension professionals.” A key strategy to address this goal is transitioning to a competency-based approach to human resource management, an approach that will help us focus on individual behaviors that contribute the most to organizational success.

“Competency-based HR applications represent an integrated framework for maximizing the human capital of an organization.”
~Moulton, 2003

Competency-based HR management has a focus on the identification, modeling, and assessment of competencies. Using this approach, the HR function seeks to discover the skills, knowledge, and characteristics that contribute directly to the organization’s success and configure HR activities around those competencies.

competency model

Key Terms for OSU Extension


A competency is “a collection of related knowledge, skills, abilities, and other personal characteristics (KSAOs) working in concert to produce outstanding performance” (Weatherly, 2005).

Core competencies

Core competencies are a broad set of competencies relevant across job groups. They are the basic knowledge, attitudes, skills, and observable behaviors that lead to excellence in OSU Extension.

Competency model

A narrative description of the critical competencies required for fully successful or exemplary performance in a job, role, or the organization. Each core competency in OSU Extension’s model includes the following:

  • Competency title and definition - A term and associated description of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and observable behaviors that represent the term identified.
  • Key actions - Statements and general descriptions of behaviors that illustrate a competency. They personalize the competency or help bring to life what OSU Extension professionals do. The set of key actions illustrate the different aspects of the competency identified. To best fit the broad application of the core competencies, they are informative but general, not specific, and they should cut across job groups as much as possible.

Eventually, the OSU Extension Competency Model will include multiple layers. One layer will be the core competencies, their definitions, and key actions. Another layer developed later will be areas of expertise (AOEs). Other potential layers may be specific to job groups or may be developed for purposes like self-assessment, professional development planning, or performance management.