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What Is Extension Doing to Engage Minnesota's Diverse Communities?

By Heather Lee, Project Manager

While Family Development has made a commitment to reach new culturally and economically diverse audiences, along with traditionally underserved audiences, it’s important to understand that University of Minnesota Extension as a whole has been committed to better engaging Minnesota's diverse communities for several years. Here are some highlights of Extension’s efforts from 2014 and goals for 2015:
  • Cultural Agility webinars. Six webinars were offered to Extension staff, educators, and professors in 2014. Topics included an overview on GLBTQ identities and communities, introduction to disability and disability services, and curriculum development for diverse audiences. Ten more webinars are planned in 2015.
  • Foundations for Success. This recently created cohort provides new educators a learning network and safe environment for questions and support across Extension. As part of this effort, sessions have been hosted on demographics and cultural communities in Minnesota. This effort is continuing in 2015.
  • Latino Community of Practice. This initiative continues to provide an opportunity for Extension professors and educators to get to know colleagues working in Latino communities, as well as community partners and best practices.
  • The American Indian Task Force. This group continues to work toward building institutional capacity and long-term commitment to make a measurable difference through mutually beneficial community-University partnerships. A number of educational programs were jointly established and offered in 2014, including FD staff-led offerings on increasing financial literacy and supporting the creation of entrepreneurship training programs.
  • Program Review — Beyond Civil Rights. This project was launched in 2014 to ensure we are responsive to changes in Minnesota demographics. Extension has started the process of strategically reviewing programmatic offerings, opportunities, gaps, and compliance, starting with the Southeast Region. This project is continuing in 2015.
For more information on these and other Extension efforts, see A Snapshot of Extension's Investment to Engage Minnesota's Diverse Communities (150 K PDF).

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