Diversity Group History

2000 – to Present

The group continues to meet regularly, excluding summers, to educate themselves, assist the Extension with going beyond the mandated Civil Rights laws to help maintain a welcoming environment for all, and provide workshops as needed on topics reflective of the current plan of work. Including:

  • 2011: Beyond Civil Rights to Diversity for Civil Rights Coordinators
  • 2009: The Growing Class Divide and Extension’s Mission featuring Class Action
  • 2008: Developing Communication Skills and Insights for a Multicultural World featuring Mark Hicks, Ph.D.
  • 2008: Offering diversity resources statewide during Mock Civil Rights Reviews

1997 – 2000

The new group changed its name to the Diversity Group (DG). Over the next couple of years, the group focused on restating UMaine Extension’s core values from “New Directions for the 90s.” This directed the group to focus on how we would treat one another and our audiences. The DG would then offer employee training to move UMaine Extension toward universal adoption of our core values and the behaviors that follow. We published a poster of Core Values and Behaviors and have offered two workshops in the past year. These workshops focused on “Creating a More Inclusive Organization” and “The Importance and Benefits of Valuing Diversity.”

We are committed to keeping these issues before UMaine Extension.

Early 1990s

UMaine Extension created a “Task Force to Value Diversity” (TFVD), with twelve members, two from each of the six employee groups in UMaine Extension. Its mission was to:

  • move UMaine Extension toward its core value that all people are treated with dignity and respect;
  • expand UMaine Extension’s thinking and actions with regard to seeking, hiring, welcoming and working with diverse coworkers and audiences;
  • assess the diversity needs of UMaine Extension
  • advise the Extension Leadership Team (formerly called Administrative Council) about UMaine Cooperative Extension diversity issues, training needs, and training opportunities.

Over the next several years the TFVD offered “Valuing Diversity” training. One example of that training was a workshop on, “Women’s & Men’s Styles of Communication.” Gradually it became more difficult to maintain the twelve-person membership of the Task Force, and in the winter of 1997, the members suggested reconstituting the Task Force to have six members, one from each of the employee groups. Thus, a new Task Force was recruited and the old group resigned.

Late 1980s

USDA created a program focus on diversity, especially within the agency.