DEI Competency Areas

DEIDEI DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which refers to a set of principles, practices, and policies that promote and value differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and other characteristics, while striving to create fair and equitable opportunities and outcomes for all individuals (Gill et al., 2018). Competency Framework

Competency, as defined by Athey and Orth (1999) is “a set of observable performance dimensions, including individual knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as collective team, process, and organizational capabilities, that are linked to high performance, and provide the organization with sustainable competitive advantage [italics original]” (p. 216). Embracing and leading diversityDiversity Differences among people with respect to age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices, and other human differences (Deen, Huskey & Parker, 2015)., equityEquity Equity refers to the policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that are representative of all members of society, such that each member has access to resources that eliminate differential outcomes by group identity (Niblett, 2017). and inclusionInclusion A state of being valued, respected and supported. Inclusion authentically puts the concept and practice of diversity into action by creating an equitable environment where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are harnessed (Hudson, 2011; Baltimore Racial Justice, 2016).  (DEI) in Extension demands a high level of competency, authenticity, empathy and resilience. DEI competency refers to the ability to establish, develop and sustain relationships with members of diverse populations. Core DEI competencies are interrelated and the development of these competencies are often interrelated.

This framework serves to outline the core technical and personal competencies expected of an Extension professional. and are used to organize our resources. The competency statements are categorized within five core competency groups.

DEI Competencies

  1. Self-awareness of cultural values, assumptions and biasBias Bias refers to the tendency to favor or be prejudiced against particular individuals or groups, often based on preconceived notions or stereotypes. Bias can be conscious or unconscious and can affect judgments, decisions, and actions (Scriven, 1998).
    • Self-awareness of one’s cultural/social identities, assumptions, values, norms, biases, stereotypes, preferences, experience of privilege and/or oppression, and how they shape one’s worldview.
    • Understand how an individual’s positionality and communication affect how one selects staff, projects, what is taught, an/or interactions with clientele.
    • Understand that cultural issues may generate emotional reactions.
    • Commitment to lifelong learning of diversity, equity and inclusion and personal change.
    • Ability to reframe  mental models and openess to giving and receiving constructive feedback.
  2. Understanding and valuing others
    • Engage in inquiry of the histories, social identities of diverse people and cultural groups, their cultural influences, and how they intersect. 
    • Ability to empathize and value ways of being, communicating, doing, and thinking other than our own.
    • Knowledge of how to build trust with people who are different from themselves across race, class, disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, and other human differences. Understand the barriers for diverse cultures to engage in Extension programs and services including the impacts of previous interactions and engagement with programs. 
  1. Understanding structural inequities
    • Knowledge of the history and dominant ideology of different forms of system level oppression and how they impact current manifestations of inequities. 
    • Understand the impact of systemic inequities on individuals’ opportunities and lived realities and strategies for surviving, resisting, and thriving.
    • Understand white supremacy, its basic functions, and how it manisfests in the workplace or educational setting.
    • Understand your own role in perpetuating patterns of oppression.
  1. Interpersonal skills to engage across different contexts
    • Embrace, integrate, and adapt to diverse cultural styles.
    • Engage in dialogue about diversity, equity and inclusion.
    • Ability to build and sustain trusting relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
    • Intentionally incorporate voices and perspectives of diverse populations.  
  2. Skills toward transformation and inclusion
    • Identify and remove barriers to inclusion and belonging with the input and collaboration of stakeholdersStakeholders  Stakeholders refer to individuals or groups who have a vested interest or concern in a particular issue, project, or organization (Merriam-Webster, n.d.)..
    • Identify and address inequities and identify interventions to create environments, policies and practices that foster diversity and social justiceSocial justice A vision of a society wherein the distribution of resources, opportunity, societal benefits and protection is equitable for all members. “Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole” (Baltimore Racial Justice 2016, para.11)..
    • Develop metrics, conduct diversity, equity and inclusion organizational assessments on an ongoing basis, and make improvements as they are identified. Utilize results of evaluations to influence strategic planning.


Athey, T.R. and Orth, M.S. (1999), Emerging competency methods for the future. Human Resource Management , 38: 215-225.<215::AID-HRM4>3.0.CO;2-W

Diaz, J., Gusto, C., Silvert, C., Jayarathne, K.S.U., Narine, L., Couch, S.,  Willie, C., Brown, N., Aguilar, C., Pizaña, D., Parker, K., Coon, G., Nesbitt, M., Valencia, L., Ledesma, D., Fabregas, L. (2022). Intercultural CompetenceIntercultural competence Intercultural competence refers to the ability to effectively and appropriately interact with individuals and groups from diverse cultures, often involving skills such as communication, empathy, and respect for differences (Deardorff & Jones, 2009). in Extension Education: Applications of an Expert-Developed Model. University of Florida, 22:5: 1-8.

Goodman, D. (2020). Cultural Competence for Equity and Inclusion. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 10(1), 41-60. Retrieved from

Ramsey, V. J., & Latting, J. K. (2005). A typology of intergroup competencies. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 41(3), 265–284.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, (2017). Growing together: 4-H professional, research, knowledge and competencies 2017. National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 4-H National Headquarters.