Civil Rights Performance Plan

This plan is designed to assist Penn State Extension faculty and staff in carrying out responsibilities required to be in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Preface

Penn State, Pennsylvania’s land-grant University, has total responsibility for the state’s Extension program that is administered through the College of Agricultural Sciences. Programs are planned and conducted in response to clientele needs and priorities and in accordance with resources and staff competencies.

Penn State Extension is dedicated to providing high-quality, effective educational programs that comply with all civil rights, equal employment and affirmative action requirements. Changes are continually made to strengthen programming and to enhance compliance with these requirements.

This plan is designed to assist Penn State Extension faculty and staff in carrying out responsibilities required for compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The major components of the plan focus on the following four overarching civil rights program Goals:

  1. Increase participation of people of underrepresented groups on extension boards and on program planning and advisory committees.
  2. Modify educational programs to increase participation of people of underrepresented groups.
  3. Educate and involve staff in civil rights program planning.
  4. Advise all potential recipients of program availability and Penn State Extension’s policy of equal access.

Within each of these Goals are found the key components of an Affirmative Action Plan, as requested by USDA. These components include action steps related to program planning and reporting, public notification, and civil rights training. Civil Rights compliance reviews and internal monitoring are discussed, as well as employment and workforce diversity.

Requirements for each of the Goals are discussed in detail throughout this document. Progress towards achievement of each Goal is documented by all field-based educators and placed in their county civil rights files on or before November 15 of each year. District Directors submit "Annual Desk Audits" to the Extension Director on or before January 15 of each year. Faculty report their accomplishments to their Department Heads, who have responsibility for assuring that programs led by faculty support the civil rights programming Goals and objectives.

Assurance of Commitment by Faculty and Staff with Extension Appointments to Comply with Nondiscrimination Regulations

Penn State Extension continues to be committed to the intent of Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. All Penn State Extension programs are nondiscriminatory with respect to race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age.

The Director of Penn State Extension confirms this position in writing annually to all faculty and staff who have responsibility for developing, implementing and evaluating Extension programs. Further, the Director informs all Penn State Extension personnel that they have responsibility for promoting balanced program participation of clientele from all racial groups, regardless of the program area(s) to which they are assigned. This annual statement includes the following:

  • Penn State Extension is under legal obligation to ensure that as an organization, it does not discriminate or condone discriminatory practices in any way.
  • Every employee of Penn State Extension is obligated and responsible to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the "Penn State Extension Civil Rights Performance Plan."
  • The Director of Penn State Extension is committed to ensure that all employees fully comply with the intent of nondiscrimination regulations and procedures of the plan, and of the University’s policy of nondiscrimination.
  • Refusal or failure to comply with those duties required will subject an employee to serious disciplinary action.

Department Heads, District Directors and Assistant Directors of Programs likewise affirm their commitment to furthering the educational purpose of Penn State Extension in accordance with this plan by virtue of their responsibilities contained herein and through their expressed leadership at state, district and county levels.

All faculty and staff assignments who deliver programs will be reviewed to ensure that, where appropriate, they are complying with all components of this plan.

Civil Rights Program Goals and Objectives

Within each of the four civil rights program Goals are several objectives designed to provide direction for faculty and staff as they strive to achieve each of the Goals. Responsibility for Penn State Extension programming is centered in program teams comprised of faculty and extension educators. Teams are responsible for assuring that programs are available to all on a nondiscriminatory basis and that programs are continually enhanced to attract underrepresented audiences. A discussion of each Goal, its objectives and suggested actions follow.

Goal 1: Increase Participation of People of Underrepresented Groups on the Local Extension Board and on Program Planning and Advisory Committees

Penn State Extension is committed to increasing the diversity of local extension boards and committees, which help identify program needs, develop, implement and evaluate programs for the residents of the Commonwealth. In order to achieve this Goal, the following three objectives and specific action steps have been developed.

Objective 1: Ensure that committees are representative of the demographics of the county

On an annual basis, staff must review board and committee make-up to ensure minority and gender representation. Committees should be representative of the county and include gender, racial, economic, and geographic diversity. Extension staff will provide an analysis of board and committee memberships to submit as part of the Annual Desk Audit.

Each program team must have at least one program planning committee that meets at least twice a year. Committee members should reflect the diversity of the geographic area in which the program is offered, should have interest, knowledge and experience in the program area and should be able to represent the broad needs of the respective constituent group. They should be willing to devote time and effort necessary to help staff effectively plan and implement a variety of programs for diverse audiences.

Extension Boards and program planning committees must have written by-laws or operational guidelines that provide for rotating membership to allow opportunities for diverse input into needs and programs conducted by staff and faculty. Extension Board by-laws should provide a provision to allow the District Director the opportunity to appoint minority and/or underrepresented group members to the Extension Board to ensure representation from those groups.

Objective 2: Ensure that committees and boards are informed of Penn State Extension Affirmative Action policies

Staff will annually conduct orientation for all new Extension Board/committee members that includes an overview of affirmative action and civil rights responsibilities related to the conduct of Penn State Extension educational programs. They will review the key components of the "Penn State Extension Civil Rights Performance Plan" with the Extension Board and all program advisory committees.

Meeting notes from the Extension Board and program planning committees are filed and will include information regarding the number of meetings held, attendance and a summary of affirmative action and civil rights issues discussed. Meeting discussions and documentation shall include discussions about outreach to underrepresented groups; a review of Commonwealth demographic data to target areas for recruitment of potential minority and underrepresented group members; review of  Penn State Extension Committees and Civil Rights and other information that informs committee and board members about Penn State and Penn State Extension affirmative action and civil rights policies.

Objective 3: Increase representation of underrepresented groups on committees/boards

The District Director, Assistant Director of Programs, and/or appropriate staff shall inform nominating committees of the need to have representation from minority and/or underrepresented groups as they seek new members. Ongoing outreach efforts shall be conducted with minority and underrepresented groups to ensure that members are aware of opportunities to serve on Extension Boards and program advisory committees.

Extension staff shall include strategies for targeting, recruiting and training minority individuals for committee membership and assignments as part of their annual action plan. Individual contacts will be made with representatives from minority and/or underrepresented groups to invite them to become fully participating members of Extension Boards and committees. If necessary, meeting locations will be changed for Extension Board or program committee meetings to ensure the comfort and inclusion of underrepresented members.

In reaching out to minority and underrepresented groups to secure representation on boards and committees, contacts should be made to the following:

  • Civic, fraternal and social organizations whose membership reflects diversity
  • The faith community
  • Businesses owned by minority groups
  • Media outlets (radio, television and newspapers) that serve minority audiences
  • Social media

Following initial personal contacts, letters should be sent to all individuals who have been contacted for potential membership providing key information about the committee responsibilities/assignment.

Goal 2: Modify Educational Programs to Increase Participation of People of Underrepresented Groups

Penn State Extension is committed to achieving increased participation in all of its programs by minority and underrepresented groups. To aid in achieving this Goal, four objectives have been identified, each with specific action steps.

Objective 1: Increase participation/enrollment of underrepresented groups across all program areas

In order to increase awareness of opportunities to participate in Penn State Extension educational programs, District Directors and Assistant Directors of Programs will work with staff to ensure that "all reasonable effort" is taken to inform potential participants of the program. "All reasonable effort" is defined as the minimum effort required of extension personnel when conducting programs in interracial communities. The Goal is to achieve program participation that is reflective of the potential audience and/or the racial composition of the community.

Efforts must be documented and will include the following:

  • Use of all available media, including radio, newspaper, television, and websites targeted to minority audiences to inform potential recipients of the programs and the opportunity to participate.
  • Personal letters, circular letters, and Facebook invitations addressed to potential recipients from minority and/or other underrepresented groups inviting them to participate in programs.
  • Personal visits to minority community leaders and minority grassroots organizations in the geographically defined area to encourage participation.
  • Extension Educators’ action plans will define strategies to proactively plan for inclusion of minority and underrepresented groups in program efforts.

For extension clubs and groups, (Master Gardener and 4-H), membership must reflect the diversity of the community being served. Staff must clearly define the membership area (specific geographic area being served by a club/unit from where it might reasonably draw members) when establishing targets for minority participation within clubs. The Goal for membership is balanced participation by all racial groups within the membership area.

Balanced membership (parity) in clubs and groups will be documented in the "Annual Desk Audit," and efforts will be made to ensure that all eligible participants from racial groups in the membership area are informed of the opportunity to participate in these activities. Balanced membership is achieved when the number of members of the underrepresented race reaches 75 percent of the number of non-majority members the club would have if its racial composition were exactly proportional to that of the membership area. For example, a club with 20 members in a membership area where Blacks comprise 20 percent of the population would be exactly proportional if it had four Black members. This club would be considered to have "balanced membership," however, if it had three Black members (75 percent of the ideal Goal).

Penn State Extension will discontinue assistance to those clubs which remain all of one race, unless it is established, through documentation, that good faith efforts have been made to recruit individuals of racial groups residing in the membership area that are not represented. Documentation will be ascertained using the form "Certification For All Reasonable Effort— Balanced Membership."

Annually, the District Director will analyze the documentation of "all reasonable effort" in each membership area and recommend whether to continue or withdraw service to a particular club or group for the following program year. If a club or group working with the extension educator does not take corrective action to achieve balanced membership, or does not have documentation to show positive efforts to achieve balanced membership, the Director of Penn State Extension has the authority and responsibility to discontinue service to the club or group.

Objective 2: Increase participation of individuals from underrepresented groups as extension volunteers and leaders in all program areas

As staff develop annual action plans, they will target specific areas where efforts will be made to identify, recruit and train individuals from underrepresented groups as extension volunteers and leaders. Successful increases in the number of volunteers in all program areas will be reported as part of the annual staff review process and will also be included in the county civil rights files and the "Annual Desk Audit" submitted by District Directors.

Objective 3: Develop, modify and provide program materials for underrepresented groups

Faculty and staff will assure that they are sensitive to the needs of minority and underrepresented groups as educational programs are developed. Examples of developed materials will be placed in the county civil rights files and documented in the "Annual Desk Audit." Faculty and staff will use the "alternative media statement" on all publications, newsletters, and program announcements so that potential program participants are aware of this option.

Within reason, faculty and educators will make educational materials available in alternative media and alternative languages when requested. Such alternatives may include providing someone to interpret through sign language during an educational meeting; having printed material translated into Braille, large print or audiotape for those who are visually impaired. When programming specifically for low literacy audiences, appropriate reading level materials will be developed and utilized.

Objective 4: Ensure accessibility

Penn State faculty and staff are aware of the requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and will take the following steps to see that requirements are met:

  • Ensure that county extension offices are handicap accessible. In the event that office facilities are not accessible, a plan will be developed and publicized that details how staff will meet with physically challenged clients in order to provide program information.
  • Faculty and staff will utilize the University’s accommodation statement on all educational materials, newsletters, meeting announcements, etc. in order to publicize and create understanding that we will strive to accommodate those who have special needs. The current statement is "The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact _____ in advance of your participation or visit."
  • Meeting locations used for extension educational programs shall be selected based on accessibility for participants who may be physically challenged.
  • Extension educators will select meeting sites that are convenient and easily accessible for participation when scheduling programs targeted to minorities and underrepresented groups.
  • Efforts to ensure access to programs and services offered will be documented annually.
  • Contacts to local extension offices that are not otherwise reported in program participant data must be recorded on the Support Staff Contacts Log and reported annually.

Goal 3: Educate and Involve Staff in Civil Rights Programming

It is the policy of Penn State Extension to provide professional development opportunities to all of its employees. Administrators, faculty and field-based educators are expected to participate in opportunities offered within the College of Agricultural Sciences, as well as those provided by external vendors, to enhance their awareness and understanding of diversity issues and to increase their ability to reach out to underserved groups. Individuals should strive for a minimum of eight hours per year of diversity related training.

Penn State Extension will provide training and development opportunities to enhance the ability of faculty and staff to serve diverse audiences. In addition, extension educators will be encouraged to participate in training and education opportunities provided by other groups or organizations as part of their annual personal/professional development plan.

In-service opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Programs related to diversity education and outreach to minorities and underrepresented groups conducted during statewide in-service programs, district in-service programs, program team meetings, and district staff program meetings.
  • New Staff Orientation programs conducted throughout the first year of employment. Training will ensure that new employees are familiar with and have a full understanding of the federal laws relating to civil rights issues. Their responsibilities as employees of Penn State Extension are reviewed to ensure that they fulfill both the letter and the spirit of the laws as they identify needs, develop, implement and evaluate extension’s educational programs for adults and youth.
  • Online civil rights training modules are available for employees and appropriate others.
  • Assistant Directors of Programs and District Directors will provide diversity training/education as part of regularly scheduled program and administrative meetings.
  • Participation in other University sponsored diversity education opportunities.

Assistant Directors of Programs and District Directors will utilize the civil rights program information contained in the Civil Rights website for the College of Agricultural Sciences as they carry out their leadership responsibilities related to civil rights and affirmative action with new extension educators. This site will also serve as a source of ongoing information for use by all staff and with extension advisory board members. The availability of this civil rights web resource will be publicized during in-service training sessions, and in other venues as appropriate. Staff participation in civil rights training will be documented in the "Annual Desk Audit" submitted by District Directors on or before January 15.

Goal 4: Advise all Potential Recipients of Availability and Penn State Extension’s Policy of Equal Access

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, faculty and staff are notified that Penn State Extension will provide significant assistance only to those organizations and groups that do not exclude any person from membership or participation in any activities of the organization and groups, or subject any person to discrimination because of race, color or national origin. Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, extension will provide significant assistance only to organizations that do not exclude any person from membership or participation on the basis of sex. Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, extension will provide assistance only to those organizations that ensure program accessibility and/or facilitate the delivery of services to eligible persons with disabilities. Pursuant to the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, extension will not provide assistance to those organizations that exclude persons from participation on the basis of age.

Penn State Extension has developed a public notification plan that will advise residents of every county of the availability of extension programs on a nondiscriminatory basis. Further, a procedure has been implemented to ensure that groups are nondiscriminatory before faculty and/or field based educators provide any programming assistance.

As extension faculty and staff develop and implement programs, several strategies will be used in conducting outreach efforts to ensure that minority and underrepresented groups are aware of and encouraged to participate in programs. The public notification plan and equal access procedures includes three objectives with specific action items under each.

Objective 1: Conduct outreach efforts

Program announcements will be distributed to agencies, organizations, the faith community and businesses with which minorities and underrepresented groups may be affiliated with a request that they be posted in public areas. Mass media, including radio, newspapers, television, websites and Facebook will be used to inform potential participants of programs and the opportunities to participate. Contacts via face to face meetings, personal visits, and personal letters will be established with the leadership of minority and underrepresented groups to inform them of extension’s programs and to invite participation of individuals who may have an interest in the programs being conducted.

Each county will develop and maintain a "grassroots" list of minority and underrepresented agencies, organizations and groups to whom program announcements and newsletters will be routinely sent to inform members of the groups or participants in their program of educational programs and opportunities offered by Penn State Extension. Such program announcements will include the office telephone number, address and website information, and the affirmative action statement. Educators will work with minority and underrepresented group members on local Extension Boards, program advisory committees, and leadership of other district groups to identify new strategies for providing outreach to underserved audiences. Extension educators will provide information about extension programs and stress their availability for minority and underrepresented groups during meetings with other community organizations or agencies.

Objective 2: Inform cooperating groups of extension’s nondiscriminatory provision

Prior to providing significant programming assistance to any group or organization, extension educators will ensure that the entity is nondiscriminatory by having them sign a nondiscrimination statement. The Director of Penn State Extension provides an Equal Access Assurance Postcard and a letter of explanation that can be used by faculty and staff. Signed postcards shall be retained in county or departmental files to assure compliance with civil rights policies. A list of all county agencies/organizations that have submitted nondiscrimination cards should be on file in the county office and a list attached to the "Annual Desk Audit" filed by the District Director each year. Educators should send completed postcards to the District Director responsible for the county in which the group resides.

Assurance of nondiscrimination by statewide organizations is the responsibility of the Director’s office. Such organizations include the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Grange, commodity groups and other associations and organizations that have a statewide "parent" organization. A list of these groups/organizations/associations will be posted on the College of Agricultural Sciences Civil Rights website.

It shall be the responsibility of the District Director to see that an officer of the Extension Board signs the nondiscrimination statement on behalf of the board. The documentation must be retained in the county civil rights file and renewed every three years. All extension clubs, including 4-H, must also sign a nondiscrimination card. It shall be the responsibility of the extension educator working with the group to obtain the documentation and see that it is appropriately filed. Clubs that do not sign the statement will be advised that extension educators cannot provide program assistance to them, nor will they retain their affiliation with Penn State Extension.

Objective 3: Convey a message of equal opportunity in materials released to the public.

The "And Justice For All" poster will be prominently displayed in each extension office and public meeting areas used by extension educators. As appropriate, alternative language statements applying to audiences being served will be affixed to the "And Justice For All" poster. Staff have been advised that the USDA Civil Rights website contains statements in two languages that can be reproduced and affixed to the poster.

All publications (newsletters, program fliers, learn at home materials, annual reports, brochures, etc.) printed at either state or local level will use the appropriate affirmative action statement. For single page materials, the short statement Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce shall be used.

For publications over one page, the long version of the affirmative action statement should be used.

Audiovisual materials for presentations (PowerPoint, slides, overhead) and learning aids (videos, CDs, etc.) shall also use the appropriate affirmative action statement. Announcements of county, regional or state educational programs, meetings or events sponsored or co-sponsored by Penn State Extension shall include the statement of nondiscrimination indicating that the event is open to all "without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status."

University approved statements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (handicap accessibility and alternative media) shall be used on all materials distributed to the public. Press releases including meeting announcements and/or reports of educational events (programs, camps, field days, etc.) will contain the full affirmative action statement in the body of the text in order to convey the equal opportunity message. Examples of press releases will be retained in the county files

Photos used for news articles, in annual reports, program brochures, etc. shall convey equal opportunity regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, age or handicap. All educational material shall be written or presented in such a manner as to eliminate the perception of gender bias.

Objective 4: Provide clients with a discrimination complaint notification template

A process has been developed to ensure that clients are aware of their right to file a complaint related to civil rights compliance in both extension and research programs. Organizational guidelines have also been established to ensure that faculty, extension educators and staff know how to handle complaints of program discrimination. Accomplishments for objectives under this Goal shall be documented in the "Annual Desk Audit" as well as in the comprehensive internal "Civil Rights Compliance Review" held for one-third of the counties on a rotating basis each year.

Roles and Responsibilities for Maintaining Compliance in Extension Educational Programs and Employment

The following personnel have line and staff responsibilities to ensure that Penn State Extension is in full compliance with Title VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Director and Associate Director, Penn State Extension

  • Create a climate within Penn State Extension that ensures that every customer and colleague is treated with fairness, equality, and respect and that implementation of all programs is inclusive.
  • Work with the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs in assuring that Penn State Extension is in compliance with USDA Civil Rights responsibilities.
  • Develop organizational policies that assist Extension in complying with Civil Rights responsibilities.
  • Ensure maintenance of Civil Rights compliance documentation.
  • Review and act on internal compliance reviews.

Assistant Directors of Programs

  • Ensure that state level program planning, evaluation and reporting provides equal access and opportunities for participation in extension’s programs by diverse audiences and meets the objectives set forth in the "Penn State Extension Civil Rights Performance Plan."
  • Ensure equal opportunity in the hiring of extension educators and staff employees who have extension program responsibility.
  • Analyze annual participation data for achieving program parity as required by the state affirmative action plan.
  • Annually review staff action plans to assure that affirmative action Goals are appropriately addressed. Review program participation data and diversity efforts to obtain information for the "Support of Diversity" core performance factor during the Staff Review and Development Plan annual performance review.
  • Monitor information/materials being developed and disseminated to ensure that all extension program team members are using appropriate civil rights and affirmative action statements.
  • Ensure that program teams maintain a log of all mailing lists. Review the lists annually to assure that they are representative of the diversity of the population being served. Send copies of the updated mailing list logs to the counties targeted in the lists.
  • Assist in developing guidelines and procedures for assuring open access to programs and services offered by extension educators.
  • Seek out program advisory committee representation from underrepresented groups.
  • Review annual internal program compliance summaries and respond as appropriate.

District Directors

  • Administratively responsible relative to civil rights compliance within an assigned geographic district of the state, including maintenance of county civil rights files.
  • Work closely with Assistant Directors of Programs and state teams to incorporate a civil rights focus into program planning.
  • Instill a proactive non-discrimination approach in all unit operations; ensure that civil rights topics are routinely included in unit meetings.
  • Remind all Extension employees of their civil rights responsibilities, particularly about maintaining adequate compliance documentation and the completion of civil rights training modules every three years.
  • Seek out those from under-represented groups for Extension Boards.
  • Provide leadership to complete county "Annual Desk Audits"—including Certification of All Reasonable Effort and Annual Compliance Verification and Proposed Corrective Actions. Identify and report at least two "best practices" for diversity outreach during the program year.  Include an onsite review of files on an annual basis.
  • Review internal unit civil rights compliance reviews with input from Assistant Directors of Programs.
  • Ensure the completion of county "support staff contacts logs" to document queries to the office that are not otherwise captured in program participation data. These queries are generally received by email, phone, or walk-in.
  • Ensure equal opportunity in hiring county or association paid employees who work with extension educators at the local level to develop and implement extension education programs.
  • Ensure that signed statements of non-discrimination are on file for all local groups being served, local Extension Boards, and 4-H clubs.
  • Assist the Extension Leadership Team in developing guidelines and procedures for assuring that minorities and underrepresented groups have access to and can participate in extension’s educational programs.

Department Heads

  • Provide oversight to ensure that academic programs support program delivery that addresses clientele diversity and serves the needs of underrepresented groups.
  • Ensure equal opportunity in the hiring and management of employees.
  • Understand civil rights responsibilities for their department.
  • Instill a proactive nondiscrimination approach in all departmental operations.
  • Ensure that faculty successfully complete the Civil Rights training modules every three years.
  • Ensure maintenance of appropriate documentation required for external Civil Rights compliance reviews by USDA.

Faculty, Extension Educators and Paraprofessionals

  • Learn about the demographics of the assigned area.
  • Seek input from diverse groups on Extension and research agendas.
  • Identify potential audiences and their demographics.
  • Consider the needs of underserved groups when designing programs and research efforts.
  • Accurately document contacts and the demographic makeup of mailing lists and learning groups.
  • Make all reasonable efforts to reach those protected by civil rights laws, and keep records of these efforts.
  • Ensure that volunteers receive training about their civil rights responsibilities.
  • Ensure that all groups sign a non-discrimination card and file it with the county in which the group resides.

Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs

  • Serve as liaison with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Civil Rights Compliance office.
  • Provide leadership for internal civil rights compliance reviews.
  • Foster and encourage activities to improve the College’s environment for minorities and women, including developing programs that raise the level of awareness of majority students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
  • Enhance diversity within the College by developing strategies to attract and retain highly qualified minority students, faculty, and staff.
  • Provide leadership for the design and development of statewide multicultural diversity training educational programs for faculty and staff.
  • Represent the College in University wide functions and cooperate with other university offices to enhance the College’s commitment to affirmative action, e.g., Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Affirmative Action, Minority Faculty and Staff Development programs, etc.
  • Serve as a member of the College’s administrative team to ensure that extension and research programs are being carried out in accordance with USDA recommendations. Assist in federal reporting efforts.
  • Develop and conduct an exit interview program for minorities who leave the College of Agricultural Sciences employment.
  • Assist in processing complaints of discrimination filed by individuals with various state and federal agencies.

Director of Human Resources

  • Directs service unit providing support to regional and academic units on civil rights matters relative to employment, affirmative action, staff training and development, counseling, complaint processing and resolution.
  • Collects and maintains documentation of personnel records required for external reviews.

Compliance and Internal Monitoring

Penn State Extension has three levels of monitoring to assure that extension educators are implementing affirmative action and civil rights policies and procedures in the assessment of needs, development, implementation and evaluation of extension’s educational programming. In addition, processes are in place to assure that "all reasonable effort" is being pursued to identify, invite and enhance participation of minorities and underrepresented groups on boards and committees that are critical entities in accomplishing the mission of Penn State Extension. Following are major activities used to monitor compliance with the Penn State Extension Civil Rights Performance Plan.

Development of Annual Action Plan

Faculty and extension educators will include plans for implementing outreach to minority and underrepresented groups when they develop their annual action plans. Plans will include strategies targeted to racial/ethnic and underrepresented groups. They will also indicate where representatives for target groups not currently involved will be included on program planning/development committees. Plans will be reviewed and approved by Assistant Directors of Programs prior to being submitted each year. Civil rights and affirmative action accomplishments will be reviewed as part of ongoing performance discussions throughout the year and as a part of the formal annual review conducted using the "Staff Review and Development Plan."

Plans will be Reviewed and Approved by Assistant Directors of Programs Prior to being Submitted Each Year.

The "Staff Review and Development Plan," which provides the basis for the performance review process used for staff, includes a core performance factor on "Support of Diversity." Staff document how they "demonstrate a respect for the value of individuals regardless of their background or culture; contribute to processes that create and support a diverse environment; and participate in diversity programming and activities." During the performance evaluation process using the "Staff Review and Development Plan," Assistant Directors of Programs will review accomplishments regarding civil rights issues and affirmative action efforts with each staff member. The Associate Director of Extension will review the accomplishments of District Directors in all areas related to Civil Rights and Affirmative Action during their annual performance review.

Completion of "Annual Desk Audit"

Annually, District Directors will provide leadership for conducting a desk audit for all programs conducted in the county or multi-county unit. The audit, organized according to the four civil rights programming Goals, ensures that all staff follow through on the commitment to carry out affirmative action and civil rights Goals outlined in Extension’s Civil Rights Performance Plan. In addition to providing information verifying that objectives are being met under each of the Goals, District Directors must indicate areas that show non-compliance and provide a plan for corrective action. Additionally, a "Certification For All Reasonable Effort—Balanced Membership" must be completed and clubs not in parity must have a statement on file which shows that action has been taken to try and achieve the Goal of parity.

The final component of the Annual Desk Audit is a listing of best practices—noteworthy accomplishments by all staff in achieving the Goals and objectives of civil rights programming. The "Annual Desk Audit" for each county must be submitted by the District Director on or before January 15 of every year. To help determine the extent to which Civil Rights Goals are being achieved, the District Director will review performance from the previous year and document the progress being made in the following areas. (These are being given special attention because they were highlighted in the most recent USDA compliance review.)

  • % Increase in underrepresented participants in extension programs
  • % Increase in underrepresented members on advisory boards
  • % Increase in underrepresented participants in the Master Gardener program
  • % Increase in underrepresented participants within 4-H clubs and events
  • % Increase in underrepresented participants in camp programs
  • % Increase in underrepresented scholarship recipients
  • % Increase in underrepresented 4-H volunteer leaders

Comprehensive Civil Rights Reviews

A uniform process for internal Civil Rights Compliance Reviews has been in place since 1999.  Reviews are conducted on a three-year rotating schedule with 1/3 of the Districts reviewed each year.  The reviews consist of the following:

  • A review of civil rights files to make sure that all material required to be maintained in the county is current and examples of programs, news releases, marketing brochures, etc. document efforts to serve a diverse population. 
  • An examination of the ongoing performance improvement that’s desired to increase inclusivity within programs and boards/committees.
  • Discussion with District Directors and Assistant Directors of Programs regarding the activities all individuals charged with assuring inclusivity in programs are conducting to support the four overarching Civil Rights Goals.
  • Peer mentoring to share best practices and determine improvement opportunities.

A written review of the assessment including recommendations is shared with the staff in each district under review. District Directors will be responsible for working with all staff to see that deficiencies are corrected. A report of the findings of each compliance review will be submitted to the Associate Director following the completion of the review. The Associate Director will share this with the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs. The report should include the findings and recommendations of the review team and the response indicating corrective action planned by the District Director and unit staff. After reviewing the document, the Associate Director will provide a written response to the District Director.

Tracking of Mailing Lists

Penn State Extension requires all teams maintain a log of mailing lists used to communicate with clientele. The log is used to document demographic information for the purpose of determining compliance with federal civil rights laws. 

Extension Program Participation Data

Penn State Extension uses a web- based reporting system entitled Extension Program Activity System (EPAS). Program participant demographics are tracked and reported via EPAS. This enhanced system provides opportunity for faculty and extension educators to capture participation data by the major census categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race. The system also tracks participants in the underrepresented categories of Disabled; Limited Resources; Underserved; and Amish, Anabaptist, Mennonite or Plain Sect.

The system includes cells to report actual program participants by racial/ethnic category and gender participation on a real time basis. A built-in function provides a running total of program participants throughout the program year and an end of the year total and calculates the percentage of people reached by racial/ethnic category over the course of the year.

An additional feature of the EPAS web-based reporting system is the ability of faculty and staff to capture and report success stories as they occur, rather than wait until the end of the program year. Faculty and extension educators must finish entering their EPAS data by October 15 of each year.  Extension educators also submit participant demographics for the county civil rights files. Reports from EPAS are used by Extension leaders and the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs to review annual progress towards the achievement of our civil rights Goals. 

Demographic Profile Pennsylvania 2000-2010*

Pennsylvania’s census data shows increases in underrepresented populations over the 10-year period 2000-2010. The largest percentage increase was in the Hispanic or Latino population, which increased by 82% to a total of 5.7% of the population (n = 719,660.) Other population increases, in order from largest to smallest, were two or more races (+67.2%), some other race (+59.7%), Asian (+58.8%), American Indian and Alaska native (+46.3%), and Black or African American (+12.5%.) The table below summarizes the total population in each demographic category along with the percent change from 2000-2010. For county demographics see Pennsylvania QuickFacts from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Pennsylvania’s Demographic Profile 2000-2010* Table

*Source: US Census data

Pennsylvania Total Population20102000% Change% of 2010 TotalProgram Participation Targets
Total Population12,702,37912,281,0543.4% 608,505
Under 182,792,1552,922,221-4.5%22.0%133,758
Age 20-647,563,6827,091,3056.7%59.5%362,337
Age 62+2,390,0282,219,9277.7%18.8%114,494
Age 65+1,959,3071,919,1652.1%15.4%93,860
Median Age40.138   


Pennsylvania Population of one Race20102000% Change% of 2010 TotalProgram Participation Targets
White10,406,28810,484,203-0.74%81.9%498,511
Black or African American1,377,6891,224,61212.50%10.8%65,998
American Indian and Alaska Native26,84318,34846.30%0.2%1,286
Asian349,088219,81358.81%2.7%16,723
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander3,6533,4176.91%0.0%175
Other300,983188,43759.73%2.4%14,419
Total12,464,54412,138,8302.68%98.1%597,112
Population of Two or More Races237,835142,22467.23%1.9%11,393


Hispanic or Latino Population20102000% Change% of 2010 TotalProgram Participation Targets
Mexican129,56855,178134.82%1.0%6,207
Puerto Rican366,082228,55760.17%2.9%17,537
Cuban17,93010,36373.02%0.1%859
Other206,08099,990106.10%1.6%9,872
Total719,660394,08882.61%5.7%34,475
Not Hispanic or Latino11,982,71911,886,9660.81%94.3%574,030


Target Program Participation for October 2013 through September 2016

The participation targets in the table above are based on 2010 census data for the populations reported. The column labeled "Percent of 2010 Total" is used to determine program participation targets. For the FY2012 program year (Oct. 1, 2011-Sept 30, 2012) program participants totaled 608,505.  Our Goal is to increase the percentage of underrepresented participants within this total, so that these percentages mirror that of the Commonwealth.  To that end, State Extension Teams are developing programs targeted to specific underrepresented populations.

Penn State Extension Committees and Civil Rights

A core value of the College of Agricultural Sciences is dedication to diversity, multicultural understanding, and cross-cultural competence including the teaching, extension and research missions.

"From a purely demographic standpoint, this country is changing… If we are not welcoming and inclusive, and if we don’t mirror the state and the nation and the world, we will be at a tremendous disadvantage." ~ President Eric J. Barron

We respect differences in people, ideas, programs, and partnerships. For Penn State Extension and Agricultural Research, these values guide the development and delivery of our educational programming and research efforts. Civil Rights legislation simply reinforces these values.

The role of Penn State Extension Boards and Committees in Civil Rights

Penn State Extension boards and advisory and program development committees play an important role in extension’s programming. They work in partnership with extension faculty and educators to facilitate effective educational programs that meet local needs. A strong program development system is built through linkages between extension boards and committees and citizens in each county.

"Importantly, at many universities, diversity is an assigned responsibility when in fact we won’t be successful unless it is everybody’s job." ~ President Eric J. Barron

To meet the needs of diverse audiences, extension boards and committees must involve people from diverse audiences in the identification, selection, design, and evaluation of extension programs and initiatives. It is important for volunteers to understand the content, philosophy and spirit of the Affirmative Action Plan so they can:

  • Assist faculty and educators in providing orientation for all new board and committee members including discussion of the Affirmative Action Plan and their role.
  • Contact minority leaders from the community to explain the range of extension programs and invite their participation.
  • At least annually, assist in reviewing the gender and racial composition in each program. Decide if participants are fully representative of the target audience for that program. Ask: Are we aggressively reaching out to the target audience for each program?
  • Assist in reviewing gender and racial composition of committees to assess whether diverse groups who live in the county are represented.
  • Suggest new techniques for marketing extension programs to underrepresented groups. At least annually, assist faculty and educators in assessing the effectiveness of current techniques.
  • Discuss the need for access to programs or program sites for clientele with disabilities. Review public relations methods for promoting extension programs that could include a handicap access statement in announcements and identification of a person to call if program accommodations are needed.
  • Make contacts with members of traditionally underrepresented groups to describe the opportunities to volunteer in Penn State Extension programs.
  • On occasion, solicit input from current participants from underrepresented groups on how to enhance program outreach and how to market programs to minority/underrepresented audiences.
  • Encourage and support the creation of 4-H club programs in communities not currently served by extension.
  • Work with extension faculty and educators to develop a plan to increase the full participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in extension programs.
  • Discuss problems in carrying out their role relative to the Affirmative Action Plan with Extension faculty, educators, District Directors and Assistant Directors of Programs as appropriate.

Penn State Extension’s Affirmative Action Plan expresses a vision of diversity within Extension that is reflected in a variety of ways.  Extension strives to represent the diversity of the Commonwealth’s population in its programs, audiences, volunteers, faculty, educators, and staff. This is our philosophical commitment, as well as our legal obligation.  As full partners, volunteers on extension boards and committees are contributing to a stronger, more relevant, Penn State Extension.