College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

AGNR - Diversity Initiative Summary

Diversity management is the mechanism that AGNR will use to implement an initiative that takes us beyond compliance activities to create an inclusive organizational community. Diversity management focused on performance at both the individual and organizational levels, will enable AGNR to achieve the plan’s purposes (attracting and retaining a more diverse work force, creating a positively charged work climate, and attracting new audiences to our programs).

AGNR must adapt to new business conditions, assess its competition, and move in positive ways to excel as an educational provider to new markets. Over the next few years this will mean forging new policies, practices, and processes tied to department/ unit work outcomes. Diversity management, if executed with skill, is not additional work: it becomes a part of the work we are already doing and informs that work in ways that drive our success.

This initiative will be implemented in each department/ unit and tied to work outcomes that are meaningful for that unit. Each department/ unit’s compliance activities and UMCP diversity implementation requirements will be met by their unit plans for implementing the AGNR Diversity Initiative. The Coordinator for Diversity Programs and Training will work in a consultative role with each department/ unit head to help articulate goals, milestones, and measurements. Each department or unit will formulate diversity-related goals and evaluate its own progress.

The AGNR plan’s initial approach is two-pronged: 1) identify and train faculty and staff in needed competencies; and, 2) change practices and processes at the departmental /unit level in a de-centralized way. The attached Working Guide for Managers and Employees suggests diversity-related activities and milestones in five action "clusters" to show what diversity management might look like when it is being implemented as a part of the daily activities of a unit.

The AGNR Office of Human Resources, through heightened attention to diversity, seeks to assist managers in developing skills to recruit, retain, and work effectively with diverse employees, students, and citizens. AGNR wants to be both the "employer of choice" and the "provider of choice" for education in the State of Maryland and beyond.

This plan recognizes that organizational culture is resistant to change. A strong commitment to doing things in new ways will be required to achieve the plan’s goals.

Strong, vocal leadership and a demonstrated commitment to the relevancy of the initiative by the Dean and others in leadership roles will speed the adoption of new ways. Communicating positive results will reinforce how diversity management is not just "the right thing to do," but a way to ensure that AGNR remains viable and relevant in an increasingly multicultural environment.

The plan also recognizes that training, as a tool for change, is limited in what it can achieve. Committed leadership, attention to organizational development, and cultural change become the focus of the initiative, particularly after the initial training push has been completed.

This plan proposes seeding promising diversity-related practices throughout our departments and units to enable a shift in organizational culture that promotes inclusion, and fosters mutual respect among a diverse work force. Through the implementation of this plan, we hope to help managers identify and promote practices and processes that make the organization more flexible, adaptable, and attractive to diverse employees and customers.

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