Skip Navigation
University of Wisconsin
Richard M. (Rick) Klemme
Executive Director
Cooperative Extension/ECOP

Sandra (Sandy) Ruble
Assistant Director
Cooperative Extension/ECOP

Marianne Klein
Program Assistant

National Extension Diversity Award

Meaning of Diversity and Pluralism

Beginning in 1991 with the distribution of Pathway to Diversity: Strategic Plan for the Cooperative Extension System’s Emphasis on Diversity, Extension forged a new commitment to expanding and reorganizing diversity efforts. Diversity is defined as differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices and other human differences. Pluralism is defined as an organizational culture that incorporates mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among people who are diverse in the dimensions of human differences listed above as diversity.

The Award for Diversity supports efforts that go beyond simply meeting EEO/AA program requirements. Extension efforts should support the creation of a diverse and pluralistic Cooperative Extension organization at the local, regional, state or national level. Such efforts could impact one or more of the following areas: Audience, Administration, Funding, Coalitions, Programs, Policies, Initiative, Staff, Advisory and decision-making groups, and Educational materials and delivery methods.

Award Presentation

The recipient of the Award for Diversity is recognized at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Annual Meeting held in November each year with a commemorative trophy from USDA NIFA and a cash award from ECOP. Travel reimbursement to attend the awards event has been historically provided. The recipient will be asked to submit photos and a project summary for inclusion on the APLU and the eXtension Diversity, Equity and Inclusion websites, the NIFA Update and for inclusion in the Award Program Brochure. The award recipient will also be asked to submit an impact statement for the database which portrays Cooperative Extension impacts to the public.


The nominee can be an individual or a team or organization fundamentally composed of Cooperative Extension professionals. A Cooperative Extension professional (state, regional and/or county) is defined as having at least 50 percent EFT/FTE university appointment in Extension as of May 1 of the year of the nomination and responsibility for Extension programming for a minimum of five consecutive years. NOTE: Administrative EFT/FTE in these areas do not qualify a nominee.

Criteria for Nominations

Nominations can be submitted from any area of the Cooperative Extension system. Nominations can be made by anyone, including self-nominations.

Since the program is limited to one award recipient per year, it is recommended that previously submitted non-recognized nominations be resubmitted. When writing nominations, special attention should be given to efforts that have the potential to be sustained over time or can be replicated in other comparable situations. CLICK HERE for a list of previous recipients.

The six following elements will be considered in the review process.

Purpose: Why was this effort undertaken? The nomination clearly describes efforts by a person, group or organization to achieve diversity/pluralism in Extension organizations, programs, and/or audiences. (Maximum 10 points)

Basis: Why is this effort worthy of recognition? The nomination clearly delineates reasons why the nominated person, group or organization deserves recognition. (Maximum 10 points)

Effort: Are actions and activities in support of diversity appropriate and educationally sound? Actions and activities in support of diversity are appropriate, educationally and organizationally sound, and demonstrate impact. (Maximum 20 points)

Positive Impact: Have efforts led to positive, sustainable change? Evidence exists that efforts have led to positive, sustainable programmatic and/or organizational change. (Maximum 30 points)

Scope: How broadly did or likely will this effort affect the Cooperative Extension system? Evidence exists that the scope of impact is broad with observable national impact or the potential for system-wide benefit. (Maximum 20 points)

Innovation: How did or will this effort create new models for positive change? The effort is innovative in its application, methods, or approach in such a way that has led to new ways/models for positive organizational change in achieving diversity and pluralism in organizations, programs, and/or audiences. (Maximum 10 points)

Total Possible (100 points)

Nomination Package Guidelines

Nominations must not exceed word limits and must contain the following elements.

  1. Name, title, address, phone number and e-mail of nominee(s).
  2. Name, title, address, phone number and e-mail of person making nomination.
  3. A brief synopsis of nomination (30 words or less)
  4. A narrative explaining the six elements in the criteria given above (400 words or less, each).


Incomplete applications or applications in excess of size limitations may not be considered. Please do not attempt to forward videotapes, bound publications or other support materials with the nomination. Only electronic submissions will be considered.

Selection Process

An Award Review Panel is appointed by the ECOP Program Committee to review nominations and recommend the recipient to the ECOP Chair and NIFA Director. The process is normally complete by mid July.

Due Date

The due date for nominations is May 1st at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To be considered, nominations, submitted online, must be completed by this date and time. Please contact Sandy Ruble, Assistant Director of Cooperative Extension at 202.478.6088 or if there are any questions.

CLICK HERE and proceed to DOWNLOAD the nomination form.

Follow Cooperative Extension on Twitter


Meetings & Events Events


All Day
Nashville, Tennessee

Featured Project & Initiative


Student testing chemicals in a lab
Agriculture, Human Sciences & Natural Resources
Iowa State University will establish and host a new national Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education. APLU and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) chose Iowa State to lead the institute, which is designed to foster and coordinate research and education activities using a One Health approach to comprehensively tackle the AMR problem.