Introduction

Purdue University is a state-supported university system founded in 1869 as Indiana’s land-grant college authorized by the Morrill Act of 1862.  The system includes the West Lafayette campus serving as the administrative site and the regional campuses of Fort Wayne, Calumet, and North Central.

Purdue University’s Affirmative Action Plan is led by Purdue’s Vice President for Ethics and Compliance and provides important guidance to all Purdue employees to deliver on our commitment to equal access/equal opportunity.

Purdue University is committed to creating and maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person, while fostering tolerance, sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect among its members.  Purdue University policy prohibits discrimination or harassment of any member of the University community on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran.  This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer merit increases, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation.  The policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable Federal and State laws and University policies.

The Purdue College of Agriculture (Purdue Agriculture) is responsible for allocating federal funds for research and Extension work at Purdue. The Colleges of Health and Human Sciences and Veterinary Medicine receive a portion of these funds. These colleges support 995 employees paid all or in part from federal funds.

Purdue Agriculture’s strategic plan entitled “People, Purpose, Impact” outlines important initiatives in our core missions of research, teaching and Extension with international programs as an overarching priority. One of our core values—that we are ‘Dedicated to diversity, inclusiveness, and a global perspective in the broadest sense of these terms’ is reflected in all of the goals outlined in the plan. In addition, Goal #6 specifically challenges us to ‘Strengthen a community and a climate where diverse and unique contributions, talents and skills of faculty, staff, and students are acknowledged, valued, respected, and rewarded, and where service for the good of the College is valued and excellence in discovery, learning, engagement, and their integration is pursued.’ The importance of this to our College is noted by the link to the Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP) on Purdue Agriculture homepage which leads to their strategic plan.

Agricultural Research at Purdue supports discovery initiatives and has recently become responsible for the graduate student program in the College of Agriculture. To meet the research mission of the Ag Experiment Station, Agriculture Research supports faculty and staff in the College of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Health and Human Sciences.  The College of Agriculture, through Ag Research, recently developed six strategic themes to describe what we do.

The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service (Purdue Extension) is a part of Purdue Agriculture and delivers Purdue University’s educational resources throughout the state. Over campus-based Extension faculty and A/P staff translate research-based information into forms and formats that Indiana residents can use. Each of Indiana’s 92 counties budgets funds to support a local Purdue Extension office from which the Extension educational mission is delivered by 275 Purdue Extension Educators as well as 146 EFNEP/SNAP-Ed program assistants.

Purdue Extension recently implemented eight Strategic Initiatives to help focus our resources and programs on key needs of Indiana residents. This effort also includes four internal initiatives that will help us strengthen our capacity to deliver effective Extension programs focused on the eight Strategic Initiatives. Internal Initiative #4 focuses on Diversity and Inclusion.

Purdue Agriculture is committed to providing broad-based educational programming to address a variety of identified needs for Indiana’s diverse population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population in Indiana in 2010 was 6,483,802. Population estimates in 2004 describe Indiana as 88.7 percent white alone, 8.8 percent black alone, and 4.3 percent Hispanic.  The median age in 2004 was 35.7 years with 25.7 percent age 17 and under, 10.1 percent college age, 27.8 percent between 25 and 44, 24 percent between 45 and 64, and 12.4 percent 65 and older.  The poverty rate in 2003 was 10 percent and the poverty rate among children under 18 was 13.7 percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports a 117.2 percent change in the Hispanic population in Indiana between 1990 and 2000.  Approximately 71 percent of the Hispanic population comes from Mexico.  Children from 0 to 17 account for 35.5 percent of the Hispanic population. These demographics have challenged local communities to respond with appropriate programs and services. Purdue Extension is committed to providing programs and services that address the needs of the growing Hispanic sector.

Purdue Agriculture Research and Extension collaborate with public and private agencies and organizations to support our mission of meeting changing community needs.  Staff working in local communities can help bridge gaps between diverse groups in a community by bringing people together and partnering with other agencies to identify and meet needs of both the community and its residents.  Demographics in the state highlight opportunities for tailoring programs to meet the needs of under-represented and under-served audiences.

Recent innovations in social media such as Facebook, Twitter and smartphone apps provide a platform for Purdue Agriculture to enhance our engagement with those of different backgrounds and cultures. We are committed to using these technologies and other strategies to better engage the diverse population of Indiana.