Deen, left, Parker and Huskey.
A WSU diversity training program designed to increase knowledge and skills for working with a variety of cultures has been accepted for publication in the national 4-H Extension Programs of Distinction, a peer-reviewed database that publishes programs of exceptional quality developed by extension professionals.
 
Navigating Difference: Cultural Competency Training for Outreach Professionals is a competency-based, experiential curriculum that focuses on developing skills in five key cultural areas: awareness, understanding, knowledge, interaction and sensitivity.
 
“Participants who have completed the training found the knowledge they gained extremely useful in understanding themselves and others with whom they work,” said Mary Katherine Deen, WSU Extension diversity director/family and 4-H youth development specialist in Wenatchee and co-developer of the training. “The expanded communication and mindfulness skills have led to increased programming in communities with diverse cultures, and to spreading the knowledge of the land-grant university system to a broader audience.”
Deen, along with colleagues Louise Parker, WSU Extension Puyallup, and Melynda Huskey, WSU Student Affairs and Enrollment at WSU Pullman, designed the program to increase information and skills that can be used when engaging in any new culture, rather than focusing on specific cultural knowledge.
 
As of December 2010, more than 160 extension professionals attended the program from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, North Dakota, Nevada, Kansas, Alaska and Guam. All five modules have been presented to staff from state and local social service agencies and one school district. In addition, four “Train the Trainer Retreats” have been held, with 51 participants from seven states, which will enable more staff to present the Navigating Difference modules.
The next session will be April 12-14 in Everett. For more information, see here.