Navigating Difference

Navigating Difference is a cultural competency training for professionals who work in communities. A statewide team of Purdue trainers offer a half-day interactive workshop on cultural awareness to groups who are interested in working more effectively with others. An intensive three-day Navigating Difference training is also available for those who want to deepen their knowledge, skills and appreciation for connecting across diversity with clientele, co-workers and community members.


Helping Professionals Work More Effectively Across Cultural Differences

This research-based training helps individuals gain the knowledge, skills and attitude to increase their own cultural competence in order to build more inclusive work environments and communities. Developed by Washington State University Extension, Navigating Difference: Cultural Competency Training has successfully trained Extension professionals, librarians, educators, health and social service providers, public servants, law enforcement and public safety professionals in many states. The goals for the training are to assist participants to:

  • Become more aware of their own personal and organizational cultures;
  • Examine how our personal and organizational cultures affect our ability to work across difference, in both negative and positive ways; and
  • Build skills to increase competencies as we work with others who are different from us.

Cultural Awareness Workshop

This is an interactive half-day workshop in which participants explore personal and cultural values, biases, prejudices and views. Through conversation and activities, participants learn how culture shapes us, how cultures are different and similar and how we can recognize our own culture(s), including our organization’s culture.

Navigating Difference Training

This three-day (18-hour) experiential cultural competence training builds on foundations from social justice, intercultural communication and organizational development. The training intertwines research-based theories and frameworks with activities and discussion from participants’ own experiences. Each successive module builds on the previous one, deepening the participant’s learning. The five modules are:

  • Cultural Awareness
  • Cultural Understanding
  • Cultural Knowledge
  • Cultural Interaction
  • Cultural Sensitivity


To schedule a Cultural Awareness workshop for your group, please contact Kris Parker at



Kris Parker

Kris Parker is a Community Development Regional Educator.

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Jan Dougan

Jan Dougan is the County Extension Director and Health & Human Sciences Educator for Dubois County.

Bill Horan

Bill Horan is the Agriculture & Natural Resources and Community Development Educator for Wells County.

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Samuel Johnson

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Andrew Martin

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Marcia Parcell

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Steve Yoder is a Community Development Regional Educator.

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Tamara Ogle is a Community Development Regional Educator.

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Xiomara Diaz-Vargas

Xiomara Diaz-Vargas is a 4-H Youth Development Educator for Marion County.

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Amy Niermen is the Southeast District Director.

Bob Bruner

Bob Bruner is an Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for Owen County.

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Heather VonDielingen is a 4-H Youth Development Educator and County Extension Director for Jackson County.



Kris Parker

Kris Parker

Community Development Regional Educator

Kym Schwinkendorf

Kym Schwinkendorf