For those of you who missed the Adobe Connect webinar on Transformative Learning: What Can I Do to Make it Happen? Here’s the archived version for you to view. https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4H/restrict/staffmeetings.htm I’d love to chat more with you about this. I fully believe that transformative education is the niche and the goal of our work.
Several groups have asked me recently to share the challenges and opportunities I see for ISU Extension. I’ve thought about this quite a bit and have organized my thoughts around seven P’s: 1) program – without notable and effective programming, Extension has no reason to exist, 2) people – our success depends on our relationship with a variety of people internal and external to our organization. Our ability to build and nurture these partnerships is key to our sustainability, 3) politics – we all know that the use of power and information fully impacts our success, 4) products – more and more we need to focus beyond the personal or private good derived from our work to the public value of our work – to what degree do people not directly involved in our program benefit from our work, 5) promotion – the messages we and others provide about our programs are critical for the scope and depth of our success, 6) place – a critical niche for Extension continues to be a focus on communities of place and communities of interest where people feel a subject matter or geographical connection to our work that benefits them, and 7) passion – without passion for our mission to improve the quality of life for Iowan’s we lose direction and support. However, we may also have to help ourselves and others temper our passions for overall organizational success. I hope you find these ways of thinking about our work helpful in your daily activities. Feel free to share them on our behalf.
Many of you may be familiar with Bill McAnally from his program on Iowa Public Radio. I’m pleased that Interim Vice President Miller has provided resources to hire Bill part time to promote ISU Extension and provide housing information through his “Talk of Iowa” radio program. In addition, he will help fill the housing education gap we have due to Mary Yearn’s retirement. Bill will over the next several months: 1) be on call for Answer Line for home energy and other housing questions, 2) review and update our home energy and flood resources web information, 3) archive You Tube segments on home energy for the Answer Line, and 4) conduct webinars on home energy issues for Extension staff and some to be posted for the public. I’m excited that Bill is willing to share his expertise with us.
Our Families Coworkers in Northeastern Iowa share these ideas for how to turn a “NO” into “YES” on requests for one-time 20 minute programs…
- When asked to do a 20 minute presentation to a service organization, package up ISUE materials on a set subject and include talking points, best practices and a possible activity for the chair of the committee or group to lead.
- When asked to do a 20 minute program for Marble Rock Women’s Study Club, a 20 minute program was presented as an “informational piece” – just a teaser to the full 2 hour program. “Would you become a community work group to recruit people to come to a 2 hour program on Healthy Meals in a Hurry. What about Budget Basics?” “If each of you brought another person, that would be a nice sized group”. They thought this was a great idea and are now setting several class dates for sequential programming. This is a Horizons Community.
- Chambers try to show the benefits of being a member – take a brochure with your program offerings to them and talk about classes that would improve the lives of the employees AND improve the employers bottom line by improving their employees lives – Small Step to Health and Wealth, Budget Basics, Health Meals In A Hurry, etc. The Chamber offers the program “series” at a reduced fee to Chamber members and regular price to the general public. Employers will support programs by paying for their employees to attend. Some are offering the class from 11 AM to 1:30 PM and offering a meal with it. The employees are allowed to participate on company time. This method is being duplicated in several county.
The inaugural issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development is found free at www.agdevjournal.com/inaugural-issue.html. I’ve ordered a subscription so let me know if you’d like to see future issues. I serve on the editorial board and we welcome reviewers. I’d be glad to connect you with the editor. Enjoy this new strand of scholarship related to our work.
REED Bob Owen sent me an interesting web site on the ranking of health in Iowa counties. Check it out at: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/
The study was conducted by the University of Wisconsin. You may find the data helpful for program needs assessment and grant writing.
Several of us are participating in a “virtual” three day conference this week to learn about effective strategies for working with vulnerable populations. In preparation for the conference we were encouraged to scan various resources. Here is one that really challenged my thinking about the way we do our work. Listen to this inspirational speaker and consider what implications her stories have for your (our) work with vulnerable adults/families.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you recognize who and where the vulnerable populations are in your geographical service area? How can you learn more about the vulnerable adults/families in your geographical area of service? What can you do to gain/enhance your skills and tools to work with these populations? What are ways that you can be proactive connecting Families Extension resources to these populations?
Simon, L. (May, 2007)> Stories of Hope. Keynote Address at the 2007 Cyfar Annual Conference. http://www1.cyfernet.org/conffav/05-07-simon.html.
As part of my orientation to ISU Extension, I asked the REEDs to answer some questions about their work. I thought you might enjoy seeing their responses. I appreciate their efforts to help me learn about their work and to partner with them to support Extension Families programming.
What do REEDs do? 1) We serve as the liaison between ISUE and the field, working with councils and staff. We have found that nearly every assumption of the old system has to be tested in light of our restructuring. That takes time, patience, and willingness to adopt new ways of doing business. 2) In the past year we’ve worked on the transitional process of restructuring the ISUE system. We start where people are and encourage new ways of thinking. 3) We use methods that employ questioning and visioning to challenge the way the system worked and vision how it needs to effectively work in the future.
What is your relationship with staff and others? 1) During any major transition, relationship building is critical. Regional directors have and will continue to focus on developing positive relationships with councils, county staff, and program specialists. One or our key focuses is addressing what perceived boundaries exist and working with staff and others to identify more effective ways of working together. 2) REEDs influence the positive development of a successful system that supports issue based, multi-disciplinary programming.
How do REEDs regionalize? Regionalization is more than the geographical areas. As REEDs we do have specific functions of facilitating leadership in the counties that we serve. Our focus is to model working across boundaries and to increase public values in more multi-county/regional collaboration.
What support from county staff can specialists expect/not expect from CPCs and support staff? This question has come up in many conversations on many different levels. An alternative question might be what type of support do specialists expect? The key factor is that county support opportunities are not the same. Assumptions on support have to be addressed and alternative methods of support identified. As stated above, REEDs should bring together staff to talk about support.
If you’re on campus the evening of Thursday, October 21, feel free to join me in Howe Hall at 6:00 pm to hear Dr. Scott Page speak. He will share his thoughts on diversity based on his book, “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.” He uses mathematical modeling and case studies to show how variety in staffing produces organizational strength. If you’ve been searching for a way to expand your thinking about diversity, this may be an opportunity to do so.
Several of you have asked for advice about serving on local, regional, and state boards and councils. Since our role with these groups must be educational, I prefer that you serve in an exofficio/non voting/non leadership capacity. This will help you stay in your educational role and avoid legal and perception dilemmas. If you are uncertain what role is best for you and your programming when working with boards and councils, feel free to contact me or Jeanne Warning to discuss the situation. Remember, regional work means we need to have a sharp focus on education and capacity building. This may mean giving up some of our previous roles in organizational development at the local level.