John Lawrence’s message from March 19, 2018
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or status as a U.S. veteran. This opening sentence of our non-discrimination statement is important. It not only applies to all Iowans, it applies to all of us: Not just those who are on federal funding, who work on campus, or who work in a particular program, but everyone who is part of ISU Extension and Outreach. But it is only the bare bones of our diversity and inclusion commitment. To get to diversity and inclusion’s heart and soul, we have to take action.
The third goal in our 2017-2022 Extension and Outreach Strategic Plan is to enhance efforts in programming, operations, and staffing to reach diverse and underrepresented populations. The strategies we’ve set for this goal include
- doing more to recruit, hire, onboard and retain diverse faculty and staff;
- making sure our partnerships support inclusion and involve underrepresented audiences;
- taking stock of how well we’re doing (during annual performance reviews); and
- becoming more competent in working with diverse and underserved audiences.
These efforts are best practices that will make ISU Extension and Outreach more diverse, our programs more inclusive and overall help us become a better organization. We have great resources to help us. Did you know?
- Iowa State’s Principles of Community provide a good summary of the human side of diversity and inclusion.
- Our Diversity and Civil Rights website offers training resources, policies and other information to help us learn about the legal aspects.
- Ross Wilburn, diversity officer for ISU Extension and Outreach, coordinates and guides our initiatives and activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion. When you have questions, ask for his advice.
We educate farmers so they can adopt best practices in agriculture. We share research so communities can grow or shrink smart. We teach families the steps for healthier eating, and we build skills in youth so they are ready for college and careers. So surely we can adopt best practices to reach all Iowans. President Wintersteen aspires for Iowa State University to be the most welcoming and inclusive university in the country. Let’s do our part and aspire for ISU Extension and Outreach to be the most welcoming and inclusive extension service.
A couple more notes
- You won’t get a message from me next Monday, March 26. Instead, I hope to see you at Annual Conference.
- Make plans now for Extension and Outreach Week, April 16-21.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach