We believe in NELD

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 28, 2019

From now through September, Jennifer Bentley, Himar Hernandez and Courtney Long will be representing ISU Extension and Outreach in the 2019 National Extension Leadership Development program. Jennifer is a dairy field specialist, Himar is assistant director for Community and Economic Development, and Courtney is local foods program coordinator with CED. By the time you read this message, they will be in Chicago for the first of four NELD seminars, where they’ll be taking a close look at their own role as a leader. University of Minnesota Extension heads the delivery of the NELD Program in the North Central Region this year, as it has since 2011. Did you know?

  • NELD provides the opportunity for extension professionals to learn, apply and reflect on new effective leadership, organizational collaboration, and change concepts and strategies.
  • NELD programming consists of four sessions, including one international cultural immersion experience. In April, the participants will head to Costa Rica for “Entering the Realm of the Other.”
  • In July they’ll head to Washington, D.C., for “Leading in a Shared Power World.” Then in September they’ll be in the Twin Cities area “Integrating Leadership for Change.”

NELD’s mission is to build leaders in Cooperative Extension at all levels and provide them with the vision, courage, and tools to lead in a changing world. Participants are selected because of their proven track record of programmatic or administrative success. The program helps the individuals who participate, but the greater benefit is to our Cooperative Extension System nationwide. NELD builds the leadership capacity of our extension professionals; increases the understanding of extension work at local, state, national and international levels; and strengthens the national Cooperative Extension network. That’s why we believe in NELD.

Transition for EIT
Mike Mauton has been named manager of Extension Information Technology and will begin transitioning into his new duties immediately. Current manager Deb Coates, who is beginning phased retirement, will continue working halftime until September 2019. During the next seven months, Deb will be mentoring Mike as he assumes many of the administrative duties that come with the post.

Mike earned his undergraduate degree in management information systems and history, secondary teaching license, and MBA from Iowa State. He first worked for ISU Extension and Outreach as a student on the computer support hotline. After teaching junior high in Cedar Falls, he returned to Extension IT. He has served as a support specialist, hotline supervisor, network administrator, systems administrator, infrastructure team lead and part-time department manager. We welcome Mike to his new role and are excited about this transition for our outstanding Extension IT staff.

More notes

  • There’s still time to register for Annual Conference, set for Feb. 28. Room blocks are being held at three Ames hotels; reserve your room by Feb. 7 to get the conference rate.
  • The Structured for Success committee met Jan. 22. Check the website for a video report and notes from the meeting.
  • The Iowa Extension Council Association and 4-H Legislative Day is Feb. 13. Council members and senior 4-H members will meet with legislators, tour the World Food Prize building, network with one another and participate in educational activities. The registration deadline is Feb. 1.
  • Poverty and Food Needs profiles are available by county from the Iowa Community Indicators Program website. The profiles (dated June 2018) provide county-level information related to poverty, participation in food and nutrition assistance programs, and other food-related health and economic measures. For more information, contact Kim Greder, kgreder@iastate.edu, or Liesl Eathington, leathing@iastate.edu.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Listening, learning and moving forward together

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 22, 2019

When Iowans talk, we listen. Some 1,200 people participated in my vice presidential listening sessions across the state last summer and fall, and they had a lot to say. During 62 meetings we captured their comments on flip charts and in electronic notes. Since then, Carol Heaverlo, director of Professional Development, objectively categorized and summarized the collected data statewide, as well as by location and participant group. We now have a summary ready to share. Did you know?

  • Workforce challenges, child care, housing, mental health and the farm economy were issues that arose at nearly every location. When stakeholders, staff and councils voted, these issues emerged as the most critical statewide issues impacting the ability of Iowa communities to thrive over the next five years.
  • In addition, three themes surfaced in both staff and council discussions: organizational structure, communication within our system and developing local leadership in Iowa communities.
  • All groups agreed that ISU Extension and Outreach should play to our strengths, partner where appropriate and avoid issues that we do not have the expertise or resources to address.

I encourage you to read the summary of the listening sessions. Then, plan to attend our 2018 annual conference on Feb. 28, where we’ll reflect on what we’ve learned and begin Moving Forward. Together. Take a few minutes to check out the agenda and register.

Annual conference is the one time of the year that we bring our extension family together. This year let’s be sure to fill Benton Auditorium (and later, the Sukup End Zone) as we learn from the listening sessions, discuss innovative programs, celebrate the achievements of our colleagues, and take time to network and socialize.

We’ll also be talking about the listening sessions summary at the Iowa Extension Council Association Conference on March 30. Council members, county staff, regional directors and others who work with council members are invited to attend.

Goodbye … and welcome
In December, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Hannah Wilson, Wayne County youth coordinator.
  • Debra Pospisil, secretary III, Finance.
  • Robert Mortensen, program coordinator II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Leanne Chapman-Thill, Marion County director.
  • Cody Emery, Bremer County youth coordinator.
  • Jeanene Blickenderfer, Davis County office assistant.
  • Jean Wilson, Linn County Master Gardener coordinator.
  • Hailey Burgher, Davis County office assistant.
  • Megan Van Houten, Guthrie County office assistant.
  • Breanna Miller, program assistant I, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Patrick Hatting, field specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Adriane Carlson, Region 9 director, County Services.

One more note: From now through December 2020, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach will be ending support for the Family Storyteller program and transitioning to Raising School Ready Readers. This new curriculum is based in modern-day research with a variety of families, and is published and kept up-to-date by Scholastic Inc. Human Sciences explained the reasons for the curriculum transition in the Jan. 18 Community Chat newsletter and in a letter to the Iowa Extension Council Association. You can learn more about the program transition during a 2 p.m. webinar and Q&A session Jan. 28 at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/r320zrw59q4s/. For more information, contact Connie Beecher, cbeecher@iastate.edu, or Deb Sellers, dsellers@iastate.edu.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Beyond our silos

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 14, 2019

Silos are useful for preserving and protecting. You can keep things safe in a literal silo, whether you’re dealing with forage or ballistic missiles. In ISU Extension and Outreach, it’s our metaphorical silos that cause us problems. We get so focused on our own programs and the projects we are working on, that we might not share information beyond our silo walls, or we might not pay attention to what’s going on in the rest of our organization. But there’s a remedy for this condition. Did you know?

  • Each month our extension leadership team prepares a program update. It offers a glimpse of what’s going on in our program areas. You can read the January update on my blog.
  • The leadership team has been providing these monthly updates for about a year and a half now. (If you haven’t been reading them and want to catch up, check the program updates category on my blog.)

During my visits across the state, both staff and councils said they wanted better collaboration across counties, regions and programs; and more effective sharing of ideas, successes and resources. Reading the monthly program update is a quick way to stay informed about what is going on throughout ISU Extension and Outreach, and get beyond our silos. On a related note, the Jan. 10 issue of Inside Iowa State includes a summary article about the regional listening sessions. It may help the campus community get beyond their research and teaching silos to learn about extension!

From Epsilon Sigma Phi: How to Reach Millennials
The Epsilon Sigma Phi national membership, recruitment and retention committee has been discussing how to reach younger colleagues and invite them to join ESP. Our own Sandra McKinnon is a national committee member and shared her research on Millennials’ communication preferences in the recent ESP Connection newsletter. Here are some excerpts from her newsletter article:

Millennials, born in the 1980s and 1990s, are currently 19-38 years old. Millennials are the majority of the workforce, but not the entirety. (Gen X-ers, born between 1965-1980, and Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, are in the workforce as well.) Millennials tend to have an aversion to the phone. They find calls disruptive and intrusive. It is best to schedule a call with them; then avoid small talk. For immediate topics, 72 percent prefer texts. There is no universal type of app to use (SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Millennials will do email. It allows them time to think and reply. Many look at emails at night and weekends. If you write an email:

Be short and to the point, not long and complicated.

Be friendly, not stuffy or too professional; avoid “core competencies” kind of wording.

Be clear about what action they need to take. Consider the message as a how-to or a recipe.

Make the message fun, engaging and absorbing.

Use visuals – video, infographics, photos.

Let me take this opportunity to put in a plug for ESP, the professional society of extension workers. It’s the source of the Extension Professional’s Creed that we recite and live every day. Iowa State has a chapter of this national organization that several of our colleagues and I belong to. If you are an extension professional, I encourage you to join us. To learn more about the Iowa chapter of ESP, visit https://www.extension.iastate.edu/esp/.

More notes

  • The Structured for Success committee met Dec. 17. Check the website for a video report and related documents from the meeting.
  • The Internal Communications Task Force met twice in December and once in January. For an update, read the executive summary on Cybox.
  • County Services and 4-H are jointly hosting three webinars this winter on transitioning 4-H club finances to county extension offices. All three webinars intend to cover the same topics, but Q&A will be live and we encourage questions. All staff with 4-H, and bookkeeping and administrative staff are invited to attend. Webinars will be held Jan. 31 at 9 a.m., Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. and March 26 at 1 p.m. via Adobe Connect, https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/training4h. Sessions also will be recorded.
  • In December, 42 county staff members began serving as website ambassadors in a new pilot program. Website ambassadors will train new content editors in their region, become a first line of support for other content editors, have direct communication with Extension Information Technology and other campus partners, and relay necessary information to others in their regions. The list of ambassadors and more information about the program is available in MyExtension.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

January 2019 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

4-H Youth Development

  • Fifty youth from 17 counties participated in Beef Blast in December: 100 percent of youth gained new knowledge in beef quality and yield grading; 78 percent gained new knowledge in beef selection and evaluation; 84 percent gained new knowledge in beef management; 66 percent gained new knowledge in advocacy; and 91 percent gained new knowledge about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the department of animal science.
  • Iowa 4-H has received the National 4-H Council Ag Innovators State Implementation Grant. This means that Iowa will host a series of workshops across the state called “The Native Bee Challenge,” reaching at least 1,000 youth in grades 3 to 8 with curriculum facilitated by trained teen leaders.
  • The State 4-H Council participated in the annual Youth-Adult Partnership Training in Ames. Council members brought a caring adult with them, someone that they have worked closely with or who has played a positive role in their 4-H career. Both the youth and adults participated in a variety of activities throughout the training. They learned about youth in governance, 4-H yoga, leadership styles, creating action plans, and understanding the value of working together in decision making opportunities within their schools, communities, 4-H and beyond.
  • Iowa 4-H has received three STEM grants. Iowa 4-H was awarded $55,000 from Alliant Energy to develop and implement Invent STEM. This curriculum will focus for the first year on wind energy and the STEM behind wind turbines. Iowa 4-H also was awarded $20,000 from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. The award is for FLEx Space: No Limits. It will focus on developing virtual reality experiences that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission. In addition, Iowa 4-H was awarded $38,400 from National 4-H Council for the 4-H and Microsoft Digital Ambassadors program to fund local projects in Muscatine and Clinton counties. The Digital Ambassadors program will help close the broadband internet access gap in 80 counties across the United States. This partnership will elevate teens to be teachers by providing training and communication to help adults in their community increase their comfort level for using technology. This work will impact education, workforce development and community sustainability.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa State University has received a grant to continue hosting the North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension and Technical Assistance to help fruit and vegetable growers and processors comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The nearly $800,000 grant from the USDA continues to fund ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff efforts to support the infrastructure of the national food safety program by communicating and coordinating information within the North Central Region related to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Control Rule.
  • Results of the 2018 ISU Land Value Survey were released on Dec. 12 at a press conference held by Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist. The average statewide value of an acre of farmland decreased by 0.8 percent, marking a decline in farmland values for the fourth time in the last five years. An average acre of Iowa farmland is now valued at $7,264 an acre. Full results of the ISU Land Value Survey are available through the ISU Extension Store.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Beginning Farmer Center is hosting its Returning to the Farm Seminar on Jan. 10-11 and Feb. 8-9. The event provides a place for conversations about when a farm transition from one generation to the next should be made and the direction of the farm. The four-day seminar also allows families to begin developing a succession plan. Additional program and registration information can be found through the Beginning Farmer Center website.

Community and Economic Development

  • The 2019 Community Visioning Program kicked off on Nov. 16 with the Iowa’s Living Roadways Annual Celebration. In January, the following communities will be conducting their first meeting: Sumner, Coggon, Treynor and Audubon. ISU program staff conducted training on the visioning process for Trees Forever field coordinators, landscape architects and design interns on Jan. 9 in Ames.
  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Community and Economic Development unit has been offering the Marketing Hometown America program that has been successfully used by Cooperative Extension programs in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota to help communities home in on what people are looking for when they choose a place to live and do business. In January, CED specialist Jane Goeken will meet with MHA coordinators in O’Brien County and in Hawarden (Sioux County).
  • On Jan. 2, Himar Hernández facilitated a community partners presentation to the Appanoose County Extension Council on the Leading Communities program. Brian Perry, Lisa Bates and Deb Tootle will be in Osage meeting with the Mitchell County Leading Communities planning committee on Jan. 17 to explain the program and demonstrate a module. On Jan. 22, Himar Hernández and Jon Wolseth will be facilitating the program in Mount Pleasant (Henry County). This Leading Communities program is made possible in part by a Vice President for Extension and Outreach initiative.
  • The Office of State and Local Government Programs began conducting township trustee and clerk workshops in the 1970s to help trustees and clerks understand their roles and responsibilities. In January, CED specialists will be conducting Township Trustee Training in Ida Grove (Ida County), Spencer (Clay County), Montrose (Lee County) and Greenfield (Madison County).
  • Susan Erickson will be in Lenox for an Iowa Retail Initiative Champions Workshop with Lisa Bates, Victor Oyervides, Steve Adams and Jon Wolseth. The team is conducting the first pilot of the workshop for multiple community leaders around the Lenox area.

Human Sciences

  • In November, 14 child care providers attended an Infant Feeding 101 training at the Johnson County Extension Office. The participating child care providers were from both center and home settings. Objectives of the training included teaching the benefits of breastfeeding, appropriate bottle and formula preparation, Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines for 0-12 months of age, and paced bottle feeding. The training was sponsored by 4Cs Community Coordinated Child Care in Iowa City, which administers the CACFP program in Johnson County. The training was co-taught by Kelsey Salow and Rachel Wall, human sciences specialists in nutrition and wellness.
  • The following data represent “Buy. Eat. Live Healthy” achievements for federal FY 2018 (SNAP-Ed and EFNEP funded):
    — Staff partnered with 218 different agencies including 37 new partnerships in 2018.
    — 959 total participants, 93 percent female, 74 percent age 40 or younger.
    — 71 percent identify as White, 16 percent as Black or African American, and 27 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.
    — 69 percent have income at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, and 84 percent receive public assistance.
    — 95 percent improved diet quality, 86 percent increased their physical activity, 84 percent improved food safety practices, 47 percent reported increased food security and 87 percent reported improved food resource management.
  • Powerful Tools for Caregivers provides caregivers with “tools” to help them reduce stress, improve caregiving confidence, establish balance in their lives, communicate their needs, make decisions, and locate helpful resources. In fall 2018, O’Brien County hosted nine to 15 local caregivers for each week of the six-week series. Five caregivers participated in the series hosted by Dickinson County. One participant’s comments captured ideas that many had expressed: “I am taking better care of myself and I have less guilt. I feel less ‘alone’ knowing that others understand. I have better approaches.”

A new council year

John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 7, 2018

This month our 100 county extension councils are organizing for a new year of providing access to ISU Extension and Outreach education and resources through our 99 county campus. When they get together for their first meeting, they will make motions and take actions to ensure they have fulfilled the requirements of Iowa’s extension law. Did you know?

  • Councils will adopt Robert’s Rules of Order, elect officers, appoint standing committees, adopt new personnel and fiscal policies, and set fiscal procedures.
  • They also will accept their county’s list of approved volunteers, and establish meeting dates and times in accordance with Iowa’s Open Meeting Law.
  • After they complete their organizational work, they’ll continue with regular council business, approving monthly financial transactions, and beginning work on the 2020 fiscal budget for the district.
  • They also will review and update the calendar of educational programs.

Five hundred Iowans were elected to their county extension councils in 2018. They, along with 400 returning council members, bring their understanding of local issues to important decisions about extension educational opportunities in their counties. We wish them well as they organize and establish important working relationships to operate effectively throughout the year.

Moving Forward. Together.

Our ISU Extension and Outreach annual conference is Feb. 28. We’ll start the day in Benton Auditorium, Scheman Building, reflecting on what we heard during listening sessions with 62 different audiences over the past year. I know, that adds up to a lot of conversations for reflection. Remember, these sessions were just the first step in our overall needs assessment process. Coming together Feb. 28 is an opportunity to share and discuss what we heard and learned, and continue to keep everyone involved in the process. Later in the day, we’ll recognize our length of service and award recipients, before heading to the Sukup End Zone at Jack Trice Stadium for a reception, a message from Athletic Director Jamie Pollard, and dinner followed by a keynote address from President Wendy Wintersteen. Take a few minutes to check out the agenda and register.

More notes

  • ISU P&S and Merit staff will receive a survey Jan. 9 about their interest in applying for a position in the Improved Service Delivery (ISD) model. Those on campus who have HR or Finance responsibilities should be familiar with ISD, the Job Showcase and the interest survey. (Those of you off campus may not be aware of ISD.) Those working in HR and Finance are encouraged to complete the survey. If you are not currently working in HR or Finance, but have some skills or education in those areas and would like to be considered for one of these positions on campus in the new ISD model, you are welcome and encouraged to complete the survey. If you have questions about ISD or the survey, please let me know.
  • Changes in IRS mileage reimbursement rates took effect Jan. 1. The default rate now is 29 cents/mile for ISU travelers who use a personal vehicle when a vehicle is available from Transportation Services. The 2019 full IRS rate is increasing to 58 cents/mile, which applies to travelers who are permanently based off-campus, and also to certain travel situations. For more information, contact John Flickinger, Extension Finance Office, jeflick@iastate.edu.
  • Office Clean Up Day is Jan. 10. It’s important to take time to create a safe and efficient office environment – from public spaces to individual desks and computer files.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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