John Lawrence’s message from Feb. 10, 2020
Nearly a year ago the Internal Communications Task Force delivered their findings at our Annual Conference. Since then the leadership team and I have been addressing their themes and recommendations. We provided an executive summary last April and updates over the past several months. Now it’s time for our first-year, internal communications progress report.
What we’re already implementing
- We established the Vice President for Extension and Outreach Tuition Assistance Program to help our people move forward with their extension careers.
- We initiated the county visit notification email protocol for systematically communicating when staff and faculty will be visiting a county – whether they are from campus, another region or the county next door.
- We created a virtual suggestion box so you can share questions, comments and concerns at any time. Feedback is anonymous and confidential.
- My new Office of the Vice President website is a public site for current news, updates and information on initiatives – providing easy access for our councils. In addition, a new MyExtension homepage is coming soon. It will become our “frontpage” for internal communication from leadership to staff.
- We had engaging discussions during our first round of area-wide meetings in August and September. The next round will take place in fall 2020.
- In September we held listening sessions on Structured for Success. We plan to hold listening sessions on other topics this year.
- In January we began Second Monday Live. These monthly Adobe Connect sessions provide opportunities to connect with the leadership team. (Today’s February edition addressed the Master Conservationist Program and MyData, our forthcoming mandatory reporting system. Next week we’ll send the link for the archived session.)
- Terry Maloy, Iowa Extension Council Association executive director, is invited to leadership team meetings once per month.
- In January, County Services began the County Services Connection, a monthly newsletter directed to county staff, councils and regional directors.
What we’re working on
As we implement Structured for Success, we will be taking a close look at roles of field specialists, regional directors, county staff and councils. We want to clarify individual responsibilities for better accountability. The two-way scorecard is under development and will formalize these communications.
We are fully committed to improving our internal communications in ISU Extension and Outreach. This is a continuing process that is strengthening our organization so we can better serve Iowans and build a #STRONGIOWA.
- Please review the February program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
- Watch this video about why the census is important to Iowa and plan to participate in our 2020 Census webinar, Tuesday, Feb. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/census/. Learn what you need to know about how to ensure all Iowans are counted.
- The Structured for Success final regional boundary map has been updated with all counties’ model choices.
- The ISU Extension and Outreach 2019 Annual Report is available online as a webpage as well as an accessible PDF file. You can use the report to share how we support what Iowans value: #STRONGIOWA.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach