A wonder league for Iowa’s future

John Lawrence’s message from May 14, 2019

Teach kids to code today – and make it fun – and before you know it, they’ll be the computer programmers, scientists and engineers of tomorrow. That’s the premise supporting Wonder League, a global robotics program that 4-H Youth Development offers for youth in grades K-3. The youth develop problem-solving and creativity skills while they build meaningful relationships with their peers. Did you know?

  • Over the past year, 21 Iowa Clover Kids teams participated in Wonder League. The theme was oceanography, leading teams through five, story-based missions under the sea.
  • In April, 17 Clover Kids from four counties participated in the Iowa 4-H Wonder League Robotics Exposition on campus. Teams programmed robots to return a sea creature to its natural habitat and launch sea turtle eggs into a nest.
  • Mahaska County has nine Wonder League teams and held its own expo last week. Additional expos will be held throughout the state.
  • Youth teams also may participate in a Clover Kids robotics experience Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Iowa State Fair.

Providing 4-H STEM activities for K-3 youth builds their school and career readiness skills, such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking. 4-H is creating a wonder league of learners and leaders for Iowa’s future.

Goodbye … and welcome

In April, we said goodbye to the following individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach:

  • Brianne Johnson, Clinton County youth coordinator.
  • Margaret Murphy, Lyon County horticulture educator/regional food coordinator.
  • Sherry McGill, Region 5 director.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Hilary Lanman, Wapello County program coordinator.
  • Kyler Waddle, Louisa County office manager.
  • Ashtyn Danker, East Pottawattamie County office assistant.
  • Kelli Anders, Wapello County local foods program coordinator.
  • Emily Belvel, Keokuk County program coordinator.
  • Jenna Koenigsfeld, Hardin County office assistant.
  • Erin Parker, Johnson County program coordinator.
  • Abby Boysen, Louisa County program assistant.
  • Alycne Boban, Mills County youth coordinator.
  • Chris Kick, communications specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Jill Goldsmith, clerk III, Extension Information Technology.
  • Prashant Jha, associate professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources/Agronomy.

Award recipients

Congratulations to the following ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff who will be honored during the university’s annual awards ceremony in September:

  • Regents Award for Staff Excellence: Malisa Rader, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Inclusive Excellence: Angela Shaw, associate professor of food science and human nutrition.
  • Inclusive Excellence: Barbara Woods, special projects manager, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.
  • Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa: Mark Edelman, professor of economics.
  • Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award: Mackenzie Johnson, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach: Kim Brantner, human sciences specialist, family life.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Anna Johnson, professor of animal science.
  • Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Shelley Oltmans, community development specialist.
  • R.K. Bliss Extension Award: Gene Mohling, Region 15 director.

One more note: The Office Professionals Conference is set for Oct. 8 on campus. Save the date!

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

Shared reporting is getting closer

John Lawrence’s message from March 11, 2019

I have good news to report – on reporting. For slightly more than a year and a half, a steering committee has been developing one Shared Reporting System for our entire organization. They have defined and aligned reporting terms, selected a database platform and hired a shared database coordinator. Construction of a practical, flexible and user-friendly database has steadily progressed, and this spring the committee will identify and invite three to five counties to voluntarily take the new shared system for a test drive. Did you know?

  • All campus, field and county staff who provide educational programming in the invited counties may volunteer to participate in the pilot.
  • Onsite user training will be scheduled at each of the invited counties, as well as on campus for the invited campus-based staff and faculty.
  • One guiding principle of the pilot is to take advantage of existing data collection processes and automatically bring them into the shared database when appropriate, such as registration data from Conference Planning and Management and participation data from 4HOnline.
  • Pilot participants’ feedback will be incorporated to make sure the final product meets as many county and program unit reporting needs as possible.
  • The pilot will continue for six to 12 months. Afterward, the committee will take the necessary time to incorporate required changes and develop appropriate professional development materials for the system-wide roll out.

The shared database will be rolled out in phases so it can be customized to the specific needs, uses and work cycles of ISU Extension and Outreach. Consequently, training for and timing of the database roll out likely will differ for each program unit and for county-based staff. If all goes as planned, the new database will be tested, tried and rolled out to the entire ISU Extension and Outreach system by January 2021. (If you want more background information about shared reporting, you can review my Everybody’s Job video message from September 2017.)

Tuition assistance available

As I said at Annual Conference, I am making tuition assistance available to all ISU Extension and Outreach staff for credit coursework that is consistent with their extension career path. My office will cover 50 percent of tuition (up to half the ISU tuition rate) for credit classes from Iowa State or other institutions beginning this spring. Details will be posted in the coming days.

Area meetings will be coming

I want to thank the Internal Communications Task Force for their 10 month research project. They officially presented the report at Annual Conference, and the leadership team will be reviewing the task force’s recommendations. In the meantime, as I said at conference, we are going to begin having quarterly area-wide county and field staff meetings. We’re dividing the state into five areas for meeting purposes only; this is not a reorganization and it is not another administrative layer. The boundaries aren’t fixed and they may change as our Structured for Success committee continues its work. There are more recommendations in the ICTF report and more steps to take, but this is a concrete action we can take now to improve communication in ISU Extension and Outreach. More details about these meetings will be available in the near future.

Insurance for county staff

Some of you left note cards after the Annual Conference panel discussion, or contacted me by email, wondering why we hadn’t discussed insurance for county staff. You correctly reminded me that it is an important topic and often was mentioned at the listening sessions. I apologize for not featuring it during the conference. I am working with County Services and Iowa Extension Council Association to evaluate alternatives and provide information to councils in the coming weeks. As you are aware, insurance is complex and costly, and will take careful preparation to move forward.

More notes

  • The 2019 Community Food Systems Annual Event is Friday, March 29 at the Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center in Des Moines. Keynote speakers are Sommer Sibily-Brown, founder and director of the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition, and Arthur Neal, deputy director for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. ISU Extension and Outreach Local Foods, Value Added Agriculture, and Community and Economic Development are sponsoring the event. Cost is $60; register by March 18. Contact Courtney Long, court7@iastate.edu, for more information.
  • Be sure to read the March program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
  • The Third Annual Extension Council Conference is March 30 in Ames. This conference is planned by councils for councils. Council members, county staff, regional directors and others who work with councils may attend. The early bird registration deadline is March 18.

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

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

Holiday greetings from Beardshear Hall

John Lawrence’s message from Dec. 17, 2018

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I want to thank all of you who have made 2018 a good year for ISU Extension and Outreach and for me personally. It has been a busy year with listening sessions, centennial celebrations and county fairs, along with day-to-day operations and long-range planning.

county map of Iowa.While the map in my office shows the places I have visited in the 21 months since I started this role, it doesn’t capture the hundreds of people I have met and discussions I have had. It also doesn’t reflect the dedication and passion of our staff and faculty, nor the appreciation Iowans have for the work you do. That would be a topographic map showing a mountain range. Thank you for all you do for Iowa State and Iowans.

I hope you will take time during the holidays for friends and family, to appreciate the blessings we each enjoy and to catch your breath before diving into 2019. My break will be different this year. My daughter is getting married Dec. 29. She, my son-in-law-to-be and some of his family from Germany will be joining us for Christmas. Then the wagon train of people and decorations will move to the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska, for the wedding. Think of a destination wedding with a beautiful venue, but without the beach. It also is near where Kathy and I grew up and our families.

Thus far, the wedding plans are going well, considering the groom didn’t have a visa to enter the country a week ago. The bride and mother-of-the-bride have only occasional moments of panic, thinking of things left to do. I tend to focus on the things NOT to do, like don’t ask how much something cost or don’t think about the emotions of walking Caitlin down the aisle. Father issues aside, I am really excited about the holidays and the wedding.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year!

Goodbye … and welcome

In November, we said goodbye to the following individuals:

  • Renae Kadolph, account clerk, Extension Store.
  • Elizabeth Kurt, program coordinator II, Conference Planning and Management.

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Lynnae Smits, Sioux County Clover Kids program assistant.
  • Tenysa Handrock, Clarke County office assistant.
  • Debbie Van Horn, Davis County office assistant.
  • Erin Greazel, Story County program coordinator.
  • Angela Ayala, Dallas County education program assistant.
  • Hilary Pierce, extension program specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Leslie Stonehocker, program coordinator II, 4-H Youth Development.
  • Brian Dougherty, field specialist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

More notes

  • Nearly 30 Extension professionals from ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County and K-State Research and Extension from Johnson and Wyandotte counties participated in the 2018 Urban Extension Exchange Nov. 28 in Olathe, Kansas. Extension professionals from the three similarly sized county extension offices met to learn about internal operations, expand their professional network, facilitate idea sharing and highlight best practices. For more information, contact Paul Gibbins, Polk County executive director, pgibbins@iastate.edu.
  • Many Iowa State offices and departments will operate at reduced levels Monday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Jan. 1, as part of the annual partial campus closing during the winter break. Many building thermostats can be adjusted during this time, resulting in significant energy savings for the university. Campus offices are to include their reduced office hours and emergency contact information in voice messages and on websites.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach Awards nomination deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms.
  • The Excellence in Extension grants submissions deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. Individual grant information and application instructions are online.

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

Integrated Crop Management … times 30

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 26, 2018

2018 has been a challenging year for Iowa crop production, given difficult growing conditions, tight margins and uncertainty on trade issues. That is all the more reason for farm operators to make informed, research-based decisions to increase the likelihood for success. It’s no surprise that 900 farmers, agribusiness professionals, industry representatives and educators are coming to Ames Nov. 28-29 for the Integrated Crop Management Conference. It’s the 30th annual meeting of inquiring ag minds to network and learn about research findings and technology from across the Midwest. Did you know?

  • This year guest speakers will discuss in-field variability and effects on yield, digital technology in U.S. crop production, nitrogen needs and recommendations, tar spot in corn, and crop rotation and environmental stresses limiting corn and soybean yields.
  • The 2018 program also will include weather and crop market outlooks, selling cover crop seed, the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, insect resistance to Bt crops, soybean gall midge, and weed and crop disease management updates.
  • New this year is the Women in Ag Breakfast, offering women attending the conference an opportunity to network, discuss common goals and challenges, and explore potential mentoring or programming ideas.
  • Last year attendees reported they had direct impact on 1.8 million acres of corn and soybeans, and estimated a profit increase of $5-10 per acre because of knowledge they gained from the conference.

ISU Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences host the ICM conference, and every year bring together a diverse range of topics, a slate of expert presenters, and results of the latest university research to help Iowa agriculture thrive, no matter the challenges.

More notes

  • Our Women in Ag program’s conference, “The Conversations of Leadership,” is already in progress and continues tomorrow. Speakers and panelists are covering a variety of leadership topics from conflict resolution to farm transition decisions, career conversations and organizational leadership. All sessions are designed to build skills that enhance women’s leadership on and off the farm.
  • I will be visiting with campus-based extension staff and faculty today and again on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Both sessions are 3-4:30 p.m. in 3228 Memorial Union. Like my visits to all 20 regions, the primary purpose of these visits is to listen and learn, and gather input to inform our needs assessment and help us carry out our strategic plan.
  • The 2019 Annual Conference planning team needs your help. Please send your selfie to Rachel Tendall, rtendall@iastate.edu, by noon, Dec. 3. She’ll be compiling all the photos she receives into an ISU Extension and Outreach team portrait that will be revealed when the conference registration opens. Close-up photos are preferred, and feel free to show your personality.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshops are Dec. 4 and 5 in the Humboldt County office in Humboldt. Registration is open.
  • For an update on the Internal Communications Task Force Nov. 16 meeting, read the executive summary on Cybox.
  • The Structured for Success committee met Nov. 19. Check the website for a video report and related documents from the meeting.

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

WOW: Our building, councils, awards and EIE grants

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 5, 2018

It’s always a good idea to remember your anniversary. So I want to make sure you’re all aware that Nov. 8 is the 15th anniversary of the Extension 4-H Building, home of the WOW Center. Did you know?

  • WOW stands for “Why Opportunity Works.” The WOW Center was designed as an interactive area to interest youth in STEM and other fields in higher education.
  • In the WOW Center you’ll find two additions to Iowa State’s Art on Campus program: terrazzo floors by artists Carolyn Braaksma and Brad Kaspari, and a bronze casting of Christian Petersen’s “4-H Calf.” (Depending on the day, you also might find a “STEM Lit to Go!” or other 4-H materials assembly line or a meeting, workshop or other activity taking place.)
  • ISU Extension and Outreach broke ground for the building on June 27, 2002. 4-H youth, ISU and extension administrators, and representatives from the Iowa 4-H Foundation and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation participated.
  • The building was completely funded by $4.7 million in private contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation provided $1 million to help build the new facility. Pioneer Hi-Bred International also contributed to the project.
  • When the building was dedicated Nov. 8, 2003, it was heralded as a gateway to Iowa State University and a welcoming place for Iowa youth and their families.

Also remember to thank our extension council members, who “wow” us with their support for ISU Extension and Outreach every day. They bring their understanding of local issues to important decisions about extension educational opportunities. They must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars as they bring significant programs to their county to help people solve critical issues affecting their lives.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Iowa voters in every county have the opportunity to elect five members to their county council. Depending on the county, candidates on this year’s ballot include Iowans who are running for the first time as well as incumbents seeking another term. Beginning in December, we’ll be providing orientation training for these new and returning council members.

Here are two more “wows” to acknowledge the great work you all do.

  • It’s time to submit nominations for ISU Extension and Outreach Awards. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms. The awards nomination deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. The deadline is earlier this year because our annual conference is Feb. 28, earlier than in previous years. The awards will be presented during annual conference. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible, as are volunteers and extension councils.
  • Apply now for Excellence in Extension grants to improve and enrich the quality of ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs. All ISU Extension and Outreach employees (campus, field and county) are eligible. Up to $17,000 will be awarded in 2019 for professional development and continuing education, program innovation and program improvement. Individual grant information and application instructions are online. The grants submissions deadline is noon, Jan. 4, 2019. If you have questions about the grants or application, contact Alison Boelman, aboelman@iastate.edu.

More notes

  • The Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, and ISU Extension and Outreach will award three $80,000 grants ($40,000 per year for two years) to eligible ISU Extension and Outreach county offices to participate in “PROSPERing Step-by-Step, State-by-State” (P2S). The primary goal of the P2S project is to address opioid misuse in rural counties through the delivery of programs that are evidence-based or reviewed and endorsed by the National Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup. The funding is provided for an educator’s time on the project and to implement required activities. Nov. 30 is the deadline for completing a P2S Readiness/Capacity Assessment form, an initial step in the county grant selection process. For more information about this opportunity check the website, http://helpingkidsprosper.org/p2s.
  • Check the November program update from the leadership team.
  • Structured for Success – Please provide the committee your input through Structured for Success Survey 1 on two important questions: 1) What are the essential functions for ISU Extension and Outreach to successfully educate and serve Iowans and 2) What questions would you ask of other states to better understand how their extension system is organized. You may also leave other feedback for the committee through this anonymous survey. If you have an extension colleague in another state and would like to help us collect information on how that state is organized, please let me know.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshops are Nov. 13 and 14 at the Mills County office in Malvern. Registration is open.
  • Please do not have clients send soil samples to the Soil and Plant Analysis Lab in Agronomy. The lab is closed and no longer is processing samples. Discussions are underway about modernizing and reopening the lab, but if and when it happens will be well into the future. Check with your field agronomist or horticulture specialists for the name and addresses of private labs that will process soil samples.

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

Design thinking for place-based issues

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 22, 2018

What do Audubon, Bedford, Coggon, Durant, Mount Pleasant, Royal, Sumner, Treynor, Van Meter and Walcott have in common? They all will participate in the Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program over the next year. This is one of the ways our Community and Economic Development unit harnesses the power of design thinking to address place-based issues facing Iowa communities. Did you know?

  • The Iowa Department of Transportation sponsors the program in partnership with ISU Landscape Architecture Extension and Trees Forever.
  • To be considered for the program, communities must have a population of fewer than 10,000 residents, existing transportation-related issues, and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate time and talent to the visioning process.
  • More than 230 communities have participated in Community Visioning since Iowa’s Living Roadways was created in 1996.

Each community will form a local steering committee representing a cross-section of local demographics, including youth. Beginning in November, these committees will work with extension specialists and other technical experts and participate in facilitated meetings, on-site assessments, technical design assistance, and public workshops – about 100 hours-worth over the next year. Each committee’s work will result in a transportation enhancement plan reflecting the community’s identity and values.

More notes

  • Our 2019 ISU Extension and Outreach Annual Conference is set for Feb. 28. Please save the date. Details will be available in the coming months.
  • You can still register for the next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents workshop, Oct. 30 in the Extension 4-H Building on campus in Ames.
  • More than 80 office professionals from throughout the state will be on campus Oct. 23-24 for the Office Professionals Conference. Office professionals are valued members of our extension family, and we’re pleased to provide this opportunity for professional development.
  • You can still share your ideas with our Internal Communications Task Force. Two new Community Conversations are being added: Nov. 5 in Ames and Nov. 9 in Garner. (To participate, register online at http://bit.ly/ictf11409.) You can send comments to ictfcomments@iastate.edu until Oct. 29. Some task force members still have dates available for individual discussions. Anyone in our system may anonymously complete an electronic survey, which is open through Oct. 29. For an update on the task force’s Oct. 18 meeting, read the executive summary on Cybox.
  • The Structured for Success committee held meeting #2 on Thursday, Oct. 18. The agenda, summary notes and video are on the County Services website. Structured for Success now has a menu button on the navigation bar to make it easier to find.
  • Congratulations to Jennifer Bentley, Himar Hernandez and Courtney Long. They will represent ISU Extension and Outreach in the 2019 National Extension Leadership Development program. NELD participants are selected because of their proven track record of programmatic or administrative success.

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

Impressed and proud

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 15, 2018

I wrapped up my VP visits last week. After 20 regions, 60 meetings, 1,200 people and 4,000 miles, I don’t know if I made a larger impression on the stakeholders, staff and councils, or on the seat of my pickup. However, the visits have certainly made an impression on me. I am extremely proud of our organization and our people. The stakeholders at the table reflect the respect that ISU Extension and Outreach holds locally. The staff and councils care deeply about their communities and the people they serve, as well as their connection to Iowa State.

Now the real work begins. Did you know?

  • The leadership team will begin digesting and summarizing all the information that was gathered during the visits.
  • We anticipate having a statewide report and regional reports completed around the end of the year.
  • The next steps will be identifying and prioritizing the issues that we can address, so we can develop and implement a plan to create a strong Iowa.

Goodbye … and welcome

A comment I heard many times during my visits around the state was that we often don’t know when colleagues retire or resign or when new folks join our team. So we’re going to fix that. From now on, around mid-month, I will include a list of people who have recently left or joined ISU Extension and Outreach – in the counties, in the field and on campus. In September, we said good bye to the following individuals:

  • Connie Brommel, Warren County office assistant
  • Joann Bartusek, Cerro Gordo County office manager/bookkeeper
  • Camilla Marshek, Johnson County youth coordinator
  • Janet Neppl, Dickinson County office assistant
  • Becky Oelkers, Cerro Gordo County office assistant/4-H support
  • Joe Sellers, field specialist III, ANR
  • Greg Brenneman, field specialist IV, ANR
  • Nathan Crane, regional director, County Services

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Ashtin Harris, Mahaska County office assistant
  • JeanDarrell Waybill, Hamilton County youth coordinator
  • Pamela Kollasch, Kossuth County office assistant
  • Don-Marie Myers, Webster County PROSPER family coach
  • Laura Webb, Cedar County office assistant
  • Katrina Sauter, Scott County youth program assistant
  • Kaysee Phelps, Henry County program coordinator
  • Grant Theesfeld, Sac County Clover Kids program coordinator
  • Ronald Nelson, communications specialist I, Professional Development

More notes

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

45 down, 6 to go

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 8, 2018

From a February morning in Cherokee County to a September afternoon at the Audubon Rec Center, ISU Extension and Outreach has celebrated 45 county centennials so far in 2018. Six more counties will reach their 100-year milestone yet this year. I have been privileged to attend 28 of these events and I’ve traveled over 6,300 miles. If my schedule permits, I hope to get to a few more. These celebrations have offered some one-of-a-kind experiences. Did you know?

  • I shared the spotlight with a juggler in Calhoun County, the Iowa History 101 RV in Decatur County, and my guy Cy on several occasions.
  • I rode in a mule-drawn covered wagon during Monroe County’s parade, whereas in Shelby County, I flashed back to my youth by riding on a hay rack with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity (thankfully, no bales this time). I saw, but did not ride, the Budweiser Clydesdales in Delaware County.
  • When I wasn’t able to attend a county’s celebration, someone else from our leadership team was happy to step in and represent ISU Extension and Outreach.

For example, Bob Dodds took part in the 100-year plaque presentation during the opening flag ceremony of the Crawford County Fair. He even was included in the group photo taken with Denison’s Big Bull.

Whether held at county fairs, nature centers, a dance pavilion or other unique location, these 100-year events have brought Iowans together to celebrate our 99 county campus and land-grant mission. We’ll wrap up in 2019 with our final three anniversaries — in Page, Dallas and Jefferson counties. We all can be proud of our heritage as we look toward our shared future. We will continue engaging citizens with university resources in partnership with federal, state and county governments as we work together for a strong Iowa.

More notes

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

Why we report

John Lawrence’s message from Oct. 1, 2018

Happy federal fiscal new year! Today we begin our work for FY2019, while we also get ready to report on FY2018 and start planning for FY2020. In the meantime, USDA NIFA approved our federal FY2017 ISU Combined Research and Extension Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results. We report on USDA’s six priority areas incorporated into our seven broad, interdisciplinary programs. Did you know?

  • We report on outputs, outcomes and impacts for community and economic development, expanding human potential, food security, health and well-being, natural resources and environmental stewardship, sustainable and renewable energy, and K-12 youth development.
  • Our program units annually plan for the metrics they’ll report on. However, if an issue emerges that we need to address, such as a natural disaster or an economic crisis, we can reallocate staff time and divert resources accordingly.
  • In late November, USDA NIFA will open FY2018 reporting, and we’ll start crunching numbers and writing impact narratives to meet a Feb. 1 internal deadline. At Iowa State, extension is closely integrated with research, so ISU Extension and Outreach and the Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station submit one joint report.
  • Together we report on all research and extension work accomplished through federal funds. By late March, the CALS dean, representing the Experiment Station, and I will sign off on the report, which we’ll submit to USDA NIFA by April 1. Sometime next June, USDA will approve our report.

We report so we can share the value and impact of ISU Extension and Outreach – whether we’re reporting to USDA, the university, the Board of Regents, state government, our partners and stakeholders, or directly to Iowans. We strive to be intentional and consistent. Every data point you provide is used in at least one report and often several, as well as staff success stories, research journal articles and grant applications. Reporting helps us tell our story to make sure our stakeholders, partners, funders and all Iowans will continue to support our work for a strong Iowa. Thank you for all you do.

More notes

  • Please join me in congratulating Lesia Oesterreich, adjunct assistant professor and family life extension specialist, who will receive the 2018 Excellence in Extension Award from USDA NIFA, Cooperative Extension, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The award is given annually to one Cooperative Extension professional in the nation who excels at programming, provides visionary leadership and makes a positive impact on constituents served.
  • We’re looking for Rising Star interns for summer 2019. This cooperative program involves ISU Extension and Outreach, County Extension Districts, and the colleges of Design, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. If you know any Iowa State students who would be a good fit for the program, direct them to the Rising Star Internship website for more information and to apply.
  • Interim Vice President and Chief Information Officer Kristen Constant shares this message: FEMA will conduct its first test of a national wireless emergency alert system Oct. 3 at 1:18 p.m. The alert, with the headline “Presidential Alert,” is scheduled to pop up on every cell phone in the nation (similar to AMBER alerts). Cell towers are scheduled to broadcast for 30 minutes and cell phones may receive these texts over that entire time (and possibly beyond). This test is not associated with the university, nor is it associated with our “ISU Alert” service. No action will be required when cell phone owners receive the test message. ITS will monitor effects on our local systems.
  • The study committee I wrote about in the Sept. 4 update met for the first time Saturday, Sept. 29. This is the first of many meetings the committee will have over the coming year as it studies how ISU Extension and Outreach is organized in the counties and the county-to-campus connection. The committee soon will have a webpage for sharing meeting summaries and other information. I’ll share the link when it’s available.

Members of the committee are:

  • Jamie David (Taylor County Council) jamie.david1421@gmail.com
  • Lori Donahoe (Johnson County Council) ldonahoe11@hotmail.com
  • Paul Gieselman (Louisa County Council) herr_giesel@louisacomm.net
  • Molly Hewitt (Woodbury County Director) hewittm@iastate.edu
  • Katharinna Bain (Keokuk County Director) kbain@iastate.edu
  • Cheryl Heronemus (Region 1 Director) hero@iastate.edu
  • Larry Tranel (Field Specialist, NE Iowa) tranel@iastate.edu
  • Terry Maloy (IECA Executive Director) maloy@iastate.edu
  • Bob Dodds (Assistant VP for County Services) redodds@iastate.edu
  • John Lawrence (VP for Extension and Outreach) jdlaw@iastate.edu

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

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