February 2021 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Valerie Horner, Chickasaw County director
  • Michele Sieren, Keokuk County youth outreach coordinator
  • Craig Leager, regional director, County Services
  • Ross Wilburn, diversity and inclusion advisor, Vice President for Extension and Outreach
  • Sally Folger, accounts receivable specialist I, Conference Planning and Management
  • Jay Staker, program specialist III, 4-H Youth Development (retirement)
  • Kristine Schaefer, Pesticide Safety Education Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources (retirement)

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Kayla Siefkas, Clark County youth coordinator
  • Carol Heffron, Appanoose County, PABS nutrition educator
  • Kelly Walker, Iowa County administrative assistant
  • Jessica Ellison, Lee County program assistant
  • Annie Fisher, Adams County office assistant
  • Carly Herum, Lyon County office assistant
  • Jenna Steffen, Chickasaw County youth outreach coordinator
  • Leslie Kallsen, Sioux County K-12 educator
  • Andy Miller, Washington County director
  • Jill Brimeyer, communications manager, Advancement
  • Celine Beggs, program specialist I, 4-H Youth Development

November 2020 goodbye … and welcome

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

  • Tenysa Handrock, Clarke County office assistant
  • Jennifer Lamos, Wapello County horticulturist and local foods
  • Kyler Waddle, Louisa County office manager
  • Jerolyne Packer, secretary III, Agriculture Program Services
  • Mary Barber, education extension specialist III, Iowa Concern, Human Sciences
  • Jen Lamos, education extension specialist II, EFNEP, Human Sciences
  • Billie Koester, manager communications, Advancement
  • Gale Francione, extension program assistant II, EFNEP, Human Sciences

We welcome the following new staff:

  • Marissa Foels, Allamakee County youth coordinator
  • Megan Janssen, Emmet County program educator/coordinator
  • Nancy Kincaid, Monroe County NEST coordinator
  • Brenda Lechner, education extension specialist I, Iowa Concern, Human Sciences
  • Demi Johnson, program specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Shannon Hoffman, program specialist II, Human Sciences
  • Olivia Hanlon, education extension specialist I, Farm, Food, and Enterprise Development

Introducing MyData

John Lawrence’s message from June 17, 2019

Back in March I told you that we were getting closer to having one shared reporting system for our entire organization. Now I am pleased to introduce MyData, the centralized system that will expand our ability to collect and report numbers and narratives about program outcomes, partnerships and client relationships. Did you know?

  • Five counties (Carroll, Franklin, Monroe, Muscatine and Polk) and some campus staff currently are piloting MyData. For the next six to 12 months, they’ll be using the system; providing feedback on best practices for managing, sharing and accessing data; and suggesting improvements. They’ll also help to identify the reports, dashboards and other features that extension professionals are likely to request. In addition, they’ll become a cohort of users who can help develop and deliver training for the rest of us.
  • After the pilot has been completed and any necessary adjustments have been made, MyData will be rolled out in phases. The schedule and the training will be tailored to the specific needs, uses and work cycles of each extension unit.
  • If all goes as planned, MyData will be tested, tried and rolled out to the entire ISU Extension and Outreach system sometime in 2021.

The goal for MyData is to meet as many county and program reporting needs as possible. ISU Extension and Outreach units have unique needs for collecting and reporting data, which requires feedback from many to make MyData work for all of us. In the coming months you’ll be hearing more about MyData from the steering committee and your unit leaders. Because MyData is really our data, please engage in these discussions and provide feedback. Let’s work together to create the best system possible. You also can check MyExtension to follow MyData’s progress.

Internal Communications: Update

During our leadership team retreat on May 31, we started prioritizing and in some cases bundling the recommendations from the Internal Communications Task Force. As a result, on June 21 I will be meeting with staff from Extension Information Technology and Advancement for a preliminary discussion about a centralized, internal communications platform for extension staff and faculty. While I think of MyExtension as a file cabinet that stores tools, content and assets, I see this platform as a newspaper. This platform could include information from leadership, and other internal communications from the program areas, support units and counties. Other items like a virtual suggestion box, calendar of events, or my Vice President for Extension and Outreach schedule also could be included. This is an initial meeting to discuss what this platform might include and understand what sort of resources – technical or otherwise – might be needed.

These technological tools will help us better communicate virtually and stay informed. The in-person, area-wide meetings that will begin in August will help us put faces and names with the digital messages and build better relationships within our organization.

Interims from and in Advancement

Effective July 3, Jacy Johnson, director of ISU Extension and Outreach Advancement, will serve as interim executive director of ISU Strategic Relations and Communications, a new unit that will replace University Relations. The new unit is part of President Wintersteen’s efforts to re-envision the university’s approach to communicating and marketing to deal with budgetary challenges, and seek greater efficiency and continuous improvement. (You might say she is applying ISU Extension and Outreach’s model of Advancement to the rest of the university.) While Jacy is serving President Wintersteen, Billie Koester, strategic relations manager in Advancement, will serve as Advancement’s interim director.

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

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