Stories we can share

John Lawrence’s message from Feb. 4, 2019

The university doesn’t close very often, but it did last week due to bone-chilling cold. But extension professionals carry on. Campus folks relocated from their university offices to their kitchen tables or wherever their home offices might be. As the deep freeze spread throughout the state, staff and councils made their best decisions, based on local conditions, about whether to close offices or reschedule events. I thank you all for putting safety ahead of everything else under these extreme weather conditions.

I’d also like to thank our county staff and councils for preparing and sharing their 2018 county stakeholder reports. Not only are these reports useful to share with Iowans in each county, they also are a great way for us all to share program ideas across regions and throughout the state. Did you know?

  • With identity theft on the rise, in 2018, Lyon County educated more than 35 local residents on ways to protect themselves and their families.
  • Allamakee County’s Women in Ag Tour reached women who owned or worked in a farm business or agribusiness, as well as women who owned or worked in non-ag businesses. Participants appreciated the opportunity to network with other women, and gain a broader understanding of the diversity of agriculture in the county.
  • Since the 1970s, Fremont County 4-H members have participated in Citizenship Washington Focus. This year, 21 high school students and four adult volunteers spent a week in the nation’s capital, immersed in government, history and civic engagement.
  • Lee County Intern Connect engaged 20 interns in local networking and building relationships. Extension and Outreach partnered with Lee County Economic Development Group, Fort Madison Partners and Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce to create a positive experience and recruit interns back to the area after they graduate.
  • Stakeholder reports from the four corners of Iowa and throughout the state are available on the County Services website.

During the listening sessions last summer and fall, I often heard from staff and councils that we need to better tell our ISU Extension and Outreach story. These stakeholder reports are an important step to do just that. A stakeholder report is not an end product; it’s the beginning of the extension stories we can share. We share our stories with stakeholders because they have a stake in our impact and outcomes. We share our stories with the public to build their awareness of the education and information we can provide. We share our stories with taxpayers and the elected officials who allocate precious public resources so they understand their return on investment in ISU Extension and Outreach. We strive to serve all Iowans. A key to our success is making sure people know how we are working to build a strong Iowa.

More notes

— 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

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

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

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

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