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
John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 22, 2018
There comes a time each year when whoever is at the helm for ISU Extension and Outreach must sign off on the organization’s annual report. Perry Holden’s first extension annual report covered fiscal year 1906-1907, when corn trains stopped at 670 towns and extension professionals gave 1,085 talks and lectures to more than 127,000 people. In that first year, Holden gave 172 lectures, conducted 77 corn judging contests and spent another 28 days in short course work. In home economics, Mary Rausch gave 90 lectures, conducted 41 demonstrations and judged 17 contests. She also led short courses at Iowa State and in Red Oak, Mount Pleasant, Lenox, Spencer and Dows. (Yes, I’ve been reading my R.K. Bliss extension history book again.)
In keeping with tradition, we have numbers in our 2017 annual report as well: More than 1 million people directly benefit from our educational programs every year, and we reach more than 4 million through our digital presence. However, more important than the numbers is the impact. Did you know?
- We help parents raise healthy kids. For every $1 invested in Buy Eat Live Healthy nutrition education, $2.48 is saved in future health care costs. This free program helps parents learn how to provide nutritious food, leading to healthy children and strong families.
- Our Iowa Government Finance Initiative provides Iowa’s 945 cities with customized socioeconomic and fiscal information, offering a clear perspective about their financial health and performance.
- More than 12,000 youth tried virtual reality, 3D prototyping, circuit bending and other emerging design technologies through FLEx, Forward Learning Experience. Practicing 21st century design thinking prepares young people for future careers.
- We help farmers connect through peer networks to increase the success of Iowa farm operations, improve the equity and management responsibilities of beginning farmers, and help farm businesses pass to a new generation.
You’ll find more examples of our impact in our annual report: read the webpage or download the pdf. I imagine Perry Holden was proud of all he accomplished that first year, and probably grumbled about reporting his numbers to administrators. Some things never change. However, I know that all of us on the leadership team are incredibly proud of the work you all do, which contributes to ISU Extension and Outreach’s impact statewide. Thank you for your service.
One more thing: Speaking of that great work you all do, nominations for ISU Extension and Outreach Awards are due at noon, Feb. 9. Check the awards website for the list of awards, eligibility and criteria, and nomination forms.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach
John Lawrence’s Monday Message from April 10, 2017
In my first few days as acting vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach, I have found myself thinking of Garrison Keillor’s opening line to his monologue: “Well it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.” While it may have been quiet for the regulars working under the green dome, to a newbie it sure seemed hectic. I moved into 2150 Beardshear on Saturday, April 1, and haven’t seen much of the office since. I am finishing a few things in my ANR position and sorting emails in the appropriate direction, all while getting up to speed about my new role on the ISU Extension and Outreach team.
Some of the things I’ve learned are from the 2016 Annual Report for ISU Extension and Outreach. Did you know?
- More than 1 million people directly benefit from our programs each year. That’s one in three Iowans.
- About 100,000 4-H youth are building skills for college and career readiness. That’s nearly 20 percent of all Iowa K-12 youth.
- We support online courses for 50,000 users. They’d nearly fill Jack Trice Stadium – if, of course, they were here rather than online.
- More than 16,000 volunteers partner with us – more than a sell-out crowd at Hilton Coliseum.
- We reach more than 4 million with our digital presence. That’s four times the number of direct contacts.
We didn’t achieve these big wins on our own. Our 900 locally elected extension council members are right there with us, working for a strong Iowa. Their partnership is essential to our 99 county campus.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind this week:
- Performance reviews for 2016 must be completed by April 15, 2017.
- Proposals are due April 17 for innovation and sustainability projects. We’ll be awarding four grants of $2,500 each. Download the RFP from the See You There blog.
- The Iowa History 101 Mobile Museum will be coming to a county near you sometime in the next three years. Watch our video about the museum’s stop at annual conference, and learn how we’ll be working with the State Historical Society of Iowa on this project.
Well, one week down, not that I’m counting. I’m in this for as long of a haul as necessary. Early reports indicate I haven’t dropped the ball so far, and that’s thanks to all of you. Because in ISU Extension and Outreach, we all keep each other at the top of our game.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Acting Vice President for Extension and Outreach