John Lawrence’s message from Jan. 6, 2020
The start of a new year is a good time for reflection, and I’ve been reflecting on something I read in a recent Human Sciences Community Chat newsletter. Special projects manager Barbara Woods offered her reflections on diversity and inclusion:
- “I find hope in the difference we can make when we serve all Iowans, not just ‘some’ Iowans,” Barbara wrote. “Although it can be uncomfortable as we engage in the diversity and inclusion that surrounds us, I think with sincere and thoughtful engagement we can change our behavior. A quick scan of your programs’ participants should provide you with an answer to who currently shows up and participates in extension programs and who you are not seeing. I’d encourage you to find ways to connect with and include a more diverse group of Iowans for your program opportunities.”
- She added that “there are various professional training opportunities that support us in our work with diverse audiences. Our co-workers who have built successful relationships with diverse audiences can be a resource to help us learn more and provide a safe space to ask probing questions.”
- In conclusion she wrote, “I have found that who I include is more about who I am than who they are. This perspective provides me with opportunities to reevaluate my interactions with others to be more inclusive of people and ideas.”
I was particularly struck by Barbara’s last point, and it is a message I hope we all will embrace. The third goal in our strategic plan is to enhance efforts in programming, operations and staffing to reach diverse and underrepresented populations. We have specific strategies for reaching this goal, and this tactics-and-metrics approach is important for our organization. But just as important, for each one of us, is to strive to be more inclusive of people and ideas. That is how we will achieve our vision and accomplish our mission to engage all Iowans, not just some Iowans.
I thank Barbara for allowing me to share some of her thoughts in this message. I also encourage you to read her article in the Dec. 13 Human Sciences Community Chat newsletter. (The Community Chat archive is available via MyExtension, as well as instructions on how to subscribe.)
Second Monday Live
In response to an Internal Communications Task Force theme, we are offering a new, monthly opportunity for our staff and leadership team to interact. Our first Second Monday Live is set for Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. Please join us for this Adobe Connect conversation at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isueo/.
- Gary Taylor will talk about Community and Economic Development’s Rural Housing Readiness Assessment for communities struggling with where to start when seeking to address challenges to providing safe, affordable housing for their residents. The program engages community members in education, technical assistance and action planning. Gary will explain the program, its cost (including funds available from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to defray the costs) and how communities can apply.
- Deb Sellers will share the new Human Sciences Overview and Program Catalog, explain how to access them and discuss potential audiences. We’ll seek your input on how you might use these materials in your county.
- Congratulations to Jay Harmon, our new program director for Agriculture and Natural Resources and associate dean for extension and outreach programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was named to the position Jan. 1.
- Congratulations, Page County! The 100th anniversary of ISU Extension and Outreach in Page County was the Clarinda Herald-Journal’s story of the year for 2019.
- Nominations for ISU 2020 Extension and Outreach Awards are due Feb. 10 at noon. A new award this year is the Pillar of Extension and Outreach Award, for individuals or teams from extension support units.
- Mileage reimbursement rates have decreased as of Jan. 1 for ISU-paid employees. The new default rate is 28.75 cents/mile (50% of the full IRS rate) for trips over 100 miles if the traveler uses a personal vehicle when an ISU vehicle is available. The 2020 full IRS rate is decreasing to 57.5 cents/mile, which may be claimed under certain circumstances, as well as by ISU-paid employees permanently based off-campus. For more information contact John Flickinger, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Today is Office Cleanup Day, the annual day extension staff statewide devote to cleaning and organizing their offices for safety and efficiency. Office Cleanup Day resources are available from MyExtension.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach