John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 18, 2017
At about the time I joined ISU Extension and Outreach as a livestock economist in the early 1990s, Home Economics Extension was transitioning to Extension to Families. The staffing pattern was changing from county home economists to families field specialists. This was part of an overall restructuring in our organization to become more flexible, respond to changing needs and better serve Iowans. When you look at our history in ISU Extension and Outreach, this seems to be the bottom line. We don’t rest on our laurels. We look for better ways to do what we do. So a few years ago, Extension to Families became Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, once again looking for a better way to serve Iowans.
In summer 2014, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach implemented a new “block” concept with specialists working as teams to deliver education. Results of their efforts are coming in, and one example is the Regions 1 and 5 block, served by specialists Lori Hayungs (family life), Jan Monahan (family finance) and Renee Sweers (nutrition and wellness), along with Mackenzie DeJong, human sciences coordinator for O’Brien, Lyon, Osceola and Sioux counties. Did you know?
- The team was involved in nine collaborative community groups and released a quarterly newsletter featuring upcoming program dates and highlighting past programs.
- Working together, they reached more people. From last year to this year, they hosted 16 more programs, 25 more sessions and reached 750 more participants. On average, they hosted a face-to-face educational session more than once every other day.
- Annually nearly 1,800 new mothers in all nine counties receive physical copies of the first month of the “Just in Time Parenting” newsletter, in English and Spanish as needed. All school districts within the nine counties receive the September issue of the “Dare to Excel” newsletter.
- ServSafe courses are taught throughout the year, helping local businesses meet food safety training requirements and keep customers safe. Iowa State dietetics interns spend time in the region learning about the dietitian’s role within ISU Extension and Outreach. Rising Star interns are trained on food safety and receive guidance throughout their internship. In summer 2017, a College of Human Sciences Heddleson intern delivered nutrition programming in Clay County.
- Through partnerships and capacity building, eight communities took new action to address public issues.
This is but one example of successful Human Sciences Extension and Outreach programs that result from strong partnerships among county staff, volunteers and specialists – all around the block and throughout the state.
Office Professionals Conference
Registration is open for the 2017 Office Professionals Conference at the Iowa State University Memorial Union. This will be a great event tailored to the needs of the front-line professionals who represent ISU Extension and Outreach to the public every day. We start Wednesday, Oct. 25, with a preconference on the nuts and bolts of accounting and financials, and continue Thursday, Oct. 26, with a full day of workshops and roundtable updates about county delivered programs and best practices for effective office operations. I strongly encourage office professionals to attend, and learn and connect with campus resources and peers from across the state. Check the conference website for details about the workshops and roundtable topics and to register. The conference promises to be an informative and valuable training, and we will have some fun as well. I look forward to seeing you in Ames!
One more thing: Congratulations to Ida County, winner of this year’s CyDAY Friday contest. The ISU Trademark Licensing Office selected Ida County because “they showed their Cyclone spirit and we liked the community involvement.” Ida County hosted a tailgate in front of their office in Ida Grove, featuring photos with Cy, games for youth and local firefighters who brought along their red firetruck. A Cy-cone ice cream machine provided cones for all.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach