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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Deb Sellers, email@example.com.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach