Planning a program of work

John Lawrence’s message from June 25, 2018

Last week as I began my visits to every region in the state, I had the opportunity to meet with stakeholders, staff and extension council members in Regions 1, 4 and 17. (I’m in Region 20 today.) We talked about issues that impact their region’s ability to thrive and, given our core programs, where they see ISU Extension and Outreach helping them address the issues. With staff and councils we also discussed how we strengthen our organization and our partnership. These regional discussions have been great, and I am looking forward to visiting the rest of the regions later this summer and fall.

A key responsibility of each of our county extension councils is to plan for extension programming to meet the needs of the people in their county. To be successful, councils have to be able to plan and carry out a strong county extension program with county office staff. A group effort from County Services and the regional directors is making this task easier. Did you know?

  • The new County Extension Council Educational Program of Work template is designed to help councils take a systematic approach to providing research-based educational programs and services to the people in their communities. (County staff can download the template from MyExtension for council use.)
  • The template offers a sequence of questions and considerations for addressing an identified need with an action plan and the budget to support it. The template lays out outputs, outcomes, and evaluation steps, as well as risk management precautions.
  • A council’s programming committee would take the lead in working with county staff to complete the template and draft a program plan for each specified need. Then the entire extension council would review the program plans and make informed decisions to distribute and approve resources.

The program of work template doesn’t need to be completed for every county activity. For example, club calf weigh-ins and pressure gauge testing, though important, don’t require the same level of preparation as a sequenced series of educational workshops. As councils and county staff work together to meet the needs of Iowans with new programming, the County Extension Council Educational Program of Work template helps everyone keep track of the details, meet research-based program expectations and promote accountability by all parties.

More notes

  • The Internal Communications Task Force met again June 18 and the executive summary from the meeting is posted on Cybox. The task force’s role is to gather input and make recommendations by the end of the year. The leadership team will make the decisions regarding implementation.
  • Lea Baumhover, a former 4-H’er and current summer assistant in Buena Vista County, narrates a new College of Human Sciences student recruitment video for family and consumer sciences education and studies. Emily Bormann, a 2017 Rising Star intern from Region 5, also is featured in the video. (To learn what our current Rising Star interns are doing, read their Rising Star blog.)
  • This week we will welcome almost 900 teens to campus for the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. It’s a unique opportunity for young Iowans to experience campus life and meet new people from across the state.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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