Stories we can share

John Lawrence’s message from Feb. 4, 2019

The university doesn’t close very often, but it did last week due to bone-chilling cold. But extension professionals carry on. Campus folks relocated from their university offices to their kitchen tables or wherever their home offices might be. As the deep freeze spread throughout the state, staff and councils made their best decisions, based on local conditions, about whether to close offices or reschedule events. I thank you all for putting safety ahead of everything else under these extreme weather conditions.

I’d also like to thank our county staff and councils for preparing and sharing their 2018 county stakeholder reports. Not only are these reports useful to share with Iowans in each county, they also are a great way for us all to share program ideas across regions and throughout the state. Did you know?

  • With identity theft on the rise, in 2018, Lyon County educated more than 35 local residents on ways to protect themselves and their families.
  • Allamakee County’s Women in Ag Tour reached women who owned or worked in a farm business or agribusiness, as well as women who owned or worked in non-ag businesses. Participants appreciated the opportunity to network with other women, and gain a broader understanding of the diversity of agriculture in the county.
  • Since the 1970s, Fremont County 4-H members have participated in Citizenship Washington Focus. This year, 21 high school students and four adult volunteers spent a week in the nation’s capital, immersed in government, history and civic engagement.
  • Lee County Intern Connect engaged 20 interns in local networking and building relationships. Extension and Outreach partnered with Lee County Economic Development Group, Fort Madison Partners and Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce to create a positive experience and recruit interns back to the area after they graduate.
  • Stakeholder reports from the four corners of Iowa and throughout the state are available on the County Services website.

During the listening sessions last summer and fall, I often heard from staff and councils that we need to better tell our ISU Extension and Outreach story. These stakeholder reports are an important step to do just that. A stakeholder report is not an end product; it’s the beginning of the extension stories we can share. We share our stories with stakeholders because they have a stake in our impact and outcomes. We share our stories with the public to build their awareness of the education and information we can provide. We share our stories with taxpayers and the elected officials who allocate precious public resources so they understand their return on investment in ISU Extension and Outreach. We strive to serve all Iowans. A key to our success is making sure people know how we are working to build a strong Iowa.

More notes

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

Sharing with our stakeholders

John Lawrence’s message from Feb. 19, 2018

Who are our stakeholders? They are the people who have an interest or a share in what we do. Maybe they’ve made an investment in ISU Extension and Outreach, whether in time or money. They may have a personal or emotional concern related to our work. They may feel connected to Iowa State for any number of reasons. Whatever the case, they have a stake in our impact and outcomes. It makes good sense to keep them informed about our work.

For the public, telling our story is a way to shed the title of ISU Extension and Outreach being the “best kept secret.” Telling our story to taxpayers and the elected officials who allocate precious public resources shows them their return on investment. We’re lucky to have multiple opportunities to keep them up to date. Did you know?

  • Our extension districts produce annual stakeholder reports that describe program successes in food and the environment, health and well-being, economic development and K-12 youth outreach. They are available online for download and although they look nice, the reports themselves aren’t what is most important. What really matters are the conversations that these reports can spark. If we want decision makers to understand what we do, we have to show them and tell them. At the county level, stakeholder reports often are the right tool for the job.
  • On Feb. 26, several extension professionals will be in Des Moines for ISU Day at the Capitol. It’s an annual opportunity to meet face-to-face with our state legislators to showcase the impact Iowa State has on students, communities, businesses and Iowans across the state. ISU Extension and Outreach is a big part of this conversation. We’ll be sharing highlights from our 2017 annual report.
  • The Iowa Extension Council Association’s annual Legislative Day is Feb. 28. IECA members will be meeting with state legislators to share extension impacts. They also will be modeling public leadership to the 4-H’ers participating in IECA’s 4-H Public Leadership Experience. Senior 4-H’ers from each county will have the opportunity to meet with legislators, tour the capitol, and learn about the legislative process and the bearing it has on ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • In March, our Iowa delegates to the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) will head to Washington, D.C., to share Iowa State’s story with Congress. Kevin Ross (Underwood), Donald Latham (Alexander), Sally Stutsman (Riverside), and Robert Petrzelka (Mt. Pleasant) represent ISU Extension and Outreach as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in this national grassroots organization. CARET advocates for greater national support and understanding of the land-grant university system’s food and agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs that enhance the quality of life for all people.

While these are purposeful discussions with specific stakeholders, do not be bashful about telling our story – your story – every chance you get. We strive to serve all Iowans. A key to our success is making sure people know about ISU Extension and Outreach, and how we are working to build a strong Iowa.

One more thing: Iowa State is rolling out Okta, a new application. (It reminds me of the letters left at the end of a Scrabble game.) Okta is going to change the look and feel of the login page when you sign into MyExtension, Office 365, CyBox and other Iowa State and ISU Extension and Outreach resources. Okta also gives you the ability to add (at a later date) something called multi-factor authentication to your account. Multi-factor authentication adds protection to your account by requiring a second verification in addition to your password. This second verification can be an app on your phone, a code sent via text message, a voice call or a small physical device called a Yubikey.

The look and feel portion of Okta will be rolling out on March 1. Currently, multi-factor authentication is optional and can be turned on in the settings in Okta. For more information, plan to attend a webinar with Deb Coates, EIT manager, on Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. To log in, go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/eit.

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

Everybody’s job

John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 25, 2017

Say what you’ll do, do what you say and prove it with numbers. That’s a basic premise of quality management, and it is top of mind as we strive to maintain and improve the quality of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. It’s everybody’s job, in every part of our organization, to create and share the value and impact of our work. So we’re taking action to get better at sharing our story. Did you know?

  • Our updated ISU Extension and Outreach strategic plan will be ready sometime this fall.
  • A steering committee is working on developing one reporting system for our entire organization.
  • We’re developing resources for public value training.

Learn more in this video message about our strategic plan, our reporting system and our public value.

still image from John Lawrence video

County Stakeholder Reports

Each fall we ask county offices to create county stakeholder reports highlighting programs with significant local impact. These reports are a good way to help citizens, stakeholders and decision makers understand how we connect the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources. Our goal is to have all the 2017 reports completed by Jan. 1, 2018, before the start of the next legislative session. In the meantime, you can review the 2016 county stakeholder reports online.

Need Input on County Fair MOU template

A couple of weeks ago I shared that a committee representing ISU Extension and Outreach, county fairs and FFA is drafting a template/checklist to help local leaders develop their own county fair MOU. We’re sharing one video message with the three groups at the same time about the process underway and we’re asking everyone for input on what the template/checklist should include. If you have input for the committee, please contact one of these ISU Extension and Outreach representatives before Nov. 1:

  • Bryan Whaley, Region 2 Director, bwhaley@iastate.edu, 515-341-6967
  • Joe Sellers, Beef Field Specialist, sellers@iastate.edu, 641-774-2016
  • Nancy Adrian, Washington County Extension Director, nadrian@iastate.edu, 319-653-4811
  • Mandy Maher, Fremont County Program Coordinator, mmaher@iastate.edu, 712-374-2351
  • Annette Brown, 4-H Youth Program Specialist, annbrown@iastate.edu, 515-432-3882
  • Bob Dodds, Assistant VP, County Services, redodds@iastate.edu, 515-294-0013
  • John Lawrence, Interim VP for Extension and Outreach, jdlaw@iastate.edu, 515-294-6675

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

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