Recognizing bias and being kind

Feb. 3, 2020 message from John Lawrence

“We all have bias. It’s important to be aware of our own.” That’s a quote from an individual who participated in Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts. Our human sciences specialists in family life deliver this workshop across the state. They help Iowans to understand the impact of stereotypes and biased statements, identify the most common reasons people sit silently in the face of bias and stereotypes, and develop skills to speak up against stereotypes and respond to difficult situations. Did you know?

  • In 2019 our specialists delivered 34 workshops in communities, agencies and businesses, and to school personnel and foster grandparents.
  • These educational offerings reached 729 adults and 105 youth.
  • Delivering one workshop often led to immediate requests for more workshops.

In their evaluations, participants reported they’d gained a better understanding of stereotypes and biased statements, as well as the common reasons people remain silent. They also felt confident that they could respond. As one participant said, “I have a voice and can share how I am feeling or thinking without hurting or offending someone.”

Join the Acts of Kindness campaign

During February, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach is sponsoring an Acts of Kindness campaign. The goal is to spread kindness and boost wellbeing across Iowa. Everyone who’d like to participate is welcome to engage in an act of kindness or two (or more) each week. You can check Human Sciences’ kindness calendar for ideas.

You can share your acts of kindness on social media using #StrongIowa #Kindness. You also can email a short description and picture (if you have one) of your act(s) of kindness to by 5 p.m. Friday each week to be entered in a drawing. Every Monday, Human Sciences will randomly pick one winner (either an individual or group) to win a prize. Every Friday the winner and a few of the acts of kindness performed by our colleagues will be shared in Community Chat. (Go to MyExtension for instructions on how to subscribe.) On Feb. 28 from noon-1 p.m. you can join the Act of Kindness Celebration on Zoom to share and celebrate all the acts of kindness that were completed during the month. You’ll also find out who wins the grand prize – an assortment of homemade/specialty items from our Human Sciences community. For more information contact

More notes

  • Adam Janke, extension wildlife specialist, will talk about the Master Conservationist program and answer your questions during Second Monday Live at 10 a.m. on Feb. 10. Master Conservationists share an interest in the sustainability of Iowa’s natural resources and in becoming better stewards of those resources. Adam will share results from last year’s evaluations, available resources and how county extension offices can choose to offer the program. In addition, I’ll give a brief update on MyData. Please plan to join the 30-minute Adobe Connect session at The session also will be archived for later viewing.
  • My Jan. 29 message regarding the Structured for Success final map has been archived on the Vice President for Extension and Outreach website.
  • Nominations for ISU 2020 Extension and Outreach Awards are due Feb. 10 at noon. Visit the Awards website for more information.
  • Mike Mauton in Extension IT says that all Windows 7 machines must be upgraded to Windows 10 by end of business on Friday, March 6. That’s when all computers still running Windows 7 will be blocked from the ISU network. Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7, which means these machines are no longer receiving security updates. All Windows 7 machines have been receiving hourly splash screens with instructions on how to upgrade to Windows 10. EIT is providing upgrades to Windows 10 for $25 per computer. Please contact the EIT Hotline at 515-294-1725 or if you have any questions regarding upgrading your computer.

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

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.