Interim CEED Role

January - March 2003

Byron M. Leu , livestock field specialist

From late February 2002 through January 2003, Byron Leu had the opportunity to serve as the Interim CEED for Wapello County . This experience was a 'mixed bag' of experiences—some very positive while others were very negative. The intent of this ‘success story is to provide a positive overview of a challenging situation.

Situation
A number of personnel issues have impacted Iowa State University staff, extension programming, associated committees and organizations, and volunteers involved in Wapello county extension activities over the past two years. These personnel problems had a derisive impact on the office work and social environment, negatively affected the relationships of numerous volunteers, and disrupted administrative functions of both the office and related committees' financial activities. Legal ramifications involving personnel action was also an issue, creating a situation of concern for the staff. Additionally, the image of the Iowa State Univeristy Extension program was in a position to be tarnished by personnel issues and problems.

Response
At the time that Leu was appointed as Interim CEED, Lois Hunt, AEED, outlined a number of challenges that needed to be addressed. These included:
– Develop, coordinate and facilitate county educational programs
– Stabilize the office environment
– Minimize potential negative impact to extension's image
– Recommit support to extension-related organizations and groups
– Coordinate negotiations for relocating the Wapello county office
– Support AEED in the hiring process for the new CEED position
– Oversee and provide leadership to the Wapello county expo
– Support and re-energize volunteers and extension supporters (including members of the extension council, 4-H Foundation committee, expo committee, youth and 4-H committee, expo superintendents, etc.)

The AEED and Interim CEED, in a ‘somewhat systematic approach, initiated steps to address the issues listed above. Of course, new and different scenarios were added to the list as needed. The most challenging of the issues was establishing a positive and fun office work environment and keeping negative attitudes from impacting both the staff and volunteers. With time and persistence, the situation stabilized and began steady improvement.

Impact
Measuring the impact of this type of scenario is difficult to evaluate. However, the following reflect the changes that occurred:
- Programs: A core of educational programs was offered to the clientele of Wapello county during 2002. Although the number of programs was less than traditionally offered, area specialists provided meaningful programs during the year. A partial listing of the educational effort is included the Wapello county Stakeholders Report. Tom Quinn's work with the Hispanic population, Barb Anderson's food and nutrition programming and the Growing in the Garden program were significant extension efforts. Prosper programming was also initiated by Sue Hooper late in 2002. It should be noted that Wapello county hosted a Legislative Coffee, attended by five legislators and more than 20 people, and facilitated tours of selected Wapello county sites for Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy and the Dean of Agriculture, Dr. Catherine Woteki.
- Office environment: Over time, the office environment significantly improved and stabilized. Staff started to laugh and joke frequently and outwardly enjoyed coming to work again.
- Extension image: Amazingly, the image of Iowa State University Extension remains solid and in excellent shape. Due to the rebound of personnel and volunteer attitudes, extension's future is bright in Wapello county.
- Volunteer group support: Administrative and leadership support has been committed to a number of committees and groups, including the Wapello County Extension Council, 4-H and Youth Committee, 4-H Foundation, and Wapello County Expo. These groups appreciate the positive support and commitment extension has contributed. Probably the biggest change is that these individual groups are now working together as a team.
- Office move: The Wapello county extension office officially moved to its current location in August 2002 and has negotiated a five-year lease at the new location.
- CEED placement: Lois Hunt provided the leadership in this process. Jennifer Hoy was hired as the new Wapello county CEED effective January 2003!
- Expo: The relationship with the expo committee continues to be a work in progress—but positive things are happening. A number of major issues have been resolved over the past 12 months and, new and stronger relationships are being molded. The communication and decision making process has been vastly improved.
- Volunteer commitment: The volunteer groups are again functioning in a positive fashion. Without question, these committees are focused and heading in the right direction. Again, these groups are engaged and working as a team!
Through the efforts and commitment of Lois Hunt and the Interim CEED, the Wapello county extension network survived numerous challenges. Overall, improvements in the attitude and work environment of staff, volunteers and agency co-workers were noted. Program integrity was maintained and quality programming continued to be supported and offered to the clientele of Wapello county. With Jennifer Hoy's leadership, extension's future in Wapello county is on the upswing!

Page last updated: July 7, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu