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Iowa State University Extension

The year in review: Comments from our directors


What was your most important contribution or accomplishment for the people of Iowa this past year? Extension program and area directors’ answers to this question range from economic development to training Iowa’s workforce, building leadership skills in youth to increasing distance education programs, improving the lives of Iowans living in poverty to assisting manufacturers and agricultural producers.

Timothy Borich, program director, Communities and Economic Development,
“Sioux City and Perry are financing and constructing outreach facilities to expand our operations for community and economic development programming. More than 1,600 local poll officials were trained in conjunction with local county auditors and the Office of the Secretary of State prior to the 2006 election. Economic development programming helped to produce more than 300 jobs.”

Chuck Morris, program director, 4-H Youth Development,
“ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development reached one in four K-12 youth (125,944) with a research-based educational experience. These experiences focused on leadership, citizenship, communication, personal life management and subject matter knowledge.” 

Eldon Uhlenhopp, interim associate vice president, Continuing and Distance Education (CDE),
“More than 5,100 Iowans in 93 counties enrolled in Iowa State distance education courses. Enrollments in Web-based distance education courses increased by 24 percent during FY07. We saw an increase of 25 percent in traditional courses converted to Web content."

JaneAnn Stout, program director, Families,
“Some 1,400 citizens in 23 communities are creating community action plans to reduce poverty. More than 2,500 families learned to make informed choices about low-cost, nutritious foods and better manage family finances. More than 5,500 families participated in drug abuse prevention programs. More than 1,800 child care programs received education and technical assistance.”

Gerald Miller, program director, Agriculture and Natural Resources,
“ISU Extension directly influenced more than 150,000 Iowans in their decision making process that resulted in increased profitability; enhanced air, soil, and water quality; and new economic development opportunities including those in bio-fuels and use of byproducts.”

Ronald Cox, director, Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS),
“CIRAS provides research, education and technical assistance to Iowa manufacturers. Last year, manufacturers in Iowa reported that CIRAS and its partners helped generate over $100 million of impact within their companies and helped create or retain 1,000 jobs.”

Lois Hunt, area director, Southeast Iowa,
“The ISU Extension Food Safety Training Programming ensures a workforce trained to provide safe food from the pasture to the plate. At one training site, 80 percent of the workforce is Spanish speaking, and all have passed the ISU Extension Pre and Post Training Course. The success of the program has led to expansion into other companies.”

Mary Schrandt-Prouty, area director, Northeast Iowa,
“ISU Extension has trained and certified over 200 restaurant workers in the ServSafe Food Safety program. In addition, SafeFood workshops are held for volunteer and nonprofit organizations providing food at community events. The Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition was formed, under ISU Extension’s leadership. It supports the development and marketing of locally grown agriculture products.”

Sherry Teachout Glenn, area director, Central Iowa,
“Adult volunteers coached nearly 100 youth in Story and Polk counties on selecting high school courses related to specific careers and college/university entrance requirements. They then visited DMACC and Iowa State University to experience campus and meet with recruiters. These students will be contacted over the next three years for potential DMACC/ISU admissions.”

Alan Ladd, area director, Southwest Iowa,
“We are educating and providing orientation for our elected volunteers to be Extension Council members in each county. Internally, we are implementing a new accounting software program that will provide greater oversight and security of public funds for  Extension Councils across the state.”

Donald Nitchie, area director, Northwest Iowa,
“ISU Extension in Carroll County was a key player in establishing the Regional Entrepreneurs Association (REA). Organized in 2005, REA was designed to introduce an entrepreneurial culture in rural communities. In 2006-07 the program has grown to more than 90 participants from several communities. Ten participating business owners expanded their businesses.”

This article appeared in June 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter