In-home offices, online classes, meetings with your colleagues in a virtual room, they are all a part of our new normal. We are doing it, but we may not all be doing it well – yet!
Effective leaders know that well-thought-out decisions require the input of many voices and perspectives. Engaging your community in important discussions can be challenging even when we are in the same room together. Now that we are meeting virtually, it may seem impossible for local governments, nonprofits, businesses and community members to work together to innovate, collaborate and create positive change.
Is public participation possible during a pandemic?
That was the question facing Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning program staff in mid-March, when Iowa State University canceled all in-state travel for employees.
Julia Badenhope, ISU professor and visioning program director, decided to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to explore innovative ways to engage the public without compromising the safety of staff, students, and community members.
PLACE (Partnering Learning And Community Engagement) aims to enhance and promote the quality and character of Iowa's communities. The College of Design engages with communities in collaborative efforts to understand, envision and promote a fundamental enhancement of their physical environment.
The Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program is currently accepting applications for the 2021 program. Eligible communities are those with populations of fewer than 10,000 residents, existing transportation-related issues, and a committee of volunteers willing to dedicate their time and talent to the visioning process. Only communities located within one mile of a state or federal highway will be selected.
Every spring, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach faculty and staff are honored for exceptional work in areas ranging from service and volunteerism to excellence in research-based education, and 2020 was no exception.
However, this year Vice President for Extension and Outreach John Lawrence also recognized extension professionals who excelled at finding innovative ways to continue educating, informing, and serving Iowans during the global pandemic through a series of COVID-19 Exceptional Effort awards.