Vice President Cathann Kress

Cathann Kress

Cathann Kress
Vice President
Extension and Outreach
2150 Beardshear
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-5390
Twitter: @cathannkress

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“ISU Extension and Outreach is a 99-county campus, connecting the needs of Iowans with Iowa State University research and resources. We provide education and partnerships designed to solve today’s problems and prepare for the future. We want a strong Iowa. See you there.” -- Cathann Kress


The Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach provides leadership for the statewide unit of the university responsible for delivering on the land-grant mission of teaching, research, and service for the public good. The Vice President works across the university to provide outreach programs that share information and technology to educate and innovate, and provides advice and counsel to the Provost and the President on Extension and Outreach issues. The Vice President is the Director of Cooperative Extension for Iowa State University.


  • Address Iowa’s changing demographics.
  • Adapt to increasingly complex problems.
  • Broaden Extension and Outreach’s role.
  • Use technology more effectively.

Leading Indicators

More participants

  • Each year more than a million people directly benefit from ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs.
  • Millions more access our websites and online educational materials and courses.

More engagement

  • Our Engaged Scholarship Funding Program has launched two research projects in northern Iowa. One is building literacy and STEM skills in children; the other is using singing training to improve quality of life for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Our ISU Nutrition and Wellness: The Adventure Comes to You pilot project engages faculty researchers and communities in a mutually beneficial exchange of information and ideas.
  • Rising Star Internships are another way we are collaborating with ISU colleges to prepare Iowa State students for the workforce.
  • We partner with Alumni Association, ISU Foundation, Admissions, and Athletics – including the #ISU99 Scavenger Hunt.

Leading on critical issues

  • Our faculty and staff are leading applied research, demonstrations, and education on Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, monarch and pollinator habitat revival, managing herbicide resistance, managing farm financial stress, and other issues facing Iowa.
  • We’re growing our local foods program on campus, in counties, and with partners, while continuing strong conventional Ag and Natural Resources programming.
  • We’re beginning the first phase of a long-term partnership with Dubuque addressing economic and physical revitalization of an economically distressed neighborhood.

Leading growth

  • ISU Extension and Outreach named in the University Strategic Plan
  • Growth in online course support tops 50,000 users
  • ISU Extension and Outreach now employs 1,200 people


  • Ph.D. in Education – University of Iowa; Outstanding Graduate Student Award, 1990
  • M.A. in Education, Counselor Education/College Student Development – University of Iowa, 1986
  • B.S. in Social Work – Iowa State University; Psychology and Sociology emphases, Highest Scholarship Undergraduate in Curriculum, 1983

Professional Experience

  • Tenured Professor, Iowa State University College of Human Sciences, School of Education, 2011-present
  • Military Community and Family Policy, U.S. Department of Defense, Senior Policy Analyst, 2008-2011; received DoD Secretary’s Certificate of Commendation
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), National Director Youth Development Programs, 2002-2008; received USDA Secretary Honors Award
  • Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension Assistant Director and State Program Leader, 4-H Youth Development, 2000-2002
  • Iowa State University Extension, Youth Development Specialist and Youth and Family Violence Specialist, 1994-2000

Selected Leadership Roles

  • Trustee, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Board, Battle Creek, Michigan, 2016-present
  • Secretary and Incoming Chair, Administrative Heads Section, Board on Agriculture Assembly, Association of Public Land Grant Universities, 2016-present
  • Subcommittee Lead, Task Force on the New Engagement, APLU, 2015-present
  • Guest Editor, Reclaiming Children and Youth: Celebrating Youth Development, Volume 23, Issue 3, Fall 2014
  • 4-H National Leadership Committee Member, 2014-present
  • National 4-H Council Trustee, 2013-present
  • Iowa 4-H Foundation Trustee, 2011-present

Professional Interests

  • Youth Development
  • Community Development
  • Non-formal Educational Systems