ISU Extension and Outreach Staff Core Competencies

The following competencies guide staff employment, development, and performance.  The ISU Extension and Outreach Professional Development Team suggest updating this list every five years to address contextual changes.  All Extension staff regardless of their title and classification are expected to be competent in most or all of the items listed under each competency.  The depth, scope, and weight of each competence will vary due to differences across job descriptions, classifications, and unit expectations.

Core Competencies for All Staff

Communication and Interpersonal Relations

Successfully interact with individuals and groups in a professional manner.

  • Assess emotions and participants in a situation and adapt accordingly
  • Be open, flexible, and willing to adapt to change
  • Be trustworthy, dependable, and diplomatic
  • Clearly communicate personal and team needs
  • Communicate in a timely fashion
  • Effectively use distance communication with coworkers, clients, and collaborators
  • Filer and focus information to prevent overload
  • Help create positive interpersonal and professional relationships
  • Learn and use problem-solving skills
  • Manage conflicts and dilemmas between self, colleagues, and clients
  • Use effective group process, facilitation, and management techniques
  • Use effective written and oral communication, including the use of technology
  • Work effectively as a team member and participate in interdisciplinary projects.

Depth and Scope of ISU Extension and Outreach

Promote the scope and depth of Extension and Outreach carried out on campus and in the field.

  • Aware of ISU Extension and Outreach program offerings and their impact 
  • Connect clients with specific campus and county programs and experiences
  • Remain up to date on priority issues and program offerings throughout the organization
  • Understand and comply with program, ISU, and ISU Extension and Outreach mandates, requirements, policies, and procedures; including visual identity, safety, and communication
  • Understand the differences and similarities between program and administrative units
  • Understand the alignment, culture, and norms of ISU Extension and Outreach as an organization
  • Understand the history, mission, and philosophy of Extension and Land Grant Universities
  • Work towards organization-wide unity

Equity and Diversity

Understand and respect the needs and benefits of a diverse community of people of all genders, ages, cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities.

  • Support programs are sensitive to human differences
  • Support best practices for working with under-represented groups
  • Work with people and organizations representing diverse groups

Partnership Development

Develop partnerships with organizations, government, businesses, and other entities to identify and prioritize needs to enhance life in Iowa communities.

  • Build and sustain strong internal relationships at all levels of the organization to enhance external partnerships
  • Contribute to organizational learning through reciprocal relationships with clients and collaborators
  • Develop and use skills and tools to engage with communities and groups
  • Develop and maintain organizational and business alliances and networks to reach common goals
  • Identify and bring resources to communities
  • Monitor issues and trends important to partners and communities
  • Recognize, understand and facilitate opportunities to serve stakeholders through programs
  • Understand how stakeholder, community, and government power structures improve local conditions

Professionalism and Leadership

Create positive, professional, and productive work ethically and with integrity.

  • Contribute to organizational learning through reciprocal relationships with clients
  • Develop leadership skills to enhance personal, team, program, and organizational environments
  • Engage in continuous improvement through intentional targeted professional development
  • Exhibit professional ethics and reflect professionalism in all manners of speech, dress, office appearance, and behaviors
  • Operate effectively with minimal guidance
  • Positively navigate change and unanticipated or ambiguous situations by remaining diplomatic, flexible, and adaptable
  • Respect deadlines, deliverables, and policies

Project Management

Establish structure, organize processes, generate and monitor resources, and lead change to reach program and project outcomes effectively and efficiently.

  • Adopt human and system capacity building and volunteer engagement techniques
  • Anticipate deadlines including reporting program and project impact and quality and develop contingency plans
  • Apply diverse and effective communication and marketing strategies to reach clients
  • Generate resources through grants, contracts, gifts, and/or fees
  • Help create and monitor budgets and projects
  • Help report program and project impact and quality in a timely fashion
  • Analyze and interpret data to enhance project development, implementation, and evaluation
  • Manage time and resources, including budget management
  • Support project resources and people effectively
  • Use continuous process improvement tools that build on past and current processes
  • Work with and use available staff skillsets

Additional Core Competencies for Program Staff

Development of Programs

Prioritize, plan, implement, evaluate and report programs that achieve expected outcomes and address issues and trends important to partners and communities.

  • Apply program quality standards to program design and delivery
  • Conduct client and stakeholder environmental scans and needs assessment with appropriate tools
  • Evaluate program quality and impact using multiple approaches
  • Facilitate program priority setting processes/strategic planning
  • Incorporate demographic, economic, social, and/or environmental data into client stakeholder programs and projects
  • Produce and disseminate high-level Extension scholarship (original intellectual work communicated and validated by peers) to transfer knowledge to clients and colleagues
  • Select, design, and resource appropriate curriculum and educational opportunities
  • Understand and use data about clientele, communities, and Iowa

Delivery of Programs and Educational Opportunities

Deliver effective research-based programs and educational opportunities

  • Apply appropriate research-based learning approaches and technology for educating target audiences
  • Keep abreast of the use of technology and other innovative tools for program needs assessment, development, delivery, and evaluation
  • Reflect on evaluation and educational material
  • Teach a variety of topics and audiences in a variety of venues effectively
  • Use technology to enhance learning
  • Use approaches that integrate multiple disciplines/subject matter to address issues

Discipline-focused Content

Keep up to date on subject matter expertise  

  • Adeptly translate research into the direct application for clients
  • Keep up to date on Land Grant University and other research
  • Participate in professional associations and organizations
  • Participate in subject matter professional development
  • Use new and unique thinking to respond to unique circumstances