ISU Extension and Outreach's Strategic Vision and Direction

Vice President Henderson sent the following email message to all extension staff and faculty on January 29, 2024.

Extension Colleagues,

Today, I am pleased to share Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Strategic Vision and Direction for 2024-2029. This is the result of our many hours of visioning and planning discussions over the last eight months. I want to thank all of you for your participation in the statewide meetings and surveys, resulting in hundreds of pages of feedback on the original draft.

Extension’s Strategic Vision and Direction identifies three areas of focus for our external programming for the next five years:

  • Empowering Resilient and Thriving People and Communities
  • Promoting Entrepreneurial and Innovative Agricultural and Food Systems
  • Fostering Adaptive and Sustainable Natural and Built Environments

By June we will identify 3-5 priority program initiatives that are multi-disciplinary, system-wide investments aligned with the areas of focus.

In addition, today we are releasing a Catalyst Funding Request for Proposals with the goal of reaching into ISU Extension and Outreach and the broader university to identify unique ideas to refresh or innovate extension programming. All extension faculty and county and state staff, as well as all ISU faculty and staff, are eligible to submit a proposal of up to $100,000. All proposals must have a county collaboration. Proposals are due April 15 with funding released in July 2024.

ISU Extension and Outreach’s Vision and Direction also identifies five commitments for internal action that will enable us to build a resilient, thriving, entrepreneurial, innovative, adaptive, and sustainable organization. Extension will:

  • Focus on impacts that make a difference in the lives of Iowans and the world.
  • Embrace the land-grant mission of engagement, discovery, and learning.
  • Take an interdisciplinary and systems approach to addressing complex issues facing Iowa and the world.
  • Invest in people and partnerships.
  • Diversify sources of funding in alignment with our purpose.

As we move forward with implementation, we will invite state and county staff and faculty to create individual, team, unit, program, and county plans that align with the vision and direction. This allows for local freedom to create local plans that are responsive to the uniqueness of the many units, teams and geographies that comprise ISU Extension and Outreach.

Over the next few weeks, I invite you to:

  1. Read ISU Extension and Outreach’s Strategic Vision and Direction document.
  2. Use the reflection questions to engage in discussions with colleagues.
  3. Attend one of the webinars, January 29 and February 2. I will cover the same content at each webinar, so you only need to attend one, or wait for the recording.
  4. Read the Catalyst Funding Request for Proposals and engage with your units and colleagues.
  5. Register to attend Annual Conference on March 6 to learn more and work with colleagues from across the organization and state to turn strategies into action.
  6. Respond to invitations from your unit and regional directors about next steps.
  7. Look for the Strategic Vision and Directions documents and resources in the CyBox folder. The Vision and Direction can also be found on MyExtension and the external website.

I view strategic planning as a continuous process of improvement. I am excited about the next steps and potential opportunities that could emerge as we start this journey together and focus ISU Extension and Outreach on being a catalyst for innovation.

Jason Henderson
Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach | vpeo@iastate.edu | 515-294-6675