Monday Update: 2021 county visits

March 22, 2021

With the promise of spring weather, COVID-19 vaccinations in the arms of more Iowans, and continuing vigilance for everyone’s health and safety, I am planning to hit the road. From May through November, I plan to visit every county office and meet with county staff, specialists housed in the office, and council members. I want to see and hear how you are doing. I’m not expecting or requesting any special treatment. I won’t be “the VP in a suit” for these visits. Instead, think of me as a friendly livestock economist in khakis and a red extension shirt, just stopping by for a cup of coffee and conversation. We can talk about whatever issues are on your mind.

Mica Redenius, my administrative assistant, will be working with our Advancement team and contacting county offices to schedule the visits. We hope to coordinate visits regionally, so I can visit several counties in one trip. After a pandemic year of Zoom, Webex, and Adobe Connect, I am looking forward to visiting you in person.

Speaking of traveling, “Travel Matters” is the topic of the 2020 Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau Annual Report video. At about 7 minutes in, you’ll find my conversation with President and CEO Kevin Bourke. Our Conference Planning and Management and CPM Registration Services units partner with the Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau, a one-of-a-kind relationship in the U.S. COVID-19 has tested many things, but not this relationship, which is as strong as ever.

Statement of care

On March 18 President Wendy Wintersteen and Reg Chhen Stewart, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, issued this statement of care for the Iowa State community following attacks on Asians and Asian Americans. Please read the statement and review the available resources. ISU Extension and Outreach is committed to live each day by our Iowa State Principles of Community – respect, purpose, cooperation, richness of diversity, freedom from discrimination, and honest and respectful expression of ideas.

Mask mandate continues

As I mentioned during our COVID-19 Recovery Town Hall this morning, I am extending the mask mandate for ISU Extension and Outreach to May 8. Masks are required when people are indoors and not able to maintain 6 feet of distance from each other. This includes campus and county extension offices and meeting spaces. Masks are required outdoors if people are within 6 feet of each other. Masks are required when traveling on ISU business with more than one person in the vehicle. See Open for Iowa for more information.

2021 ESP national webinar series begins

The 2021 National Epsilon Sigma Phi webinar series will be offered the last Tuesday of each month from March through September. Webinars were selected through a blind peer review process led by the national ESP professional development committee. Registration is now open for all webinars. The webinars are among the benefits that ESP members receive, says Anthony Santiago, chair of Iowa State’s ESP Alpha Mu Chapter. To learn more, visit the Alpha Mu Chapter-Iowa ESP website. To join, complete the new member online application.

More notes

  • Please review the March program update for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
  • The Annual Conference videos are available in MyExtension. A recording of my comments, the keynote speaker’s handout, and a discussion guide also are available.
  • We’re almost through March, so it soon will be time for the next Two-Way Scorecard Communication Tool survey. The survey will open on April 5 and close on April 19. You can visit the County Services website to view a copy of the Quarter 3 questions.
  • Make sure to mark your calendars for ISU Extension and Outreach Week, April 12-17. This is a great time to thank Iowans for their support of extension efforts throughout the state. Our Advancement team has provided materials on MyExtension to help you make your celebrations extra special.
  • Recordings from the Extension Council Conference are now available on the Iowa Extension Council Association website.

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach