Monday Update: About Cooperative Extension

July 27, 2020

Message from Debra Sellers, on behalf of the Office of the Vice President

As the Open for Iowa Committee reviewed the results of their recent survey, they noted that respondents wondered why their guidance provides different direction for various parts of our system. For example, ISU-paid staff are required to do certain things that county staff are not required to do. This is because Cooperative Extension is a relationship of partners with different roles.

The national Smith-Lever Cooperative Extension Act, signed May 8,1914, established a new cooperative relationship between states and the federal government, creating the national Extension System. By that time, Iowa’s extension service was eight years old and relationships between counties and what was then Iowa State College were already forming. Today USDA, Iowa State University, and county extension councils in 100 extension districts work together to engage Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. We are partners, with different roles, who share responsibility for assessing needs and facilitating and delivering research-based and evidence-based educational programs. This cooperation is formalized in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Each extension council chair signs the MOU on behalf of their extension district. Then the Vice President for Extension and Outreach, representing Iowa State, signs each of the 100 MOUs. The current MOU took effect July 1 and continues through June 30, 2023.

The Open for Iowa Committee notes that county offices across the state are dealing with many different COVID-19 related situations that require good communication. Counties may visit the Advancement COVID-19 Resources page in My Extension for signs and other materials to help communicate with clients. This is another example of how our cooperative partnership is helping us serve Iowans and build a strong Iowa.

Updates from President Wintersteen

  • In her July 23 message President Wintersteen explained how Iowa State is prioritizing health and safety as students, faculty, and staff return to campus.
  • President Wintersteen and senior leaders will hold a virtual town hall for faculty and staff July 30 (3-4:30 p.m. via Webex) to discuss plans to support a safe and healthy fall semester. Participants may access the town hall through Webex events, which now can accommodate up to 3,000 attendees. Participants may type questions for leaders in the Q&A box.

More notes

  • The internal search for our new Director of Operations position has begun and closes August 3. Vice President Lawrence explained this reconfiguration of the Senior Director position in his July 24 message. Current ISU employees are encouraged to apply. The position description is available in Workday.
  • Iowa State’s employee retirement incentive option (RIO) proposal will be presented to the state Board of Regents for approval at the board’s July 29 meeting.
  • With most of western Iowa experiencing some form of drought, ISU Extension and Outreach is partnering with USDA and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to offer drought webinars beginning July 30. ISU Extension and Outreach will offer free, in-person drought meetings beginning Aug. 3.
  • Thank you to everyone helping Iowa’s young people have some type of 4-H county fair experience during this continuing pandemic. As you conduct virtual events, make health and safety preparations for in-person activities, and perhaps deal with last-minute cancellations or changes in plans, please know that you are creating valuable learning experiences for Iowa’s 4-H youth.

Debra M. Sellers
Associate Dean, College of Human Sciences
Director, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach