Monday Update: Becoming diverse, equitable, and inclusive

June 29, 2020

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

For the past few months Ross Wilburn has been on leave from ISU Extension and Outreach, serving as a representative in the Iowa General Assembly. We thank Ross for his service to our state, and we welcome him back to his ISU Extension and Outreach roles as diversity adviser and Community and Economic Development associate director. For the rest of this year, Ross will focus most of his time on diversity training and education, which includes ongoing training development and delivery, implementation, and coaching for Civil Rights programs, reports, and initiatives.

Another key player in our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts is Sean Nelson. Sean splits his time between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Office of Equal Opportunity and assists in our compliance efforts. For example, he is helping us interpret policy and identify programming needs around Civil Rights reporting and Title VI, VII, and IX training.

With Ross’ and Sean’s leadership and all our efforts, together we can make ISU Extension and Outreach more diverse, equitable, and inclusive to better serve all Iowans. As we approach the July 4th holiday, let us be mindful of our continuing goal of justice for all. We will build a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans with research, education, and extension experiences to solve problems and prepare for a thriving future. As Vice President Lawrence has stated, “Going forward, we will continue our commitment and strengthen our resolve in putting our vision, mission, and strategic plan into action.”

Iowa’s disaster emergency continues

Governor Reynolds’ June 25 proclamation continues the Public Health Disaster Emergency and is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. The proclamation extends the public health mitigation measures that are currently in place, including the requirement to maintain social distancing in bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and similar venues. It also extends many of the regulatory relief measures previously implemented.

Open for Iowa

In response to President Wintersteen’s June 24 memo requiring face coverings for ISU faculty, staff and students effective July 1, the Open for Iowa committee has updated the face covering guidance for ISU Extension and Outreach. The committee shares the following information.

  • Beginning July 1, face coverings and/or face shields will be required in ISU campus classrooms, offices, and other areas where physical distancing is not possible. This is an adjustment from the original face covering policy. This requirement applies to ISU Extension and Outreach staff working in a professional capacity when physical distance cannot be maintained on campus.
  • Off-campus, all faculty and staff who are able are expected to wear a cloth face covering or face shield when in the presence of others where other mitigation strategies are not available or are difficult to maintain (e.g., physical distancing). This expectation applies whenever an ISU Extension and Outreach staff member is working in a professional capacity and regardless of venue (e.g., in a county office, providing a program in an outside venue, etc.).
  • ISU Extension and Outreach county employees, council members, and volunteers are strongly encouraged to follow state staff expectations. Wear a cloth face covering or face shield at any time you are in the presence of others and unable to maintain a six-foot physical distance. Participants are strongly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering when in the presence of others and unable to maintain a six-foot physical distance.

Vice President Lawrence’s June 22 letter to county offices about reopening also has been posted to the Open for Iowa webpage. Please continue to check the page frequently for updates.

More notes

  • This week our Structured for Success process ends, and we launch our new ISU Extension and Outreach at 8:05 a.m. July 1. Please plan to attend this one-hour Adobe Connect session at
  • The Vice President for Extension and Outreach Tuition Assistance Program will continue the current policy of reimbursing employees for tuition to Iowa State as well as other institutions. See the June 25 message from Vice President Lawrence.

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