Monday Update: Combining research and extension

March 29, 2021

Over a hundred years ago, Iowans asked the question: What if research from Iowa State could be put to work in a county? This became the extension idea and we’ve been taking our land-grant university to the people ever since. So when I was asked to provide a video for last week’s ISU Research Days Resource Fair, I took advantage of the opportunity. (You can watch my two minute video, Research and Extension: Partners for a Strong Iowa.) I wanted to share our story with ISU researchers because combining research and extension expertise is a win for everyone. Did you know?

  • Our faculty on campus have extension/research split appointments and can be excellent co-PIs or collaborators on research projects.
  • Extension professionals throughout the state have insight and connections about local needs and opportunities. We communicate the needs of Iowans back to the university to help shape research and educational experiences.
  • We build relationships. We have strong, personal connections with farmers, families, community leaders, decision makers, agencies, and organizations across Iowa.
  • Our Indicators Program provides data for decision makers at the local, regional, and state levels.
  • Our county offices are community learning hubs, directly connecting Iowans to research from Iowa State’s laboratories, field plots, and research and demonstration farms.

With our 99 county campus we have people, relationships, data, and places throughout the state to help ISU research have a broader impact. When researchers and extension professionals work together, we can help each other build a strong Iowa.

March 22 town hall archive available

The Roadmap to Recovery March 22 town hall archive is available. We held the town hall so we could learn from each other, and I’d like to thank Kathy Vance, Syerra Niday, Cheryl Bruene, Missy Loux, Megan Freel, and Jennifer Best for sharing their county action plans and progress. Now’s the time to begin scheduling programming so that by July 1 you’re ready to begin implementing your action plan. Your initiative shouldn’t be the only thing you do this next fiscal year, but it should be one of the things you do.

Each person has a specific role and responsibilities, but all of us can continue to learn about our initiatives and our overall roadmap to recovery. In addition to the town hall archive, you also can review I-Team videos and resources that were presented during the Iowa Extension Council Association Conference.

Vaccine education initiative

ISU Extension and Outreach is partnering with the Iowa Department of Public Health and University of Iowa to offer vaccine education. Dr. Debra Sellers and Andrea Nelson will co-chair this initiative. For more information see my vaccine education message from earlier today and plan to attend the vaccine information session preview for staff, April 1, 11 a.m.–12 p.m., via WebEx at

More notes

  • The next Two-Way Scorecard Communication Tool 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.
  • The ISU Extension and Outreach face covering mandate continues through May 8. People must be able to maintain six feet of physical distance at events. See Open for Iowa for more information.
  • From May through November, I plan to visit every county office and meet with county staff, specialists, and council members. Mica Redenius, my administrative assistant, will be working with our Advancement team and contacting county offices to schedule the visits.

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach