Monday Update: Thank you, virtual education, and more

June 22, 2020

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

I’d like to begin this message by thanking our county extension councils. All 100 MOUs have been signed, submitted, and received. Thank you! Our continuing partnership provides a firm foundation as the Structured for Success process ends and our organization moves forward. We will 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

I also encourage you to share this letter from Vice President Lawrence with volunteers, partners, stakeholders, and other community members. It describes steps we have taken to protect our staff, faculty, and the public as we work to reopen ISU Extension and Outreach offices to the public. It also explains how we continue to develop and engage in alternate ways of bringing research-based education to all Iowans.

Virtual Education Task Force

Last week the Virtual Education Task Force presented their first deliverable to Vice President Lawrence. This report includes recommendations about successful virtual or digital strategies that ISU Extension and Outreach should sustain or expand across programmatic units and county services. The task force’s final assignment is to envision how to proactively position ISU Extension and Outreach to respond to Iowans’ emerging needs for accessing informal education in a post-pandemic world. Their final report and recommendations are due Aug. 1. (Please review the task force’s charge and list of members.)

Open for Iowa

The Open for Iowa Committee has prepared answers to questions raised during their June 8 Second Monday Live presentation. Please continue to check the Open for Iowa webpage frequently for updates. New resources include training and guidance on collecting contact information and screening for COVID-19, and EPA approved disinfectants from the Extension Store. Food guidance based on the newest county insurance liability information has been posted as well. Food guidance is not optional. No prepared food can be served, sold, or provided by staff, volunteers, or participants at any county extension hosted program or activity regardless of the program or activity location.

Updates from President Wintersteen

  • Last week President Wintersteen noted that this is a time to reflect, listen, and learn about what still needs to be done here at Iowa State and across the nation to address the racism and prejudice experienced by the Black community. (See her message regarding Juneteenth.)
  • President Wintersteen also affirmed Iowa State’s commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive campus, where individuals from all over Iowa and the world have an opportunity to achieve their full potential through hard work, education, innovation, and creativity. (See her message regarding the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling.)

Updates on fairs

  • The June 17 “Iowa Unity: We are all on the same team” town hall recording is available. Topics included best practices on cleaning, health, and safety for summer fairs; fair logistics; fair board considerations; food service; options for 4-H’ers at the Iowa State Fair; insurance; livestock; and fair eligibility for next year. A comprehensive FAQ document is being developed to answer additional questions not included in the presentation.
  • The Iowa State Fairgrounds will host a Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show in August. For more information, see the news release and the Iowa State Fair 4-H Livestock page.

More notes

  • President Wintersteen has been selected to receive the 2020 National Ruby Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, the national honor society for extension professionals. This is the most prestigious recognition presented by ESP and recognizes truly outstanding thinking, performance, and leadership in extension.
  • Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg and Secretary of Agriculture Naig announced the Beef Up Iowa program to connect Iowa beef producers with food insecure Iowans. Iowa State students and staff will process cattle from Iowa beef producers who have limited processing options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meat will be distributed to food bank and food pantry feeding programs across the state. The initial cattle for Beef Up Iowa will be sourced from Iowa 4-H and FFA members.
  • Area-wide meetings will be starting again this fall and the fall meetings will be virtual. Area lines have been redrawn to best honor the updates in program and service unit maps. See the map in the June 2020 County Services Connection.
  • Join Advancement's Jordyn Harrison, video producer, and Leah Feltz, social media specialist, this Friday, June 26, at 10 a.m. for DYK? Creating Engaging Social Media Stories webinar, Participants will learn the basics of Instagram and Facebook stories, best practices to follow when using stories, and how to create an engaging story. There also will be time for Q & A.

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