November 2023: Message from Jason

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is the face of Iowa State University to people across the state. To many, 4-H is their first introduction to Iowa State. To others we provide the necessary trainings for pesticide applicators, childcare providers, or city clerks. To all, we are Iowa State.

Just as the university must embrace extension to fulfill its land-grant mission, ISU Extension and Outreach must embrace the university’s strategic initiatives to fulfill our mission to serve the state. Iowa State University is advancing the mission of science and technology with a sharp focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. I have been on several county tours in the past few months with President Wintersteen. Her message about Iowa State is focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. I believe if extension wants to be vital to the university, extension needs to be aligned with university initiatives and focus.

As the face of the university, how is ISU Extension and Outreach extending that focus of innovation and entrepreneurship across the state? How are we collaborating with others to do the same? I believe extension has a foundation in this space, but how do we do more, in alignment with the university, to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to all 99 counties?

Alignment with the university also means that we need to embrace those features of the university that make us more recognizable. Starting now, extension employees may order extension-branded apparel items that incorporate the I-State athletics mark and the ISU Extension and Outreach name from the Extension Store.

The I-State mark will be used only on extension employee apparel, and not combined with any sub-designations (no program areas, county names, center names, 4-H clover, etc.). Apparel with the ISU Extension and Outreach wordmark still will be available. When purchasing extension apparel, choose what you prefer and what will resonate most with the people you are engaging.

This I-State apparel option is a symbolic first step for ISU Extension and Outreach to show we are part of one Iowa State. First steps can lead to great strides. Over the next two months we will complete our strategic planning process. The planning committee met for a two-hour session last week and now the members are doing their homework, reflecting upon all the input gathered from colleagues and council members in meetings and surveys. We still intend to be ready to share the completed, 5-year plan with you all in January.

In ISU Extension and Outreach, we know – and now we can show – we are part of one Iowa State University. As we come together with a new strategic plan focused on issues that reflect the needs of Iowans and aligned with the university’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, I look forward to working with you all as one ISU Extension and Outreach.

Jason Henderson
Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Lifelong Learning Online

From Carol Heaverlo, assistant vice president, Operations, and Connie Beecher, extension state specialist, family literacy

ISU Extension and Outreach’s Lifelong Learning Online project team is conducting research on how Iowans prefer to engage with our online education in a project funded by the FY24 ISU Strategic Plan. Results from this research, being conducted via in-person and virtual focus groups this fall and winter, will help us develop a plan to pilot new approaches for offering noncredit, non-formal education via Iowa State Online. With a better understanding of Iowans’ virtual learning, technology, and marketing preferences, ISU Extension and Outreach can become a better provider of noncredit, non-formal online learning. We can also expand access to Iowans we aren’t currently reaching by learning how to more effectively meet them where they are.

The project team includes staff and faculty from Operations and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and is collaborating closely with colleagues from Iowa State Online, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology, Community and Economic Development, ISU Strategic Relations and Communications, and Information Technology Services.

The Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology is recruiting focus group participants via postcards and Facebook ads and by leveraging connections to community partners serving populations we want to reach more effectively. Community and Economic Development will provide support for some Spanish-language focus groups.

If you have questions about this effort, please contact project director Constance Beecher, project co-director Carol Heaverlo, or a member of the Lifelong Learning Online team: Brenda Allen, Kris Baldwin, Jill Brimeyer, Jed Findlay, Sarah Francis, Chris Johnsen, and Kristin Taylor.

2023 Civil Rights Update

Shared by Regenea Hurte, advisor – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The 2023 Civil Rights Training is available and focuses on our ADA and Reasonable Accommodations responsibilities. These trainings are meant to be conducted in group settings, such as at council or staff meetings, and must be proctored by your regional director or county director. Each attendee must be listed on the Training Tracker. I am available to assist in facilitating the Civil Rights Training and you can reach me via email at or phone at 515-520-1832 for more information and scheduling.

December 31 is quickly approaching and so is the submission deadline for those County Civil Rights Audits that are due for 2023. Thank you to those who have already submitted their audits! The next County Civil Rights Audit Information Session will be November 14 at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. If you have questions or need some individualized support, please contact me at or 515-520-1832.

For your information

  • An FAQ about using the I-State athletics mark for extension apparel is available on MyExtension. If you have questions about proper use of the ISU Extension and Outreach wordmark, email If you have questions about ISU Extension and Outreach apparel, email
  • 2024 ISU Benefits Open Enrollment has begun. ISU paid employees may elect or change health, dental, and life insurance; flexible spending accounts; and the eyewear discount plan for the upcoming plan year. See the University Human Resources website for more information. Iowa State recognizes county paid extension employees have different needs and offers a benefit program that will allow you to choose between different benefit options to design the benefit plan that is right for you. See the County Extension Benefits page for more information.
  • The Excellence in Extension Grant application process opens November 3. These competitive grants are open to all ISU Extension and Outreach employees – campus, field, and county. Funds are available for developing creative and innovative programs, as scholarships for graduate work, and to support professional growth for groups and individuals. To apply, review the application instructions, fund reimbursement, and follow-up procedures, and then complete the appropriate grant application. If you have any questions about the grants or application, please contact Alison DePenning,
  • The National Urban Extension Conference is May 28-31, 2024, in Nashville. The call for presentation proposals is open until December 1. Regular registration ($550) is open now through March 1, 2024.

Office of the Vice President for Extension and Outreach | | 515-294-6675