Cottonwood Connections April 2024

April 2024

District Director Notes - Jay Harris

Kansas State University is elevating its extension and engagement efforts through a new initiative led by K-State Research and Extension and the Office of Engagement, in accordance with the Next-Gen K-State strategic plan.

Both teams are coming together to initiate a series of 75 conversations statewide with stakeholders and community members. These meetings will be hosted by local KSRE units and will have participants ranging from current KSRE board members to those who are entirely unfamiliar with extension services. The conversations will delve into their needs and explore how K-State can cater to them through enhanced extension and engagement programs.

Insights gathered from these meetings will play a pivotal role in shaping the future strategies and investments of K-State's engagement and extension efforts, including new opportunities for partnerships between KSRE and various colleges.

"We are channeling our resources into innovative strategies, projects and capacity building within our colleges and cooperative extension. This will enable us to offer a broader range of expertise to communities and residents of Kansas," said Tim Steffensmeier, assistant vice president and director of engagement and outreach.

The initiative's primary focus lies in making K-State's expertise and resources more accessible to local communities by addressing Kansas' most pressing challenges. Additionally, this will create more opportunities for students to learn and work within Kansas communities through applied learning experiences, benefitting both the students and the communities they are supporting.

"K-State is building upon K-State Research and Extension's existing assets and successful programs while expanding into new areas and opportunities that will improve Kansas communities. Helping Kansans has always been extension's mission, and we are excited about what we learn, and then what will come, from this exciting initiative," said Gregg Hadley, director for extension.

The Cottonwood District will be hosting an afternoon of conversations on April 24, 2024 to discuss the Next-Gen K-State strategic plan. The conversations will be held at the Ag. Research Center. If you are interested in attending, contact Jay Harris at [email protected] or call 785-628-9430 to be placed on the list for an invite.