Reprint of Corvallis Gazette-Times article by James Day, June 22, 2016
Lindsey Shirley_Corvallis Gazette-Times_Anibal Ortiz
Photo of Lindsey Shirley by Anibal Ortiz, Corvallis Gazette-Times

Editor’s Note: Lindsey Shirley, new University Outreach and Engagement associate provost and associate director of OSU Extension Service received some front page attention in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The article provides some insights into Lindsey’s way of thinking so I thought the article is worth sharing in its entirety.

Lindsey Shirley has perhaps one of the most far-reaching positions at Oregon State University.

As associate provost and associate director of the OSU Extension Service, Shirley runs the day-to-day operations of the service and works with outposts in all 36 Oregon counties. She succeeds Deborah Maddy, who retired this year.

One of her first orders of business since assuming the position June 1 is to visit all 36 counties. She will start with visits to the Portland metro area, Eastern Oregon and Central Oregon. She doesn’t have a sense yet of how long it will take, and it sounds like one of those enterprises that could turn into a bit of an adventure.

“The extension service is the front door of the university,” Shirley said. “It’s really important for me to spread the word about the benefits of the extension service. We have diverse offerings and programs and ways to communicate that information.”

Shirley also notes that she has to have a dual focus: understanding the breadth of the service’s programs and accomplishing group goals.

“I need to be combining information gathering with task-oriented advocacy on things that can be implemented,” she said. “I don’t want to take my first 100 days just information gathering.”

When you think OSU Extension Service, 4-H and other agricultural programs wind up top of the mind, but Shirley emphasizes that the service is much more than that and tailors its programs to the needs of people in those 36 counties. Shirley also noted that 4-H has a presence in all Oregon counties.

She offered a handout that identified the activities the [Extension] service is involved in, including energy, poverty, economic development, urban issues and human health.

“What activities are appropriate? What gets you the outputs and outcomes you want?” she said. “It could be a change of behavior that could help fight obesity — for adults and children.

“We need to look at the people in each county. What are the needs for this region?”

That’s why the visits are so critical. Although Shirley knows that some spots on the Extension Service map are much more conveniently reached by air, “you could also see it as a road trip, a way to see all the dots and what’s between the dots.”

Shirley came to OSU from Utah State University, where she initiated a bachelor’s program in outdoor product design.

“There are more than 1,000 companies in Utah that are involved in outdoor products,” she said, “and no career path. We worked on everything from materials to manufacturing, snowboard gear and apparel.”

Shirley grew up in Iowa, with two of her degrees being awarded from Iowa State University in her hometown of Ames. The strong extension programs and agricultural resources in the state definitely influenced her “life path,” she said.

And the life path of her family as well. Her parents have moved from Iowa to Portland, and her brother also left Iowa and is now working for the University of Oregon. Shirley previously had only brief experience traveling through Oregon but she felt “Oregon was a great place to live and work and this position gets me connected with people in Oregon.

“We continue to be pioneers.”

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
Mayra Senator Merkley
Senator Jeff Merkley with YA4-H! Malheur County teen teacher, Myra.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley was impressed. So impressed, he bestowed an award on the Malheur County Youth Advocates for Health (YA4-H!) program.

 

Recognizing its impact, Senator Jeff Merkley selected and recognized the Malheur County YA4-H! Teens as Teachers program and presented them with a Community Commendation Flag at the town hall in Ontario, Ore., for their work in Malheur County.

 

YA4-H! is a statewide teen health ambassador program that began in Oregon in the fall of 2011 with the ultimate goal of leading positive health-related change in their communities. In the process, the teen ambassadors also learn healthy eating and active lifestyle behaviors.

 

Here’s a sample of the project’s contribution to Malheur county:

 

  • Since 2013, the teens have helped plan, plant, and harvest over 6,482 pounds of produce in partnership with the Four Rivers Community Garden for the Next Chapter Food Pantry. In 2015 the teens held ten education field trips for youth in the community garden.
  • They reached 500 youth in kindergarten through sixth grade with five hours of direct education related to physical activity, nutrition, plant science, and healthy living.
  • They worked with community partners such as Alameda Elementary School to host a Food Hero booth at a Fun Run.

 

“This project is an exceptional example of a true community partnership and the importance Extension plays in the community,” noted Barbara Brody, Family & Community Health and 4-H Youth Development, OSU Extension Service Malheur County. “Partners include: Ontario School District; Adult Volunteers/Advisors; Four Rivers Community Garden; St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church; 4-H Alumni; and the teens who are currently enrolled.”

 

The teens participating in the project have proof of their success: Evaluations show that over 90% of the youth that participated in the program delivered by the teens said they would stop drinking sugary drinks. They also tried new foods and learned how to grow their own foods. Another teen participant commented, “I have become more aware of my health by teaching the kids about nutrition and physical activity. I no longer drink soda!” Now that’s a result with the potential for lifelong impact.

 

Teens as teachers YA4H training 028
Studying to be a YA4-H! teen teacher.

To qualify as a YA4-H! teen teacher, teens make a substantial commitment in time – at least 10 hours of training is recommended as a minimum, but 30-40 hours of training is preferred – and  must be:

 

  • Between the ages of 15 – 17;
  • Motivated to learn about healthy eating and the benefits of an active lifestyle; and
  • Able to communicate the value of healthy eating and increased physical activity, and to help others make healthy choices.

 

YA4-H logoLearn more about the program here.

 

Sources: YA4-H! Youth Advocates for Health website, Mary Arnold on YA4-H!

Elevating Equity within the Division of University Outreach and Engagement is the topic of this month’s First Monday Video. Listen in as State 4-H Outreach Specialist and Associate Professor Mario Magana joins Vice Provost Scott Reed for a three minute conversation. Mario’s recommendations provide insight into how to move from an equality mindset to one focusing on equity.

 

[Please note: The sound in this month’s video makes it challenging to hear all Mario’s important recommendations. Please take advantage of the video transcript for all of the details.  Transcript First Monday Video]

 

Did you miss this quarter’s Quarterly Conversation about new teaching and learning tools featuring the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, 360 degree video, 3-D printing, and more? Here’s the link to the recorded conversation and a few other links for you to enjoy:

 

 

Share your perspective on how the Division can increase its focus on equity by posting a comment.