Cathann Kress, senior policy analyst and program lead for Military Community and Family Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., has been named as the next vice president for Extension and outreach at Iowa State University. Kress will begin her new role on July 1, 2011. ISU officials made the announcement March 21. In her role as vice president, Kress will serve as director of ISU Extension, which connects Iowans with Iowa State resources through educational opportunities that promote healthy people, support healthy environments and advance healthy economies. ISU Extension program areas include 4-H/youth development, community and economic development, agriculture and natural resources, families, and the Center for Industrial Research and Service. Kress succeeds Jack Payne, who accepted a position at the University of Florida in Gainesville, last May. Gerald "Jerry" Miller, longtime faculty member and administrator at Iowa State, has served as interim vice president for Extension and outreach since June 1, 2010.
New head of ISU Extension has 'tremendous experience'
"I am very excited that Cathann will be joining us," says ISU executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman. "Her experience and vision make her just the right person to lead ISU Extension during these challenging economic times and well into the future. I also want to extend a special thank you to Jerry Miller, who has led ISU Extension as interim vice president over the past year. Following the Extensive reorganization, his steady hand, his kindness and his deep understanding of Extension have been invaluable." ISU president Gregory Geoffroy notes, "Cathann has tremendous experience with Extension and in working with people. She's a graduate of both Iowa State and the University of Iowa, and started her career with Extension here in Iowa, so she is very familiar with the state. She has held top state and national positions in Extension, and she will provide great leadership for Extension in Iowa." Prior to joining the Department of Defense in 2008, Kress was director of youth development for the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service in Washington, D.C., for six years. She provided national leadership for youth programs administered through cooperative Extension and land-grant universities, including 4-H, USDA-military partnerships, rural youth opportunity programs and Children, Youth and Families at-Risk (CYFAR). She also established the mission and role of the National 4-H headquarters. From 2000 to 2002, Kress was assistant director of Cornell University's (Ithaca, N.Y.) cooperative Extension and the state program leader for 4-H Youth Development. She also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Education, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell; and as acting executive director (in 2002) of the New York State 4-H Foundation.
Coming home to Iowa, a state to which she has very strong ties
A native of Sharon Center, Iowa, Kress taught psychology at Kirkwood Community College in the late 1980s and was a youth development specialist and a youth and family violence specialist for ISU Extension from 1992 to 2000. She earned a bachelor of science in social work from ISU (1983), and a master's in counseling (1986) and a Ph.D. in education (1990) from the University of Iowa. "I'm honored to return to Iowa State and to serve the people of Iowa," says Kress. "I directly benefited from Iowa's commitment to education, and am a product of an excellent Iowa high school and two Iowa universities which prepared me well. Iowa State has affirmed the three-fold, land-grant mission: teaching, research and service for the public good. I look forward to working with dedicated volunteers, faculty and staff who have earned national reputations, and an institution which understands its role to both educate and innovate. And I will welcome feedback from the people of Iowa, which is critical to fulfilling our mission and continuing to provide relevant, high-impact programs for the state." ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean Wendy Wintersteen and David Holger, associate provost for academic programs and dean of the Graduate College at ISU, co-chaired the search committee.