Monday Update: Getting to Know Jason; eAccessibility Progress

May 15, 2023

It’s another week of exploring Iowa and meeting some great people. We complete the last four of our 15 Hellos and Handshakes listening sessions this week, traveling to Dickinson and Buena Vista counties on Thursday and Cerro Gordo and Hardin on Friday. I’ll also have more evening Community Conversations sessions on Wednesday (Polk) and Thursday (Buena Vista).

The more I get out and talk to all of you who do the work of extension, the more excited I get for our future. But that’s a topic for a future message.

For now, since I may be answering a deep question or two this week, I thought I’d offer up answers to some not-so-serious questions right here -- taken from those you submitted during our March Annual Conference.

What fun or interesting hobbies do you enjoy? In terms of hobbies, I am at the stage of life where kids’ activities are my hobbies. That said, I love a good bonfire. The bigger the flame, the better. I enjoy board games or games in general. The classics – Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, and newer ones like CATAN, Boggle, and Rack Rummy are also some of my favorites.

What is your favorite food and/or a special family food tradition?

My mom’s potato salad – it’s sweeter than most potato salad. She usually only makes it for holidays or special summer events. But I think it’s an Iowa potato salad recipe because during my daughter’s high school graduation in Indiana, she made it and a couple of Iowa natives commented that they could tell we were from Iowa because the potato salad tasted like their grandma’s potato salad.

What is one thing we should know about you (that maybe you didn't share in your interview)?

I carry a Tinker Bell credit card in my wallet. When my wife set up the Disney credit card to collect points, she let our youngest pick out the picture on the card. They thought it would be funny to give me Tinker Bell. I do get a lot of comments about the card when I use it.

See you on the road,

Jason Henderson
Vice President for Extension and Outreach


eAccessibility: Where we are and how you can help!

From members of the eAccessibility Core Team and Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Megan Bagley, Kristi Elmore, Robin Ertz, Solomon Funchess, Regenea Hurte, Fred Krenk, Ron Nelson, John Robnett, and Rachel Tendall

Iowa State’s Digital Accessibility Policy launched in February 2022 and maps a timeline for making online materials accessible to ensure barrier-free access. (A detailed policy overview is available in the campus IT Portal.) Additional guidance will be coming on how this specifically impacts ISU Extension and Outreach – because, in digital accessibility terms, we have a four-year head start!

We began our eAccessibility Initiative in 2018 and one of our goals was to make sure that publications on the Extension Store are accessible to all, including those who use assistive technology. We’ve made a lot of progress since then. 

  • About 76% of the 2,237 Extension Store publication titles estimated at the beginning of this project have been remediated, revised, or moved to “no longer available” status.
  • About 93% of the 29,045 Extension Store publication pages estimated at the beginning of this project have been remediated, revised, or are no longer available.
  • Publication designers and product managers are encouraged to take eAccessibility training and are required to meet policy-mandated accessibility standards when submitting new and revised publications to the Extension Store.
  • Approximately 350 extension professionals have participated in the Microsoft Word digital accessibility workshops offered through Professional Development.
  • Twenty digital, accessible-ready templates have been created by Advancement for download through MyExtension. 
  • Ongoing relationships continue with Iowa organizations that support or aid in equal access.
  • Organization and facilitation of the Cooperative Extension Digital Accessibility Community of Practice, a regular, recurring, roundtable discussion with extension professionals across the country, allows participants to discuss similar work at their respective land-grant institutions. 
  • We have developed publications and curricula, made available to all ISU staff as well as for sale to external audiences.

May 18 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. People around the world will be talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion – but you can go further. Consider registering for one of the free Creating Accessible Digital Documents in Microsoft (MS) Word hands-on, in-person workshops on May 31 or June 15 so you can take action to improve the accessibility of your digital documents for all Iowans. Also watch the Professional Development newsletter for future in-person and virtual workshops, including new workshops on accessibility in MS PowerPoint and MS Excel. Workshop materials are also available in an asynchronous format for those who would prefer to learn independently on their own time. To access the self-study material at no cost, log in with your ISU netID in the main menu of the eAccessibility website.

Registration is open for special Iowa agritourism tours

From Diane Van Wyngarden, CED tourism specialist

Registration is now open for two special Agritourism Entrepreneurship tours, held June 13 and July 25. The event registration deadline is May 25. Persons interested in beginning or improving their own agritourism business are invited to experience a wide variety of operations and learn insider agritourism tips on topics including marketing plans, short-term rentals, classes that extend income beyond the growing season, value-added products, day camps for youth and adults, and using specialty crops to attract additional visitor income.

Each tour’s $10 registration fee includes a farm-to-table lunch. Individuals may register for one or both tours. Group size is limited to one motorcoach on a first-registration basis. These Extension to Communities business education events are funded by Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa’s State Tourism Office to generate additional farm income and boost local economies.

More information and registration links are online at or contact Extension Tourism Specialist Diane Van Wyngarden at

For your information

  • Goodbye … and welcome, April 2023: Please review this list of individuals who left ISU Extension and Outreach in the past month, as well as those who have joined our organization.