John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 25, 2019
Iowa State University graduate Lauren Berglund, who is legally blind, feels strongly about the importance of accessibility to electronic materials. She’s encouraged that we are working to make our extension educational materials accessible. You can watch the video of Lauren’s story – with closed captioning so you can read what is being said, as well as with audio descriptions so you can hear what is being seen. This is another aspect of accessibility for all, and our eAccessibility team offers this update on our eAccessibility Initiative. Did you know?
- ISU Extension and Outreach is part of the eAccessibility Advisory Council of Iowa, which began meeting in May. The council also includes representatives from Drake University, Iowa Workforce Development, Easter Seals, Iowa Department for the Blind, and Tech4Impact, a private sector company.
- We have a new partnership with the Iowa Department for the Blind. A department employee who uses a screen reader will be helping to inform and guide our eAccessibility actions for creating and revising documents.
- Our eAccessiblity team shares best practices with those who work on ISU Extension and Outreach publications. This helps staff move beyond simply passing the accessibility checker to providing a good reading experience.
- Four members of the team – Kristi Elmore, Robin Ertz, Chris Johnsen and Rachel Tendall – have dedicated over 3,000 hours to the initiative since December 2017.
- Check MyExtension for more eAccessibility information.
In addition, five team members just returned from attending and presenting at Accessing Higher Ground 2019 in Denver, Colorado, which focuses on accessibility in higher education. As a result, the curriculum the team has put together has now been shared with 31 institutions. Our work continues to lead the way in document accessibility across the nation, and our team now has many new tools and techniques to aid in accessibility.
ANR director search
On Nov. 21 CALS Dean Daniel Robison and I announced that the candidate will interview for the position of Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach and ISU Extension Program Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources on Dec. 3. You can learn about the candidate’s strategy for leading our ANR program during a public seminar at 1 p.m. in 0013 Curtiss Hall. Those interested may attend in person or access the seminar via Zoom, at https://zoom.us/j/415857802. The seminar will be recorded and available for viewing beginning Dec. 4. The question and answer session will not be recorded.
- You can begin nominating your colleagues for ISU Extension and Outreach awards. Nominations are due Feb.10 by 12 p.m. and nomination guidelines for each award are available online.
- On Nov. 22 we announced Structured for Success: The Plan for Our Future. Please review the video message and document with details (These materials are archived on the Structured for Success feedback webpage and in MyExtension.) You’ll find specific information about timelines, the role of the regional director, expectations for county staff, cost estimates, and the added value for counties. Also FYI: In our online survey, which concluded Nov. 8, we asked county councils and staff to provide a nonbinding, general indication of which model they were interested in. Here are the results from that question.
On behalf of council: 36 responses; 13 for Model 1, 1 for Model 2, 22 for Model 3
Individual council member: 129 responses; 37 for Model 1, 11 for Model 2, 78 for Model 3
On behalf of county office staff: 33 responses; 12 for Model 1, 3 for Model 2, 18 for Model 3
Individual county staff member: 168 responses; 59 for Model 1, 13 for Model 2, 93 for Model 3
The number of respondents may not equal the votes for models, as some responded to the insurance question without indicating a preference for a model.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach