From the Dean – Fall 2015

This fall I was reappointed to my third term as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I welcome the opportunity to continue to lead one of the world’s very best agricultural and life sciences colleges.

I shared a few thoughts with our faculty and staff looking ahead to the coming year and beyond. A new university strategic planning process will begin, plus we will develop a college strategic plan. Both will guide how we think about future directions and opportunities.

In the past we’ve engaged in broad, diverse conversations about high-priority or emerging issues. In keeping with the theme of this issue of STORIES, I’m proud to say that the work of the ISU-led science assessment team of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is viewed as a national model on how states use science to address water quality. We’ve been leaders in launching major initiatives in the bioeconomy and, this past year, in monarch butterfly conservation. This year I have established a task force to lead a college-wide dialogue on sustainability. I want to gather input and ideas that will make sustainability an even larger part of our research, teaching and extension programs, so that we can take advantage of new opportunities by creating innovations and continue our efforts in conserving natural resources.

As I see it, near the very top of our college priorities is maintaining and enhancing the student experience. As the university has grown in recent years, we must think thoughtfully and carefully on how we continue to sustain our hallmark advising and mentoring of students. We must continue to build on our excellent global programs that prepare students for careers and improve their understanding of different cultures and ways of life. Helping entrepreneurial students harness good ideas as vehicles of business, economic development and job creation is one of the most exciting areas I can think of, and we need to strengthen our efforts in these programs.

A recent survey of our alumni showed 73 percent felt our faculty and staff took a personal interest in them while they were students. That is a fantastic impact. But I believe we should aim for 100 percent. What more can we do to ensure our graduates leave with that feeling?

I welcome your thoughts on how we make our great college even better. Let me know your insights on how we continue to fulfill our mission to the state of Iowa and extend our impact to the world.

Wendy Wintersteen

Endowed Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences