Foreword – Spring 2018

Remember that professor?

You know the one. The one who challenged you. The one who inspired you. The one who never accepted less than your best. This issue is devoted to them.

I remember laughing my way through agriculture in society class with Paul Lasley as we learned to better understand the lens through which we view the world. In agricultural law with Neil Harl, I learned early to come to class ready to discuss assigned cases—or heaven help you. I loved tech transfer in the role of ag education with Robert Martin in which we explored a learner-centered approach in countries across the globe. My list goes on and on.

After joining the staff at Iowa State, other faculty gave me a new appreciation for teaching from the professor’s perspective. Assistant dean of student services Howard Tyler shares his thoughts on teaching excellence on page 18, including hands-on opportunities like the Ag 450 Farm (celebrated in this issue with a 75th anniversary poster on page 20-21). Clark Coffman and crew are featured for their innovative approach to teaching large lecture courses (page 25). A team in ag and biosystems engineering shows how working in small groups can help deliver the best capstone experience (page 22).

New teachers are included alongside the veterans. We celebrate all our national teaching award winners on page 16. Alum Jacob Hunter (page 34), our 2018 Emerging Iowa Leader, is one of many CALS graduates training the next generation of leaders as FFA instructors and agriculture teachers.

Some students are so driven to learn, their tenacity is admired by fellow students and professors alike. That’s true for Shemaa Albayati. An Iraqi native, Shemaa and her husband moved their family to Iowa in search of a better life. When she told me her story, I was over- whelmed by her courage and commitment. I’ll never forget Shemaa’s story or her expression as she crossed the stage in May—as one who’s overcome adversity, proven herself a scholar and now proudly a Cyclone.

We welcome you to join in celebrating outstanding CALS teachers via social media using #CALSstories and visit STORIES online ( to read submissions of fellow alumni.

And, please mark your calendar for September 1, 2018, for our annual CALS BBQ in the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. Don’t miss this opportunity to reconnect with alumni and favorite instructors. I look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards from central campus,

Melea Reicks Licht