From the Dean – Fall 2019

Greetings alumni and friends!

Since I arrived on a very cold day in January 2019, I have learned a great deal about this terrific college and university, the great state of Iowa and the global impact of both. I have had wonderful opportunities to travel the state and meet many people who work every day to advance the causes we care deeply about — from farming to milling, soils to livestock, crops to trees, schools to communities, and from the basic biology that underlies much of what we do to the energy and machines that make our work possible.

All this matters, and our faculty, staff and students know it! We are more than 300 faculty, more than 300 staff and more than 4,800 undergraduate and graduate students. We are a dynamic enterprise that is pushing forward and adapting to enable the next generation of thinkers and doers, to discover the underlying life and social sciences that enable us to better understand and manage our agriculture and natural resources, and to develop the technology to do so most ably.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is busy sustaining its excellence and embracing new possibilities. This issue of STORIES magazine brings you exciting news about the accomplishments, successes and outlooks of people who make up this great college. There is much to be proud of, and much to be optimistic about — even though the challenges in front of our communities, industries and landscapes are as significant as they’ve ever been. We are ready to take on these challenges. We are:

  • Continuing our strengths in teaching, research and extension and our worldwide reputation for excellence
  • Communicating to prospective students about what I call our “CALS Advantage”: advocating for what’s important; innovating with an entrepreneurial mindset; grounding yourself in your discipline; and becoming a leader
  • Attracting new students to join us as part of the Cyclone community, and promoting their success
  • Supporting an inclusive, welcoming culture on campus, and valuing the diversity our students, faculty and staff bring to every discussion
  • Emphasizing how our programs can address both more local issues and more global challenges
  • Building our revenue streams through innovation, efficiency and new ideas
  • Serving Iowans more deliberately through agriculture and natural resources extension and outreach

As you read the news and insights in STORIES magazine, I hope you’ll think about how we can all work together to make the college better. We are working hard to sustain and grow the highest level of excellence possible at a time of tight budgets and rising costs. We need your time, treasure and talents — and, significantly, your ideas. We welcome your ideas on how to foster new programs for extension and outreach; how to develop new partnerships in Iowa, across the country and beyond; how to attract the next great generation of students from every background and locale; and how to target the most important research projects and student experiences. Please help us do so by sending your ideas. Think about what kinds of efforts you might support.

It all matters, and enables us to do more and better. Touch base with the contacts provided in the stories you are about to read. They’d welcome a conversation and the opportunity to give you more information. And, of course, you can always touch base directly with me.

On behalf of the entire college and all its friends and partners, I send you our very best!

Go Cyclones!

Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean’s Chair,