Dear LAS Faculty and Staff,
Welcome back to a new academic year! I hope your summer was relaxing, fun, and productive, and you are ready for a new semester. Let me share a few updates regarding the college and the new academic year with you.
Thank you for doing a wonderful job recruiting a great class of new students to the college. Last year, we welcomed 2,437 new students to the college; this year’s class is shaping up to be nearly 2,600 students strong! The final tally will have to wait for the 10th day count. Prospective students and their parents were clearly convinced by the quality of our programs and our focus on student success. Over the coming year, we will continue to emphasize recruitment but also enhance our efforts to retain students and help them prepare for their lives and careers after graduation.
Looking back, we finished the past year with a strong record in new grants and contracts. With $29.4 million in new external funding for FY16, we did not quite top the record of $30.6 million from FY15, but we continue to succeed at a level which is at least 20% higher than our long-term average prior to FY15. In addition, many of our faculty in chemistry and physics receive funding from the Department of Energy through the Ames Laboratory. Thank you all for the tremendous effort that is hidden behind these figures. Together with high-impact publications and AAU-class awards, they document the quality of research and scholarship in the college.
A major activity this year will be work on the LAS strategic plan. As you know, the university-wide plan is now ready and will help guide us. I recently appointed Cinzia Cervato, professor in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, to serve as LAS Senior Faculty Fellow for Strategic Initiatives. She will spend 25% of her time in the college office, leading our strategic planning process. Our goal is to have the plan completed by the end of the academic year. A steering committee will oversee the work of four subcommittees, focusing on general education, college majors, research, and outreach. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion will inform the work of all subcommittees. There will be many opportunities for you to provide input and receive updates on our progress. These will be announced on the LAS website and in our regular e-newsletter, Around LAS.
The LAS website and Around LAS are the college’s main venues to share news, funding opportunities, and success stories with you. The e-newsletter will transition from a weekly to a biweekly format, and I ask that you review each issue for developments, events, deadlines, and important news. Please contribute by sending news to AroundLAS@iastate.edu and submitting your events using this online form.
Again, thank you for all your contributions and for the successes that we celebrated last year. I look forward to highlighting lots of good news about students, faculty, and staff over the coming year. Please join me on September 14 for our Fall Convocation and Awards Ceremony.
With very best wishes, Beate Schmittmann, Dean