Dear LAS faculty and staff,
Last Monday President Wintersteen delivered an important message about some of the upcoming challenges we face as a university, just like academic institutions throughout the nation. In addition to the financial pressure from the pandemic, smaller enrollment will further impact Iowa State’s budget.
I’ve been working with the department chairs, my leadership team and a budget advisory council on how to meet these challenges, remaining focused on the goal of preserving our mission of teaching, research and engagement. While it will not be easy – nor painless – we will survive the storm. Iowa State will endure.
This weekend I recorded a special video for our graduating seniors. I thought about how they will meet the challenges of entering the workforce at such a difficult time. It won’t be easy for them, but you have helped them develop skills to succeed.
I encourage you to send our graduates a message for inclusion in our virtual graduation event, using a special Convocation page. Whether it’s tips for taking on the world or a friendly wish of good luck, it will be well worth your time. This year’s graduates deserve a little extra support.
With the semester wrapping up quickly, graduation is certainly something to look forward to, but we also continue to generate good news in the college. The Department of World Languages and Cultures received approval to launch a new Middle Eastern studies minor, and today I learned that students and faculty in our theatre program’s costume shop have produced and sent more than 300 masks to medical facilities in Rhode Island, New York and California through the Sew the Curve Flat program.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy ended the week with exciting news. Paul Canfield, Distinguished Professor, Robert Allen Wright Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Senior Scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This is a prestigious achievement, and a well-deserved acknowledgement for Paul’s internationally recognized work.
Thank you for your continuing excellent work and for your willingness to collaborate – virtually and in person, across campus. We’ve heard many instances of sharing best practices, and Inside Iowa State highlighted some of our Engineering-LAS Online learning staff for their part in preparing the university’s online commencement ceremony.
Please continue to check up on students, seek out support, and keep up the communications with your supervisors and unit leadership. You’ll find recent updates to the employee FAQ list on the university’s safety page and resources for instructors and researchers on the LAS COVID-19 page.
And, lastly, here’s my cat Micah again, with an important reminder to take a break when you need it, get some rest, and take care of yourself.
With my best wishes for your good health,