Message from the dean – Welcome back

CATEGORIES: Announcements

Dear LAS faculty, staff, graduate students and post-docs,

Welcome to a new semester! I hope you found some time during the extended break to rest and relax. Thanks to all your hard work and innovative ideas in the fall, we are well prepared for the spring semester, which will look very similar to the fall.

Faculty and course related updates

An update and summary of faculty expectations can be found on the Provost’s website. Please take special note of information about a mandatory syllabus statementexpected levels of engagementexams and academic integrity, and experiential learning activities. You can find faculty resources related to the use of coursework warehouses on a new website created by the Office of Student Conduct. And last but not least, the Provost’s office issued an additional memo with helpful information about the separation of personal and professional political advocacy, political discussions in classrooms, and resources for faculty who may become the target of trolling or doxing.

COVID-19 related updates

The university will continue contact tracing and notifying faculty when a student needs to be absent from class, per university public health guidelines. However, this semester these notices will not include a return to class date. Students will be advised of a return date, but since this detail caused issues in the past, it will no longer appear in faculty notifications. You can find a full Q&A document about notifications on the Dean of Students office website.

Please continue to visit the university’s COVID-19 Response website for updates, and check your inbox for Inside Iowa State every week. These are your two best information sources for important university updates. You can also find a summary of fall data and efforts to help keep our campus safe here.

I would also like to remind everyone of support resources for faculty, staff and students. The university response page lists numerous well-being and other support options, and  given the recent tragic news made public about a student death, I feel it is important to highlight additional resources. I would like to express my sincere sympathies and best wishes to family and friends who are coping with loss, and remind everyone of resources for students, faculty and staff:

Looking ahead

Fortunately, we have many things to look forward to in the upcoming months. Our LAS Career Services team will host two virtual career fairs Feb. 23 and Feb. 25, in addition to multiple webinars to prepare students for the fairs. Please encourage students to attend these important events! Details are available on the LAS events calendar.

We are also preparing for LAS Week, scheduled for March 22-26. This is an excellent time to connect LAS students with alumni, experiential opportunities, and to heighten awareness of the incredible work in our college. If your department or unit would like to include an event as part of the week, please contact Erin Halverson:

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce Rebecca Runyon, director of our new LAS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Academy, which will launch during LAS Week. Rebecca is a recent ISU graduate and developed her entrepreneurial skills right here on campus, establishing two businesses of her own before graduation. I am excited to see what she will inspire in the college.

Stay vigilant

As we begin the semester, you may have grown tired of the extra efforts, but please continue practicing safe behaviors according to Cyclones Care guidelines. It’s a critical part of expressing care and concern for our community, especially as we learn about new strains of COVID-19. If you are unable to find solutions to an issue related to COVID-19, you can contact the LAS Response team by email: If you are unable to send an email you can call 515-294-7740.

Thank you all for getting us to this milestone. Your willingness to adapt and innovate, in and out of classrooms, labs and offices, has created the foundation for us to have a successful spring semester. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

I’ll wrap up with an image of Micah, joining me in a meeting with Associate Dean Amy Slagell.



With my best wishes for an excellent semester,


Beate Schmittmann
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Iowa State University