Message from the dean: Welcome to fall semester

CATEGORIES: Announcements

Dear LAS faculty, staff and graduate students,

Welcome to a new academic year!

As we kick off the fall semester, we do so with renewed energy and momentum. Over the last year, we overcame many challenges and accomplished so much. I hope you will join me for our annual LAS Fall Convocation and Awards Ceremony on September 6 to hear more, but I’ll highlight a few of those accomplishments here.

Our LAS Innovation + Entrepreneurship (I+E) Academy completed its first year! Read about our impressive first cohort here.

Monic Behnken completed her first term as Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Her team launched several new initiatives, including Graduation +, a program designed to enhance the success of students of color – through graduation and beyond.

We launched several new academic programs, including the new interdisciplinary climate science major, a B.A. in computer science, a science communication certificate, and a new master’s degree in artificial intelligence.

External research funding hit a new record, student recruitment numbers are looking great, and we’re seeing some good ideas to help Reimagining LAS efforts. Thank you for your contributions to research, teaching, and the everyday work of your department or unit!

I’d like to point you to a few resources for everyone who is teaching a course. Associate Provost for Academic Programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden distributed a compilation of resources, and the Academic Success Center has some important information for you here. We also recently announced the Janson-Hilsinger Innovation Fund, a new resource to support curricular innovation in the college. This is a donor-funded initiative designed to help departments in your Reimagining LAS efforts, and I encourage you to review the request for proposals. One key focus for next year will be undergraduate retention, so that the students who just joined us will stay here and complete their degrees.

I’ll close with a photo of Micah, who doesn’t seem particularly excited about a new semester, and a photo I took at one of my favorite places, the Iowa Arboretum. Micah reminds us that we all need quiet time once in a while – all it takes for her is a brown paper bag, and the colorful flowers reflect my optimism and excitement for a great academic year.

Best wishes,

Micah the cat peers out from a paper bag
Beautiful flowers bloom at the Iowa Arboretum