Message from the dean: Welcome to a new academic year!

CATEGORIES: Announcements

Dear LAS faculty, staff and graduate students,

Welcome to a new academic year! Despite the really hot weather, it’s great to see the students back, out and about on campus. I hope you found time during the summer break to relax and refresh.

We’ve had some exciting developments in the college, and I’m looking forward to working with you to develop and launch several new initiatives over the course of the year.

Strategic growth
An important component of the Reimagining LAS initiative is pursuing strategic growth opportunities in areas that show promise. Several departments in LAS are actively engaged, thanks to Iowa State University’s Degrees of the Future initiative and a new donor fund in LAS. For example, the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is proposing a new digital media degree and a sports media program. Several LAS departments are collaborating with other colleges on campus on proposed degrees in game design, financial technology, and integrated health sciences.

In support of its new strategic plan, the university also initiated a faculty hiring initiative, offering two-year financial support for hiring faculty in critical areas. LAS was fortunate to receive funding in four areas: climate science and sustainability, critical materials, cybersecurity, and human health initiatives. Seven departments in LAS will benefit from this effort. Other faculty searches in LAS will also support these important areas.

Reimagining LAS milestones
As I outlined in Around LAS last week, we are well on our way to meeting our Reimagining LAS goals. To date, we’ve reduced our expenses by $7.5 million – halfway to the goal of reducing the budget by $15 million over three years.

This progress comes after months and months of hard work by many individuals and teams. The process is difficult – I know that it is much, much easier to add something new than to let go of something cherished and familiar. But we’ve made it this far thanks to the diligent efforts of department chairs, our leadership teams, and so many of you who have offered innovative ideas and support.

Thank you to everyone who helped get us this far! There is still progress to be made, but I am confident that, together, we will succeed in creating a more sustainable college, benefitting students, faculty and staff.

As we return to the classroom, I’d like to call your attention to some resources that are available to instructors. Provost Wickert recently sent a message with links to several resources, including the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)’s Artificial Intelligence in Teaching collection. You can find guidance on student expectations, strategies for detecting AI in assignments, and a wide range of other tools.

You’ll also find helpful reminders and resources for areas like student mental health, academic support services, and policy clarifications.

As I communicated in an email earlier this month, CELT expanded to oversee all online education that was previously parceled out by college (in LAS, this was ELO). The centralization of course production, marketing, and student support services expands the support we can receive, and gives faculty increased access to emerging technologies and practices. Many staff members that you may have worked with in ELO made the move to CELT with the change. I encourage you to visit the CELT website: to learn about all the ways they can support instructors.

Incoming students
I’d like to thank everyone who helped recruit this year’s incoming students, worked with them through orientation, and volunteered to welcome them to campus – in some cases, even helping them move into the dorms. Thank you for your continued dedication to welcoming, supporting and teaching our students.

And speaking of thanks…I would love to see you at this year’s LAS Fall Convocation and Awards Ceremony on September 7 at 3:30pm in the Sun Room. I’ll deliver a State of the College address, and then we’ll celebrate faculty and staff who were selected for college and university awards.

Micah sends her best wishes for a successful academic year, and also wants to share some advice: When things get busy – and especially then! – it’s ok to take some time out and snooze for a few minutes, holding on to your favorite toy.

Micah (cat) with toy

Thank you for all your efforts,