College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Strategic Plan

Iowa State University Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan 2011 - 2016

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Mission. Educate future leaders, conduct mission-oriented basic and applied research and share new knowledge for the betterment of Iowa and the world.

We embrace our critical role in addressing challenges in food security, food safety, climate change, environmental stewardship, renewable energy and human health. We must produce civic-minded, globally oriented graduates who are well-prepared to address society’s challenges as leaders in agriculture and life sciences. We must enhance relationships that result in scholarships, internships and successful careers. We will enable students to explore diverse career paths available through agriculture and life sciences. We will help broaden students’ perspectives through exposure to diverse people, ideas and cultures. We must ensure students understand both the fundamentals of their chosen discipline and the importance of interdisciplinary work. We will ensure students are engaged with global issues through study-abroad and other programs. We will find new ways to partner with K-12 and community colleges to produce successful college graduates.

We must inspire faculty and staff to work together, guided by mission, to enhance quality of life in Iowa and for the world. We will recognize and reward excellence in teaching, research and extension. We must manage resources wisely and collaborate strategically to provide the infrastructure and the opportunities for faculty to achieve at the highest level of their abilities.

Our research, extension and educational programs will promote economic growth and job creation. We must help faculty, staff and students succeed in transforming innovations into entrepreneurial activities. We will excel at transdisciplinary programs. We will excel in competing successfully for grant awards.

We must tell our story, in the voices of faculty, staff and students, to promote our successes. Our extension and outreach must engage alumni, friends, stakeholders and partners. Working together, we will enhance the vitality and sustainability of Iowa communities and the well-being of Iowans.

Vision. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will lead the world in “science with practice” that shapes the future and improves lives and livelihoods.

Our College is one of the world’s leading institutions of agriculture and related sciences, building on more than 150 years of excellence. The College’s leadership in science, education and extension are vital to the future of Iowa, the nation and the world. Our research and extension programs provide the innovation and science-based foundation needed for decisions about our future. We look forward to building on a legacy of many strengths and taking on new, exciting opportunities.


Attract outstanding students seeking to make a difference in the world through their chosen careers in agriculture and life sciences.


  • Recruit, support and graduate outstanding and diverse students.
  • Produce graduates well-prepared as leaders in addressing complex societal challenges.
  • Provide high-quality distance education programs that showcase College strengths in science and technology.

Expectations: Excellent academic programs. Students sharing diverse ideas and perspectives. Numerous educational opportunities, in and out of the classroom, in Iowa and around the world. Close partnerships with K-12 schools and community colleges. Highly successful transfer students.

Support diverse, outstanding faculty and staff who are dedicated to improving quality of life.


  • Recruit and retain people committed to excellence and leadership in their fields.
  • Increase the proportion of women and minorities in faculty and administrative positions.
  • Foster an environment that inspires collaboration, rewards achievement and provides for a satisfying work-life balance.
  • Provide cutting-edge physical and cyber infrastructure, while encouraging collaborations with external partners to leverage infrastructure resources.

Expectations: A culture of creating, sharing and applying knowledge. Strong linkages and collaborations with strategic Iowa and global partners. Interdisciplinary programs. Knowledgeable and frequent use of campus work-life balance policies. High retention rates for valued faculty.

Be known worldwide for addressing global challenges of the 21st century.


  • Produce and disseminate basic and applied research results that address food security, food safety, climate change, natural resources, renewable energy and human health.
  • Enhance programs that promote economic growth and entrepreneurship
  • Translate discoveries into viable technologies, products and services to strengthen the economy.
  • Build and enhance extension, outreach and global partnerships that expand the impact of College programs.

Expectations: Transformational, creative research. Entrepreneurial faculty, staff and students. Expanded sponsored funding efforts. Research and extension that enhance economic development. Faculty and graduate students recognized internationally for research progress. Insightful analysis that informs policy development.

Be valued as a treasured resource for Iowans and people of the world.


  • Clearly and broadly communicate contributions of the College’s students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Involve citizens in collaborative interactions through extension, outreach and engagement to improve quality of life and sustainable communities.

Expectations: College’s successes are top-of-mind. Programs helping make Iowa communities vital and Iowans resilient. Students sharing their stories publicly. Engaged and supportive alumni, friends and stakeholders. Caring for environment a shared responsibility.