Issue: 1302

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
July 8, 2024

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July as we celebrated America's independence last week. It is a day and a living idea worth noting, beyond the opportunity for vacation, fireworks and your favorite version of a backyard cookout (I did two of the three and would have liked to hit the trifecta)! Please take a moment to re-read the Declaration of Independence and contemplate it in the current day, as well as the time it was written, as best you can. It's a remarkable statement of intent, cause, resolution and goals… More

Top Stories

Younus Bhuiyan Sabbir, a doctoral student in agricultural and biosystems engineering, is the recipient of the 2024 Thamodaran Family Innovation in Agriculture Student Award offered through CALS, is in recognition of the innovative work Sabbir is doing to solve a grand challenge related to agriculture – finding a way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from grain elevators.

On the Hunt for Cleaner Energy Sources for Drying, Handling Grain
Younus Bhuiyan Sabbir, a doctoral student in agricultural and biosystems engineering, is the recipient of the 2024 Thamodaran Family Innovation in Agriculture Student Award offered through CALS. The scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Dhamu Thamodaran (’83 PhD economics) and his wife, Kanchana Thamodaran, is in recognition of the innovative work Sabbir is doing to solve a grand challenge related to agriculture – finding a way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from grain elevators. More 


Schulte Moore Strategic Plan Project Complete
Seven teams that received strategic plan funds for the budget year that ended June 30 either completed their work or requested a time extension to wrap up their project, including “Strengthening Agriculture's Role in Addressing Carbon Issues,”  with Lisa Schulte Moore, natural resource ecology and management. Funds purchased four analytical instruments to replace aging equipment used in measuring biomass and biochar. They're critical to three externally funded current projects at the Bioeconomy Institute and will support several pending research proposals. More 

Agrivoltaics – Bell Peppers and Solar Panels
Jacie Legois and Ray Wilmes, horticulture interns, planted bell peppers between rows of solar panels at the Alliant Energy Solar Farm at Iowa State University south of Ames last month. Their work is part of a multi-year, U.S. Department of Energy-funded, interdisciplinary project to study the emerging concept of agrivoltaics -- using solar power sites for agricultural purposes to make more efficient use of the land and create value for the communities where solar panels are located. More 

Teaching and Students

Auditorium Renovation to be Completed in Time for Fall Classes
The W. Kiley and Marie Powers Auditorium – 2050 Agronomy Hall – is a 117-seat tiered auditorium getting a complete makeover with new seats, lights, acoustic panels and removal of the stepped ceiling in favor of a flat ceiling to allow higher projector placement. The auditorium will have new audiovisual technology, including a dual-projection system so instructors can share two things at once. The project began May 13 and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 26 – the first day of fall classes. More 

Extension and Outreach

CALT to Hold Webinar on Iowa Fence Law July 11
The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation is holding a free webinar on Thursday, July 11, from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Iowa fence laws. The webinar will cover the basics of Iowa fence law including fence construction, borders and property lines, as well as tips for how to navigate disagreements with neighbors, plus the differences between fences and boundaries. More 

Master Gardener Fall Training Application Opens July 12
Applications will be accepted Friday, July 12, through Aug. 12 for the 2024 Fall Master Gardener training cohort, which will be offered in 44 counties or extension regions by ISU Extension and Outreach. The Iowa Master Gardener Program is a year-round volunteer service organization comprised of university-trained volunteers who use research-based horticulture and gardening knowledge and practices to educate people and coordinate projects that promote healthy communities. More 

Around the College

CALS Alumni BBQ Aug. 31 – Call for Volunteers and Invitation to Attend
Faculty and staff volunteers are needed for the annual CALS barbecue, to be held Aug. 31 at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. Approximately 400 CALS alumni and friends are expected to attend this year’s event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., prior to the Iowa State vs. North Dakota football game (kick-off is 2:30 p.m.). Complimentary lunch, parking and shuttle to the stadium will be provided. Volunteers who register will receive a CALS barbecue T-shirt in appreciation of their service. Register to volunteer online by Aug. 2. For questions, contact Angie Weeks ( Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Registration/Greeter (11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
  • Beverage service (10:30-11:45 a.m. or 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

CALS faculty, staff and guests are also invited to attend the barbecue as guests. Details are available on the CALS barbecue webpage. Event registration is required by Aug. 23.

Joan Cunnick Retired June 30
Joan Cunnick, professor in animal science, retired from Iowa State on June 30 (there was no public event). She has been at Iowa State for more than 32 years, teaching a variety of courses and laboratories in the Microbiology Undergraduate Program. Cunnick served as the professor in charge of the Interdepartmental Microbiology Program since 2004.


July 16: Prairie Field Day
The Horticulture Research Station is hosting Prairie Field Day 2024 on July 16. The inaugural event will feature several guest speakers and onsite tours of three prairie projects currently at the station - the remnant prairie, the reconstructed prairie and the Department of Natural Resources prairie seed production project. Registration closes Tuesday, July 9. More 

July 25: Iowa Swine Day
Iowa Swine Day, on July 25 at the Iowa State Center, will present current information on critical topics emerging in the industry. The event is organized and presented by the Iowa Pork Industry Center. A preconference symposium on July 24 will feature eight leading swine industry experts presenting Soybean Meal 360. More 


Gallus: Two Key Tornado Ingredients, On Steroids
This year’s violent tornado season has been one of the most active on record. William Gallus, professor of atmospheric science at Iowa State, explains the weather behind the outbreaks in a June 24 article for The Conversation. More 


The Chalk vs. Marker Debate
In the last 10 years, about one-third of Iowa State's 209 general university classrooms and auditoriums had a full renovation or received upgrades. Classroom scheduling specialist Katie Baumgarn said anytime a significant project is considered, she invites primary users of the space to talk with her team. A recurring debate is chalk versus dry erase markers. A recent survey of 60 faculty members showed the following. More  

  • 13 strongly preferred chalk
  • 24 strongly preferred markers
  • 10 favored chalk
  • 9 favored markers
  • 4 had no preference

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Thursday.


University Nondiscrimination Statement