ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Names Carmen Bain as Associate Dean of Academic Innovation

Carmen Bain was named the new Associate Dean for Academic Innovation in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

AMES, Iowa – An Iowa State University sociology professor has been named the associate dean for academic innovation in Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Carmen Bain will lead the college’s Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Innovation, which oversees academic affairs, student services, career services, student recruitment and retention, and the Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer. Bain’s official start date is April 16.

The newly created position takes on responsibilities of the former associate dean for academic programs position, and provides a key leadership role in undergraduate education.

“We are excited to have Dr. Bain move into this newly reframed position,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the Endowed Dean’s Chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are looking forward to her leadership in advancing our undergraduate mission, which will sustain and grow the college’s excellent ratings in our classrooms, laboratories and research areas. Dr. Bain will also join our efforts to adjust to the COVID-19 situation and all the rapid changes this has brought to our academic programs.”

“I’m honored to be selected to serve in this position,” said Bain. “I am excited to collaborate with our outstanding College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff in leading the college forward. We face challenges ahead in terms of recruiting and retaining students, but we can address them through innovation within our academic programs.”

Bain will serve as a core member of the college leadership team, working with Dean Robison. Bain also will work closely with assistant dean for student services Howard Tyler to support academic units and department chairs within the college and also work with external groups and university-wide efforts related to undergraduate students. 

The associate dean for academic innovation position will support and lead the advancement of high-impact and value-added academic programming across the college and in collaboration with other Iowa State University colleges. These efforts include undergraduate research, service learning, community engagement, student innovation, entrepreneurship and domestic travel.  

In 2007, Bain joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology, a department coadministered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has served as program coordinator for the agriculture and society undergraduate major, one of 26 majors offered by the college. Her teaching and research interests include the governance of agricultural and food systems; gender, agriculture and international development; and the social dimensions of agricultural biotechnologies. She has conducted research in Chile, Ghana, the European Union, New Zealand and Uganda.

Bain earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and geography and her master’s degree in sociology, both from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She earned her doctorate degree in sociology from Michigan State University.

The associate dean for academic innovation position partially replaces the former associate dean for academic and global programs position held by David Acker since 2005. On Jan. 1 of this year, Acker began serving as the associate dean for global engagement and director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods.

“These two side-by-side leadership positions will coordinate and move the college forward,” said Robison. “Dr. Acker will continue to oversee and work to enhance our international programs. His role emphasizes the importance of helping students become global citizens. And we are so pleased that an anonymous donor couple made a generous commitment to support Dr. Acker’s efforts as associate dean for global engagement.” 

In his position, Acker oversees the college’s office of global programs and study abroad, supporting faculty and staff who engage with scientific partners around the world, enhance Iowa’s role as a key player in the global economy and address the complex problems of hunger and quality-of-life and health throughout the world. 

Acker joined the college in 1995 as director of international programs and as assistant dean for national and global programs. He also holds the Raymond and Mary Baker Chair for Global Agriculture, and serves as professor of agricultural education and studies. He has more than 30 years of experience in international agriculture and education, including directing agricultural and natural resource programs in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Senegal, and serving as a Fulbright Fellow in Greece.

“Together these new positions will provide the leadership to continue the college’s forward-looking mission to support and help students thrive,” Robison said.

David Acker has held the associate dean for academic and global programs position since 2005 and began serving as the associate dean for global engagement and director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods on Jan. 1.