Amy Kaleita named chair of the Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Amy Kaleita
Amy Kaleita

AMES, Iowa – Amy Kaleita has been named chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) at Iowa State University. Kaleita currently serves as the department interim chair and her permanent appointment will officially begin on Dec. 1. The program is jointly administered by the College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

As a professor, Kaleita has taught courses in soil and water conservation management and engineering and analytical techniques for data and modeling. She has served on the department’s curriculum committee, been active with the accreditation process and plays a role in the college’s Honors Program.

Kaleita is also a prominent researcher. Her work focuses on information technology for precision conservation including remote sensing, crop and hydrologic modeling, precision farming, and advanced analytical methods for understanding the influence of spatiotemporally variable soil and hydrologic properties. She has received many honors and awards including being named a Fellow in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

“Amy is an accomplished scholar, teacher, thought-leader and decision-maker, who will bring great energy to this position, said Daniel J. Robison, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “She will continue to advance the department with her vision, leadership and creativity.”

“Amy is passionate about providing students the highest quality education,” said W. Samuel Easterling, dean of the College of Engineering. “Working closely with faculty and staff, Amy plays a vital role in developing our future engineering leaders who will make an impact in their communities around the world.”

There are currently more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department at Iowa State. The undergraduate and graduate programs are both consistently ranked first or second in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

“Our department is so strong and has such outstanding leadership,” Kaleita said. “I appreciate and am proud to be part of this deep tradition and look forward to continuing building on our strengths into the future.”

Kaleita received her doctorate degree in agricultural engineering and master’s in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her bachelor’s in agricultural engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.

Kaleita was named the ABE interim department chair in March 2021 when the previous chair, Steve Mickelson, was appointed special advisor for student information systems in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.

Since 1905 the agricultural and biosystems department has been a leader in providing engineering and technical solutions for agriculture, government and industry. The nation’s first agricultural engineering program has evolved to include environmental stewardship, plant and animal production, biorenewable energy, biobased materials, farm safety, occupational safety, manufacturing and advance innovation in off-road equipment design.