Nettleton reappointed as Department of Statistics chair at Iowa State

Headshot of Dan Nettleton standing outside
Dan Nettleton

With a demonstrated record of building community within the department and effectively managing resources, Dan Nettleton has been approved to continue leading Iowa State University’s Department of Statistics.

Nettleton, distinguished professor and Laurence H. Baker Endowed Chair in Biological Statistics, was first appointed chair of the department in 2019. His reappointment will take effect July 1 for another five-year term.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce Dan’s reappointment as department chair,” said Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean’s chair of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “During his first five years in the role as a collaborative leader, he has made great strides with the department, moving it forward from excellence to even more excellence, and is a sought-after partner in both CALS and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

"Dan is an exceptional leader," added Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "While providing an environment of support that promotes growth and academic excellence, he also remains a highly productive researcher and conscientious mentor to faculty and students."

As department chair, Nettleton has encouraged faculty to improve the visibility of their research through sharing it on multiple channels. He also has supported faculty through various advancements in their professional careers, including the successful nomination of faculty for national awards and the creation of new leadership roles in the department.

Nettleton assisted the department in hosting a conference and celebration of the department’s 75th anniversary that drew alumni and distinguished visitors from throughout the nation to Iowa State. He helped guide the department through a successful external program review and the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, Nettleton gathered a group of statistics faculty to perform statistical analysis of Iowa State COVID-19 infection data and develop testing protocols to be employed on campus.

Nettleton has also made innovative efforts to improve the learning experience for students in the department. These include implementing a summer undergraduate research program and a summer seminar series for incoming graduate students. He has increased departmental involvement in the Data Science program, which supports undergraduate research. Additionally, he worked with faculty in the department to develop a proposal for a new applied statistics degree program that is under consideration by the Iowa Board of Regents.

“I look forward to helping the department strengthen and expand the reach of our educational programs, growing our reputation for outstanding statistical research and impactful interdisciplinary collaborations, and supporting students, alumni, faculty and staff as they work to achieve their goals,” Nettleton said.

Nettleton’s leadership excellence was recognized in 2021 when he was selected to receive the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Early Achievement in Departmental Leadership.

Beyond his chair responsibilities, Nettleton is known for his collaborative approach to researching statistical methods for the design and analysis of high-dimensional biological datasets. As the Baker Endowed Chair, Nettleton focuses his research on developing statistical methods and applying them to data from plant and animal biological systems.

His research has garnered numerous awards from Iowa State, including the Iowa State University Award for Mid-Career Achievement in Research in 2012 and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Career Achievement in Research Award in 2015.

An Iowa State faculty member since 2000, Nettleton earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wartburg College. He went on to earn a master’s and a doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Iowa.

The Department of Statistics, established in 1947, is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in statistics.


Dan Nettleton, Statistics, 515-294-7754,

Whitney Baxter, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-2314,