Issue: 964

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Aug. 7, 2017

Top Stories

Online Learning Continues to Grow in CALS
“Online learning continues to grow worldwide and the same holds true in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” wrote Gaylan Scofield, director of the Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer, in the center’s latest newsletter. The number of online course registrations for FY17 was 4,587, a 7.3 percent increase from FY16. Of those registrations, 45 percent are undergraduate level courses and 55 percent are graduate level. There are 82 faculty and staff in the college teaching online courses through the Brenton Center. Based on student survey results, 73 percent live in Iowa, 23 percent live in the U.S. and 4 percent are international students. More

First Listening Session on Future of Leopold Center Set for Aug. 9
A listening session to gather input on the future of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be held Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. This is the first of several listening sessions to be held around the state, led by a task force that is gathering input from the public. Comments also can be submitted onlineMore


EEOB Researcher Explains Monarch Butterfly Census Discrepancy
John Pleasants, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and colleagues have found an explanation for the difference between overwintering numbers of monarch butterflies in Mexico and the summer census findings in the U.S. With the decline of milkweed in agricultural fields, a higher proportion of monarch activity is taking place in the areas where summer censuses are conducted. When the summer census data are corrected to account for the shifting proportion, the actual population size is revealed. More

Teaching and Students

CALS Women’s Diversity Workshop Series Begins Sept. 19
A Women’s Diversity Workshop series will be launched this fall for female graduate students and post-docs in CALS. The objective is to empower these students to more readily assume leadership roles in their careers. The first workshop will be held Sept. 19, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dean Wendy Wintersteen will speak on STEMpathy: Valued Qualities of STEM Professionals in the Age of Emotional Intelligence. Location will be announced at a later date.

Extension and Outreach

Field Day to Highlight Sustainable, Organic Research and Practices
ISU’s organic agriculture program will sponsor a field day devoted to organic research and production practices on Aug. 22 at the Neely-Kinyon Research and Demonstration Farm near Greenfield. The field day will start at 4 p.m. with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. More

Adam Janke – ANR Extension’s August Staff Spotlight
Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management and wildlife extension specialist, is ANR Extension’s August staff spotlight. Janke’s focus is on wildlife habitat conservation on farms. He is working on revitalizing the Master Conservationist program and is planning a series of forestry field days for October. More

Around the College

Wintersteen Discusses Farm Bill at Iowa Ag Summit
Dean Wendy Wintersteen took part in a panel discussion on the 2018 Farm Bill during the Iowa Ag Summit on Aug. 5 in Des Moines. Rick Cruse, agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center, was part of an afternoon panel on conservation, sustainability and water quality. Other summit speakers included Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. More

Program Manager Hired to Strengthen Statewide Pest Resistance Efforts
Evan Sivesind recently joined the entomology department to manage the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan. Sivesind will support communities as they develop and implement local resistance management plans and will coordinate these efforts with partners across the agriculture industry. More

Morrical Guides Sheep Industry for Over 30 Years
Dan Morrical, animal science and extension sheep specialist, joined ISU in 1984 and will retire in September. He was instrumental in the development of the National Sheep Improvement Program, which provides genetic evaluation information so producers can make more predictable breeding decisions. Iowa Farmer Today talked with Morrical about the last 33 years, how the sheep industry has changed and the role of Extension. More

ABE Chair and Faculty Receive Awards at ASABE Annual Meeting
Steve Mickelson, chair of the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, received the James R. and Karen A. Gilley Academic Leadership Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers at its annual meeting, July 16-19, in Spokane. The award honors an ASABE member who is providing outstanding academic leadership while serving as department chair. Other ABE faculty who earned awards at the meeting: Gretchen Mosher and Dirk Maier – Blue Ribbon Award for Grain Dust Explosion Supression Education; Dan Andersen – Superior Paper Award in the Natural Resources and Environmental Systems category; Hongwei Xin and Jay Harmon – Superior Paper Award in the Plant, Animal and Facility Systems category.

Entomologist Receives Pesticide Safety Education Award
Betsy Buffington, entomology, received the Distinguished Achievement in Pesticide Safety Education Award from the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators at the national AAPSE conference, July 23-26 in Fargo. Buffington has been instrumental in the development of worker protection standards training materials, online educational resources and manual development at the national level. More

Wright Morton Receives Rural Sociological Society Award
Lois Wright Morton, sociology, was awarded the Natural Resources Research and Interest Group William R. Freudenburg Award of Merit at the Rural Sociological Society meeting on July 28. The award honors scholars who have substantively affected the trajectory of thinking within natural resources and environmental sociology. More

Scarbrough and Schultz Receive NACAA Communication Awards
Lisa Scarbrough and Madeline Schultz, value added agriculture-extension, received several communication awards at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents annual meeting, July 9-13 in Salt Lake City. They were state winners in the fact sheet, feature story and learning module categories; regional winners in the bound book category; and a national finalist in Search for Excellence in Farm and Ranch Financial Management.

USDA-ERS Young Professionals Visit Campus
A group of young professionals in USDA’s Economic Research Service took a four-day tour of Illinois and Iowa last week, including a visit to the ISU campus. Rich Nehring, a USDA-ERS agricultural economist from Washington D.C., organized the tour that started in Chicago. Tour stops included Seaboard Foods, Good Egg LLC, Ag Partners, Iowa Select Farms, several farm locations and an agribusiness meeting with representatives from the ag industry and ISU. Participation from CALS faculty in the economics department included Catherine Kling, Gabe Lade, Wendong Zhang, Giancarlo Moschini and Lee Schulz.


Sept. 2: Annual CALS Alumni BBQ
CALS faculty, staff and guests are invited to join the college at the annual barbecue on Sept. 2, 3 to 6 p.m. at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center prior to the ISU vs. UNI football game at 7 p.m. BBQ attendees will enjoy complimentary Hickory Park BBQ and Dairy Science Club ice cream, networking with CALS alumni and friends, and hands-on activities from CALS student organizations. Shuttle service will be provided to and from the stadium. Register to attend by August 21. More  

Sept. 2: Volunteers Needed for Annual CALS Alumni BBQ
Similar to previous years, faculty and staff may volunteer in various roles to welcome guests to the BBQ. Approximately 500 CALS alumni and friends are expected to attend. Register to volunteer by Aug. 21.

  • Registration (2:30-4 p.m. or 4-5:30 p.m.)
  • Greeting (2:30-4 p.m. or 4-5:30 p.m.)
  • Beverage service—(2:30-4 p.m. or 4-5:30 p.m.)
  • Tear down (5:30-6:30 p.m.)

Sept. 16: Horticulture Research Station Celebrates 50 Years
The Horticulture Research Station will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m. Alumni and friends are invited for farm tours, apple demonstrations, kids’ games, and a special program hosted by Jeff Iles, horticulture chair, and Charity Nebbe, Iowa Public Radio.

Funding Opportunities

USDA NIFA Announces I-FAST Prize Competition
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a $400,000 prize competition to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NIFA supported academic research. Selected USDA NIFA I-FAST project teams will have the opportunity to concurrently participate in the educational programs with NSF I-Corps awardees. Pre-applications are due Sept. 8. More

EPA Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and partners seek demonstrations of the effective use of low-cost sensors and innovative partnerships to pilot the sensors and data management, and show how collected data and information can be used in state and local decision-making. In Stage 1 of the competition, teams submit action plans describing an approach for sensor deployment and use and how they will meet challenge goals. The top Stage 1 entries receive cash prizes totaling $50,000 and will be invited to participate in Stage 2. Stage 1 applications are due by Sept. 20. More

USDA NIFA Virtual Listening Session for Capacity Building Grants
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking stakeholder input regarding capacity building grants for the following programs: Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture; Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants; Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields; and Higher Education Challenge Grants. NIFA is particularly interested in achieving the most impact and identifying suggested priorities in these programs. A virtual listening session will be held on Aug. 15 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Central time. Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. More

Funding Information, Opportunities and Deadline Reminders
Dates listed are application deadlines. Contact: Roxanne Clemens, Additional information is posted at CALS Pre-Award Resources.

Aug. 28 (internal pre-proposals): NSF Innovations in Graduate Education Program, two proposals per institution, contact Sue Shipitalo ( for submission guidelines. More

Aug. 28 (limited submission): USAID GDL Center for Digital Development; $75 million, increase use of and access to digital financial services and use of data for strategic planning and adaptive programming within USAID, one submission per institution, contact Sue Shipitalo ( to express interest. More

Sept. 15: IBM World Community Grid Climate-Change Related Projects;  in-kind grants of crowdsourced computing power, weather data and cloud storage valued up to $40 million per project. More

Oct. 16, Feb. 16: NIH Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genomics Research Small Research Grant Program (R03). More

Oct. 16, Feb. 16: NIH Small Grants on Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (R03). More

Oct. 19 (pre-proposals): NCR-SARE Research and Education Program. More

Oct. 26: NCR-SARE Partnership Grant Program; $30,000. More

Nov. 1: NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. More

Communications Kiosk

Bringing Research to Life through Narrative
The Office of the Vice President for Research announced in their August newsletter that The Story Collider will present a keynote lecture at ISU on Oct. 16, time and location to be determined. The Story Collider was founded in 2010 by two physicists who met at a storytelling show. They use what they’ve learned about research and stories to teach scientists and scholars to use the power of narrative to describe their work to a lay audience. Participants will learn about narrative structure, identifying and developing story leads, improving performance and connecting to audiences that don't share the same expertise.


Post Offices ‘Abuzz’ Over Protect Pollinators Stamps
The U.S. Postal Service paid tribute to the beauty and importance of pollinators with stamps depicting two of the continent’s most iconic, the monarch butterfly and the western honeybee, each shown industriously pollinating a variety of plants native to North America. The Protect Pollinators Forever stamps were dedicated at the American Philatelic Society National Summer Convention StampShow in Richmond, Va., on Aug. 3. More

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 Friday.


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