AMES, Iowa - David Acker has been named the first Raymond and Mary Baker Chair in Global Agriculture in the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University.
Acker is the associate dean of academic and global programs in the College of Agriculture. Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture at Iowa State, said Acker has played a leadership role in expanding the college's global programs and partnerships.
"David is a true leader and an inspiration because he understands the need to expand the opportunities for students and faculty and the importance of thinking globally," Wintersteen said.
The Raymond and Mary Baker Chair in Global Agriculture was established by Raymond and Mary Baker who donated $1 million, also a second anonymous couple have committed $1 million to the endowment fund. The three-year appointment will allow Acker to increase the connection between the college's global and academic programs office and the Center For Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, a College of Agriculture center, which is dedicated to providing leadership and support to help alleviate hunger and poverty in developing countries.
Acker has been the director of the college's international programs since 1995 and served as assistant dean from 2001 to 2004. He also is a professor in the agricultural education and studies department. He has been involved in international research and education since 1975. He earned a doctorate from Oregon State University in 1989, including dissertation research conducted in Tanzania.
Acker's role was expanded to include the associate dean for academic programs in 2004. The change allowed more international activities to be integrated into the academic mission of the college. The college is one of the nation's leaders in sending students abroad to study.
Acker also provides leadership in the academic programs in the college, which include distance education, outcomes assessment, student services, student recruitment and retention, scholarships, study-abroad programs and international partnerships.
Acker and three other endowed chairs were honored in a medallion ceremony on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union. Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffrey will present chair medallions to Acker; Gwyn Beattie, Robert E. Buchanan Chair in Bacteriology and associate professor of plant pathology; David Topel, M. E. Ensminger Endowed Chair and Dean Emeritus, animal science; and Lorna Michael Butler, Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture Professor, and professor of sociology. Three professors in economics, John Beghin, Sergio Lence and Robert Wisner, also will be presented with medallions to recognize their terms as Marlin Cole Professor in International Agricultural Economics.
Endowed faculty positions allow Iowa State to recruit and retain world-class leaders by providing the highest level of faculty recognition. Endowed positions help support course development, graduate assistants, laboratory equipment, salary enhancements, professional development and research projects. These opportunities ultimately enhance course and curriculum development, which improves the educational experience for students.