Regents Approve ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

June 12th, 2007

Ames, Iowa — Iowa State University's College of Agriculture is now Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

At its Tuesday meeting in Iowa City, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved a proposal from Iowa State to change the name of the college.

"Iowa State University has a 150-year tradition of excellence in agriculture. The new name for the college is the right direction to take as we enter a bold new chapter for the many areas touched by agriculture and the life sciences in Iowa," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The new name, Wintersteen said, "more accurately describes both the long-held and the modern emphasis and breadth of the college and will help us communicate our contemporary programs and directions."

Dan Frieberg of Cumming, chair of the college's advisory council, said, "Iowa State University, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in particular, is in a high stakes battle for the best and brightest. We can't afford to lose students from urban areas or any other background just because their perception of agriculture is dated or inappropriate. For many, the addition of life sciences may prove more fitting to the kind of future they see for themselves."

Many of the exciting new opportunities emerging in agriculture — the bioeconomy, plant and animal genomics, environmental stewardship, food and nutrition — are connected with basic sciences, Wintersteen said.

"That's why I believe it is time for us to embrace our role in the life sciences," said Wintersteen. "Iowa State is one of the world's premier research institutions for agricultural sciences. The new name will help position the college as we aggressively seek new opportunities in agriculture and life-science areas and collaborate with partners across the university, the state and beyond."

Perhaps most importantly, the college has high hopes that the new name will help attract a new generation of students, said David Acker, associate dean of academic and global programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"The new name will help us to better convey the breadth of programs we offer," Acker said. "We want to encourage prospective students to explore the wide variety of majors the college offers, the life-improving science behind them and the great career opportunities they represent. Our placement rate of more than 98 percent is something we're very proud of."

Acker said the college is responding to demands for well-trained graduates to support excellent career opportunities in the sciences of life — the broad range of agricultural, food, environmental and biological and life-science areas.

Last fall, Wintersteen announced the college was moving forward with a proposal to change the name, following several years of discussions with faculty, staff, students, advisory groups and alumni. In March, the College of Agriculture faculty voted in favor of the change and in April, the Iowa State University Faculty Senate unanimously approved the proposed name change.

Last fall, the College of Agriculture Advisory Council had unanimously supported changing the name to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Agriculture is very technical, very scientific and very much about biology," said Frieberg, who earned his bachelor of science in farm operations from the college. "Plant and animal genomics, for example, will be just as revolutionary for agriculture as human genomics will be for human medicine. Life sciences is very much an appropriate expansion of what modern and future agriculture is and will be."

Contacts: 

Wendy Wintersteen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration, (515) 294-2518, wwinters@iastate.edu
David Acker, Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration, (515) 294-6614, dacker@iastate.edu
Brian Meyer, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-5616, bmeyer@iastate.edu