For the past several years, Iowa State University College of Agriculture officials have been discussing a possible change with departmental leaders, advisory groups, students and prospective students. This week, Dean of Agriculture Wendy Wintersteen sent a message to college faculty and staff that the time was right to make a change.
"The coming year promises to provide even more opportunities for the college to serve the citizens of the state, the nation and world," says Wintersteen. "Many of these new opportunities are connected with the life sciences, the multifaceted work dealing with living organisms and life processes. I believe it is time for the college to embrace its role in the life sciences through a new name — the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences."
The new name, Wintersteen said, would "more accurately describe both the long-held and the modern emphasis and breadth of the college, and would be beneficial in communicating our contemporary programs and directions."
Dean Wintersteen favors new name
For the past three decades, most agricultural colleges around the country have changed their names to better reflect their programs, student career interests and research and extension efforts. In 1999, 16 universities had a College of Agriculture. Today, there are eight, including Iowa State's.
Wintersteen lists several advantages of the name change, including:
* Enhance recruitment and retention of students, and recruitment of new faculty.
* Help the college better define the role of fundamental sciences in the future of agriculture and increase the prominence of life sciences in the college's strategic view.
* More accurately reflect the nature of the education, research and extension that have been part of the college in one form or another since the founding of Iowa State nearly 150 years ago.
* Better represent the programs within the college and dispel the perception that "agriculture" means only production agriculture.
* Ten of the college's 15 departments now fit under a "life sciences" definition.
* Better reflect the collaborative nature of many of the college's programs, including that eight of its 15 departments are jointly administered with other ISU colleges.
Public forum will be held Feb. 14
The college has scheduled a Feb. 14 open forum for faculty, staff and students on the name change, which will be held in the Pioneer Room of ISU's Memorial Union. Later in February, the college's faculty will vote on the proposal. If approved, the next steps would include consideration by the university's Faculty Senate, the university president and the Board of Regents of the State of Iowa.
Wintersteen says comments on the name change can be e-mailed to the College of Agriculture at [email protected] Her letter to faculty and staff, along with other information on the name change proposal, can be found on the college's home page www.ag.iastate.edu