The Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a proud and distinguished history. As part of Iowa State's sesquicentennial celebration, 150 points of pride related to the College were developed and posted online throughout the 2007-2008 academic year. The entire archive of 150 items can be accessed from the link at the bottom of this page.
Employers consistently rank communication skills in the top five qualities graduates need to succeed. To help prepare students for future careers, the College of Agriculture and Life Science began incorporating communication skill-building into its courses in 1990. Robert Martin, head of the agricultural education and studies department and director of AgComm, was a leader in working with faculty to incorporate communication exercises into classes. The goal of the program is to strengthen communication skills and enhance students’ critical thinking by creating opportunities to communicate effectively.
Fast Fact: In 2001, Iowa State implemented ISUComm, a university-wide program emphasizing communication skills. The program was modeled after the College of Agriculture's and Life Sciences AgComm program.
Linking students with learning and employment opportunities while earning college credits is the idea behind the Science With Practice project that was created in 2005 in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The first semester 15 students in eight departments had the opportunity to earn credits and get paid for a hands-on learning experience. The program is similar to an internship with defined learning objectives. Mike Retallick, professor of agricultural education and studies, coordinates the program and said the program gives students the opportunity to work in the college’s research laboratories, greenhouses, offices and research farms. Faculty and staff also benefit because they have an employee who is willing to learn and delve into projects.
Fast Fact: The idea was initiated by Mark Honeyman, Iowa State professor of animal science, who is a member of the Agricultural Endowment Board, which funds the program in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was dedicated in November 1995. At the time faculty and staff used videotape and fiber optics to deliver distance education classes. Today, the classes are web-based or students are sent taped classes on CDs. During the 2007-2008 academic year, 1,399 students were enrolled in classes delivered through the Brenton Center. The master’s degree programs offered include agronomy, agriculture, seed technology and business management, and science in agricultural education. The center’s programs provide opportunities for students who have full-time jobs and need flexibility to pursue a master's degree.
Fast Fact: The $1.5 million facility was built with private funds and named in memory of W. Harold and Etta Brenton by family members who made the lead donation for the project. The Brentons were 1920 graduates of Iowa State.
Iowa State University Horticulture Professor Gail Nonnecke was selected Iowa Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 2007. The awardees represented 40 states and the District of Columbia and were chosen from more than 300 nominees. Nonnecke, who began teaching at Iowa State in 1983, was nominated for her work with the horticulture learning community, mentoring professors and her study abroad experiences. The award is part of the U.S. Professors of the Year program, which salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country. It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. For more information go to http://www.usprofessorsoftheyear.org
Fast Fact: Nonnecke is one of three Iowa State faculty selected for the award since 1988. She also is the first faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to receive the award.
Amy Kaleita was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007. Kaleita, assistant professor in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, was one of two people to receive the national award in the new teacher category, which encompasses all food and agricultural disciplines. The award is based on teaching quality, philosophy, methodology, service to the profession and students as well as professional growth and development and the endorsement of an administrator, alumnus and colleague. Kaleita said her teaching philosophy is one in that fosters students’ critical thinking skills so they can excel in and beyond the classroom.
Fast Fact: Since 2001, when the awards program started, Iowa State has had four awardees and three were in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In 2006, Gail Nonnecke, professor of horticulture won the national award and James Kliebenstein, ag business professor, was awarded one of six regional awards.
*Some historic photographs courtesy of the University Archives.