Work begins on the next strategic plan

In a little over eight months, Iowa State's next strategic plan goes into effect. The plan that will carry the university well into 2022 will retain Iowa State's current mission and vision and feature four overarching goals, specified by President Steven Leath.

Watch the Strategic Plan website for updates on planning progress.

It will come together under the direction of a small steering committee that will seek broad input from six subcommittees, the university community and external stakeholders.

"We have made tremendous progress under the current strategic plan that positions Iowa State to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Leath said. "Our next strategic plan will build off this progress by focusing on four comprehensive goals to advance our land-grant mission and raise ISU's profile and reputation, nationally and internationally.

 "While the steering committee will lead the process, I encourage faculty, staff, and students to share their thoughts so that we can collectively build a strong, practical plan."

Steering committee

Steve Freeman, University Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, will lead the six-member steering committee that will oversee development of the plan. Other committee members are: senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert; senior vice president for student affairs Tom Hill; senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden; associate vice president and chief of staff Miles Lackey; Larissa Holtmeyer Jones, president and CEO of the ISU Foundation; and vice president for diversity and inclusion Reginald Stewart, who joins Iowa State Dec. 1.

Subcommittee nominations sought

The steering committee seeks nominations for six subcommittees that will work on key components of the strategic plan.

"We're looking for volunteers or nominees to serve on these subcommittees," Freeman said. "If you have expertise or interest in serving on a subcommittee or would like to nominate people to subcommittees, send names through the online form by Oct. 30.

About the subcommittees

Following is more information on the subcommittees, most of which will be co-chaired by one faculty and one staff member.

The Student Experience subcomittee will focus on ensuring a successful student experience (academic, student life, co-curricular, etc.). Co-chairs are Steve Mickelson, chair of agricultural and bioystems engineering, and Rachel Wagner, associate director of residence life.

The Research Profile subcommittee will focus on enhancing the university’s research profile. Co-chairs are Beate Schmittmann, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Kan Wang, professor of agronomy.

The Economic Development and Service to Iowa subcommittee will focus on supporting state and regional economic development while serving all Iowans. Co-chairs are Mike Crum, vice president for economic development and business engagement, and Himar Hernandez, extension community development specialist.

The Campus Environment subcommittee will focus on ensuring a welcoming, safe, and inclusive campus environment. Co-chairs are Theressa Cooper, assistant dean for diversity, agricultural and life sciences, and Kenyatta Shamburger, director of multicultural student affairs   

The Infrastructure Enablers subcommittee will focus on aspects of the campus infrastructure that cut across the university (for example, facilities, computer networks, environmental health and safety, transportation). Co-chairs are Amanda Fales-Williams, associate professor of veterinary pathology, and Robert Currie, director of facilities services.

The Additional Creative Opportunities subcommittee will focus on capturing creative, out-of-box ideas broadly related to the other five subcommittees. This subcommittee will be looking for ideas that might be missed in the more structured processes of the other strategic planning subcommittees. Co-chairs are Marlene Strathe, director of the school of education, and Keith Robinder, associate dean of students

Mission, vision remains the same

Leath stipulated that the current university mission and vision (shown below) remain the same.

  • Mission: Create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.
  • Vision: Iowa State will lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work.

Leath added that it's important, as the university advances and circumstances change, to routinely adjust priorities and processes to accomplish this mission and vision.

Overarching goals

Leath asked the steering committee to feature four overarching goals in the plan, along with strong action steps to achieve them. The goals are to:

  • Ensure a successful experience for students
  • Enhance the university's research profile
  • Support state and regional economic development while serving all Iowans
  • Ensure a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus environment

Coordination with regents, foundation

Leath delayed development of the next plan so that it could be coordinated and closely aligned with the state Board of Regents and ISU Foundation strategic planning processes. Freeman will coordinate across the three groups, which will engage in simultaneous strategic planning for the first time.


The first draft of the strategic plan should be ready for public review by mid-spring semester 2016, Leath said, "so there is plenty of time for public comment and input between spring break and the end of the semester." Once input is gathered, the plan will be finalized and submitted for presidential approval by June 1, 2016.

The new plan will span fiscal years 2017 through 2022 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2022).