Meet Rob Wallace, Faculty Senate president

Rob Wallace in Bessey Hall greenhouse.

Position: Associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology

Years at ISU: 25

Contact: 294-0367,, 251 Bessey

Describe your work

I am a botanist and study the evolution, classification and phylogeny of plants -- particularly desert plants, like cacti. I am committed to teaching courses in evolutionary biology and different aspects of plant biology, plant evolution and economic uses of plants by humans.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

Multitasker. What I do from day to day is highly varied, and often there are multiple jobs and projects happening simultaneously.    

What interests do you have outside of work?

I am an avid woodworker, specifically woodturning -- I use a wood lathe to produce artistic bowls, vessels and other forms. I sell artwork at galleries and art museums in Iowa and participate in juried art exhibitions around the state. I am president of the board of trustees of the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames, and serve on the board of directors for the American Association of Woodturners. Other hobbies include amateur [ham] radio and homebrewing beer.

What strengths do you bring to the senate presidency?

I have served on and chaired a number of committees, councils and other faculty groups -- LAS curriculum committee, LAS representative assembly, LAS senate caucus and academic affairs council -- and the Faculty Senate executive board. This allows me to bring quite a bit of leadership experience to bear on coordinating senate activities and working with faculty colleagues on a wide range of issues.

What is your top priority?

My top priority is to make sure the Faculty Senate and its constituent councils and committees run smoothly and efficiently this year.

What challenges face the senate?

In addition to our normal activities of maintaining an effective and current Faculty Handbook, we have a number of other issues to deal with this year. The senate needs to complete its review and adoption of personal responsibility statement (PRS) guidelines, a project that began over a year ago. It is likely the senate will need to examine current definitions of non-tenure eligible faculty positions and possibly create definitions of new positions to accommodate the evolving role of NTE faculty in different parts of the university.

It also would be good to continue to work on getting the message out to regents, legislators and the general public about what we do as faculty -- explain our multiple roles at the university and the time and effort required to do our jobs, and that Iowa State University is worthy and deserving of continued and expanded funding to better enable us to meet the increasing demands of teaching, research and extension.

What would you like to tell the faculty you represent?

I would like to remind all faculty that the Faculty Senate is their official collective 'voice' within the university and its administration -- many talented colleagues serve on senate councils and committees, working behind the scenes on behalf of the faculty throughout the year. Thank your senators for the time and effort they spend maintaining and improving our governance, curricula and quality of academic life at Iowa State.