Mission and vision

The mission and vision are part of the FY2017-2022 strategic plan

Mission: Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

Iowa State's focus has always been its students. The university emphasizes learning by doing. ISU students take advantage of many opportunities to engage in real-world class experiences and cutting-edge research, to study in other countries, and to test their leadership skills in 800-plus campus organizations. They are tomorrow's leaders and problem solvers and they're ready to get started. In addition to educating students, Iowa State faculty and staff are conducting basic and applied research to improve lives and sustain the planet. They are boosting crop production, protecting natural resources, perfecting biobased fuels, refining wind turbines, designing human and animal vaccines, improving firefighting gear, fighting Parkinson's disease, fostering economic growth and development, strengthening forensic science techniques, assessing the effects of media violence, devising defenses against cyber attacks, enhancing the quality of life through the arts and humanities, and educating the leaders of tomorrow. As a member of the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Iowa State is dedicated to conducting research and scholarship with local, national, and international impact.

As the land-grant institution in the very first state to adopt the Morrill Act, Iowa State University wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. It's no surprise that Iowa State pioneered the first statewide Extension Service in 1906. The extension experiment – universities actively transferring their research and expertise to every corner of every state – was immensely successful across America and remains so today. More than a million Iowans annually benefit directly from ISU Extension and Outreach programs.

As the world has gotten smaller, the scope of Iowa State's mission has increased. ISU faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to improving lives around the nation and the world. The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence is helping to improve forensic evidence to create a more objective criminal justice system. The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods helps support a longstanding program to help Ugandans improve farming, launch home businesses, keep children in school, and build food security. Through these activities and many others, Iowa State presses forward, on a mission to help make the world safe and sustainable for generations to come.

Vision: Iowa State University will lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology, and human creativity to work.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology lives up to its name in many ways. Half of its undergraduates major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The campus is a hub of creative and entrepreneurial activity. ISU and the city of Ames are home to a national laboratory; five federal research labs; world-class programs in genomic-based agricultural breeding, health and biotechnology; renowned institutes in virtual reality, plant sciences and the bioeconomy; and the only university in Iowa with ROTC programs for all military services. The Iowa State University Research Park, which helps move discoveries to market, has launched numerous start-up companies, including some that are recognized worldwide for ingenuity and major contributions.

Iowa State University has the talent and the facilities to lead the urgent, global quest for solutions. Providing these solutions and preparing the next generation of leaders and problem solvers requires efforts from across campus. It is the combination of all of our academic colleges, units, and departments that create the community of scholars necessary for this work. This university is and always has been a community of practical, hard working problem-solvers. Major investments in new research and educational facilities and an outstanding tradition of cross-disciplinary research bring all of ISU’s colleges and departments together with global partners. Iowa State is dedicated to the belief that with hard work and innovation, future generations will have ample food and fuel, good health, and a safe, bountiful planet