2010-2015 Strategic Plan

Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century
Integrating Basic Research, the Design of New Technologies, and Entrepreneurial Applications



Iowa State University Presentation to Iowa Board of Regents on 2010-2015 Strategic Plan September 16, 2010
Iowa State University Strategic Plan 2010-2015, printable version
Iowa State University Strategic Plan 2010-2015 measures
Board of Regents, State of Iowa, 2010-2016 Strategic Plan

The challenges of the 21st century demand that we focus on what we do best. To ensure that Iowa State University is a leading research university in 2050, we must recruit, support, and retain students, faculty, and staff who are committed to excellence, integrity, the free exchange of ideas, and collaboration. It is imperative that the creation, sharing, and application of knowledge be a global effort characterized by a profound respect for the diversity of people and ideas. These are the values that enrich our work and guide Iowa State's Strategic Plan.

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

We must prepare the leaders of our nation and the world. To make the world a better place, Iowa State will call upon its great strengths in student-centered education, global collaboration, and transformational basic and applied research. Iowa State will lead in developing more sustainable ways to produce and deliver safe and nutritious food, water, materials, and energy; integrate the protection of plant, animal, and human health; and care for our environment. We will design tools and infrastructure that will create entrepreneurial opportunities. The major changes sweeping the world are creating extraordinary opportunities for Iowa State to capitalize on its land-grant mission and be at the forefront in addressing our common, global challenges.

  • To create knowledge, Iowa State must be a magnet for attracting outstanding students, faculty, and staff who will learn, work, and conduct world-class research and scholarship that address the challenges of the 21st century.
  • To share knowledge, Iowa State's faculty, staff, and students must be able to communicate with and learn from diverse populations. The University must maintain a strong focus on student success and provide exceptional undergraduate, graduate, professional, and outreach programs that prepare students and citizens for leadership and success.
  • To apply knowledge, Iowa State's faculty, staff, and students must be able to develop global partnerships to convert what they know into products, services, and information that will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Iowa, the nation, and the world.

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

Under the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862, the State of Iowa designated Iowa State as the nation's first land-grant institution. The Act established the land-grant ideals that higher education should be accessible to all, regardless of race, gender, or economic circumstance, and that the university should teach liberal arts and practical subjects to provide an outstanding quality of life for future citizens. Iowa State pioneered the nation's first extension service and remains a leader in realizing the promise of the land-grant vision. The university enjoys a number of internationally known and prestigious assets that provide a unique foundation for continued growth and productivity. Iowa State and the city of Ames are home to a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory; five U.S. Department of Agriculture research laboratories; the nation's finest genomic-based agricultural breeding, health, and biotechnology programs; world-renowned virtual reality, plant science, and bioeconomy institutes; and one of the nation's most successful technology transfer programs. Major recent investments in new research and educational facilities and an outstanding tradition of cross-disciplinary research bring all of Iowa State's colleges and departments together with global partners. The student experience emphasizes outstanding practical, international, and leadership opportunities, as well as a focus on student success. Iowa State alumni and friends are deeply engaged and invested in improving Iowa State. Over the next five years, Iowa State will continue to enhance its campus, capitalize on and leverage its strengths, and engage with partners to realize the goals of this Strategic Plan and create a better future for all.

Priorities: Iowa State will be a magnet for attracting outstanding students who seek an education that prepares them to make a difference in the world.


  • Recruit, support, retain, and graduate a diverse group of outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional students dedicated to making a difference in the world.
  • Provide accessible residential and distance educational programs that build on Iowa State's strengths and excellence in science and technology integrated with design, business, education, arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  • Provide a high quality student life that engages and challenges students to collaboratively learn, grow, and succeed as resilient global citizens and involved alumni.

Iowa State will be a magnet for attracting outstanding faculty and staff who create, share, and apply knowledge to improve the quality of life.


  • Recruit, support, and retain a diverse group of outstanding faculty and staff.
  • Foster a university culture and work environment that rewards faculty and staff for their contributions, supports a balance between work and life, and inspires individuals to work together to achieve at the highest level of their abilities.
  • Collaborate with Ames and surrounding communities to provide a premier living environment.

Iowa State will be internationally known for faculty, staff, and students who address the challenges of the 21st century.


  • Produce and disseminate transformational basic and applied research and creativity to improve the quality of life. Focus the resources of Iowa State on developing the basic knowledge and designing new technologies to create entrepreneurial solutions to the challenges of 2050 and beyond.
  • Build and enhance outreach and global partnerships to promote scientific advances, economic growth, creative thinking, and improvement of the human condition.

Iowa State will be a treasured resource for Iowa, the nation, and the world.


  • Incorporate research and engagement in the student experience to produce civic-minded graduates who are well prepared to address complex societal problems.
  • Build partnerships with communities of place and interest to solve problems and create opportunities.
  • Involve citizens of Iowa and the world in collaborative interactions through extension, outreach, and engagement.

Plan extended

The  2010-2015 plan was extended into a sixth year to allow ISU to:

  • Coordinate its new plan with the Board of Regents and ISU Foundation and
  • Move to fiscal year strategic planning, which aligns better with budget plans


    Progress reports