Schmittmann takes role as College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean

Beate Schmittmann will become the next College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean on Monday, April 2. Schmittmann, originally from Germany, made her way to Iowa State from Virginia Tech’s physics department. 

Katelynn Mccollough

This year, Iowa State is in the midst of welcoming and saying goodbye to many faculty members who are changing positions. Most recently, it has welcomed the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Beate Schmittmann.

Schmittmann, former professor and chairwoman of the department of physics at Virginia Tech University, officially takes the position of the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on Monday.

“I really like the feel of a large college of liberal arts and sciences. It has that diversity … I really like the breadth of the college and the wealth of opportunities it offers. That really speaks to me,” Schmittmann said about Iowa State’s LAS college.

Schmittmann began to move into the area on March 19 and has been trying to come in to the college a little every day in an effort, she said, to “get my feet on the ground.”

The announcement of Schmittmann as the new dean came in December and the transition from interim dean David Oliver to Schmittmann began.

“Everybody is going to be nuts about Dean Schmittmann, she’s going to be a fantastic dean,” Oliver said.

Oliver has held the role of interim dean since Michael Whiteford retired from the position last spring.

“David has obviously done a terrific job keeping the college on the road and running smoothly for almost a year,” Schmittmann said. “I still have a lot to learn and David will continue to be on the team for the foreseeable future, so I can draw on his experience and his understanding of the history of the college.”

Oliver will work closely with Schmittmann in the coming months to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“At the end of the summer, she’s going to have to make some decisions about how she wants to reorganize the administration,” Oliver said. “She’s very wisely waiting until she has a pretty good understanding of what’s happening.”

At the moment, Schmittmann has scheduled meetings with department and program chairpersons within the college as a way of “getting to know them … talking about their needs and some of their interests and strategic initiatives.”

Schmittmann hopes to discover new ways the college can help each department become more effective.

“It’s going to be a very full month and then, in the summer, we’ve called for hiring proposals from the departments,” Schmittmann said. “We’ll be looking at those proposals over the coming months and shape some strategic initiatives for the college and then we hope to do some new hiring in the coming year.”

Schmittmann plans to have an “in-depth” conversation in the coming month with ISU President Steven Leath to see where they want the college to go as well as the importance of the role of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“My sense is that the college does such a great job educating its students, and the university as a whole does such a great job, I would feel very, very comfortable going out there spreading the word that Iowa State is a great place to come,” Schmittmann said on her hopes to increase the recruitment of students to the college.

Schmittmann said she feels it is important to get to know and meet students in the coming months. She also said that any student is welcome to stop by her office at Catt Hall and introduce themselves.

“Enjoy it,” Oliver said as his words of experience to Schmittmann. “Take advantage of having this opportunity.”