First College of Engineering dean plans to listen, include and enable

Janis Terpenny from Pennsylvania State University is one of the finalists for the next Dean of Engineering. Terpenny says “What I like to do with an organization is advocate for everyone to find their passion.” She plans on looking for opportunities to challenge and advance engineering at Iowa State. She spoke on Monday March 4 in Howe Hall at 2 p.m.

Megan Nemec

Jannis Terpenny, the first of five finalists in the search for the next dean of Iowa State’s College of Engineering, spoke about being an advocate for finding your passion and taking Iowa State’s strengths to a new level in an open forum Monday afternoon in Howe Hall.

Terpenny was announced as the first candidate in consideration for Iowa State’s next James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering. Terpenny is currently the Peter & Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and Head of the Harold & Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, as well as the director of the NSF Center for e-Design.

In the open forum, Terpenny emphasized three important words to her approach: listen, include and enable.

Terpenny prioritized her viewpoint on being collaborative within the organization.

“The things that I have done over the years that I am most proud of have always included others in collaboration,” Terpenny said.

Iowa State is following the nations lead on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, but Terpenny said she believes it will be important to distinguish Iowa State in unique ways.

“Students who walk in today are not the same students who walked in yesterday,” Terpenny said. “Are we going to continue operating courses semester-long or are we going to get into modules? It’s all about embracing the changing future ahead of us.”

Terpenny also described the importance of giving students the opportunity to do things outside of the classroom to help in both sectors of entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Students do wonderful jobs taking things on by themselves but why can’t we do a better job at implementing them into our core?” Terpenny said.

Terpenny said she would like to create pipeline programs in the college to promote growth in graduate programs as well as increase diversity within the college.

“Identifying high-quality undergraduate institutions that don’t have graduate programs would be important in the pipeline,” Terpenny said. “This is also an opportunity for international partnerships where students could come finish their undergraduate degree in their last year here at Iowa State and then go on to graduate school.

“Excellence in an integrated fashion, we are not just teaching research and service … we are excited for the future and ambitious to inspire and create.”