Bronson will be new chairwoman of plant pathology

Tomy Hillers

Continuing creativity in times of tight budget restrictions will be the focus of the incoming chairwoman for the Department of Plant Pathology Charlotte Bronson, who is scheduled to take over April 1.

Bronson began at Iowa State in 1982 as a assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology.

Bronson said she knows the best part of this new position will be working with the faculty members, and the biggest challenge is the tight budget and keeping the department strong through the current tough times.

“We are doing our best to be creative,” Bronson said. “We will rely more on external funding in the next three years, unless the budget changes.”

“The Department of Agriculture has encouraged faculty members to obtain grant funds for research, and I hope to continue this,” she said.

Bronson said balance is a strength of the deparment.

“We have a lot of responsibilties, and we try to keep ourselves well balanced through activities and communication,” she said.

The major responsibilities lie in the services provided to the public, she said.

“We must continue to strengthen the department and provide high quality service to our stake-holders such as the state, students and the agricultural community,” she said.

The current department chairman, Ed Braun, said he has full confidence in his successor.

“I personally think the biggest challenge to Charlotte will lie in dealing with the budget,” Braun said. “Reductions have been a big issue and I feel she is the perfect leader to help the department get through these reductions.

“I have a lot of confidence in her and her leadership,” he said.

Bronson has gained experience serving on grant review panels for the USDA, as the chairwoman of Interdepartmental Genetics graduate program and she is currently interim director of the Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses.

“We had two candidates for this position, whom were very well qualified,” Braun said. “We chose her because she has had some great administration experience.”

Braun said he has seen many challenges during his time as the department chair but looks forward to returning to teaching and research when he steps down on April 1.

“I had been chair for six years,” Braun said. “During this time we have seen the beginning of the plant sciences initiative, many new renovations and the formation of faculty positions.”