Points of Pride

Advancing the science and technology of living and learning

Iowa State University and the College of Human Sciences are widely recognized for excellence in science and technology.

Drawing outstanding students who want to make a difference

web_outstanding_studentsOur programs provide a springboard for students who seek to gain deep understanding of how people live and learn, from the very young to the very old – to help them lead happy, healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.

  • Due to student’s heightened interest in the science and technology of living and learning – and the increasing relevancy of our programs in today’s ever-changing society, enrollment in the college’s programs since 2005 has grown by 48 percent to 5,065 students.
  • While facilitating crucial, cross-campus dialogues on issues of diversity and the social context of education, the College of Human Sciences is also growing in diversity. Multicultural student enrollment in the College of Human Sciences has increased by 125%, to the current enrollment of 624 students. Among all U.S. minority graduate students at Iowa State, more than one in five (21 percent) is enrolled in a College of Human Sciences program.
  • International student enrollment has increased by 46 percent since the fall of 2005.
  • Iowa State’s Dietetics Internship program, already the largest in the country, is also the first such accredited program in the nation to offer a rotation in a developing nation; interns can improve nutrition by working with the University of Ghana in that African country.
  • College of Human Sciences student teams place high in international competitions, including a third place finish by the Food Product Development team in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association contest, in 2012.
  • Athletic training students placed first in the 2013 National Athletic Trainer’s Student Committee video contest.
  • Teacher education alumna Sarah Brown Wessling was named 2010 National Teacher of the Year, as announced by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Achieving national and international prominence

web_prominenceThe college is home to programs that are highly ranked among peers, nationally and globally:

  • The School of Education graduate program is ranked among the top 25% of the nation’s best institutions, by U.S. News and World Report.
  • The hospitality management program is counted among the top 15 in the world by the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research – and the top 10 in the United States by bestschools.com.
  • The kinesiology program is ranked among the top 26 in the nation by the National Academy of Kinesiology, formerly known as the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
  • The apparel, merchandising, and design program is ranked No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 2 nationally in the area of fashion merchandising, by fashion-schools.org. In the area of fashion design, Iowa State is ranked No. 2 in the Midwest, No. 8 nationally, and No. 3 nationally among all public schools and colleges. 
  • The family and consumer sciences education and studies program is ranked No. 1 by greatvaluecolleges.net.
  • National ranking systems do not exist for a number of other programs in the college that are highly regarded for their rigor, including programs in food science and human nutrition as well as human development and family studies.
  • Elementary teacher Stephanie Laird, who earned both her bachelor’s (2008) and master’s (2013) degrees from Iowa State, received the grand prize Award for Technology and Reading, from the International Reading Association, for making outstanding and innovative contributions to classroom learning.
  • The School of Education’s introductory instructional technology course was named the Directors’ Choice for Courses of Distinction by education giant Blackboard Inc.

Attracting world-class faculty and staff


The productivity of researchers in Iowa State’s science education is ranked among the 30 highest in the nation, according to the Journal of Education and Learning.

Twelve faculty members serve in prestigious endowed positions, including the endowed deanship.

Programs are led by top-notch faculty, who make world-changing discoveries, such as:

  • Kinesiology professor Rick Sharp, who helped test and design revolutionary swimsuit that helped Michael Phelps earn eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, where 94 percent of the gold medal-winning swimmers wore the suit.
  • Byron Brehm-Stecher, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, who developed a quicker, more convenient test for salmonella. Using next-generation DNA sequencing techniques, investigators can now spot contaminated products in three-or-four hours rather than one-to-seven days.
  • Suzanne Hendrich, university professor in food science and human nutrition, who discovered that ingesting flaxseed can decrease high cholesterol and significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Soko Starobin, assistant professor in educational leadership and policy studies, and colleagues who found that women who receive postsecondary career and technical education are still being short-changed in their career earnings when compared with male counterparts.
  • Associate Professor Joanne Olson serves as president of the Association for Science Teacher Education, an organization that provides leadership and guidance for all professionals who prepare preK-16 science teachers.
  • Dean Pamela White is a Fellow of American Association of Cereal Chemists International, an organization of scientists and food industry professionals who advance the understanding and knowledge of cereal grain science and its applications. She is also a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, an association of the best minds in food science who serve as catalysts for change and  educate consumers, the media, the public policy community, and government agencies.
  • Professor Kim Greder, associate professor in human development and family studies, has received the 2013 Outstanding Engagement Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Board on Human Sciences. 
  • Professor Gregory Welk – a specialist in the promotion of physical activity, cause, consequences, and prevention of obesity, and youth fitness testing and evaluation – is a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology.


Treasured as a resource for Iowa, the nation, and the world

web_treasured_resourceThe College of Human Sciences is widely recognized for effective outreach that leads to healthier citizens, more effective educators, a high-tech workforce, and thriving communities. A sampling of our multifaceted success stories:

  • The Strengthening Families program, designed by Extension specialists in the College of Human Sciences, has been ranked as the world’s most effective system for decreasing the onset of drugs and alcohol problems in youth, by Oxford Brookes University researchers who studied 6000 intervention programs.
  • Aldine Schools in Houston, Texas received the world’s largest education award, the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, for improving student achievement in a low-income, inner-city environment – and the district is thanking Iowa State teacher education graduates for making it happen.
  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach specialists engage Iowans statewide with research-based education to improve health and nutrition, enhance financial well-being, and strengthen families.
  • The college provides leadership for improving quality of life around the globe with partners in countries such as Turkey, China, and Indonesia.
  • With more than 43,500 living alumni, we offer a superb network of prominent leaders who are advancing health and well-being, education and human development, science and technology, communities, and entrepreneurship. Our alumni also mentor young graduates to help them grow as professionals and shape their own adventures in improving people’s lives.

Just the facts

Get a quick look at facts and figures from departments and centers in the College of Human Sciences.

College of Human Sciences (PDF)

Educator Preparation Program (PDF)


School of Education (PDF)

Academic Departments

Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (PDF)

Food Science and Human Nutrition (PDF)

Human Development and Family Studies (PDF)

Kinesiology (PDF)

School of Education (PDF)

Affiliated Outreach Units

Human Sciences Extension and Outreach (PDF)

Programs of Study

Apparel, Merchandising, and Design (PDF)

Event Management (PDF)

Hospitality Management (PDF)

  • Life and Lore of MacKay Hall


    MacKay Hall has long been home to important programs, notable alumni, beloved works of art, and some of our most treasured traditions. Take a walk through history to see all the building has meant to Iowa State University and the College of Human Sciences over the years and how renovations are bringing it into the future. Begin here…