Significant accomplishments in service

Paul F. Anderson


Interim chair

In 1990-1991, Al Rutledge announced his return to full-time teaching, leaving the department chair position open. Because of a budget reversion, the college administration decided to delay a national search and ask a faculty member to serve as interim chair. When asked I agreed to serve, primarily because of my commitment to department administration as graduate program coordinator. I also wanted the LA department to succeed in the national reaccreditation review in the spring of 1992.

National accreditation self-study report (1992)

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However, because of two additional budget reversions in 1991-1992, it was necessary that I continue to teach one studio per semester. I felt a commitment to continue advising undergraduate students and supervise graduate student thesis research. I also felt a commitment to continue serving on the university Computer Advisory Committee (as member and subcommittee chair) and college Computer Advisory Committee (as chair) because of the new student computer fee that was being implemented at the time. Also, the Agronomy Department wanted me to continue my research responsibilities. For these reasons, I agreed to serve one year during the search for a permanent chair.

In addition to coordinating a successful national reaccreditation review and authoring and editing the self-evaluation report, I completed an alumni satisfaction survey, hosted the alumni reception at the ASLA national meeting in Kansas City, and negotiated an estate endowment for graduate student support. All this was done successfully in the midst of two additional budget reversions, university-wide program reviews (for unnecessary duplication), college Budget Efficiency Task Force, extension specialist search, Practitioners Advisory Council studio outreach concerns, heightened student and faculty awareness of personal harassment issues in studio, a flooding incident in the department office, 60 percent increase in enrollment in five years, reduction of graduate student assistantships from six to three quarter-time positions, reduction of department secretarial support from 2.0 FTE to 1.5 FTE, and FY92 end-of-year budget balance of approximately $30.00 (in the black).

My personal assessment of the interim chair experience was that it was successful because the department remained strong in spite of the challenges of a tight budget and university program efficiency study. It was valuable to me personally because I gained a greater appreciation of administrative duties and expectations, which in turn has made me a more informed faculty member. Though I felt that I did not excel in teaching or research that year, I felt that I excelled in the way that I managed administrative responsibilities along with teaching, research, committee service, and outreach.

Committee assignments

Graduate College Curriculum and Catalog Committee. I served on this committee for six years as the representative from the College of Design. In addition, I served as chair for two years. While chair of GCCC, I was also on the Graduate Cabinet and Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee. In addition to university-wide service on catalog review and policies concerning majors, degrees, and areas of specialization, I was able to assist programs in the College of Design through catalog review, double degree programs, concurrent enrollment programs, dual listed courses, and experimental courses. My service on the Graduate College Curriculum and Catalog Committee greatly influenced my knowledge and commitment in graduate studies.

Geographic Information Systems. This university committee traces its roots to other committees in which I was active: Remote Sensing Committee of the 1970s, the Center for Agricultural Landscape Ecology of the 1980s, and the Research Unit for Landscape Ecology, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture of the late 1980s. As chair of the Land Use Subcommittee of the Research Unit for Landscape Ecology, I worked with Arnold van der Valk and other committee members to develop a major initiative to provide GIS research and facilities to support research on campus. I authored approximately 75 percent of the proposal, based on ideas generated by committee members. The proposal was based on a more encompassing strategic plan for GIS teaching, research, faculty, equipment, space, and funding.

The proposal was presented to the Graduate College and five academic colleges in 1990. During the next year, we had received enough support to hire a full-time manager (Jim Majure) for the GIS facility, purchase hardware and software licenses, arrange for space in the Agronomy building, and open a GIS teaching lab in the College of Design. The GIS Facility proposal and my proposal to Hewlett-Packard Educational Grants Program illustrate my commitment to university-wide cooperation in integrating GIS teaching, research, and outreach.

Proposal for the ISU GIS Research and Support Facility (1990)

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Since that time, the facility has moved to the Durham Center, with Kevin Kane (one of my former graduate students) as full-time manager. I have continued to serve on the GIS Steering Committee, Strategic Plan Committee, and GIS Graduate Minor Committee. I also served on the search committees for both Jim Majure and Kevin Kane.

Computer Advisory Committees. Of all my committee assignments, the ones that have benefited the greatest number of students at ISU have involved computer technology. I served on the ISU Computer Advisory Committee (CAC) from 1989 to 1995. I was also a member of the Fee Allocation Subcommittee and chair of the Access and Instruction Subcommittee. This was during the time that the student computer fee was being developed. Criteria for appropriate use of funds were developed by the committee, along with the algorithm for disbursing College Pool funds and criteria for competitive proposal awards of Central Pool funds. As chair of the Access and Instruction Subcommittee, I led the development of the university-wide software suite that is installed in all computer labs receiving Central Pool funds. I also personally proposed and received funding for a graduate administrative assistant and undergraduate assistant to help the CAC inform students of computer laboratories and equipment funded by student computer fees. I then advertised the openings, arranged for interviews, then interviewed and selected the first two student assistants along with CAC chair David Hopper. My service on the Computer Advisory Committee was a personal priority because of my philosophy of integrating mental, manual, and computer-assisted techniques in teaching.

As chair of the College of Design Computer Advisory Committee from 1991-1995, I authored two successful Central Pool proposals totaling over $75,000 to equip college computer labs. I lobbied at the university level in support of another two successful college proposals for Central Pool funds totaling over $30,000. Prior to 1991, I was a member of the College of Design Computer Advisory Committee and helped develop several proposals for funding.

As chair of the College of Design Task Force on Computer and Communication Technology, I led a strategic planning effort to identify issues, needs, and strategies concerning the use of computer and communication technology in design pedagogy. As part of my responsibilities as chair, I authored and edited the Task Force report, authored and implemented a national survey of 20 peer institutions, and organized and moderated a faculty forum involving one on-site faculty consultant from the University of Minnesota, and two faculty consultants connected through video conferencing technology from Harvard University and University of Oregon. One Task Force recommendation implemented immediately was an input/output center, in which the Copy Center on the first floor was moved to the fourth floor and expanded to include specialized printers and plotters needed by faculty and students in the College of Design. Additional recommendations are being incorporated into the current plans for building remodeling. My leadership on the Task Force supports my philosophy of integrating computer and communication technology as a strong component of teaching, research, and outreach.

Computer and Communication Technology Task Force report (1996)

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Department contributions

Computer integration in the curriculum. In addition to my leadership in computer integration in the curriculum, I have had the responsibility of technical support for the department computing facilities. Until 1996, I was responsible for all computer installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair. Beginning in 1996, the department provided a part-time student assistant and the college increased technical assistance.

Fund raising. From 1982 to 1988, I served as coordinator and caller for the department's annual alumni fundraising call-a-thon. Though our annual total was not the highest of the four departments in the College of Design, another measure of success was the percentage of alumni participating. In most (if not all) years, the percentage of department alumni pledging and donating was the highest in the college.

Student employment opportunities. Through grants and contracts, I have consistently offered employment opportunities for students. These opportunities include graduate assistantships, undergraduate research assistantships, Program for Women in Science and Engineering, internship agreements, and temporary hourly. Each year, I typically provide four to eight such employment opportunities for students. In this way, students gain additional exposure to teaching, research, and outreach that they would not otherwise have available.

International practice. Through my rural planning experiences in USAID projects for Guatemala and Zambia, I gained insights into international practice that I share with students in class (particularly Landscape Inventory and Analysis (LA 361) and Research Methods (LA 541)). This also provides greater diversity in the students' knowledge and understanding of cultures and landscapes. One measure of the positive impact on students is their international service. For example, in the past seven years, three of my academic advisees have joined the Peace Corps (Katrina Peek, Susan Lein in Guatemala, and Joel Franqui in Bolivia).

Graduate student dinner. Since 1982, I have hosted graduate students, faculty members, and their families in my home for a potluck dinner. I first did this as as graduate program coordinator and have continued (except for three years) because the benefits to the program were so great. This informal setting provides an effective way to share experiences among graduate students and between faculty and graduate students.

Other service

As a form of community and campus service, I enjoy performing music on campus, in the community, and around the state. I am a member of nine music groups that perform regularly at campus activities and other local functions (Collegiate Brass, Music Men, Musica Antiqua, Ames Municipal Band, Central Iowa Symphony, Oompah-Meisters, Collegiate Chancel Choir, Morrie Powers Jazz Band, and the von Anderson Family Singers). In addition, I perform in ISU festival choruses and other special events involving music performances at Music Hall or ISU Center.

Some events are formal (such as Madrigal Dinners, WOI Iowa Week (1987 in Stratford and 1996 in Dyersville), ISU Memorial Day Services, student recitals, festival choruses, and Graduate College functions). Other events are informal (such as Agronomy Department picnics, LA faculty retirement picnics, serenading Christmas Carols in the Beardshear Hall rotunda, and Friday Phenom in the College of Design). Almost all performances have been on a volunteer basis (except several of the Memorial Day Services when remuneration was available). One of my favorite service activities involving music is performing in the ISU Madrigal Dinner, held several nights each January in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Madrigal Dinner costume and serpent (1997)

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Last update: 27 July 99






Date:  30 January 1990
To:  Dr. Gordon Eaton             Dr. Milton Glick 
     Dr. Patricia Swan            Dr. David Topel
     Dr. Thomas Galloway          Dr. David Kao
     Dr. David Bright             Dr. George Strawn
     Dr. Elizabeth Elliott        Dr. Nancy Eaton

From:  ISU Ad Hoc Committee on Geographic Information Systems
       Arnold van der Valk, Botany, chair
       Paul Anderson, Landscape Architecture and Agronomy
       Thomas Colvin, Soil Tilth Lab
       Thomas Fenton, Agronomy
       David Glenn-Lewin, Botany /S&H
       Kandiah Jeyapalan, Civil and Construction Engineering
       Steve Jungst, Forestry
       Duane Shinn, Community and Regional Planning
       William Simpkins, Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
       Paul Vohs, Animal Ecology
Subject:  Proposal for a Geographic Information System (GIS) Facility

Attached is a proposal for a central GIS facility for ISU. We envision this 
as a joint undertaking of the university and the four colleges involved. Some 
funding from the central administration for hardware has already been committed 
to the proposed facility.
The GIS facility described here allows significant teaching and research in a 
variety of subject areas including landscape ecology, water resources, soils, 
land use planning, sustainable agriculture, environmental quality, forestry, 
geology, siting major structures, and others.
It is our goal to establish a GIS facility that will help bring ISU to a place 
among the five or six universities providing national leadership in GIS research 
and teaching. We hope you share that goal.