Iowa State picks interim dean for ag college, as Wintersteen steps into presidency

Colletti 'will maintain the strong momentum'

As Iowa State University’s longtime College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Wendy Wintersteen prepares to assume the school’s presidency, a senior associate dean will step in to replace her on an interim basis.

Joe Colletti, who in addition to his associate dean role in the College of Ag and Life Sciences is associate director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, will step in as the college’s interim dean Nov. 20, when Wintersteen officially becomes ISU’s 16th president.

He also will serve as interim director of the ISU experiment station, which Wintersteen led.

As interim dean, Colletti will be making the same annualized salary Wintersteen was earning at the post — $328,141. His current annualized salary is $221,221.

“It has been a great privilege to watch the college grow in both stature and impact over the last 40 years, and I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the college during the interim period,” Colletti said in a statement.

Iowa State plans to launch a national search for a permanent dean to lead the ag college in the coming weeks, and Colletti is not expected to be a candidate, according to Rob Schweers, an ISU spokesman.

The university is in the process of working on a plan to cover Colletti’s duties during his interim service.

Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert made the Colletti appointment, citing his “stature on campus” as assuring a smooth transition to a next permanent dean.

“Joe Colletti has a well-deserved reputation for collegiality and service that will help the college and university move forward during a critical time of record enrollments and budget challenges,” Wickert said. “I am confident he will do very well in the interim role.”

Colletti’s Iowa State career began in 1978, and he was appointed senior associate dean in 2006, after serving as interim chairman of the ISU Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management from 2004 to 2005. He earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Humboldt State University in California and his master’s and doctorate degrees in forest economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

His research focuses on economics of agroforestry, management of streamside buffer systems on farmland, and biorenewable resources. He also has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in forestry and natural resources economics, decision-making and management.

In his current role, Colletti oversees budgets, resources and personnel for the agriculture college and experiment station. He also facilitates research related to the bioeconomy, including development of the university’s BioCentury Research Farm.

In a statement, Wintersteen said Colletti is “familiar with every aspect of the college’s mission and operations, and its service to the people of Iowa.

“He will maintain the strong momentum in our academic and research programs, and work with stakeholders both on and off campus to share our expertise with the world,” she added.

Under the direction of Wintersteen, who has led the College of Ag and Life Sciences since 2006, its agricultural and Biosystems engineering program has ascended to No. 1 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

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