AMES, Iowa — Earlier this year the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University announced an effort to reimagine the college in light of a deficit of over $11 million dollars.

When the decision was announced, Beate Schmittman, Dean of the College, issued this statement:

“Since enrollment started to decline at Iowa State University beginning in 2016-17, we have worked to cut costs across the college. This approach has mitigated our challenges but was not sufficient to resolve them. The time has come for a comprehensive approach to secure the college’s future. Over the last few months, I’ve been working closely with the Office of the Provost on a multi-year approach to right-size the college.” 

Dean Beate Schmittman

That means some reductions in staff. One department being impacted is the ISU History Department. One graduate student in that department has worked to try to stop cuts to the History Department.

“One of the reasons the department is valuable of course is that a lot of its faculty, a lot of its graduate students are interested in the history of the Midwest,” said Michael Belding, a PhD Candidate in History at ISU  “That’s one of the values of a land grant university is that it provides us a safe and secure space for people to take a look at  the history of a possibly overlooked place.” 

Belding has sent open letters to the University President and to the Dean of the College, but to no avail.

“History is important and we could say a lot about that of course but also the details of this particular program in this particular proposal are important,” said Belding. Iowa  has a history and we might like to think sometimes, but we need to know that things are different in Iowa in 2022.”

Belding is not thinking his efforts will change anyone’s minds, he just wants people to be aware of Iowa’s rich agriculture history.