Strategic Plan

2011 - 2016

The College of Human Sciences (CHS) focuses on people; expanding human potential and improving lives. Committed to the creation and advancement of knowledge, the CHS provides the highest standards of excellence in education and innovation; fosters intellectual and personal development; and stimulates meaningful learning, research, and Extension/outreach. The College has a rich tapestry of disciplines interwoven with the science and technology of living and learning. CHS is dedicated to studying and improving every aspect of human life— how we learn, grow, and age; what we eat and how we exercise; how we spend money, raise children, and build families; how we dress; and even how we relax. From this quest for a deep understanding of people, the College positively impacts the quality of people's lives locally, nationally, and globally. We expand human potential; we improve people's lives.


The College of Human Sciences (CHS) was founded on July 1, 2005 from the combination of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (CFCS) and the College of Education (COE). The roots of the CHS stretch back to the very origins of Iowa State University. Iowa State University (ISU) was the first university in the nation to establish a chair in pedagogy and the first to grant a four-year degree in education in 1872, under the guidance of its first president. At the same time the first academic unit in the domestic sciences was created and would later become the College of Home Economics (and then the CFCS).

Land grant principles

CHS successfully embodies the principles of a land-grant university described in the Morrill Act of 1862. The Act established the land-grant ideals that higher education should be accessible to all; regardless of race, gender, or economic circumstance; and that the university should teach liberal arts and practical subjects to improve the quality of life for citizens. Iowa State University pioneered the nation’s first Extension Service and remains a leader in realizing the promise of the land-grant vision. This opened new possibilities for greater synergy in teaching, research and practice, enhanced connections across a variety of inter-related disciplines, inspired academic programs through interdisciplinary collaboration, expanded student career development, and enriched the environment for teaching innovations and experimentation.

Extension to families

Academic leadership for ISU Extension to Families is provided through the CHS. Specialists are located both in the College and throughout the state and provide information and assistance to families across the lifespan. Extension to Families works in partnership with other agencies to address the needs of Iowa families with research based education on aging, early childhood, family financial management, positive relationships, food safety, nutrition and health, parenting and home ecology. The College is also the home to Iowa's 4-H Youth Development Program.

Looking ahead

The CHS, an innovative 21st century college, changes the lives of Iowans, those in other states, and the global citizenry. We have a unique capacity to bridge fundamental knowledge with application and action. Over the next five years, CHS will continue to capitalize on its strengths and engage with multiple partners to realize the goals of this strategic plan and to create a better future for all.