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Owusu named chair of ISU community and regional planning department

August 18, 2014

(image) AMES, Iowa — Francis Owusu, professor and interim chair of the Iowa State University Department of Community and Regional Planning, has been named the new chair of that department, effective Aug. 16.

Owusu joined the College of Design as an assistant professor in 2001. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2007 and to professor in 2012. He served as the community and regional planning department's director of graduate education from 2008 to 2013. He is an affiliated faculty member of the African and African American studies program and the graduate program in sustainable agriculture.

Since 2013, as interim chair of community and regional planning, Owusu has helped in adding three new faculty positions in historic preservation, GIS/geodesign and real estate to the department; established a professional mentoring program that pairs successful alumni with current students; developed an articulation agreement with Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and is working on similar agreements with other colleges; and strengthened the department's relationship with external stakeholders, including reviving the Planning Advisory Council.

Owusu teaches courses on international development, globalization and cities, and research and planning methods. He publishes and lectures widely on development policy, institutional capacity building, urban livelihoods and planning, urban food systems and sustainable development, and socioeconomic determinants of HIV/AIDS.

Owusu holds a bachelor of arts with honors in geography (1987) and a master of arts in population studies from the University of Ghana, Accra (1990), a master of arts in geography from Carleton University, Ottawa (1992), and a doctorate in geography from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (2000). Prior to joining the Iowa State faculty, he was an assistant professor of political science and geography at Seattle Pacific University in Washington.

Owusu is a member of the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant advisory panel in the National Science Foundation's geography and spatial science program, and the Technical Advisory Panel and Network of the African Capacity Building Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe. He has consulted for many international development agencies, including the World Bank and the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research, Nairobi, Kenya. He also is a member of the American Planning Association, Association of American Geographers, Planners of Color Interest Group, African Studies Association and the Heartland Global Health Consortium.

Owusu received the Faculty Research Award in 2013 and the Raymond G. and Lula G. Polster Teaching Award in 2006, both from the ISU College of Design, and a Memorable Teacher Award from the ISU Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in 2007.

Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Design Administration, (515) 294-7428,
Francis Owusu, Community and Regional Planning, (515) 294-7769,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,