Creating an environment where everyone can thrive

Iowa State’s College of Design is committed to offering a safe and welcoming campus, and to providing a learning environment that encourages, empowers, and supports all students in their unique goals. Every office, department, and classroom actively works to provide services, events, and financial and academic resources to see our students succeed.

When you come to the College of Design, we want you to feel included. We want you to know that our faculty and staff will advocate for you.

You belong here.

Our goal is to continuously engage in creating, encouraging, and supporting an inclusive community: one that challenges the creative minds of our students, faculty, and staff; one which allows us to reach new places in design; and one that provides safe and restorative spaces for you to be your authentic self.

College of Design BUILD Brunch - Feb. 15, 2023

Multicultural Student Success Office

The Multicultural Student Success Office (MSS) acts as an advocate and a resource for students in the College of Design who identify as African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Latina/o, and/ or Multiracial. MSS aims to help students access opportunities and achieve their personal and academic best.

The MSS office regularly hosts programming and events, including academic summer programs, receptions, workshops, and more to support students both in and outside of the classroom. Many events also engage faculty, staff, and the broader community in meaningful dialog around the topics of identity, culture, and inclusion.

View the College of Design’s event calendar

Free academic tutor at Iowa State

If you think you could benefit from additional academic help, it’s time to take action and request a tutor. Subsidized tutoring is available for African American, Latino American, Asian American, American Indian and Multiracial students at Iowa State University in both fall and spring semesters each year.

How to request a tutor

  • Visit
  • Click Edit and fill in your contact information.
  • Click Edit next to Funding.
  • Select Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Edit next to Courses and check the course you need a tutor for.
  • Click Edit next to Schedule and select all available times by left-clicking the mouse (or double-clicking on a Mac).
  • Click Review Your Application for Submitting.
  • Click Submit.

Student organizations are a great way for students to continue learning, form meaningful relationships, and develop leadership skills. Multicultural organizations can serve as a place for community, growth, and intercultural exchange. Below are a few multicultural organizations in the College of Design and links to others around the college and university.

Iowa Conference on Race and Ethnicity/National Conference on Race and Ethnicity
National Organization of Minority Architecture Students
Women Who Design
Iowa Women in Architecture Students
Other multicultural student organizations at Iowa State

The MSS Office staff are available as resources to assist College of Design faculty and staff on issues of diversity and inclusion in the classroom and within student organizations. They can give presentations on incorporating diverse perspectives into your work as well as on the importance of being culturally knowledgeable and demonstrating cultural understanding as a global citizen.

MLK Emergency Fund

The MLK Emergency Fund exists to assist undergraduate students who identify as multiracial in meeting unusual and/or extenuating circumstances that may impact their academic success. Emergency funds must be used for emergency situations only, defined as a condition that poses a hardship for a student and is likely to affect their academic progress.

About/Facilities Page Feature - The Design Closet

Design Closet: making art supplies accessible

The Design Closet is one way our college is working to mitigate financial barriers to being a design student and reduce and reuse materials within the college.

The Design Closet’s initial and primary purpose is to provide new and gently used materials to students with financial need. It’s all made possible through generous donations of funds and materials from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college.

College of Design International Programs Office

The Office of International Programs and Services in the College of Design aims to create a welcoming and supportive environment for both international students traveling to Iowa for their Iowa State experience, and students who are traveling from Iowa State as part of a study abroad opportunity.

The College of Design at Iowa State University has over 150 international students from over 20 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Iran, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Iowa State University College of Design Dean, Luiz Rico-Gutierrez, in Rome with the study abroad program.

Supporting international experiences

The International Programs and Services Office offers a robust portfolio of study abroad offerings and our flagship Rome Program. There is also a section dedicated to providing information for faculty-led initiatives abroad. The office can advise and assist students planning to study abroad to ensure they feel safe and prepared for their adventure.

We care about your success in the College of Design. Please see below campus resources that can help you navigate through your academic and personal experience.

Academic Success Center (ASC)

Academic Success Center provides tutoring, coaching, and supplemental instruction. International students can receive tutoring services free of charge.

International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)

Iowa State University is an international teaching and research institution with a reputation that draws students from all over the world. The International Students and Scholars Office provides courteous and timely assistance and informative programming for international students, visiting scholars, and their families through International Student Advisors with years of experience working both in the U.S. and abroad. 

College of Design Career Services

Design Career Services provides career development support to College of Design students and alumni. It offers services such as job search assistance, resume and cover letter reviews, design career fairs, and many other opportunities help to prepare students the workforce. 

The College of Design uses a team-based approach to advising in which students will have access to a professional academic advisor as well as a faculty mentor. The International Programs and Services Office staff includes an international student adviser who is dedicated to working with, supporting, and providing academic success services to international students.

Meet your academic advisor

This course provides an opportunity for independent educational enrichment in which students gain practical experience in art and design, and to get a better understanding of what career paths exist. To explore this course opportunity, please contact your academic advisor for information and to ensure the course fits into your academic program of study.

Iowa State provides scholarships and financial support opportunities for students, including international students who are traveling to Iowa State for their college experience. Explore what scholarships may be available to you through Iowa State’s Admissions Office and/or the International Students and Scholars Office.

The International Programs and Services Office hosts regular events and programs for international students to meet other students from around the world, build relationships with their peers, and transition smoothly to Iowa State’s campus.

Free advice day with a College of Design senior

Twice a semester the College of Design International Programs and Services Office holds Free Advice Day, an event that provides the opportunity for students to talk with staff and other students about anything. Job advice, concerns about your major, even restaurant recommendations in Ames! Any and all questions or concerns are welcome and will be answered as best as possible.

De-stress through art

Once each semester during Mid terms the College of Design International Programs Office holds De-stress through Art, an evening of stress-free drawing that promotes relaxation and encourages exhibiting one’s emotions through art.

ISSO Advice Day

Twice a semester the College of Design International Programs Office organizes ISSO Advice Day, an opportunity for students to connect with ISSO Advisors and discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

End of Semester Social

At the end of each semester the College of Design International Programs Office organizes and End of Semester Social. This gathering brings students together in celebration of their hard work throughout the semester and promotes community within the college.

View the College of Design’s event calendar

Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost at Iowa State University, Headshot

It is my belief that students themselves have the most to gain when diversity and inclusion are part of their education. Iowa State graduates will work on teams with people from different backgrounds, and interact with people around the globe.

Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost at Iowa State University

  • BUILD Learning Community

    BUILD Learning Community

    The Building Up Inclusive Leadership in Design (BUILD) learning community is designed to aid first-year and transferring students who identify as multicultural, BIPOC, and/ or LGBTQIA+ in the successful transition to college and completion of the Core Design Program by pairing each new student with an upper-class student mentor in their intended major.

  • career services feature image

    Career Services

    Design Career Services offers programs and services to help students develop life-long skills in career development. The office also facilitates connections with employers through career fairs focusing on College of Design programs, employer presentations, and job and internship postings for Iowa State students and alumni.

  • Uplift Fund for professional development opportunties

    The Uplift Fund provides financial assistance for undergraduate multicultural students to take advantage of opportunities like exhibitions, competitions, conferences and workshops that expand their knowledge, gain recognition for their work and help make them more marketable for jobs and internships.

College of Design student researching.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.