AMES, Iowa – Erin Olson-Douglas, an architect, urban designer and economic development specialist, has been named the associate dean for extension and outreach in the Iowa State University College of Design. She will also serve as program director for ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development.

Olson-Douglas’ appointment will begin Nov. 8.

“We’re pleased Erin is joining Iowa State as the next step in her very successful career. She is clearly committed to the university’s mission to create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place,” said College of Design Dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez.

“Having worked extensively in Des Moines and central Iowa, in this new role she will expand the reach of her knowledge and experience in design, policy and economic development to serve and support communities throughout the state.”

Vice President for Extension and Outreach John Lawrence said Olson-Douglas brings valuable experience to this position. ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development has a close relationship with the College of Design and works with all levels of government, ranging from townships and local governments to regional and state government agencies. The program also is well aligned with numerous state and local business and nonprofit organizations and has been proactively engaging Iowa’s growing Latino population.

“The role seeks to foster people and places throughout Iowa, an undertaking that I find most compelling,” Olson-Douglas said.

“The opportunity presented by this position is a rare occasion to expand the horizon of my daily work and apply the spectrum of my career experiences, while building on my professional capabilities in my home state and with an institution that I hold dear.”

About Olson-Douglas

Olson-Douglas’ career spans nearly 25 years in the design and development fields. A licensed architect, she has served as a design studio instructor, a city planner and urban designer, an economic development professional and a City of Des Moines municipal administrator.

Olson-Douglas has worked for the City of Des Moines since 2006, serving as director of development services since January 2020. Previous positions for the city included director of economic development, economic development coordinator, urban designer in the community development department and project director with the Downtown Des Moines Planning Project.

Earlier she spent nearly a decade as an architect and urban designer with firms including Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture and Substance Architecture in Des Moines and Chan Krieger & Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Olson-Douglas received a bachelor of architecture from Iowa State in 1997 and a master of architecture in urban design from Harvard University in 2004.

About ISU Extension and Outreach CED

ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development (CED) offers education and research that build Iowans’ capacity to address critical issues in their communities. Faculty and specialists provide hands-on assistance in areas ranging from community visioning and retail district planning to small business resources and customer service, as well as strategic planning, goal setting and facilitation.

CED also helps Iowans apply research and data such as community surveys, data analyses and economic studies to address community needs, and supports development of thriving local food systems statewide.

Several College of Design faculty and staff members hold joint appointments with CED. Olson-Douglas will collaborate closely with them to nurture existing connections and create new ones with communities and colleagues across Iowa.


Laura Sternweis, Senior Editorial Advisor, ISU Extension and Outreach Advancement Communications, lsternwe@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Director of Strategic Communications, College of Design, hsauer@iastate.edu