Uplifting our communities

As part of a land-grant institution, and as an educational organization committed to experiential and service learning, the College of Design makes outreach a central component of its mission.

Through the initiatives of the college’s partnering organizations, offices, and those of individual faculty, staff, and students, the College of Design supports programs that contribute to the improvement of community well-being, improve the professional knowledge base, contribute to professional practice experience related to student learning outcomes, or build understanding and demand for professional design and art practice.

  • Place Program - outreach

    PLaCE Program

    The Partnering Learning and Community Engagement (PLaCE) program aims to enhance and promote the quality and character of Iowa’s landscapes and communities. The College of Design engages with communities in collaborative efforts to understand, envision and promote a fundamental enhancement of their physical environment.   

    Iowa State University Extension Community and Economic Development and the College of Design’s Institute for Design Research and Outreach (IDRO) invite Iowa communities and nonprofit organizations to submit applications for project ideas that might provide quality learning experiences for our students, faculty, and staff.

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    GIS short courses

    The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Geospatial Technology Program offers a series of hands-on short courses in geographic information systems. Courses are held at the Iowa State Extension Community and Economic Development building in the Iowa State Research Park, south of the University campus.  

    Courses are designed for community planners and other public officials who use GIS computer software. Advanced registration is required, and enrollment is limited to 12 participants per course.

K-12 Opportunities

Through K-12 outreach programs and opportunities, the College of Design offers youth from the community, state, and beyond with opportunities that encourage creativity, collaboration, and a love for art and design.

Outreach funding and support

The College of Design provides internal opportunities for faculty and staff to apply for funding to assist in delivery of outreach projects which involve community engagement. Resources and opportunities for community outreach programs are also available through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office.

The award cycle for 2024 will be posted later in 2023.

Funding of up to $5,000 for one year is awarded annually to support projects that “inform the proper and artful development of the communities of Iowa and the surrounding region.”

Current recipients include:

  • “Expanding Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies in Iowa Communities” project to create opportunities to engage with Iowa communities in the initial stages of developing their Climate Action Plans, Monica Haddad, community and regional planning.
  • “Learning Landscape” project design solutions for an outdoor learning landscape for a nonprofit organization that assists underserved individuals in Iowa, Julie Stevens, landscape architecture.
  • “The Great American Rail Trail” design studio outreach and landscape-scale trail enhancements in rural Iowa, Austin Dunn, landscape architecture.

The award cycle for 2024 will be posted later in 2023.

Funding of up to $1,500 for one semester is awarded to initiate studio courses that promote faculty and student interaction with potential communities to identify curriculum-based outreach activities. Funding is not limited to projects within a specific geographic area.

Eligible expenses include summer salary as necessary to advance the approved project.

Current recipients include:

  • Monica Haddad, community and regional planning, to create a student course as a follow-on to the Fieldstead & Company Endowment-supported “Expanding Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies in Iowa Communities.” This award will provide support for a studio class to develop a partial Climate Action Plan for a selected city.
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.