The Opportunity

Iowa State University, a place where adventurous minds are encouraged to accomplish amazing things, is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation. More than 30,000 students are enrolled and are served by over 6,200 faculty and staff. Iowa State University is a global and culturally diverse university committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment–diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State, these values are translated into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The university expects that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in Iowa State University’s Principles of Community. A culturally diverse student body with students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries converge on one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. Big 12 Conference sports and a tradition of international cultural performances make campus life an adventure to remember. Iowa State is located in Ames, a community of 67,000 ranked as the number one “Best College Town in America” by and among the top 10 best places to live in America.

The Position

Role of the Director of Equal Opportunity for Iowa State University

Reporting to the president, the director of equal opportunity will provide leadership to the university community in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance, and affirmative action. Interacting equally with students, staff, and faculty, the director will be integral to the development of policies relating to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and related compliance efforts. The director will also support diversity recruitment and retention initiatives across the institution and works in close collaboration with many offices across Iowa State, including but not limited to human resources, university counsel, provost, public safety, intercollegiate athletics, student affairs, and the office of diversity, equity and inclusion.  The director of equal opportunity will be responsible for leading and managing all aspects of the equal opportunity and affirmative action programs at the university, including compliance with federal and state laws, executive orders, and university policies and procedures; overseeing the university’s discrimination and harassment policy, which includes campus education as well as enforcement of the policy through complaint resolution, investigations, findings, and recommended corrective action or sanctions; compliance with affirmative action requirements, including the university’s annual affirmative action plan; serving as the Title IX coordinator on campus to assure compliance with the law, regulations, and university policies; serving as the 504 coordinator on campus to assure compliance with the law, regulations, and university policies; participating in the development of university policies pertaining to equal opportunity and affirmative action, as well as diversity and inclusion; and directing the administrative and operational activities of the office of equal opportunity.

History of the Position

Robinette Kelley served as director of equal opportunity from February 2013 through October 2015. She was the first permanent director of equal opportunity after the offices of human resource services, and equal opportunity were reorganized into separate units. Margo Foreman subsequently served in the role from April 2016 through October 2021. She resigned to accept a senior-level position at another institution. During her tenure, the position was moved to the office of diversity, equity and inclusion but the reporting structure has been moved back to the president’s office.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

In transitioning to Iowa State University, the new director of equal opportunity will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges:

  • Balance the needs of individuals against the institution’s legal responsibility—it will be necessary to steer the appropriate course between advocacy for all underrepresented groups while ensuring the university complies with all appropriate laws and regulations.
  • Develop and maintain a highly collaborative approach for the office, even in contentious situations. The office of equal opportunity should be a consultative organization that partners with campus departments on issues of compliance and equity.
  • Iowa State is a highly decentralized institution, so it will be essential for the director to build collegial relationships and work collaboratively across campus.
  • Demonstrate the sensitivity and tact essential to responding to individuals’ concerns with the necessary personal and professional resolve when circumstances dictate that the director adopts an unpopular position.
  • Provide appropriate attention to matters of concern to varied constituents.
  • Employ appropriate and flexible strategies for applying the authority of this position that reports to the president’s office and has the attention of the senior cabinet.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Iowa State University, the following items will initially define success for the new director of equal opportunity:

  • There is clear evidence that the director has built productive, collaborative relationships across the institution;
  • Data collection processes and use of assessment measures are in place, enabling more significant data-driven decisions within the equal opportunity department and across the institution;
  • Training and engagement of equal opportunity staff to empower them to solve problems and provide customer service to the departments and organizations will be necessary;
  • A sense of collaboration and partnership has been established with the vice president for diversity and inclusion to cultivate an environment that will attract and retain diverse students, faculty, and staff;
  • The director has engaged several stakeholders in critical discussions about best practices and the university’s direction on issues of equity and compliance.


Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree and eight years of related experience. Experience working in equal opportunity in a higher education institution and/or possession of an advanced degree is preferred. The ideal candidate will have experience cooperating in the creation and delivery of educational programming, working with federal and state compliance agencies, and investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. Experience with report preparation and analysis, policy development and implementation, strategic planning, budget development and staff supervision are required. In addition, the ideal candidate will have experience working in a decentralized environment of similar size and complexity; a highly-collaborative management style; an interest in promoting a culture of openness and transparency; and experience with the cooperative creation and delivery of educational programming and training.

Additionally, the following characteristics and attributes were identified by various stakeholders when considering the director of equal opportunity position:

  • strategic, but wired for operational efficiency—a “roll-up-your-sleeves” person in the areas of planning, development, and implementation of policies, procedures, and best practices;
  • creative—able to think outside the box and generate innovative solutions to complex problems;
  • evidence of being a data-driven decision-maker who can create consensus around strategy and operations;
  • adept at developing and empowering equal opportunity staff to solve issues and provide quality customer service;
  • ability to be transparent in acknowledging issues and prioritizing solutions and resources;
  • experience in building collaborative partnerships, energizing work teams, and leading primarily through influence, as opposed to direct-line supervision;
  • ability to engage others and listen attentively to assimilate information and learn about the Iowa State environment and its work culture;
  • demonstrated experience and ability to serve with compassion as a nonjudgmental advocate for individuals of under-represented/protected status groups;
  • possess strong communication, consultative/facilitative, relationship-building, problem-solving/mediation, problem-prevention, and diplomacy capabilities, along with an abiding attitude of fairness;
  • ability to build community, engaging faculty, staff, students, and administrators to work collaboratively to address and advance issues of equity and diversity;
  • ability to fluently “speak the language” of equal opportunity in such a way that the message will reach the broad and diverse set of campus employees and stakeholders;
  • deep understanding of the political nature of colleges and universities, coupled with the capacity to be collaborative and exercise influence;
  • a strong supervisor who clearly communicates expectations, delegates effectively, and supports the professional development of and continuing education of staff;
  • knowledge of public higher education and an appreciation for a land-grant university’s ongoing mission of learning, discovery, and engagement for the common good;
  • superb judgment and high level of tact, diplomacy, and persuasive ability as required in the discussion of key issues that have a substantial impact on the university.

Institution & Location

Overview of the Office of Equal Opportunity

The office of equal opportunity serves ISU faculty, staff, and students in ensuring equal access to employment and educational opportunities. The office advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and fairness.  They do this through outreach, education, training, complaint resolution, and the advancement of ISU’s anti-discrimination/ harassment and affirmative action policies.  They provide resources for individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment based on identity and protected class and those who have experienced power-based interpersonal violence.  The office offers individuals a safe environment for consultation and advice before choosing any particular next steps in their situation. Interactions with the office of equal opportunity are low-risk and private.


To ensure equal access to employment and educational opportunities in support of the university’s commitment to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity.


Iowa State University’s office of equal opportunity is committed to promoting a working and learning environment free of discrimination or harassment by complying with all federal, state and local laws pertaining to anti-discrimination, the American with Disabilities Act, and Title IX.  To that end, we work toward a campus climate that is supportive of equity through complaint resolution, advice, education, outreach, and intervention.

The 2020 annual report for the office of equal opportunity is available at



Faculty, staff, and students may meet with the office of equal opportunity (OEO) staff to consult about concerns they think might be related to discrimination or harassment.  These consultations aim to clarify issues and identify appropriate actions, options, possible solutions, and available resources and support.  Issues and disputes that are not related to OEO may be referred to other campus units for appropriate resources or resolution.

Facilitate Conversation

A facilitated conversation is a constructive dialogue between two or more individuals that offers space for voices to be heard and perspectives to be shared.  Because it is a conversation, working toward a particular resolution or agreement is not the intended outcome.  In addition, the facilitated conversation is not part of and does not imply or initiate any formal complaint or investigation.  Rather, the conversation offers an informal resolution to the concerns an individual has engaged our office to address.


Mediation is a process for parties to resolve a dispute with the help of a neutral E.O. Specialist who helps them discuss their conflict/differences toward jointly resolving their concerns.  The E.O. specialist does not “take a side.”  The E.O. specialist guides the process, and the parties make decisions and come up with solutions.

Trainings and Presentations

OEO offers multiple opportunities for training and education for individuals, departments, and units in multiple platforms and formats on a wide range of topics.


  • Mary Howell Sirna, Interim Director of Equal Opportunity
  • Jacob Cummings, Associate Director of Equal Opportunity and Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator
  • Amber Davis, Administrative Assistant
  • Neo Thurston, Extension and Outreach Equal Opportunity Specialist
  • Dwight Hinson, Equal Opportunity Specialist
  • David Konopa, Equal Opportunity Specialist
  • Elliot Florer, Equal Opportunity Specialist

Institutional Overview

Institutional background/history

Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm (now Iowa State University) was officially established on March 22, 1858, by the legislature of the State of Iowa. Story County was selected as a site on June 21, 1859, and the original farm of 648 acres was purchased for a cost of $5,379. The Farm House, the first building on the Iowa State campus, was completed in 1861, and in 1862, the Iowa legislature voted to accept the provision of the Morrill Act, which was awarded to the agricultural college in 1864. Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts as of 1898), as a land grant institution, focused on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all and that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects. These ideals are integral to the land-grant university.

The first official class entered at Ames in 1869, and the first class (24 men and 2 women) graduated in 1872. Iowa State was and is a leader in agriculture, engineering, extension, home economics, and created the nation’s first state veterinary medicine school in 1879.

In 1959, the college was officially renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology. The focus on technology has led directly to many research patents and inventions, including the first binary computer (the ABC), Maytag blue cheese, the round hay baler, and many more.

Beginning with a small number of students and Old Main, Iowa State University now has approximately 27,000 students and over 100 buildings with world-class programs in agriculture, technology, science, and art.

Iowa State University is a very special place, full of history. But what truly makes it unique is a rare combination of campus beauty, the opportunity to be a part of the land-grant experiment, and to create a progressive and inventive spirit that we call the Cyclone experience. Appreciate what we have here, for it is indeed, one of a kind.

Ames, IA

Beneath the small-town charm of Ames, Iowa, beats the heart of a much larger city. With a population of more than 65,000, Ames offers cultural, recreational, educational, business, and entertainment amenities more common in bigger metros. As a growing city, Ames focuses on building a strong community filled with opportunities for all. There are so many reasons that Ames, Iowa, is the Smart Choice!

In 2015, Ames was named one of the “15 Cities That Have Done the Best Since the Recession” by Bloomberg Business and one of the top 25 “Best Places for STEM Grads.” Ames ranked No. 8 by Niche Ranking for “Best Towns for Millennials in America.” Additionally, USA Today named Ames as the healthiest city in America!

These awards highlight the wonderful aspects of Ames that residents have enjoyed for years – friendly people, beautiful parks, great shopping, progressive schools, cultural and entertainment venues, quality healthcare, and recreational opportunities in every season. In 2015, the Ames Public Library celebrated its first anniversary in its expanded facility after an $18-million renovation that nearly doubled its size. A groundbreaking was held to mark the construction of a new, state-of-the-art $75-million water treatment plant, and the Ames Power Plant has converted from coal-produced electricity to cleaner natural gas. Throughout Ames, there is evidence of our growth.

Home to Iowa State University, Ames not only educates students from around the globe but has become a player in developing the world’s bio-economic future. No visit to Ames would be complete without experiencing Iowa State University. The campus boasts large expanses of green space, attractive buildings, and more than 36,000 students. The University brings excitement and vitality to our city and provides cultural and entertainment options typically found only in larger cities.

Ames is a city offering top-quality education from kindergarten to advanced degrees, and Ames High School routinely boasts the highest number of National Merit Scholar Finalists in the state. Small class sizes and experienced teachers with advanced degrees make the school districts serving Ames the example for others. As the medical hub for multiple counties, health care in Ames is accessible and advanced, with medical professionals offering state-of-the-art medical intervention close to home.

Mission and vision

The mission and vision are part of the FY2017-2022 strategic plan


Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

Iowa State’s focus has always been its students. The university emphasizes learning by doing. ISU students take advantage of many opportunities to engage in real-world class experiences and cutting-edge research, to study in other countries, and to test their leadership skills in 800-plus campus organizations. They are tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers and they’re ready to get started. In addition to educating students, Iowa State faculty and staff are conducting basic and applied research to improve lives and sustain the planet. They are boosting crop production, protecting natural resources, perfecting biobased fuels, refining wind turbines, designing human and animal vaccines, improving firefighting gear, fighting Parkinson’s disease, fostering economic growth and development, strengthening forensic science techniques, assessing the effects of media violence, devising defenses against cyber-attacks, enhancing the quality of life through the arts and humanities, and educating the leaders of tomorrow. As a member of the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Iowa State is dedicated to conducting research and scholarship with local, national, and international impact.

As the land-grant institution in the very first state to adopt the Morrill Act, Iowa State University wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. It’s no surprise that Iowa State pioneered the first statewide Extension Service in 1906. The extension experiment – universities actively transferring their research and expertise to every corner of every state – was immensely successful across America and remains so today. More than a million Iowans annually benefit directly from ISU Extension and Outreach programs.

As the world has gotten smaller, the scope of Iowa State’s mission has increased. ISU faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to improving lives around the nation and the world. The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence is helping to improve forensic evidence to create a more objective criminal justice system. The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods helps support a longstanding program to help Ugandans improve farming, launch home businesses, keep children in school, and build food security. Through these activities and many others, Iowa State presses forward, on a mission to help make the world safe and sustainable for generations to come.


Iowa State University will lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology, and human creativity to work.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology lives up to its name in many ways. Half of its undergraduates major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The campus is a hub of creative and entrepreneurial activity. ISU and the city of Ames are home to a national laboratory; five federal research labs; world-class programs in genomic-based agricultural breeding, health, and biotechnology; renowned institutes in virtual reality, plant sciences, and the bioeconomy; and the only university in Iowa with ROTC programs for all military services. The Iowa State University Research Park, which helps move discoveries to market, has launched numerous start-up companies, including some that are recognized worldwide for ingenuity and major contributions.

Iowa State University has the talent and the facilities to lead the urgent, global quest for solutions. Providing these solutions and preparing the next generation of leaders and problem solvers requires efforts from across campus. The combination of all of our academic colleges, units, and departments creates the community of scholars necessary for this work. This university is and always has been a community of practical, hardworking problem-solvers. Major investments in new research and educational facilities and an outstanding tradition of cross-disciplinary research bring all of ISU’s colleges and departments together with global partners. Iowa State is dedicated to the belief that with hard work and innovation, future generations will have ample food and fuel, good health, and a safe, bountiful planet.

The Iowa State University Strategic Plan 2017–2022

The University’s latest strategic plan went into effect on July 1, 2016.

The approved strategic plan is available at


Wendy Wintersteen, President

Dr. Wendy Wintersteen became the 16th president of Iowa State University on November 20, 2017, after a nationwide search, followed by a unanimous vote of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The first woman to hold the university’s highest office, Dr. Wintersteen has served Iowa State for more than 40 years in several capacities.

As president, Dr. Wintersteen is advancing Iowa State University for the 21st century with priorities focused on enhancing student success, recruiting and retaining excellent faculty and staff, strengthening research excellence, establishing a vibrant innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports new businesses and economic growth, cultivating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment, and growing state and private support for the university, its faculty, staff, and students.

With the launch of Iowa State’s new brand campaign, Innovate at Iowa State, Dr. Wintersteen is establishing her vision of a university where innovation and entrepreneurship are part of every college and opportunities abound for students and faculty to move their entrepreneurial ideas forward.

Central to this vision is the new 144,000 square foot Student Innovation Center, which serves as the meeting hub (and laboratory and engineering space) for students, classes and clubs excited by the possibilities of creating marketable solutions, holding pitch-off competitions and envisioning new businesses.

Under her leadership, ISU is becoming nationally recognized for innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. The prestigious Princeton Review ranked Iowa State #11 in the country for entrepreneurial studies out of 300 public and private universities. Iowa State also received the 2021 Model Program Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, noting “Iowa State’s program was expansive in its scale and boldly embraced the challenges of engendering innovation and entrepreneurship across its campus.”

ISU boasts a 95% placement rate for its graduates and unprecedented support from private donors for student scholarships, faculty positions, programs, and new facilities. Iowa State consistently ranks in the Top 100 universities worldwide (currently #65) for the number of U.S. patents as ISU faculty and staff excel at transferring their research, technology, and innovation to the marketplace to address complex scientific and global challenges, improve the quality of life, and create economic opportunities to make Iowa more competitive. ISU Extension and Outreach programs operate in all 99 counties to directly benefit more than 1 million Iowans each year.

Prior to becoming president, Dr. Wintersteen served for eleven years as the inaugural endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. During her tenure, Iowa State’s agricultural programs ranked in the top 10 worldwide, CALS enrollment rapidly increased to become the third-largest college of agriculture in the nation, research grants increased markedly, awards for teaching excellence grew, and the college achieved a 98% placement rate for its graduates.

Dr. Wintersteen began her career working in eastern and central Iowa as one of the first female ISU Extension associates in integrated pest management. She then completed her doctorate in entomology at Iowa State and rose through the ranks to become a professor of entomology (with a brief stint at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.), followed by successively senior administrative roles in extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Dr. Wintersteen was selected in 2020 to serve on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s National Council for Expanding American Innovation to develop a comprehensive national strategy to expand innovation through diversity and increasing opportunities for all Americans. She is a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and the Council’s flagship initiative, the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers, aimed at increasing the U.S.’s economic competitiveness in the global marketplace. She’s also a member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Council of Presidents and was selected to serve on the APLU Research Intensive Committee. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Big 12 Conference; the University Innovation Alliance (UIA), a coalition of 11 public research universities aimed at making college degrees more attainable for underrepresented students; America’s Cultivation Corridor, a regional economic initiative to establish Iowa as the global center for excellence in agbiosciences, advanced manufacturing, and technology sectors; and Bankers Trust. She is part of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Executive Committee and the Business Education Alliance. She also serves on the World Food Prize Council of Advisors and the World Food Prize Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Wintersteen was inducted into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 2021. She is the recipient of the 2020 Food Systems Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for her extraordinary impact on the food system through leadership and service. Dr. Wintersteen received the 2020 National Ruby Award, the most prestigious recognition given by Epsilon Sigma Phi, the national honor society for extension professionals. In 2018, she was named a Woman of Influence from the Des Moines Business Record.

Dr. Wintersteen holds a bachelor’s of science degree in crop production from Kansas State University and Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State University. She is married to Robert Waggoner, author and former businessman.

Org charts for the campus/cabinet

Academic Programs

The Iowa State University is organized into eight colleges:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Design
  • College of Engineering
  • Graduate College
  • College of Human Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Veterinary Medicine

These colleges offer 100 bachelor’s degree programs, one professional degree (doctor of veterinary medicine), 112 master’s degree programs, and 83 PhD programs.

Departments with the largest number of undergraduate majors:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering
  • Kinesiology
  • Animal Science
  • Art and Design
  • Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management
  • Psychology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Architecture
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Finance
  • Accounting

The Student Body

Iowa State at a glance, fall 2020:

Total Enrollment: 31,825

  • Undergraduate Total: 26,846
  • Graduate Students: 4,352
  • Professional Students: 627

Interesting Statistics 2020:

  • New direct from high school students (freshman class) of 5,071 students includes 3,053 Iowans.
  • The freshman class has an average ACT score of 25 and an average high school GPA of 3.71.
  • Students come from every county in Iowa, every state in the country, and from 109 countries.
  • U.S. multicultural enrollment is a record 4,924 (15.5% of total enrollment).
  • This fall, 17,911 Iowans are attending Iowa State (56.3% of the student body).
  • 2,592 international students enrolled at Iowa State in fall 2020, comprising 8.1% of the total enrollment.
  • Of the total number of students enrolled in fall 2020, 14,543 (44%) were women, and 18,848 (56%) were men.
  • Of undergraduate students, 43% were women, while 83% of professional students were women, and 45% of graduate students were women.


Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision discount plan
  • Prescription drug insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Health care flexible spending account and dependent care assistance program
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation and holidays
  • Tuition discounts for employee
  • Vendor discounts

For more information:

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination
Review of applications will begin January 31, 2022 and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Mark Hall at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Iowa State University website at

Iowa State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, disability, or protected veteran status, and will not be discriminated against. This position serves at the pleasure of university administration and is exempt from certain P&S policies.