Department History

Departmental History

The Department of Agricultural Education and Studies was formed in 1989 with a merger of the Department of Agricultural Education and the Department of Agricultural Studies. A brief history of both units is presented.

Agricultural Education, as an academic unit at Iowa State University, had its origin in agriculture and is one of the oldest academic units in the College of Agriculture. It became a department in 1911, in the then Division of Agriculture, and has always been administered in the agricultural unit of the university. The primary function of the original department was to prepare agriculture teachers for secondary schools. In 1919, other teacher training programs were established on campus and combined with the Agricultural Education Department because of the similarity of mission (the training of teachers) of these new programs and that of the existing Agricultural Education Department. As the department grew, the name was changed several times, but continued to be administered in the College of Agriculture. In 1968, when the College of Education was formed, Agricultural Education remained in the College of Agriculture under the original 1911 name -- Department of Agricultural Education.

The Department of Agricultural Studies also had a long record of success. Its original purpose was to administer the Farm Operation Curriculum. The first B.S. degree graduate was in 1945. The curriculum had a two-fold mission: (1) to provide a college education for individuals who wanted to pursue a career in diversified production agriculture, and (2) to provide a general agriculture offering for students in the College of Agriculture. The department also offered a two-year certificate which was discontinued in 1988. A winter program was in existence from 1955-1995. The curriculum was renamed Agricultural Studies - Farm Operation in the mid 1980s, and Agricultural Studies in 1991.

Department Chairs


C.E. Bundy 1968-1971

Harold R. Crawford 1971-1983

David L. Williams 1983-1992

Richard I. Carter 1992-1998

Robert A. Martin 1998-2009

William W. Miller (interim) 2009-2016

Michael S. Retallick 2016-Present