University Restructures Online Education Programs Under CELT • Inside Iowa State for Faculty and Staff • Iowa State University


Iowa State announced a plan this month to restructure its university college online education staff into a single new unit – Iowa State Online – which will be part of the Center of Excellence for Learning and education (CELT).

According to Provost Jonathan Wickert, expanding Iowa State’s online education programs is an institutional priority consistent with new strategic plans by the university and the state’s Board of Regents. The unit received $600,000 in “seed” funding from President Wendy Wintersteen to support its planned launch on January 1, 2023.

“Iowa State Online will be a seamless, integrated unit for course design and delivery, development of new programs and markets, and a cohesive brand for our online programs,” Wickert said. “This is an exciting opportunity to bring together all of our faculty and staff, across all disciplines and modalities, to better serve students and instructors, and align our efforts with best practices from other institutions.”

The creation of Iowa State Online also responds to two recent review efforts: the Online Learning Strategy Task Force, which conducted an in-depth analysis of the university’s online learning environment; and the Regents Distance Education Task Force.

Restructuring details

The expansion of CELT to encompass online programs creates four pedagogical axes:


  • Iowa State Online, including marketing, new programs, corporate outreach, business development, and student success functions.

  • Instructor Development, including core support for instructors, faculty and graduate student training, faculty fellows, and the inclusive classroom program.

  • Course design and quality, including instructional design, quality and faculty support.

  • Enterprise instructional technology, including media production, Canvas administration and learning tool integration, and online testing centers.
Headshot by Sara Marcketti

Sara Marketti

CELT’s mission will be enhanced by the addition of remote and online support staff currently serving in university departments or colleges. CELT Director Sara Marcketti will continue to lead the unit with a change of title to become Deputy Provost and Executive Director of CELT. Susan Arendt, who currently serves as Provost faculty member for online educationwill be the first director of Iowa State Online.

The combined unit, including CELT staff currently housed at Morrill Hall, will move to Howe Hall later in the fall semester and during winter vacation.

Preparing for the future of online education

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate vice president of academic programs and architect of the restructuring effort, notes that the creation of Iowa State Online will allow the university to pursue emerging opportunities in online education.

“We focus on the full range of programs, from undergraduate and graduate programs to certificates and stackable ‘micro-certificates’ that help working professionals develop additional skills and grow their careers, to services for adult learners and graduation programs,” she said. said.

VanDerZanden, who represents Iowa State on the Iowa Business Council’s Business Education Alliance, also sees a future for customizable programs that leverage faculty expertise to meet the specific needs of employers across the board. ‘Iowa.

Next steps

The office of senior vice president and provost has worked with university human resources and an implementation team from Iowa State Online over the past several months to update job descriptions and job profiles. , including the creation of several new manager and supervisor positions.

Additional items in the timeline are:

  • August: Individual meetings with staff, posting of all positions, interviews for manager positions.
  • September: Interviews for supervisor and other positions.
  • October: Training for new roles/employees, determination of the staff plan and support for the winter semester.
  • November: Current CELT staff move from Morrill Hall to Howe Hall.
  • December: Staff currently serving in college units assist faculty with end-of-semester issues and finalize courses/projects for the spring semester; all other staff move to Howe Hall during winter vacation.


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