CALS Shared Plant Growth Facilities

The greenhouses of the Departments of Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology, and Natural Resource Ecology and Management is managed in a unified and shared approach effective July 1, 2021, known as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Shared Plant Growth Facilities. This collaboration was developed to provide improved service, broader access and better facilities as well as increase usage and create more uniform services and fees.

New Management Approach for CALS Greenhouses - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the goals of this new management approach for CALS greenhouses?

  • Improved greenhouse management, maintenance and operations for more reliable plant environments through coordination and collaboration.
  • Coordinated access and scheduling of greenhouses leading to more efficient use of existing facilities.
  • A model of cooperation and teamwork for a cross-departmental resource.
  • In the long-term, replacement of aging greenhouses with new facilities.

Which greenhouses are involved?

The greenhouses involved in this plan are:

  1. Agronomy greenhouse
  2. Agronomy Hall greenhouse
  3. Plant Pathology greenhouse
  4. Forestry greenhouse
  5. Horticulture Hall greenhouse
  6. ATRB greenhouse

Not included are: Carver Co-lab (PSI/VPR), MBB (co-managed with Carver Co-lab and LAS College), Bessey Hall (EEOB, co-managed with LAS College) and USDA greenhouses.

What departments are involved?

  1. Agronomy
  2. Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology (PPEM)
  3. Horticulture
  4. NREM

These departments are fully funded by CALS.

Who will be the managers of the Shared Plant Growth Facilities?

Aaron Brand (agronomy) and Pete Lawlor (horticulture) will be the co-managers. They will transfer from their departments to the CALS Associate Dean of Operations Office effective 7/1/21. They will continue to have offices in Horticulture and Agronomy Halls. Troy Heeren (natural resource ecology and management) will focus on forestry activities and be available for support. Adding a new greenhouse mechanic will be considered to strengthen support.

Who will be on the User Advisory Committee?

Faculty and staff that use the greenhouses from each department as appointed by the respective chairs and co-managers.

What will the User Advisory Committee do?

Provide advice to the managers. Develop policies and fees.

What is the Oversight Committee?

During the transition period, the chairs of each department plus the CALS Associate Dean of Operations will approve policies and fees.

What about growth chambers in the departments?

Each of the participating departments will decide whether their growth chambers are included in the shared approach.

What is the timeline?

Implementation will start July 1, 2021.

What is the budget?

The CALS Shared Plant Growth Facilities will have a revolving account that pays expenses and receives user fees and allocations. The account will be the responsibility of the co-managers.

What benefits will the faculty, staff, and students who rely on greenhouses get from this new plan?

  • More reliable facilities
  • Wider access to facilities
  • Improved service
  • More uniform policies and fees with more support staff
  • One-stop website providing all greenhouse information, contacts, rules, scheduling requests etc.

What about teaching or student club uses of greenhouses?

Teaching and student uses are an important function of CALS greenhouses and will be maintained in the new plan.

What about other greenhouses on the campus?

Once a managing framework is established, other ISU departments, greenhouses, growth chambers and grow rooms could be added. In addition, the Shared Plant Growth Facilities will serve as a model for cooperation and become an advocate for improved plant research and teaching at ISU – specifically regarding new greenhouses and grow rooms.