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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Oct. 6, 2006

A conversation with Elizabeth Hoffman

by Diana Pounds

Elizabeth Hoffman said she's looking forward to fall colors that outshine even the Colorado scenery, immersing herself in the academic life of the university and yes, even working on the budget.

In a recent Inside interview, the former dean of Iowa State's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences talked about returning to Iowa State in January as executive vice president and provost. Here's what she had to say:

On coming back to Iowa State

"It's an exciting and difficult time for Iowa State with budget cuts and the new budget model. There will be lots of things to do as provost. I can't wait.

"So many friends e-mailed me and called me and even came to the forum. I feel so welcome. It's been wonderful. I got a little time to drive around and revisit old haunts. It feels really good. It feels like coming home."

On preparing for her new post

"I'm planning a weeklong trip to Ames in mid-October to look for a house and meet with a wide variety of people I will be working with. I hope to move fairly early in December and be around and available. That will help me make the transition as smooth as possible."

On her first few months at Iowa State

"Obviously, a decision on the new budget model is going to occur just about when I arrive and, whatever that decision, working on the budget will be a very important part of what I do in the first few months. I'll also take time to visit colleges to get reacquainted with those I already know and get to know new people."

On the fun of being a provost

"You get a chance to see everything that happens in the academic life in a university. I'm a consummate academic. I'm fascinated with what everyone is doing. I love walking into research labs and talking with everyone about their work.

"As hard as it is to read a hundred promotion and tenure files, I like reading them because you get to see what faculty are doing, and it gives you a tremendous perspective on the life of the university.

"And I know it sounds silly, but I'm an economist, and I actually enjoy the budget process. Even when it's difficult, it's intellectually challenging to try to figure out how to manage the budget and move the university forward while continuing to support the faculty and staff."

On Iowa's allure

"For me, it's the beauty of the campus and the fall colors. We have a photo of Catt Hall hanging in our living room, showing the trees in their full, fall red colors. As beautiful as the fall is in Colorado, the colors don't hold a candle to the falls in Iowa."


Inside sat down with new executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman. Hear what she has to say about her return to Iowa State.