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About Us

Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology TransferOur History

The Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer germinated from a seed planted when Dr. Harold Crawford identified a need for facilities for teleconferencing and teaching at a distance. Dean David Topel nurtured the idea, encouraging Dr. Crawford to develop a plan for using Curtiss Hall space vacated by the Department of Genetics. Topel and Crawford found fertile ground for the seed’s growth during discussions with members of the Brenton family.

The Brentons’ gift, honoring W. Harold and Etta Brenton, graduates of the Iowa State College class of 1920, launched a fund-raising campaign. Many others provided a good growing season, contributing ideas, funds and other gifts. On August 21, 1995, classes began in the Brenton Center and consumers of educational programs in agriculture began harvesting the fruits of a seed planted in 1988.

Now, over twenty years later, a lot has changed. The Brenton Center has seen increased staffing, advanced technology, record enrollments every year, increased number of faculty teaching online courses, and increased number of online degree programs and certificates.  Significant growth in online enrollment is the key driving factor for all changes within the Brenton Center.

Today we provide a variety of services encompassing the entire process of developing, marketing, initiating, and maintaining online courses, including individual services using the related technologies, such as video recording and graphic design. Beyond our services, we are an active partner with other units working to make Iowa State University a leader in online education. 

Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology TransferMission

To be a dynamic center of excellence that contributes to enhancing teaching and learning and in establishing the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) as the premier provider of online education in agriculture.


- To enhance teaching and learning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

- To increase state, national, and international access to educational offerings provided by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

- To develop partnerships and linkages with extension, community colleges, agricultural business and industry, associations, commodity groups, and other universities.

- To develop a resource base that will sustain and enhance achievement of the mission.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee was created to allow CALS faculty involved in online learning to play a key advisory role in shaping the path of online learning experiences for both on-campus and online distance students.  This committee provides a forum for discussing online learning issues, establishes guidelines and procedures, and makes recommendations to improve faculty instruction and student experience.

Advisory Committee

Members include:

ABE - Nir Keren

AGEDS - Greg Miller 

AGRON - Allen Knapp

AN S - Jodi Sterle

BBMB - Jack Griton

ECON - Amani Elobeid

ENT - Donald Lewis

FS HN - Smaranda Andrews

GDCB - Sayali Kukday

HORT - Nick Christians

MICRO & PLP - Gary Munkvold