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Theressa Cooper

Assistant Dean for Diversity of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University


Theressa Cooper, serves as the assistant dean for diversity for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and adjunct assistant professor in the department of agricultural education and studies.  She has served in this position since 2013. Theressa’s responsibilities include the coordination, management and implementation of the college's diversity and inclusion programs. One of the signature programs under her umbrella is the George Washington Carver Summer Internship program, which has be in existence for over 28 years. She also leads efforts to identify new opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusion goals to benefit students, faculty and staff; and connects with minority serving institutions nationwide in terms of teaching, research and outreach/extension activities.

Before arriving at Iowa State University, Theressa was the director of academic success programs and outreach initiatives in the college of agricultural sciences and natural resources at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Theressa served the college of agricultural sciences and natural resources for nine years.

Theressa’s research areas focus on increasing the pipeline of underrepresented groups in agriculture and the life sciences, multicultural education and youth development. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in agricultural education, youth development, diversity, and multicultural education.

Cooper earned her doctorate in cultural studies from the University of Tennessee. She earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural development and master’s degree in agricultural education at Texas A&M University.

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