Sellers reappointed human sciences associate dean and Human Sciences Extension and Outreach director

Faculty News
By Cathy Curtis

Photo by Ryan Riley.

“Deb Sellers is an effective leader with a keen ability to inspire action,” said Laura Dunn Jolly, dean and Dean’s Chair in the College of Human Sciences. “With her guidance, the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach community has developed ‘Journey 2022,’ a strategic plan for energizing people to advance the quality of life throughout Iowa and beyond.”

Sellers leads more than 100 human sciences faculty and staff members on the Ames campus and across Iowa. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach engages and empowers people throughout their lifetimes with research-based information and education to build strong relationships, families, and communities.

“Dr. Sellers works effectively with her team to develop and deliver impactful programs to Iowans of all ages and needs. Under Deb’s leadership Human Sciences Extension and Outreach has developed partnerships across the university and across the state to benefit Iowans,” said ISU Vice President for Extension and Outreach John Lawrence.

Over her first five-year term, Sellers worked with faculty and staff to more deeply integrate Human Sciences Extension and Outreach efforts with the teaching, research, and outreach of the College of Human Sciences. Together, the human sciences advance the lifelong health, well-being, and education of individuals, families, schools, and communities.

Under her leadership, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach created and implemented a service delivery model to better serve all Iowans. Faculty and staff develop, deliver, and evaluate new and improved educational offerings in family life, family finance, and nutrition and wellness.

Sellers also co-led development of the ISU 4U Promise outreach initiative and co-created the Community Alliance partnership designed to provide a college-going pathway for underserved students in Des Moines schools.

She earned an associate of arts degree in applied sciences from Barton County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in recreational studies from the University of Florida, and a doctorate in lifespan human development from Kansas State University.

Her research focuses on transformative educational networks, adaptive living for people with aging-related limitations or disabilities and their families, and the effects of human-canine interactions on health and well-being.

Key contacts

Laura Jolly, dean and Dean’s Chair, College of Human Sciences, 515-294-5380,

John Lawrence, vice president, Extension and Outreach, 515-294-6675,

Debra Sellers, director of Human Sciences Extension and associate dean in the College of Human Sciences, 515-294-2312,,

Cathy Curtis, communications director, College of Human Sciences, 515-294-8175,

By Cathy Curtis