Nancy Polster

Honored by:Mary Secora and Timothy McIlrath
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I am honoring her as a person, a woman, a friend, a leader, an artist, a colleague, and a mentor.

-Timothy McIlrath



Nancy Polster is an associate professor of Art and Design at Iowa State University. She joined the faculty in 1965 and has been strongly involved in the growth of the department and it's increase in visibility among art and design departments in the nation. From 1990-96 she served as department chair during which time the faculty wrote and approved a governance document made strides in assessment of student learning and set a focus for the next century especially in relation to new faculty hires with outstanding qualifications and the use of the computer in design studio problem solving.

Other initiatives of Nancy Polster include implementing scholarship assistance for minority students; establishing an active cabinet of lead faculty members of program areas in art education, graphic design, interior design, craft design, drawing/painting/printmaking, visual studies and art history; promoting faculty for award recognition within the university; and reorganizing curricula to better advantage students' timely graduation and to allow for further faculty research time.

Leadership strengths of Professor Polster include organizational and writing skills and the ability to create a solid working relationship between units and forward movement toward goals whether it be students working within the studio/ classroom or faculty working as a whole or within committees and program areas. Nancy is interested in befriending and promoting people and has helped to bond relationships among the College of Design faculty and administration and within the Department of Art and Design faculty student body alumni and friends.

As a university instructor Professor Polster has taught across the curriculum. Her love is the design foundations courses - two-dimensional design three-dimensional design and color theory. She instructed in the areas of textile design/fiberart and art education; for approximately 10 years she taught large lecture courses on design foundations and art appreciation for majors and nonmajors.

Award recognitions include an Outstanding Academic Advising Award from the ISU Student Alumni Association the ISU Alumni Association's Faculty Citation the College of Design's Award for Extraordinary Performance and the AMOCO Outstanding Teaching Award (one of 3 university recipients in 1978). She also received a Human Relations Award from the Student Affairs Committee and was a faculty initiate to Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Nancy Polster continues her 'secondary career' as a fiber artist. Her work has been included in juried national international and regional exhibitions and in invitational group exhibitions; it has been purchased for public and private collections. She has been an exhibition juror on a number of occasions and has coordinated workshops conferences and exhibitions; she is a frequent speaker for community groups on varying aspects of the arts.From 1976-80 she was an art reviewer for the Ames Daily Tribune critiquing and promoting exhibitions at a variety of central Iowa galleries.

-Mary Secora