The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) strives to ensure a vibrant future for discoverers, learners, stakeholders, and beneficiaries. A vital part of the University of Illinois, the College of ACES aligns its strategy with “The Next 150” Urbana-Champaign campus strategic plan.

Grand Challenge

As a college, we:

  • Meet grand societal challenges through scholarship and research
  • Inform solutions for these challenges
  • Create exceptional opportunities for our students
  • Create economic and social value for our stakeholders.
  • Contribute excellence to the University of Illinois in critical areas of discovery and learning
Student controlling a crops robot.

The University’s vision statement reminds us of our aspirations and our roots.

“We will be the preeminent public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact.”

That vision propels how the University’s goals and strategies intersect with – and enhance – what we do in the College of ACES.

The College of ACES pairs the vision of global preeminence with local and regional relevance to help solve important problems. The mantra “what we do and why it matters” fuels our mission and how we take action.

Strategy drives how we build our capabilities, targeting the areas of greatest promise. It gives us clear understanding for making decisions because we know why our work matters. This essential forethought guides us to live into our vision and reason for being.

In short, we know where we’ve come from, where we’re going, what resources to invest, what benefits to expect, and how to measure – and repeat – our successes. Sharing our story in impactful and personal ways reaches more people and moves them to act in concert with the College of ACES. Our strategic plan helps us ensure our vibrant story thrives for years to come.

Mission, Vision, & Guiding Principles


ACES will be globally preeminent and locally relevant in addressing grand challenges related to food and agriculture, families and communities, and the environment.


Discovering, advancing, and integrating new knowledge to ensure nutritious and safe food, sustainable and innovative agriculture, strong and economically resilient families and communities, and environmentally sustainable use of natural resources to benefit the people of Illinois and the world.

Guiding Principles

ACES strives to embody the following principles in all the work done in the college:

  •     Creating an inclusive, diverse, and rewarding atmosphere for work and learning
  •     Enabling an environment for highly creative scholarly activity
  •     Leading scholarship at all levels
  •     Providing the finest education for undergraduates, graduates, and other audiences
  •     Actively engaging with public audiences in our areas of scholarship
  •     Serving the institution and the profession
  •     Taking responsibility for individual and collective actions
  •     Expecting accountability for program outcomes and effects
  •     Contributing to the organizations health and growth
  •     Encouraging innovative and superior performance in all aspects of our mission


Steering Committee

  • Anna Dilger, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences
  • Steve Moose, Professor, Crop Sciences
  • Ramona Oswald, Professor and Head, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Beth Welbes, Director, Program Planning and Assessment, University of Illinois Extension
  • Alex Winter-Nelson, Professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, and Associate Dean of International Programs
  • Richard Vogen, Director of Planning and Resource Development (retired)


  • Staci Provezis, Associate Provost for Academic Effectiveness
  • Melinda DelRossi, Director of Strategy, Planning, and Implementation

Areas of Distinction

Areas of Distinction

Aces hosts seven academic departments:

  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • Animal Sciences
  • Crop Sciences
  • Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

ACES is also home to:

  • Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications program
  • Division of Nutritional Sciences
  • Metropolitan Food and Environmental Systems major

The college also administers the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station and University of Illinois Extension. Consequently, the college of ACES is distinctive across a wide range of disciplines and functions that support the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois.

Discovery & Research

  • Excellence in basic and applied research
  • Scientific leadership across a spectrum of biological, physical, behavioral, and social sciences
  • Strong interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Robust partnerships with distinguished programs and institutions

Learning & Education

  • Recognized, highly valued educational programs
  • Exceptionally qualified and increasingly diverse students
  • Undergraduates well prepared for careers and graduate education
  • Outstanding graduate and professional training

Engagement & Extension

  • Dedicated extension capacity for sustained and effective statewide outreach
  • Unique partnerships among urban and rural constituencies
  • Longstanding public and private partnerships
  • Strong track record and capability for international outreach and collaboration

Societal Impact & Economic Development

  • Graduates who contribute to the growth and welfare of Illinois and the world
  • Knowledge application that matters to constituencies
  • Systems to translate and develop innovations and commercialize technology
  • Integration of research and outreach to achieve societal impact and progress

Our Process

After “The Next 150” strategic plan launched in the fall of 2018, ACES began to develop a new strategic plan that would embody the spirit of the campus plan and lay a course for the college.  

We aligned the ACES strategic plan with “The Next 150” plan, which focuses on the pursuit of four goals:

  •     To foster scholarship, discovery, and innovation
  •     To provide transformative learning experiences
  •     To make a significant and visible societal impact
  •     To steward current resources and generate additional resources for strategic investment

Building on the college’s previous strategic plans and priorities, the collaborative planning process informed our goals and will direct our actions during the next five years. College leadership endorsed the basic vision, mission, and guiding principles. 

Departments and other units nominated delegates to participate in goal-development brainstorming in fall 2019. Some 120 participants from faculty, staff and students across the College of ACES and University of Illinois Extension generated hundreds of ideas. We also welcomed input from departmental units and through an online questionnaire. The steering committee synthesized the input into a coherent set of goals and strategies, vetted through the college’s town hall, administrative and executive committees, and leadership team.

Throughout the process, we challenged ourselves to formulate strategies that would be:

  •     Foundational– critical to our purpose that we simply must do.
  •     Evolving – changing in ways that will make us better at what we do.
  •     Moonshots – big dreams that can change the game for ACES and for our society.

Grand Challenge

Knowledge generated and brought to bear to meet grand societal challenges emerges from scholarship in the College of ACES. We inform solutions for these challenges, while we create exceptional opportunities for our students, as well as economic and social value for our other stakeholders. 
We contribute excellence to the University of Illinois in critical areas of discovery and learning, while we help to:

  •     Create resilient, sustainable agricultural, food, energy, and social systems
  •     Influence positive responses to climate change
  •     Ensure greater food security in Illinois and around the world
  •     Achieve gains in wellness and health care through human development and nutrition
  •     Regenerate land and water resources for current needs and future generations

ACES Moonshots

To achieve our vision, people associated with the College of ACES possess audacious ideas and big dreams. Our future success will hinge in some measure on achieving great ambitions. Samples of these ideas arose during the strategic planning process.

  •     Endow the College of ACES, with a naming opportunity and an endowment goal exceeding $500 million
  •     Build undergraduate enrollment to one-tenth of the Urbana-Champaign campus enrollment
  •     Construct a state-of-the-art instructional facility on the ACES campus with capacity for large classrooms and massive online instructional delivery
  •     Create a southern portal to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via the South Farms and new engagement facilities

Strategic Goals

  • To foster scholarship, discovery, and innovation
  • To provide transformative learning experiences
  • To make a significant and visible societal impact
  • To steward current resources and generate additional resources for strategic investment