Spotlight: Get to Know Deanna Stumbo – The Magic Behind ISUComm

CATEGORIES: Foundation Courses

In her 37-year tenure with Iowa State University, Deanna Stumbo has become the administrative magician of ISUComm Courses. As the ISUComm Foundation, Advanced, and Speech Communication Staff Assistant, Stumbo’s role deals with the behind-the-scenes work, including communicating with advisors and students, assisting students with adding or dropping courses, maintaining policies, receiving student transfer course evaluations and grade appeals, and everything in between. Stumbo describes her position as “try[ing] to filter things so it comes to me first, and hopefully, the directors don’t have to get involved when it comes to all the various scenarios that arise,” making her a widespread voice on campus as she assists hundreds of students and advisors throughout the school year.

After earning her degree in Information Word Processing from DMACC, Stumbo began working at Iowa State in 1986. She joined the English department in 1998, where she has resided for 25 years. Originally, Stumbo was hired as a secretary for the First-Year Composition program (now known as Foundation Courses), assisting a single director. Today, she serves as the Staff Assistant for all Foundation, Advanced, and Speech Communication courses, aiding three directors and two assistant directors. What has kept her here and happy for the duration of her career, Stumbo says, is the people and the beautiful campus. Not only does the historic campus and extraordinary flora inspire Stumbo, but also the genuine and friendly demeanor of the people in the English department. “It’s such a beautiful place, being an old campus; it has so many beautiful old buildings and trees and such. But it’s always been the people here,” Deanna attests.

Despite her established knowledge as the ISUComm Staff Assistant, Stumbo finds the most challenging part of her role to be telling students “No.” As someone who handles many requests that come through the department, Stumbo has gotten accustomed to saying no when necessary, although that does not make it any easier for her and her kind-hearted nature. However, she states, “I’m in a place to protect the students themselves and our instructors, and we can’t overload either one.” She acknowledges that this is an inevitable part of her position, and she is thankful to Grammarly for assisting her in some of those challenging situations. 

Reflecting on her time at Iowa State, Stumbo recalls one of her most interesting moments being when the university moved all classes online following spring break due to COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic. Stumbo says, “I really miss seeing people like I used to [before COVID], so I hope we can start to bring more people back to campus.” As Stumbo looks forward to her future, she hopes to be “intuitive with change” and “as helpful as possible.” She anticipates the transition from AccessPlus and ADIN to WorkDay as a present challenge she will have to face; however, she is excited to have WorkDay as one universal system to benefit her position’s responsibilities.

Outside of her position, Stumbo enjoys nearly anything nature-related. She and her husband, Larry, own a farm where they raise cattle, corn, and soybeans, and they spend a lot of their time in their pool or at their two cabins on their property. Stumbo appreciates observing wildlife of all kinds at their pond or in their timber, such as a family of raccoons pictured here. Another one of her hobbies is decorating for holidays, particularly Halloween and Christmas. 

Stumbo’s loyalty to the English department, its instructors, and its students does not go unnoticed. As proven in her continued career at Iowa State, Stumbo is passionate about her position and continues to aid instructors and students in all aspects possible. It is evident that the English department would not function as effectively as it does now without Stumbo’s deep knowledge, dedication, and hard work. If you get the chance, say hi to Deanna at 229 Ross Hall!