Council receives updates from provost, Workday Student leader

At the Aug. 3 meeting, the Professional and Scientific (P&S) Council learned about the 2023 P&S job profile market review and heard from senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert and special advisor for student information systems Steve Mickelson.

Provost updates

Wickert discussed the record-setting year for externally funded research with ISU researchers bringing in $301.3 million during fiscal year 2023, surpassing the previous record of $284.2 million. He said this is the third consecutive year university researchers have produced record external research funding.

"It's a great testament to the creativity of the faculty, staff and students working on these research projects as well as our team in the sponsored projects office and grants hub -- it's really a team effort," Wickert said.

Fall enrollment continues to rebound following the pandemic, and Wickert said he anticipates a growing freshmen class for the third consecutive year. He also spoke about Workday Student, touching briefly on the June rollout and sharing a story about the first application submitted using the new system by an ambitious future Cyclone from Linn-Mar High School (Marion, Iowa), who applied mere hours after the application launched at midnight.

P&S job profiles

University human resources compensation and talent acquisition director Emma Mallarino Houghton presented on the annual market review of P&S job profiles at the Aug. 3 council meeting. As a result of the review, 44 job profiles moved to new pay grades.

Wickert also provided updates on some facilities projects, including ribbon cuttings for the Kent Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex and the first phase of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory this fall, and said he anticipates airport interviews to be scheduled in September as part of the searches for the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the director for the Ames National Laboratory.

The senior vice president and provost discussed the recent state Board of Regents meeting to formally approve the budget for this fiscal year and provided an update on the board's study group examining diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the universities. He said the committee has asked all three universities to provide information on budgets, programs and curriculum and that leaders from each university have met with the group to answer additional questions.

A link to the board's DEI feedback survey -- which is also open to the public -- arrived in inboxes for faculty, staff and students at the three regent universities Aug. 7. Wickert said the committee will develop a report for the November board meeting where the regents will vote on a course of action before the report is sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds and the General Assembly by Dec. 1.

Workday Student

Mickelson provided a brief overview of the six Workday Student rollouts. The first rollout started in June and will conclude in September. He said testing has begun for the next rollout this fall which will address curriculum management and student financials for fall 2024.

"There will be more requests for input and participation over the next several months before we go fully live in the fall of 2024," Mickelson said. "We're taking more of a just-in-time approach to training and providing it closer to when people are going to need it so they can get training and then get into the system."

General business

Council president Patrick Wall said the council's executive board held its retreat last month and developed five goals for the next year.

  • Maximize the student experience
  • Better educate P&S employees on how to optimize their university benefits package
  • Advocate that all P&S employees receive equal and fair treatment as ISU staff
  • Improve professional development opportunities through cross-disciplinary collaboration
  • Improve efficiency and inclusion of meetings and elections

Wall also accepted a motion to fill two vacancies, adding Heidi Nye, veterinary diagnostic lab, and Jake Pippin, student innovation center, to council.

  • Susan McNicholl, vice president for DEI, discussed the committee's focus on assisting staff and students impacted by the temporary freeze in hiring for DEI positions and considerations to make council meetings more accessible.
  • Awards committee chair Michelle Thompson reminded council to submit nominations for Highlight ISU Staff and that the P&S Council CYtation Award nominations open Oct. 2.

The next council meeting is Sept. 7 (2:10 p.m., 3560 Memorial Union). The council's Seminar Series returns Sept. 12 (2-3 p.m., location TBD, register on Workday Learning) with "Constructive Conversations in Difficult Situations" presented by university ombuds Laura Smythe.