January 2021

Pipette calibration offered on campus Feb. 1-5

Chemistry stores is hosting a pipette calibration service Feb. 1-5. Quality service and calibration for all major brands and makes of pipettes will be provided by a dedicated, factory-trained technician. The service includes cleaning, lubrication and calibration of pipettes. Prices are:

  • $40, single channel/repeater pipette
  • $105, multichannel pipette

Prices don't include any parts that may need replacing. Pipettes can be dropped off at the chemistry stores office, 1351 Gilman, on or after Jan. 27. When calibration is complete, owners will be contacted to pick up their pipettes. Questions may be directed to John Burright, 294-0200.

Reminder: Research Days proposals due Jan. 29

Iowa State's 2021 "Research Day" was restructured to break out activities over three days (March 23-25) and hold all events online. A schedule of events is online and includes a keynote address by science comedian Brian Malow on how to convey complex topics to people outside of your field, online poster session via iPoster, lightning talks and a networking session to brainstorm with researchers across campus on up-and-coming challenges. Registration for presenters is open through Jan. 29 or until all available spots are filled. Attendee registration also is open.

Session proposals sought for virtual STEM career conference for girls

The Program for Women in Science and Engineering seeks virtual session proposals for its Go Further Girls STEM career conference for female-identifying students in grades 8-10. The conference seeks to inspire girls to learn about STEM fields and careers. Virtual Go Further week is April 6-8 (Tuesday-Thursday), with opportunities for prerecorded or live sessions. Facilitators should provide an engaging virtual activity focused on a STEM field or career and share information about majors and careers in your field. Submit your proposal online by Friday, Feb. 5. Contact Sarah DuBois for more information.

Jan. 15: University is open, online classes meet as scheduled

The university remains open today, Friday, Jan. 15. Employees should coordinate with their supervisors to work remotely if possible, and be cautious when determining whether it's safe to travel to campus. Those unable to get safely to work should contact their supervisors or department offices. All winter session classes are online and will meet as scheduled.

Reminder: Complete your Workday survey

All faculty and P&S and merit staff members should have received an email Jan. 13 from "WorkCyte" inviting their participation in a Workday and HR/finance delivery survey. Results from the survey will be incorporated into the work plans of university human resources, the division of operations and finance, and information technology services. Questions about the survey may be directed to institutional research executive director Karen Zunkel or associate director Amanda DeGraff.

Study abroad hiatus extended through Aug. 1

Iowa State won't offer any study abroad programs with travel between May 2 and Aug. 1, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert announced this week. Since last March, Iowa State has been observing a rolling 30-day ban on international travel for students implemented by the state Board of Regents and still in effect. University and board leaders will monitor the global pandemic situation and provide an update when decisions are made about study abroad programs scheduled after Aug. 1.

CyThx recognizes those who make others feel valued

Now in its third year, CyThx gave Iowa Staters a chance to thank the faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants who make them feel like a valued member of the ISU community. The initiative is a partnership of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, ISU Learning Communities, Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The 2020 version drew 227 submissions, honoring recipients from 102 university units -- some of them multiples times. Each message was shared with the recipient and the recipient's unit leader. Go to the CyThx website to see the recipients and the messages that submitters chose to make public.

ISSO updates spring enrollment guidelines for international students

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) has updated its spring 2021 COVID-19 update page to reflect current Student and Exchange Visitor Program and Department of State guidance for international students in F-1 and J-1 status for the spring 2021 semester. Please review the guidelines for enrollment requirements for initial and continuing F-1 and J-1 students. Contact ISSO with any questions about spring 2021 enrollment by emailing

P&S Council sets member numbers for fiscal year 2022

The number of council members who sit on the Professional and Scientific Council during fiscal year 2022 that begins in July will decrease by two, based on the staffing levels at the end of 2020. Of the 3,265 P&S employees at Iowa State as of Dec. 31, 2,183 worked in the academic affairs division, 401 in the president's division, 387 in operations and finance, and 294 in student affairs.

The council has a representative for every 75 P&S employees, which next year will come to 29 council members in academic affairs, five each in the president's division and operations and finance, and four in student affairs, representation committee chair Jason Follett told the council at its Jan. 7 meeting.

There currently are six council members for both the president's division and operations and finance. Representation levels in the other two divisions will remain the same. Based on the remaining terms of current members, the council elections in March will aim to seat 11 new members from academic affairs, two from operations and finance, and one each from student affairs and the president's division. 

Alumni award nominations are due Feb. 15

The ISU Alumni Association is seeking nominations by Feb. 15 for six awards that will be presented during Homecoming 2021. Award descriptions and nomination forms are online. Questions may be directed to Katie Lickteig. The awards for ISU alumni are:

  • Alumni Medal, recognizes long, loyal service to the university through alumni-related activities
  • Alumni Humanitarian Award, recognizes humanitarian efforts that transcend professional accomplishments and bring honor to the university
  • Outstanding Young Alumni Award, recognizes alumni age 40 years and younger who excel in their profession and provide service to their community
  • James A. Hopson Volunteer Award, recognizes alumni association members age 40 years and younger who show volunteer leadership in the association or alumni-related activities
  • Impact Award, recognizes individuals, organizations or units whose programs/accomplishments brought recognition to the university and increased the involvement of ISU constituents in the life of the university in the last year
  • Alumni Service Award, recognizes alumni and friends whose service supports the daily work of the alumni association

Nominations due Feb. 1 for student employee award

Nominations are due to the office of student financial aid by Feb. 1 for the 31st annual Student Employee of the Year award. Nominees must be undergraduate students employed part-time on campus for at least six months between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021 (anticipated). The award recognizes student employees' demonstrated effectiveness in eight competencies set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: critical thinking/problem solving, oral/written communications, teamwork/collaboration, digital technology, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, career management and global/intercultural fluency. More information, including the nomination form, are online. Questions may be directed to Erin Schwartz, 294-0102, or Julie Arnold, 294-0103. Iowa State has nearly 10,000 undergraduate student employees.

COVID-19 vaccines are focus of Jan. 15 town hall

The university community is invited to a town hall Friday, Jan. 15 (2-3 p.m. via Webex) that will focus on COVID-19 vaccines. A panel will address questions about availability and distribution of vaccines on campus and in the Ames community. Panelists are Erin Baldwin, associate vice president for student health and wellness; Kristen Obbink, COVID-19 public health coordinator; David Verhoeven, assistant professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine; and Dan Fulton, McFarland Clinic infectious disease specialist. The town hall will be recorded and made available on the COVID-19 Updates and Resources website.

Vet Med's spring semester will launch four days early

The College of Veterinary Medicine was approved to modify its spring semester calendar in order to provide students a few short pauses from their intensive curriculum. The first day of class will be Tuesday, Jan. 19, four days ahead of the announced Jan. 25 start. Two two-day breaks will be inserted during the semester, Feb. 25-26 and April 5-6.

Honors program invites proposals for fall seminars

The University Honors Program invites proposals from experienced instructors (all levels) for fall 2021 Honors seminars. The submission deadline is Friday, Feb. 19. Honors seminars are one- or two- credit courses that examine topics of current or special interest in an active learning environment. Seminars generally are limited to 17 students and offered on a satisfactory/fail basis. The Honors Program allocates $500 to seminar instructors for professional development. More information is on the Honors program website; applications should be submitted online.

Share your thoughts next week on Workday, HR and finance delivery

It's been 18 months since Iowa State implemented Workday, HR delivery and finance delivery. As we begin 2021, university human resources, the division of operations and finance, and information technology services want to understand how things are going from the perspective of employees across the institution. All faculty and P&S and merit staff members will receive a unique email invitation Wednesday, Jan. 13, to a Workday and HR/finance delivery survey. The goal is to understand what is going well for faculty and staff and identify areas where we can continue to improve. Survey results will be incorporated into the work plans of the three units. 

Individual responses will remain confidential, with reports and analysis conducted by the office of institutional research. Questions about the survey may be directed to IR executive director Karen Zunkel or associate director Amanda DeGraff.

Federal judge halts enforcement of diversity training order

A ruling by a federal district court judge temporarily prevents enforcement of an executive order by President Donald Trump that restricted some training and instruction related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Given the presidential transition coming Jan. 20, the Dec. 22 ruling likely will permanently diminish the impact of the executive order, university counsel Michael Norton said in a Jan. 5 memo to faculty and staff. The preliminary injunction is effective nationwide and applies to the portions of the order that prohibit recipients of federal grants from using federal funding to promote concepts identified in the order as "divisive" and federal contractors from using the concepts in workplace training programs. An FAQ released Oct. 20 provided Iowa State faculty and staff with guidance on how the order would impact university programs. The judge ruled that provisions temporarily prevented from being enforced likely would violate the First Amendment and Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Online resources available for stimulus information

The IRS began distributing a second round of stimulus checks this week, following the passage of a federal coronavirus relief bill. Eligible recipients will receive $600 per household member. Payments are automatically sent to the bank accounts or mailing addresses the IRS has on file for taxpayers. Iowa State's payroll, benefits and tax office has posted a link to online resources the IRS is providing on the stimulus payments, which is the best source for answering questions. The IRS website includes an online tool for checking the status of the most recent stimulus payments and the first round distributed last spring.

Ombuds team launches a blog for ISU employees

The ISU ombuds team of Dina Eisenberg and Chuck Doran started a blog last month to help ISU employees understand -- and trust -- the virtual service they provide. In fact, the first topic is just that: Why should I trust you? Since August, Iowa State has contracted with the Boston-based firm, MWI, for ombuds services for faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate and professional students.

P&S Council's January seminar focuses on ombuds service

The next event in the Professional and Scientific Council seminar series is set for Jan. 12 (2-3 p.m., online) and focuses on ISU's free, confidential ombuds services. Dina Eisenberg and Chuck Doran, mediators with the nationally recognized dispute resolution firm MWI, will discuss how they can assist in resolving university-related matters. MWI partners with the university to offer ombuds services. 

All seminar series events this year are livestreamed, and the recorded session posted in Learn@ISU approximately one week later.