Announcements

March 2020

Key audits and returns suspended through May 31

Key access audits and requirements to return keys are suspended for the next two months, Steven Ray, manager of building security services for facilities planning and management, announced March 30. Employees still can complete key audits during this time, but deadlines are suspended through May 31 to alleviate any concerns caused by issues with staff or students being off-campus.

Bookstore offers Apple product discount through April 17

Although it's closed to walk-in traffic, the ISU Book Store is offering its spring Faculty and Staff Appreciation discount (8% off education prices) on select Apple devices purchased by April 17 for personal use. ISU department purchases aren't included in this sale.

P&S Council to hold virtual meeting April 2

The Professional and Scientific Council will hold its April meeting via videoconferencing. The council, which meets monthly, will meet in a Webex meeting on April 2, 2:10-4 p.m. All employees are welcome to join the meeting. The agenda includes presentations from President Wendy Wintersteen, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert and interim vice president and chief information officer Kristen Constant.

City begins road extension in research park

A city of Ames project to extend Collaboration Place (in the south part of the ISU Research Park) to the east gets underway this week. The project, to be done in four phases over an estimated seven months, will extend the road from the east lot of Iowa State's Economic Development Core Facility to South Riverside Drive. 

Students in apartments should complete the U.S. Census form

The 2020 Census is underway. Every 10 years, the United States counts all of its residents to determine the nation's population. This information is used to determine government funding levels and representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's easy to complete and takes only a few minutes. The U.S. Census Bureau says students should be counted in the city where they attend college, even if they are currently off campus due to the COVID19 pandemic. This two-minute video tells you everything you need to know.

  • Students living in off-campus apartments should complete the census. For groups of students sharing an apartment, one housemate needs to complete the census form for the entire household. 
  • Students living in residence halls, university-owned apartments and Greek houses do not need to complete the census. You will be counted in another way.

Deadline extended for 2020-21 undergrad research assistance

The office of student financial aid continues to accept applications from faculty, staff and students for the 2020-21 Undergraduate Research Assistantship program, which provides outstanding juniors and seniors hands-on experience in a formal research environment. The March 27 deadline is now flexible. Faculty, staff and students should seek out those with similar interests for possible "matches;" preference is given to qualified students and faculty/staff who ask to work with each other. Student candidates must have filled out the FAFSA financial aid form and be eligible for work-study funding. More information, including program guidelines, funding sources and application documents, is online. Questions may be directed to Julie Arnold, 294-0103.

Instructions for joining Monday's town hall

Faculty and staff can join the virtual town hall with university leaders Monday, March 30 (9-10 a.m.) through Adobe Connect with this meeting URL: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isuadmin. To install Adobe Connect on a desktop or laptop in advance, go to: https://helpx.adobe.com/adobe-connect/connect-downloads-updates.html#Application. For questions or assistance installing Adobe Connect, contact your local IT support or the ITS Solution Center, solution@iastate.edu. A few tips for the event:

  • To watch on a mobile device: The Adobe Connect app is available for free in the App Store or Google Play.
  • To ask a question during the town hall: Type your question into Adobe Connect's chat box.
  • To use captioning: Adobe Connect features a captioning box and live captioning will be available.
  • For technical issues during the town hall: Call ISU Extension and Outreach's IT hotline, 294-1725.
  • To submit a question: If you are unable to participate in the town hall or your question is not answered, please direct human resources-specific questions to HR_delivery@iastate.edu. All other questions may be directed to COVID-19@iastate.edu.

CELT has a solution to 'bombers' in Zoom, Webex

Some Zoom users are experiencing "Zoombombing," where non-students join your Zoom session to disrupt a class or a meeting. These disruptions may involve sharing of racist, misogynistic or vulgar content. This also is possible for those using WebEx outside its Canvas integration. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has posted a workaround for both Zoom and WebEx to prevent these interruptions.

CIRAS to coordinate ISU help for COVID-19 manufacturing needs

The Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) will be Iowa State's primary point of contact for manufacturing requests related to COVID-19 health care needs. Faculty and staff who receive such a request should send it to ciras.info@iastate.edu so it can be logged and reviewed. CIRAS will coordinate assistance as appropriate. CIRAS also is gathering information about the potential need in Iowa for personal protective equipment and identifying other health care industry needs. Faculty and staff who have a desire to help and the relevant research capabilities -- such as medical device manufacturing, rapid factory changeover or 3-D printing -- should contact Jake Behrens, jbehrens@iastate.edu.

Harmon accepts leadership post at Michigan

Senior vice president for student affairs Martino Harmon has accepted the position of vice president for student life at the University of Michigan, effective July 1. Harmon arrived at Iowa State in September 2013, serving first as associate vice president for student affairs before being promoted to his current role in 2016. His last day at Iowa State will be June 5.

"Martino has excelled at leading the division of student affairs, building a strong team that is committed and cares deeply about our students," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "He has been a key member of my leadership team, bringing personal insight, wisdom and analytical skills to every discussion about the critical issues of the university." 

Harmon said the decision to leave Ames was difficult, but influenced by the chance to be closer to his family.

"I have loved every moment of my time at Iowa State University. I am so proud of how our student affairs team cares for our students and enhances their Iowa State experience. I will deeply miss my team, our students, and all of my campus and community colleagues," he said.

Wintersteen said she will begin the search for Harmon's successor in the very near future.

Out-of-pocket telemedicine costs waived through June 16

Under ISU employee health insurance plans, out-of-pocket costs will be waived for telemedicine services for 90 days, effective March 16. The temporary elimination of copayment and co-insurance for virtual doctor visits, such as those available through Doctor on Demand, will be in place through June 16 to help avoid spreading COVID-19.

You're invited: Town hall for faculty and staff is March 30

Faculty and staff are invited to join President Wendy Wintersteen and senior leaders for a virtual town hall Monday, March 30 (9-10 a.m.). This will be an opportunity to discuss the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and issues shared in the coping with COVID challenges employee survey, and take participants' questions.

To join the town hall, click this link or copy and paste the URL into your web browser: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/isuadmin. You may test the link in advance to ensure Adobe Connect is downloaded on your computer. The town hall will be recorded and posted on the campus safety page for later viewing.

Sign template helps units communicate closures

If your office or building is closed to walk-in traffic, facilities planning and management created a sign template to help employees share that message on doors. Simply download the PDF, type in specifics about your building in the fields indicated, print it (8.5"x11") and post it.

Implementation of P&S classification/compensation structure continues

In the implementation timeline for the new professional and scientific classification and compensation system, March was to be filled with meetings among HR delivery staff and local leaders. With coaching from the HR staff on the jobs framework, leaders (from the division to department level) are linking their P&S employees to job titles in the new structure. UHR leaders have asked teams to complete these meetings as much as they're able in an unprecedented work environment. After March 31, UHR leaders will assess progress and consult with university senior leadership on whether the implementation timeline needs to be adjusted. Implementation Q&A

Campuswide employee survey open through March 27

An employee survey will help the university's senior leaders better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting its workforce. The results will help administrators adjust Iowa State's response and communication to better support faculty and staff. The survey is anonymous and takes a few minutes to fill out. The deadline to take the survey is 10 p.m., Friday, March 27.

COVID-19 wellness campaign launches for students and employees

Student Health and Wellness and ISU WellBeing have launched a campaign to help students and employees navigate the changes caused by virtual instruction, remote work and social distancing. The website for the "Keep Community, Stay Informed, and Be Well" campaign offers work groups an employee action plan to fill out collaboratively. Daily tips also will be shared on social media emphasizing one of the campaign's three pillars.

VP for research search is suspended

The search for Iowa State's next vice president for research has been suspended until the COVID-19 outbreak has passed. Information about campus visits for the finalists, which had begun, will be shared at a later date.

HR service center, benefits office temporarily require appointments

Effective March 26 and until further notice, in order to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing, university human resources' service center and benefits office will be open by appointment only. This is an effort to limit the number of people in the office at any given time, therefore reducing the potential spread of COVID-19. Employees who need to meet with either service center or benefit team staff should call 294-4800 to schedule an appointment. Employees also may email hrshelp@iastate.edu or benefits@iastate.edu for assistance.

Local hospitals ask for blood donations

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for blood donations at most hospitals, including Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. LifeServe Blood Center, 819 Wheeler St. in the Northern Lights Center, is the donation center servicing MGMC. To donate, call 800-287-4903 or go online to make an appointment -- so social distancing can be maintained (walk-ins are discouraged for this reason). You will be asked screening questions about travel and health.

ISU Foundation establishes emergency aid fund for students

The ISU Foundation is seeking donations for an emergency fund it has created to support students adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cyclone Strong Fund will provide emergency aid for students with unexpected financial obstacles to staying in school, such as paying for rent, food and technology expenses for online learning. Donations can be made online.

TIAA to host live webinar on global investment picture

TIAA is offering a live webinar March 25 (1-2 p.m.) by Nuveen Chief Investment Strategist Brian Nick called "Global Lookout: When is it Safe to Come Out?" Register online for the webinar. Nick will share his perspective on the recent market volatility and cover what’s driving current volatility, strategies to help deal with the current market swings and what this could mean for investors.

More Webex tutorials scheduled March 24-27

IT Services is hosting a live online tutorial that covers the basics of Cisco Webex video conferencing. Topics include how to attend, host and schedule meetings, and help with navigating the application. This week's sessions are:

Before attending the training, go to https://iastate.webex.com/ to ensure you have full access to the Cisco Webex Meetings web application. A Webex Meetings Tile can be added to your Okta dashboard for easy access. If you are having a bad audio or video experience with Webex, try testing your connection using the Cisco Webex Network Test. This can help you determine if the problem is the local internet provider or something else. 

New name: Office of Student Financial Success

The Student Loan Education Office, a unit within student financial aid, is changing its name to the Office of Student Financial Success, effective March 30. The rationale for the change is:

  • We discuss much more than just student loans in our conversations with students, and we need to share that message.
  • Students who do not or can not borrow don't seek our expertise because the name implies we only discuss student loans.
  • We believe this title will broaden our reach and have a wider impact on campus.

Key desk tweaks procedures

In response to the COVID -19 pandemic, Building Security Services, General Services Building, has implemented these changes to limit its desk staff's exposure from walk-in traffic:

  • Department key coordinators should continue to request key or access card changes online or via email.
  • Limit key requests, including temporary access card requests, to immediate necessity.
  • For key returns, if possible, turn in keys to your key coordinator, who can return them at a later time.
  • If this option is not possible, email buildingsecurity@iastate.edu or call 515-294-4211 prior to your arrival. While classes are online, the key desk is open 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • If you visit the desk, respect the distance between you and the key desk employee, who may step back from the counter while you sign forms.

Refunds not available for faculty and staff parking permits

The university has suspended the parking refund policy for faculty and staff during the COVID-19 emergency. This means employees can't receive a prorated refund or stop payroll deductions for returning parking permits unless their employment at the university is ending. Campus and Memorial Union parking lots remain open. 

Share your strategies for staying connected to colleagues

Faculty and staff, are you finding ways to stay connected with your ISU colleagues when you're also striving to keep some distance? We've heard of a few good ones already, like: online staff meetings that start with good-natured puns, humorous GIFs and home office photos, and faculty inviting colleagues to virtual after-hours gatherings to unwind and talk about their day. Tell us about your strategies and successes for staying engaged and helpful to one another, and we'll share them in the upcoming edition of Inside Iowa State. Email your story to inside@iastate.edu.

Mail, package delivery solutions are being worked out

The coronavirus-battling strategy to have ISU employees work from home has closed some campus buildings and complicated U.S. mail and package delivery to campus offices. Leaders in ISU's postal and parcel services and logistics and support services said they are working on solutions to keep service as normal as possible. Building supervisors will receive an email outlining those solutions once they are set.

TIAA providing information on market volatility

TIAA is offering guidance on navigating investment uncertainty in a webinar called "Dealing with Market Volatility: What You Need to Know." A live version of the webinar will be held 5-5:45 p.m. March 18. Register online here. Recordings of prior versions of the same webinar held March 16 and March 17 also are available online. TIAA representatives remain available to consult with Iowa State employees by phone, email and virtual meetings. Face-to-face meetings have been suspended. Set up a meeting with a TIAA representative online or by calling 800-732-8353.

Regents add emergency authorization guidelines to manual

Following a closed session discussion, the state Board of Regents voted unanimously March 17 to add language to its policy manual that gives the board president (currently Mike Richards) authority to declare a state of emergency at one or more of the three regent universities. In such an emergency, the board president also is authorized to make decisions to "safeguard persons or property" at the impacted school(s), and seek full board ratification later, but no later than the board's next regular meeting.

The board's vote adds a new section, E, to chapter 1.1 in its policy manual.

Tips for working remotely

IT Services maintains a website specifically about employees working remotely (at home or another off-campus location). It includes considerations for hardware, software, file backup and email access. Employees who need or want to work remotely are encouraged to consult the site and work their way through the checklist. This page is being updated regularly as more resources become available.

Business operations can continue in Workday

Because it's a cloud-based system, Workday can accommodate teleworking scenarios. Employees can access Workday online from anywhere for uninterrupted business operations. Guidance for Workday business continuity -- including delegation of approvals or a temporary role reassignment if the assigned individual isn't able to complete tasks -- is available on the WorkCyte website.

City bike trail to Vet Med campus closes March 16

The city trail from near South Third Street to South 16th Street closed March 16 and will remain closed for 16-18 months as part of the road project to extend South Grand Avenue to South 16th Street. The trail, which helps connect central Ames to the Veterinary Medicine campus, will be closed for the entire project because the existing pedestrian bridge will be removed and replaced with a new pedestrian bridge.

Butterfly wing closes temporarily at Reiman Gardens

Due to the small spaces and the inability to allow social distancing among visitors, Reiman Gardens will temporarily close its butterfly wing and gift shop from March 17 to April 5. The conservatory will remain open, with a reduced occupancy of 25 people. All programs and education events at the gardens during this time also are canceled.

Three campus museums closed through April 5

In response to COVID-19 outbreak, the Brunnier Art, Christian Petersen Art and Farm House museums will be closed through April 5. Programming at the three location is canceled through April 5, and larger events scheduled through mid-April also are canceled, due to the potential to create a crowd.

Lawn mower service days are postponed

The Agriculture Systems Technology Club's annual lawn mower service days, scheduled for March 27-28, have been postponed. If possible, the event will be rescheduled before the semester concludes.

Are your ISU Alert settings up to date?

Iowa State employees and students are encouraged to review their current settings (email, text and phone) for receiving ISU Alert messages about a campus emergency. If you aren't on campus when ISU Alert is activated, do your alert selections include a personal contact option? Find your ISU Alert settings in AccessPlus.

Maks and Val tickets on sale March 13

The dance duo Maks and Val will perform in Stephens Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. The brothers and their spouses reimagine memorable movie moments. Tickets go on sale March 13 at noon. Prices range from $59.50-$89.50 and are available at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office, Ticketmaster or by phone, 800-982-2787.   

NASA EPSCoR symposium is April 17

The Iowa NASA EPSCoR Research Development Symposium will take place April 17 (2:30-4:30 p.m.) during the Iowa Academy of Science annual meeting April 17-18 at Drake University, Des Moines. The Iowa NASA EPSCoR program will pay registration for Iowa researchers to attend the symposium to provide the opportunity to interact with researchers who have worked with NASA and whose efforts align with Iowa research interests. Email nasaepscor@iastate.edu if you'd like to attend. Early registration runs through April 6.

Info sessions set for employees with purchasing authority

Procurement services is offering a one-hour info session for employees who make purchases or purchasing decisions, including cyBUY users, procurement/expense specialists in ISD, and purchasing and travel/hospitality card holders. It will be held March 12 (8:30 a.m., 2532 Vet Med) and repeated March 17 (10 a.m., 198 Parks Library) and March 26 (12:30 p.m., Design auditorium). Learn what's new and what's not changed at all. Procurement experts also will answer your questions. Registration is not necessary.

Volunteers sought for state science fair this month

Volunteer judges are sought for the 2020 State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa for senior and junior high students at Hilton Coliseum on Thursday, March 26 (senior high participants; day-long volunteer shifts) and Friday, March 27 (junior high entrants; morning, afternoon or all-day shifts). Volunteers with advanced degrees or industry experience are preferred to judge the high school projects. Volunteers may sign up on this Qualtrics site.

Info meeting set for city bike path through Vet Med campus

The city of Ames will host a public information meeting Thursday, March 12 (4-6 p.m. Room 235, Ames City Hall) on the proposed shared use path extension through the Veterinary Medicine campus. The proposal is a paved trail from South 16th Street to the ISU Research Park. There won't be a formal presentation at the meeting. City staff and the project consultant will have plans, displays and related information, and be prepared to discuss the project and receive input from interested individuals.

P&S promotions and reclassifications will halt during implementation of new class/comp structure

Promotion and reclassification requests for professional and scientific employees will be frozen for about four months this spring and summer while the new P&S classification and compensation structure is implemented. The final day to submit a request for a P&S promotion or reclassification is Friday, March 13; these requests won't be accepted from March 16 to July 31, said Emma Mallarino Houghton, classification and compensation director in university human resources (UHR). She said it's important to stabilize current job titles as much as possible, meaning not having positions in transition, during the process of linking employees to their new job titles, including requests for review.

The freeze doesn't impact P&S hiring. HR service delivery teams will work with managers who need to hire, to properly transition new positions and employees during the implementation. UHR will provide more information on when the freeze will lift as July 31 approaches.

Requisition screens in Workday will be fewer

The 'create requisition' task in Workday (for non-catalog and cyBUY orders) will have a new look beginning Saturday, March 7. A simplified version of the task (which all employees can use) will reduce the number of screens users navigate to create a requisition. Improvements include:

  • Shipping address and Worktag fields have been moved to the first screen of the requisition process.
  • Fields that are not used by ISU are removed.
  • A single checkout screen streamlines the checkout process.
  • Help text is provided for some fields.

Relevant job aids have been updated on Workcyte (in the "resources" menu, select Workday finance, then procurement). For assistance with cyBUY orders, email cybuy@iastate.edu or call 294-7568. For assistance with non-catalog requisitions, email procurement@iastate.edu or call 294-4860. The changes also will be covered at this month's How Do I Buy? info sessions hosted by procurement staff.

Limited supply: Thin Mint ice cream

The Dairy Science Club has a limited supply of its popular Thin Mint flavor this week at the Wednesday ice cream sale (11 a.m.-1 p.m., near the north doors of Lush Auditorium in Kildee Hall). Other flavors are vanilla, Butterfinger, Reese's, Heath caramel and Twix. The price is $2 for an 8-oz. cup.

Daylight saving time starts Sunday

Spring ahead this weekend. Daylight saving time starts at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8, so you'll need to move your clocks ahead one hour.