May 2022

COVID-19: By the numbers

For the week that ended May 22, the positive rate for COVID-19 tests completed at the Thielen Student Health Center was 30% (3 of 10 tests completed), up from 23.9% a week earlier. Testing reflects both symptomatic students and student-athletes following NCAA testing protocols. The vaccination rate among Story County residents at least 5 years old rose to 66.4% as of May 25. Iowa State is providing weekly updates on these and other public health benchmarks on its COVID-19: By the numbers website.

May 30 is university holiday

University offices are closed and classes will not meet Monday, May 30, in observance of the national Memorial Day holiday.

Ames Lab innovation is focus of ISU's state fair exhibit

Iowa State will return to the Iowa State Fair Aug. 11-21, with a focus on showcasing 75 years of innovation at the Ames Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy's only national research laboratory on a university campus. In June, the office of university marketing will begin recruiting staff and faculty volunteers to roll athletics posters and hand out dry tattoos and complimentary bags. For the first time, in response to volunteers' feedback, the 11-hour day will be divided into three volunteer shifts: 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; 12:45-4:30 p.m. and 4:15-8 p.m. Sign-up instructions will be shared soon.

Flags temporarily removed from central campus pole

The American and state of Iowa flags that fly over central campus have been temporarily removed until the aging flag pole can be replaced. A recent inspection discovered structural concerns in the top section of the 80-foot pole, which has withstood numerous wind storms and a derecho. Facilities planning and management staff are working on estimates, including cost and time needed to complete the project. The best estimate is that the current flag pole was installed in the mid-1970s. The university will have flags on display May 30 for the Memorial Day holiday at the Memorial Union east entrance driveway.

Roundtable assists employees who supervise volunteers

The office of risk management will host a volunteer engagement professionals roundtable Thursday, June 9 (1-2 p.m., via Zoom). The group will meet quarterly to discuss best practices for working with ISU volunteers. Employees who manage or supervise volunteers are encouraged to attend. Register online by June 7. Questions may be directed to youth and volunteer programs coordinator Beeta Siwik, 515-357-4506.

WorkFlex application window opens June 6

The next application window for staff seeking a flexible work arrangement through the WorkFlex program opens Monday, June 6. Submissions for WorkFlex plans beginning this fall are due by July 1. Managers will have until July 29 to review submissions. New arrangements for the fall will be effective starting Aug. 22, the first day of the semester, and can be up to one year long (depending on the college or department). Staff with a WorkFlex agreement already approved to extend beyond the summer semester don't have to reapply until their agreement expires.

WorkFlex gives staff the flexibility to rethink when, where and how they work, as long as their preferred alternatives fit with the university's mission and their job duties. The program options include requesting up to three days a week of remote work. A knowledge base article in the human resources section of the ISU Service Portal explains how to submit a Workflex request. For more information and resources, see the WorkFlex website.

COACHE faculty survey data available online

Results from the 2021 Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey are available on the office of the senior vice president and provost website. Data include faculty satisfaction in a variety of areas, including:

  • Teaching, research and service responsibilities
  • Resources and support
  • Collaboration, interdisciplinary work and mentoring
  • Promotion and tenure
  • Leadership and governance

More than 900 ISU faculty completed the survey in spring 2021 (56% of eligible faculty). Results are compared with both a small panel of peers and with the entire COACHE consortium of 250 institutions. ISU's COACHE Action Team will work to create and implement initiatives responsive to the survey results during the 2022-23 academic year, including an open forum for faculty.

Creamery adds ice cream sandwiches

Partnering with Des Moines-based Iowa Cookie Co, the ISU Creamery now offers three varieties of ice cream sandwiches, called "grabbers." All of the sandwiches feature the creamery's Two Swans (vanilla) ice cream paired with chocolate chip, double chocolate or almond sugar cookies. Grabbers sell for $6.50 in limited supplies at the creamery's retail store, 2955 Food Sciences Building.

Extension, Iowa Public Radio collaborate on gardening podcast

ISU Extension and Outreach and Iowa Public Radio have launched a podcast series, "Garden Variety," that will cover topics of interest to Midwestern gardeners including horticulture, forestry, entomology and more. IPR host Charity Nebbe will host experts, including extension specialists, sharing answers to common gardening questions.

College Creek cleanup is June 18

In recognition of National Rivers Month, small groups of volunteers will walk along designated sections of the College Creek bank on campus and pick up trash on Saturday, June 18 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). No time commitment is required, and all help is appreciated. Registration is requested to ensure supply quantities. Volunteers should dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes. Supplies (bug repellent, sunscreen, gloves, bags and trash grabbers) are provided; volunteers also are welcome to bring their own. Refreshments also will be provided. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Forker Building parking lot. 

New name: Military-Affiliated Student Center

The Veterans Center will be called the Military-Affiliated Student Center, effective July 1. The new name highlights the department's focus on serving all military-affiliated students on campus, and is more inclusive for the reservists, National Guard, active duty, ROTC and family members of service members the center serves. The center also has a new home, 5600 Memorial Union.

Extension retirement workshop free for ISU employees

An ISU Extension and Outreach workshop on making retirement funds last a lifetime, free to ISU employees, will be held June 16 and 23 (6:30-8:30 p.m., 4-H Extension Building).

"Writing Your Retirement Paycheck" provides information and resources for people retiring within the next 10 years. Barb Wollan, Human Sciences extension specialist and workshop leader, will cover topics that include inflation, health care costs, Social Security, required minimum distributions, income tax and more. The usual fee for the workshop is $25 per person or couple, but ISU employees who register with their university email address can use the coupon code "ISUSTAFF" to cover the cost, thanks in part to a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through a partnership with United Way Worldwide.

This is the last time the FINRA funding will be available for ISU employees. The April session was sold out, and the workshop is being offered again so it is available to those who were turned away. Register online by June 14. Contact Wollan by email or by phone at 515-832-9597 with any questions.

Kid's Safety fair comes to campus on Saturday

The trauma department at Mary Greeley Medical Center is sponsoring a free Kid's Safety Day Saturday, May 21 (9 a.m.-2 p.m., parking lot 29 behind Molecular Biology Building). Learn about fire safety, gun safety, bike helmet safety, sun safety, Stranger Danger and infant car seat safety. Enjoy free snacks, see medical helicoptors, register to win a 20-inch bicycle and meet Ames fire and police officers and MGMC mobile intensive care providers.

Paid mentors needed for 4-H Career Pathways Academy

Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program seeks qualified candidates for up to 10 part-time 4-H K-12 Youth Outreach AmeriCorps members who will serve as mentors for youth participating in the Career Pathways Academy. Work location is negotiable. The Career Pathways Academy is a 4-H 12-month immersive program for Iowa youth in grades 8-11 that provides pathways to college and career preparedness. Send applications (cover letter and resume) to Cayla Taylor.

COVID 19: By the numbers

For the week that ended May 8, the positive rate for COVID-19 tests completed at the Thielen Student Health Center was 12.5% (9 of 72 tests completed), down from 13.64% a week earlier. Testing reflects both symptomatic students and student-athletes following NCAA testing protocols. The vaccination rate among Story County residents at least 5 years old rose to 66.3% as of May 11. Iowa State is providing weekly updates on these and other public health benchmarks on its COVID-19: By the numbers website.

Student affairs units are moving to new MU offices

A 15-month renovation project on floors four through six at the Memorial Union is wrapping up, and six student affairs offices have set dates they anticipate being ready for walk-in traffic:


Office suite

Opening date

Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success


May 16

Veterans Student Center


May 19

International Students and Scholars


May 24



June 8

ISU Lectures Program


June 13

Student Legal Services


June 23


Guidance for summer work hours

Summer hours offer flexibility for university units during a time of lower activity on campus. University units may implement flexible office hours/working hours of 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., with a shortened lunch break, from Monday, May 16, through Friday, Aug. 12. Units that want to participate in summer hours should develop their schedules with approval from the appropriate dean, vice president, senior vice president or president. Units must continue to provide services to their clients, including students and prospective students. They also need to provide regular operations services.

Memorial Day ceremony honors deceased university retirees

The ISU Retirees Association will host an online Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 30 (9 a.m. CST, via Zoom). The event honors all ISU retirees and spouses or partners who have died since the previous Memorial Day ceremony. The names of deceased individuals will be read, and then family and friends will have an opportunity to say a few words. A tribute form can be completed online through June 3; the preferred deadline for inclusion in the ceremony is May 25.

Mental health 'first aid' training offered July 27

ISU WorkLife is hosting a daylong training for faculty and staff, "Mental Health First Aid," on Wednesday, July 27 (8 a.m.-5 p.m., conference room, 4H Building). Participants will learn to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. They'll also learn skills neeed to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and connect them to appropriate care. Register online.

Next Inside: May 26

Inside Iowa State will move to a biweekly publication cycle during summer session. The submission deadline for announcements, retirements, receptions and awards remains noon Wednesday before publication dates. Publication Thursdays planned this summer are:

  • May 26
  • June 9, 23
  • July 7, 21
  • Aug. 4

CSAFE demonstrations, reception set for May 23

Employees and students from the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE) will share accomplishments from the past year that support the forensic science and legal communities during a technology demonstration and reception Monday, May 23 (5-6 p.m., Garden Room, Reiman Gardens). It is open to the public. Researchers will give demonstrations of CSAFE-developed technology, and undergraduate and graduate students will present posters on their research projects.

Cyclone 'Tailgate Tour' covers the state this month

The athletics department's annual "Tailgate Tour" hits the road this month, with a western Iowa loop May 16-18 (Carroll, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Okoboji, Sheffield and Clear Lake) and eastern Iowa loop May 23-25 (Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, Ottumwa, Bettendorf, Dubuque and Waterloo). The schedule features daily noon and early evening stops. In addition to a short program, fans can meet head coaches and Cy and stock up on Cyclone merchandise. The tour stops are free; food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Final days: Complete regents' free speech training this week

As announced in early February, the state Board of Regents expects all students and employees to complete, by the end of spring semester, virtual training about free speech and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The training emphasizes the importance of how to both use speech and expression in classroom and out-of-class activities and respect the protected speech and activity of others. Faculty and staff will find the training under "My Learning Tracks" when they log in to Learn@ISU. Students will find it on their Canvas dashboard. Completing the training on a laptop or desktop computer is recommended.

May 16-22 is bike to work week

May 16-22 is National Bike to Work Week. Ames residents are encouraged to bike to work, school or around their neighborhood. Mayor John Haila and city council members will host a free continental breakfast for bike commuters Monday, May 16 (7-9 a.m., in front of City Hall, 515 Clark Ave., city hall foyer if the weather threatens). The week will end with the annual Mayor and City Council bike ride beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 21 (9 a.m., city hall west parking lot).

COVID-19: By the numbers

For the week that ended May 1, the positive rate for COVID-19 tests completed at the Thielen Student Health Center was 13.64% (9 of 66 tests completed), up from 11.43% a week earlier. Testing reflects both symptomatic students and student-athletes following NCAA testing protocols. The vaccination rate among Story County residents at least 5 years old rose to 66.2% as of May 4. Iowa State is providing weekly updates on these and other public health benchmarks on its COVID-19: By the numbers website.

Community radio fundraising concert is May 26

Tickets are on sale now for a May 26 concert at Stephens Auditorium by Quad Cities-based Avey Grouws Band, with opener and Iowa native Matt Woods. It starts at 7 p.m. The concert is the second-annual spring fundraising concert for Ames' KHOI community radio. Advance tickets are $20 (general admission) and $50 (VIP reserved: orchestra pit and first 11 rows), and available through the radio station online or at the studio (cash only, 622 Douglas Ave., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays). Tickets go up $5 the day of the show.

Celebration of Life for Dennis Peterson is May 29

The family of Dennis Peterson, who retired from Iowa State in 2004 as director of international students and scholars, welcomes friends and former colleagues to share stories and memories of his life on Sunday, May 29 (2 p.m., Garden Room, Reiman Gardens). Refreshments will be served. Peterson died March 4 following a lengthy illness. His career at Iowa State spanned 34 years. The family suggests memorials to the Alzheimer's Association, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders or Youth and Shelter Services. Other ways to honor his life: support a scholarship at Iowa State that enables a young person's dream of studying abroad, join the Friends of Ada Hayden Heritage Park or become a member of Reiman Gardens. Obituary.

Application window closes May 6 for arts/humanities post

The office of the vice president for research is accepting applications through May 6 for the director position at the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. The position is part-time for a three-year term, beginning June 30, with the potential for reappointment. Applicants must be a professor in an ISU arts, humanities, design or appropriate social science department. The director guides the center's operations and development, in consultation with the VPR's office, the center's advisory council and deans from the colleges of Design and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Reiman Gardens open late commencement weekend

To accommodate guests visiting campus for graduation events, Reiman Gardens will remain open until 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 12-14.

Alumni association's 2023 travel preview is May 26

The ISU Alumni Association will preview the trips it's hosting for traveling Cyclones in 2023 on Thursday, May 26 (4-6:30 p.m., Alumni Center). Travel operators will attend to answer questions about the trips they're offering, and U.S. Postal Service representatives will be on site accepting passport applications or renewals. Enjoy food and beverages. The event is free but registration is requested by 11:59 p.m. May 17. Questions may be directed to Lainey Crawford, 515-294-5775.