January 2024

Training for suicide prevention is Feb. 9

Student counseling services is offering a one-hour free program for faculty and staff designed to teach lay "gatekeepers" -- anyone in a position to recognize someone at risk of suicide -- the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. "Question, Persuade, Refer" will be offered Friday, Feb. 9 (11 a.m.-noon, 1312 Gilman). Register online.

Nominations due March 1 for 2024-25 leadership academy

The office of the senior vice president and provost seeks nominations by March 1 for the 2024-25 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Academy. ELA fosters the leadership development of faculty and professional and scientific staff currently serving in leadership roles or those who aspire to such positions. During the academic year, the cohort participates in monthly leadership activities led by content experts and facilitators. Cohort members also will work in teams to complete a leadership development activity. More information regarding eligibility and the updated nomination process is online. Next fall's cohort will be announced by April 15. Questions may be directed to Katharine Hensley in the provost's office.

Workspace hosts pop up Valentine sale

The Workspace will host a pop up sale Feb. 8-9, 12-14 (10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, near the ISU Book Store entrance, Memorial Union). Choose from an array of succulents planted in pottery from the Workspace and personalize it with options including tiny animals. Finally, select from Valentine's Day cards created by artist and university employee Kristin Erdman. 

Symposium considers standards, meanings of beauty

Researchers, scholars and creative practitioners from Iowa State and peer institutions will explore the cultural construction of beauty from multiple perspectives in a symposium, "Beauty Investigated," Feb. 15-17 at the College of Design and the Launch Pad (Room 4250) of the Student Innovation Center. An accompanying exhibition runs through Feb. 22 in Gallery 181, College of Design. University community members are invited to participate; a schedule outline and list of presenters are online.

Charcuterie workshop is Feb. 9

The Culinary Science Club is hosting a charcuterie workshop, open to the public, on Friday, Feb. 9 (8-9:30 p.m., 2379 Food Sciences Building). Learn the basics of a charcuterie board, try new cheeses and pairings, and create your own charcuterie board to take home. The cost is $30/person, payable when you register online.

Reminder: Nominate a student employee or student employee supervisor by Feb. 1

The office of student financial aid is accepting nominations through Feb. 1 for:

  • 2024 Student Employee of the Year. Recognize the outstanding efforts of an hourly undergraduate student employee who is making a difference as leader and innovator in their role.
  • (in partnership with university human resources) 2024 Student Employee Supervisor of the Year. Recognize an exceptional supervisor of hourly student employees for their mentorship and professionalism.

In each link, find more information on award criteria and completing a nomination.

Personal finance workshop series starts in February

ISU Extension and Outreach (EO) is offering free personal finance workshops to help participants with their financial goals. Online registration is required at least 24 hours prior to each virtual session, all of which are held on Thursdays (noon-1 p.m.). The schedule:

The workshops are part of an effort led by EO in partnership with university human resources. Questions about the workshops may be directed to extension financial educator Barb Wollan, 515-832-9597.

Water damage forces ASB units to relocate temporarily

Due to a burst water pipe in the Administrative Services Building discovered Sunday, Jan. 14, all units housed in the building have been relocated while repairs from extensive water damage are completed. The relocations are anticipated to last at least several months. Employees' phone numbers remain the same; call ahead for any in-person meetings. Individuals who receive printed payroll checks are directed to the temporary payroll office location, 0152 General Services Building.

Library's Catalyst hosts data visualization contest for students

To celebrate International Love Data Week, Feb. 12-16, students are invited to enter the Data Visualization Contest presented by The Catalyst in the University Library. Contestants select a dataset and get creative to present a visual interpretation of it. The competition is open to undergrad and graduate students, and submissions are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($150), second ($75) and third ($50) places. The week connects people all over the world to learn, appreciate and have fun with data.

Iowa State receives five more years as innovation/economic prosperity designee

Iowa State University recently received a five-year extension as a designee of the Association of Public and Land-grant University's (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity Program. To receive this designation and extension, institutions must demonstrate a commitment to regional economic growth and opportunity. Iowa State is one of 91 APLU institutions to earn this recognition. In November, Iowa State also received APLU's top Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Award.

Host families sought for four-week summer homestay for Japanese youth

Iowa 4-H is recruiting families to host visiting Japanese youth (ages 12-17 years) from July 22 to Aug. 15. Help students experience American culture while experiencing Japanese culture yourself. To be a host family, you must have a child in your home between the ages of 11 and 17 years; the Japanese student you host would be within 3+ years of your child. To ensure a safe environment, all adults in the home must undergo a background screening, a virtual child abuse awareness training and a home visit.

The host family application is due April 15, and home visits will be completed by June 1, when youth are assigned to host families. More information about hosting is online; questions may be directed to Madeleine Bretey-Smith, Iowa 4-H, ISU Extension and Outreach.

Purchase "Science Friday" tickets by Feb. 26

National Public Radio's "Science Friday" team, led by Ira Flatow, will be at Stephens Auditorium Saturday, May 4, for a Science Friday Live event (6-8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m.). Flatow will interview local researchers and scientists who are changing the world, one experiment at a time. University community members have access to early-bird pricing ($10 per general admission ticket plus processing fee) until 10 p.m. Feb. 26. The event is hosted by the university and the office of the vice president for research, in partnership with Iowa Public Radio.

Employee W-2 forms are available in Workday

Your Form W-2, which summarizes income and tax withholding for 2023 and is necessary to file your 2023 tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, is available in Workday. To access it, log into Workday and click on the "pay" application. Under the "view" column, select "my tax documents." Click the view/print button to see your W-2. An Iowa State FAQ on the W-2 form is available online in the human resources service portal.

Community vitality is topic for March 8 research/innovation roundtable

The office of the vice president for research has announced its next Research & Innovation Roundtable for Friday, March 8 (9 a.m.-4 p.m., Memorial Union, lunch provided). Faculty across campus are invited to explore bold ideas around the topic of community vitality that could grow into large interdisciplinary research initiatives. Online registration closes Feb. 16. (To help organizers form diverse breakout discussion groups and facilitate topic and team formation, participants are asked to prioritize prompt questions at registration.) More information about the theme and expectations for participants is online.

Workshops share research related to social dimensions of AI

The Translational AI Center (TrAC), a campus hub for a diverse range of projects, is hosting a research workshop series on Thursday afternoons this semester on the social and humanistic dimensions of artificial intelligence. At each workshop, research groups affiliated with the center will present their projects, with the goal of identifying potential areas for collaboration with social scientists and humanists on campus. No registration is needed. Upcoming workshops (all meet 3:45-4:30 p.m. in 302 Catt) are:

  • Food, energy and water, Jan. 25
  • Autonomy, Feb. 8
  • Health and quality of life, Feb. 22
  • Material design and manufacturing, March 7

Student club is pre-selling fudge for Valentine's Day

The Food Science Club is making and selling 250 pounds of fudge to celebrate Valentine's Day. Pre-orders from the university community will be accepted through Wednesday, Jan. 31, or until sold out. The club is offering six flavors in half-pound containers: Chocolate, peanut butter, cookies 'n cream, chocolate mint, Cyclone (chocolate fudge with peanuts and mini marshmallows topped with M&Ms) and a new flavor, orange cream. The price is $7 for one container, and $6 each for two or more containers. The online order form is on the club's website. Orders can be picked up Feb. 12-13 (10 a.m.-3 p.m., outside of 206 MacKay). Funds raised will be used to cover regular club expenses and industry trips.

Regents board president steps down, to vacate seat in April

State Board of Regents president Mike Richards announced Jan. 16 that he was stepping down as president of the board, effective that day. President pro tem Sherry Bates will serve as interim board president until a leadership election is held at a future board meeting. Richards will remain a board member until April 30, when he will resign his seat. (His current six-year term runs through April 2027.) He was appointed to the board in 2016 by Gov. Terry Branstad and reappointed in 2021 by Gov. Kim Reynolds. He was elected board president in 2017 and has served in that capacity since, re-elected by his colleagues in 2018, 2020 and 2022.

Nominations for annual sustainability awards due Feb. 15

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 15 for the 2024 Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability. Recognize an individual, team, organization, initiative, department or college who impacts campus sustainability through initiatives that focus on teaching, research, outreach or operations. Selection criteria are online; download and complete the nomination form and email it to

Posters, table displays invited for Feb. 27 Sustainapalooza

Students, staff and faculty are invited to exhibit sustainability-related/inspired artwork and sustainability research posters at the 14th annual Symposium on Sustainability Feb 26-27. Posters and table displays are invited in the broad areas of research, academics, student affairs, operations and community engagement; guidelines are online. Entries will be part of the  Sustainapalooza event on Tuesday, Feb. 27 (5-8 p.m., Memorial Union, set up by 4 p.m.). The application window to participate closes at 5 p.m. Feb. 9; confirmation emails will be sent by Feb. 14.

University leaders share semester-opening plan for Jan. 16-17

Senior leaders announced that Iowa State University will partially close on Tuesday, Jan. 16, due to a forecast for dangerously cold temperaturesClasses (day and evening) will meet virtually, and students should check email and Canvas for additional information from their instructors. Tuesday is the first day of the spring semester.

Thielen Student Health Center will be open, and the Student Counseling Center will be open for crisis appointments.

Supervisors should provide maximum flexibility for employees to work remotely or take leave. If remote work is not an option, consider training opportunities that employees can complete remotely. Supervisors in police, public safety, security, power plant, food service, health care, animal care and critical maintenance should make arrangements for team members to report safely to campus. Employees who can't make it to campus should contact their supervisors. 

During the partial closure, academic buildings will be locked. If you need access, contact the Department of Public Safety, 515-294-4428.

Classes will resume in-person instruction on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Students returning from winter break may encounter difficulties arriving in Ames in time for in-person classes, and instructors should provide maximum flexibility and understanding for them. Students who experience weather-related obstacles should contact their instructors before the first class meeting if they need accommodation or assistance. Faculty have discretion for instruction in their classes, and should consider posting any additional guidance for students on Canvas.

Nominations for alumni awards due Feb. 15

The ISU Alumni Association is seeking nominations by Feb. 15 for four awards presented during Homecoming 2024 that honor alumni. Award descriptions and nomination forms are online. Questions may be directed to Katie Lickteig. The awards 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 Alumni Service Award (merger of the former Hopson and Alumni Service awards), recognizes alumni and friends whose volunteer activities and service support the work of the ISU Alumni Association in connecting alumni, students and friends to each other and the university

Study Abroad Fair is Jan. 25

The Study Abroad Center will host its next Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Jan. 25 (10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., MU Great Hall). Learn about interning or studying abroad in experiences ranging from one week to one year. Students can enter their names for a chance to win study abroad scholarships. All ISU community members are able to apply for a U.S. passport during the fair (schedule an appointment in advance). More information is online.

Initial step shared for regents' recommendation on pronoun disclosure

The President's Focus Group on the state Board of Regents' DEI Adopted Recommendations was established last month to work with senior leaders to provide feedback on the university's plan to comply with the recommendations. While the full implementation plan is not due to the regents until April, the university is taking initial steps regarding recommendation 4b.The university is directing that no employee, student, applicant or campus visitor should be compelled to disclose their pronouns.

Students, faculty and staff may choose to voluntarily disclose their own pronouns to another individual, but it is not a requirement. Additionally, employees may continue to include their pronouns on items such as name tags, business cards and email signatures, or to have their pronouns noted in Iowa State's information systems where applicable, but they are not required to do so.

Jan. 15 is a university holiday

The university is closed and classes don't yet meet on Monday, Jan. 15, to observe the national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Spring semester classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Art-for-rent open house at the MU is Jan. 17-18

The Memorial Union is hosting an Art-for-Rent open house on Jan. 17 (3-6 p.m.) and Jan. 18 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) in the MU Art Gallery. The art rental collection includes about 275 framed posters, prints and paintings. Selections may be viewed during the open house and are available to rent for a half or full year. Most rentals range from $10 to $25 per year, and patrons may take selected pieces with them. Rent art for your home or office; you don't have to be affiliated with the university to participate. Proceeds from rentals support art programs at the Memorial Union.

An update on 2024 insurance ID cards

As a reminder, in 2024, ID cards from all insurance companies will be in the contract holder's name only. Wellmark should have mailed each contract holder two new ID cards for 2024. If your family needs more than two, you can order new cards or access them on your mobile device by logging in to your myWellmark account, or call Wellmark Customer Service at 1-800-494-4478. This is a change for those on the Wellmark BlueHMO, who previously received a card for each dependent. (Note: You can view your current benefit elections and your enrolled dependents in each coverage by going to the Benefits and Pay Hub from the menu in the upper left corner of Workday.)

Iowa State's prescription benefit manager, Express Scripts, does not automatically mail physical ID cards. New employees will receive either an email or a letter from Express Scripts notifying them how to access your digital prescription ID card at You can download it to your digital wallet or print a card from the Express Scripts site if you wish.

Delta Dental will not be issuing new cards for 2024.

Smile and Write sessions resume Jan. 16

Smile and Write, a free online program for faculty and staff designed to help participants accomplish their writing goals, has set its meeting times for spring semester. Those include every Tuesday (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) from Jan. 16 to April 30, and another 16 sessions spread over the other four days of the week and at varying times of the day. Register for each session you plan to attend to receive its Zoom link. Smile and Write is a way to both connect with your peers and carve out time for you and your career progression.

Save the date: Lecture by League of Women Voters national leader

Iowan Deborah Turner, who's currently serving as president of the League of Women Voters of the United States, will give a campus lecture Tuesday, Feb. 13, as the Catt Center's 2024 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics. Her talk, "Visionary Activism: How To Get From Here to There," begins at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. It's free and open to the public.

Fall Honors seminar proposals due Feb. 9

The University Honors Program invites proposals for Honors seminars in Fall 2024. These one- or two-credit courses, offered for a half or full term on a pass/fail basis, allow Honors students to examine topics of current or special interest. Enrollment is usually limited to 17 students. Honors allocates $500 per seminar for the professional development (e.g. professional subscriptions, membership fees, travel) of the instructor(s). Proposals are due Friday, Feb. 9. Details and guidelines are on the Honors website; the proposal form also is online. For more information, contact Leisha Estep or Laurie Smith Law. Listing of past Honors seminars.

Student volunteers sought for LEGO League championship Jan. 27-28

Engineering Outreach and Talent Development is recruiting ISU student volunteers for the FIRST LEGO League state championship Jan. 27-28. FIRST LEGO League combines the rigor of robotics and the excitement of competitive sport. This year, 100 youth robotics teams in grades 4-8 will compete around a theme of "the intersection of technology and the arts." To volunteer:

  • Fill out a short form (less than a minute to complete), indicating day(s) you're available to volunteer.
  • Volunteers will receive a follow-up email with a hyperlink to register for your preferred day(s) on the FIRST dashboard.
  • As the event dates get closer, volunteers will receive information on youth protection and training from Iowa State. 

Questions may be emailed to

Workshop proposals sought for summer 4-H youth conference

Iowa 4-H seeks workshop proposals from university professionals for the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference on campus June 25-27. The audience is an estimated 400 students in grades 8-12 from across Iowa. Workshops last approximately 90 minutes, are offered each day of the conference and focus on career opportunities, future planning, life and leadership skills, cultural enrichment and current issues and opportunities. The deadline to complete the workshop proposal form is Friday, March 1; selected proposals are notified in mid-March. Questions may be directed to Madeleine Bretey-Smith, Iowa 4-H, ISU Extension and Outreach.

Volunteers sought for LEGO League state championship Jan. 27-28

Engineering Outreach and Talent Development is recruiting faculty and staff volunteers for the FIRST LEGO League state championship Jan. 27-28. FIRST LEGO League combines the rigor of robotics and the excitement of competitive sport. This year, 100 youth robotics teams in grades 4-8 will compete around a theme of "the intersection of technology and the arts." To volunteer:

  • Fill out a short form (less than a minute to complete), indicating day(s) you're available to volunteer.
  • Volunteers will receive a follow-up email with a hyperlink to register for your preferred day(s) on the FIRST dashboard.
  • As the event dates get closer, volunteers will receive information on youth protection and training from Iowa State. 

Questions may be emailed to