Winter break news in the rearview

Welcome back for spring semester. If you were away from campus for part or all of the winter session, here's a quick summary of news you might not have seen:

Temporary move

Leaders and staff members in admissions and the registrar's office working in the Enrollment Services Center are starting spring semester in temporary locations. An early morning Jan. 3 sprinkler pipe break, unfortunately above the third floor, caused extensive water damage in the building. The registrar staff will receive walk-in clients at 2157 Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, and admissions staff will serve walk-in guests at 2630 Memorial Union (office of new student programs).

New leader

Following on-campus interviews for four finalists the first week of December, President Wendy Wintersteen announced Dec. 16 the hiring of Sharon Perry-Fantini, Tiffin College, Ohio, as Iowa State's next vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. She started in her new post earlier this week.

Expanding cleaning services 

In December, senior leaders announced they identified funds for additional custodial positions to support a return to pre-pandemic cleaning services. Earlier this month, they shared the revised plan, which relies on ISU's ability to hire about 20 more custodians.

Status quo for now

At the state Board of Regents' Jan. 12 meeting, board president Michael Richards said fall semester guidelines for campus operations at the regent universities will remain in place for spring semester. Campus policies should continue to reflect the guidelines, he said.

Richards also said the board is keeping an eye on legal challenges to federal COVID requirements and awaiting additional court decisions "before determining how to proceed at regent institutions."

Student data

December was all about 1,900. Coincidentally, that was the approximate number of both Cyclone students completing degrees in the fall semester and students who enrolled in the four-week winter term.

Certified lodging

A new state law that took effect Jan. 1 prohibits the use of state dollars -- appropriations or grants -- for lodging, meetings or banquets at Iowa businesses that aren't certified in human-trafficking prevention. The requirement impacts about 1,500 businesses in Iowa that pay Iowa hotel/motel taxes. And it impacts ISU employees, who run the risk of not being reimbursed for their in-state expenses if they haven't checked ahead on their hotel's certification status.

Flexible work

About 650 employees -- excluding those in department pilot projects -- began their WorkFlex schedules this week. Nearly 95% of employees who submitted a proposal were approved, and nearly 85% of approved plans included a remote work component, according to university human resources leaders who provided a summary to the Professional and Scientific Council.

Personalized landing page

On Jan. 10, ISU employees met Workday's revamped landing page. The change personalizes the landing page for each employee and what's relevant to them. The intent is to help employees find information about themselves and use self-service tasks that previously were difficult to locate. The new site includes a chatbot, improved search function and a navigation menu that appears on every page.

Name badge design

With an equipment purchase and subsequent discussions with university marketing, ISU's printing services now is the primary provider of employee name badges. A two-badge set (red and white) costs $21 and can be ordered on printing services' website.

Cyclone success

The Cyclone football team faced No. 19 Clemson in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, and couldn't overcome a 20-3 third-quarter deficit. The final score was 20-13, pushing the Cyclones out of the Top 25 in the final Associated Press (AP) ranking of the season.

The men's and women's basketball seasons got off to strong starts, with both teams breaking into the AP's national Top 10: Men's basketball was ranked No. 9 the week of Dec. 20 and No. 8 the next week. The Cyclone women earned AP's No. 9 spot the week of Jan. 10, and rose to No. 7 this week.