April 2020

Instructions for joining May 4 virtual town hall for faculty and staff

President Wendy Wintersteen and other senior leaders will hold a virtual town hall for faculty and staff on COVID-19-related topics Monday, May 4 (2-3 p.m.). There are several options for joining (Webex Events can accommodate up to 1,000 participants):

  • Webex Events. Click here to join. The event password should auto-populate, then attendees will register with their name and email address. Type your questions for leaders into the Q&A box.
  • Webex Events call-in option (audio only). Call: 415-655-0001; event number/access code: 280 754 082.
  • Overflow viewing on this YouTube channel. (There's no vehicle to ask questions live, but questions submitted to will be answered following the town hall.)

The town hall will be recorded and posted on the COVID-19 safety page within two days.

No change right now to university operations

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced this week that some businesses in 77 Iowa counties, including Story County, may consider resuming limited operations starting May 1. The order pertains to restaurants, fitness centers, retail stores and libraries, but does not provide specific guidance for public universities. 

ISU senior leaders and the emergency operations team are considering next steps that prioritize the health and safety of the Iowa State community. Additional guidance will be shared as soon as possible. Until then, please continue with the following: 

  • Employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so.
  • Employees are still permitted to go to their office while practicing social distancing to perform necessary job functions they can't do at home.
  • Practice social distancing and other infection mitigation strategies, including frequent handwashing.

Employees with any questions should contact their HR delivery team or email

Survey will collect feedback on transition to virtual instruction

As we reach the semester's close, Iowa State is reaching out to faculty and instructional staff via a survey to capture their insights and experience regarding this spring's transition to virtual instruction and work. In partnership with the Faculty Senate and Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, ISU faculty and staff moved some 6,100 courses to a virtual environment in a short time. The survey, developed with input from the senate, CELT and others, will collect what went well and how we might improve if we are faced with a similar situation in the future. The feedback also will inform institutional planning for fall semester. A survey link was shared via email Wednesday, April 29, and the survey will remain open through May 15. The office of institutional research is administering the survey on behalf of the office of the senior vice president and provost. Questions may be directed to or Karen Zunkel, executive director of institutional research.

Vet Med faculty are offering public webinars

Faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine are hosting a series of free webinars for the public, via Zoom, on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Upcoming topics and registration links are:

  • April 30, "Accidents Happen: What Pet Owners Can Do Before Arriving at the Vet's Office," Dr. April Blong, assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences and emergency/critical care veterinarian, register online to receive the link
  • May 7, "Designing Nanotherapies to Enable Cell Defenses in the Fight Against COVID-19," Bryan Bellaire, associate professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine, register online to receive the link

Barks at Parks goes online

The pandemic may have closed University Library, but Barks at Parks continues during Study Week. Like any good boy or girl would do, the friendly therapy dogs have found another way to provide the best study break ever. Barks at Parks owners and library staff have provided video and pictures of their best friends for all to enjoy online through Friday.

Workspace expands "Art-2-Go" offerings

The Workspace in the Memorial Union has added more options to its Art-2-Go craft kits for children and adults, including canvas paintings (outlined by a professional tattoo artist), paintable spring planters and flower pots and a "craftapalooza" of various activities. Prices range from $10 to $40. Order and pay online; kits can be delivered to Ames homes, or you can arrange a pick-up time at the MU.

Recruiting, hiring restriction extended to June 30

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, ISU leaders have extended to June 30 timelines announced in late March for recruiting and hiring. Vacancy postings for noncritical positions should be postponed through June 30 and postings for critical need positions require approval from the respective president or senior vice president, or a delegate. Offering a hire date earlier than June 30 also is discouraged, but if filling a critical need position during this timeframe is essential, units again should seek approval.

In an April 28 memo to supervisors, interim vice president for university human resources Kristi Darr also asked for heightened attention to vacancies and recruiting and hiring decisions, in light of the university's tight budget environment due to the pandemic's impact. She encouraged supervisors to work with their HR delivery teams to decide if changes should be made.

Deadline extended to May 15 for reACT exhibition proposals

Faculty and P&S staff are invited to think about exhibition ideas for the reACT exhibition series, which creates the opportunity for relevant ideas and current events to be discussed through art, specifically university museums' permanent collection. Post-pandemic exhibitions could prompt discussion among the ISU community, with works of art that can help express questions and provoke ideas and conversations. Contact University Museums program coordinator Lilah Anderson for more information on the program, including an application to be a guest curator. Proposals are due May 15.

Applications for fall Cardinal Women are due May 29

Online applications are being accepted through May 29 for this fall's Cardinal Women*, a growth opportunity for faculty and staff who identify as women or womxn. During monthly two-hour gatherings from September to December, participants will have large- and small-group discussions designed to foster leadership development, goal orientation and purpose in their personal and professional spheres. Prior to gathering, they will preview short written and video resources. Topics will include identifying and silencing the inner critic, discovering and utilizing your inner mentor, communication style strategies, approaches to negotiation and how to support and affirm fellow women in our community. Questions may be directed to co-founders and co-facilitators Tera Lawson or Denise Williams-Klotz.
* Includes women who are cisgender, trans, of trans experience, etc. We also welcome individuals who identify as gender non-binary or gender queer who seek this community.

Research Collaboration Catalysts seeks nominations

The office of the vice president for research has issued a call for nominations for the 2020-21 Research Collaboration Catalysts program, designed to train the university's next generation of research team leaders. The program is based on team science principles, and participating faculty will use evidence-based training, tools and resources to develop leadership skills and learn how to manage challenges specific to interdisciplinary research. Nominations are due May 15 and open to tenured, tenure-eligible and research term faculty who have demonstrated potential to lead high-impact interdisciplinary research teams. Interested candidates are encouraged to discuss their potential nomination with their supervisors. More information, including nomination instructions, is online in CyBox.

Pass/not pass policy extended to all spring courses

A temporary policy allowing all students to consider taking courses on a pass/not pass basis has been expanded. The policy initially was limited to courses shifted online as part of the response to the coronavirus. But to acknowledge the disruption many students are experiencing during the crisis, online courses that weren't changed also can be taken on a pass/not pass basis for credit. The expansion of the temporary policy change was included in a memo the provost's office released April 17.

Length of no-ad post-docs extended for recent ISU grads

A temporary policy change will allow Iowa State doctoral students graduating this spring and summer to be hired as post-docs for up to six months without advertising the position. Typically, a post-doc position longer than three months must be advertised. The graduate college posted an FAQ about the temporary change, which applies to appointments that begin by Aug. 24.  

Initiative launched to assess health of state population

A grassroots social media campaign launched April 21 encourages all Iowa citizens to complete an online health assessment. The #TestIowaChallenge aims to "Crush the Curve" of the COVID-19 pandemic through better understanding of what's happening in the state. The online assessment, available on the TestIowa website, includes questions related to health risk, testing and exposure.

Bookstore T-shirt sale supports 'Cyclone Strong' fund

The ISU Book Store is partnering with the ISU Foundation to offer a T-shirt that supports the foundation's Cyclone Strong Fund. Proceeds from the sale of this $15 shirt will benefit the fund to support students and student services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

4-H stitchers surpass face mask goal in nine days

In just nine days, Iowa 4-H met a goal to make and donate 10,000 face masks to people and organizations in their local communities. But the effort is continuing. Of the masks donated so far, approximately 35% were made by 4-H members, 30% by 4-H volunteers, and the remaining 35% were donated by 4-H alumni, staff and friends of 4-H, many of whom are relatives of 4-H members.

Startup Factory extends application deadline

The application deadline for the ISU Startup Factory's ninth cohort has been extended to Friday, May 29, with a start date of June 23 for the 52-week immersion in entrepreneurship.

FAQ addresses new items covered, possible changes for flex accounts

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed into law March 27 changed some of the federal regulations that affect flexible spending accounts (FSA) for health care expenses. Coverage has been extended to numerous health-related products, including for menstrual care, and over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol, Advil, Claritin and Tamiflu. The change is permanent and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020. A university human resources FAQ addresses the FSA changes. The FAQ also answers questions employees may have about their dependent care assistance program (DCAP) accounts during the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, changing to working from home or a child care provider closing is considered a "qualifying event" that allows an adjustment to DCAP contributions.

Submit requests now for summer, fall course reserves

Instructors who wish to place required materials on reserve for the summer and fall semester should submit requests now. The forms are on the library's website.

City to install traffic light at State/Mortensen intersection

The city of Ames, in coordination with Iowa State, will install a temporary traffic signal at the intersection of State Avenue and Mortensen Road. The work begins this week and should last four to six weeks, depending on weather. Traffic disruptions should be minimal. The temporary signal will be converted to a permanent signal in the next two to three years.

How are you handling office phone calls?

IT Services offers lots of tech tips on its "Learning and Working Remotely" website, including help with office phones. Options for taking calls while away from your desk phone include:

User guides for desk phones also are available on the ITS "knowledge base."

It's time to renew library loans

ISU library items borrowed on an extended loan (due May) can be renewed now via the library's website. Follow the instructions provided. If an item doesn't renew, contact the circulation desk, 294-3961.

Library shares COVID-related standards accessible for free

Many organizations that develop standards are opening up access to those technical specifications related to COVID-19 during the pandemic. The university library has compiled a list of organizations that have made standards available to the public during the crisis. Access to these standards is free for a limited time and can't be guaranteed.

4-H aims to make 10,000 face masks

The Iowa 4-H is asking members, leaders, alumni, judges and friends to create 10,000 face masks to benefit their communities. Instructions help guide participants through the process to aid communities through the coronavirus pandemic.

Nominations for exemplary faculty mentors due April 30

To acknowledge the critical role that faculty mentoring plays at Iowa State, the provost's office created the annual Exemplary Faculty Mentor Award to recognize senior colleagues who have gone above and beyond the usual expectations of a mentor. Faculty who want to nominate their mentor should email the nomination form (PDF) to by April 30; recipients this spring will receive a certificate and recognition on several websites.

Reminder: Miller Open Education Mini-Grant deadline is April 15

The deadline to apply for a Miller Open Education Mini-Grant is 11:59 p.m. April 15 for projects with planned completion in the 2020-21 academic year. Each spring, the university library, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and office of the senior vice president and provost support the program to encourage instructor innovation in adopting open educational resources (OER).

Extension week celebrates serving Iowans

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week is April 13-18. Although this year's celebration will take place virtually given the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa's 100 county extension offices will be thanking Iowans for their support of extension efforts throughout the state to build a strong Iowa.

Deadline extended for fall CELT professional development programs

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has extended to June 1 the application deadline for these professional development programs during the 2020-21 academic year:

Gentle Doctor sculpture claims first Art Madness title

The Gentle Doctor statue, originally created in 1937-38 by Iowa State artist-in-residence Christian Petersen, is the winner of university museums' first Art Madness bracket competition to highlight the content in Iowa State's Art on Campus collection. The four-round online competition March 23-April 4 drew more than 2,500 votes.

Rising Star 2020 program canceled

The Rising Star internship program for summer 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ISU Extension and Outreach will announce plans for the summer 2021 program in the fall.

Prepare now to vote in Iowa's June primary

The Catt Center staff reminds Iowa residents no matter where they are, they can vote in the June 2 Iowa primary. A primary election occurs when more than one person wishes to be the party's nominee for an office in the November general election. Iowa voters may cast absentee ballots anytime between April 23 and June 2. Voters may order their absentee ballots from their county auditor. The Story County Auditor's website has a downloadable, postage-paid form. Residents who aren't in Ames now can have a ballot sent to their current address. If you aren't registered to vote yet in Iowa, you can register online though the Secretary of State's website.

Prepare now to vote in Iowa's June primary

Iowa residents, no matter where they are, can vote in the June 2 Iowa primary. A primary election occurs when more than one person wishes to be the party's nominee for an office in the November general election. Iowa voters may cast absentee ballots anytime between April 23 and June 2. Voters may order their absentee ballots from their county auditor. The Story County Auditor's website has a downloadable, postage-paid form. Residents who aren't in Ames now can have a ballot sent to their current address. If you aren't registered to vote yet in Iowa, you can register online though the Secretary of State's website.

Important information for students who were registered for their residence hall addresses: Students who ordered an absentee ballot, there's a good chance this mail will not be forwarded to you. Call your county auditor to discuss your options. If you ordered an absentee ballot request form, you can download another form and resend it using the address where you're currently receiving mail. Student residents of other states can find out here when you will vote next.

Insect Zoo offers live shows online three times per week

Unable to take hands-on learning to classrooms around Iowa, Ginny Mitchell, education program coordinator for the entomology department's Insect Zoo, began doing live shows March 23 on the zoo's Facebook page. The shows start at 10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and all shows are archived on its YouTube channel. The Insect Zoo website also features the world's only honeypot ant webcam. Iowa State is the nation's only land-grant university to have a colony of honeypot ants.

Workspace has art-2-go kits

The Workspace in the Memorial Union is offering art-2-go kits ($10-$18) to the campus and Ames communities. Options include pottery figurines with paints or a wood tray with decoupage kit. Order online and a Workspace employee will deliver the kits anywhere in Ames, or customers can arrange to pick up their kit(s) outside the MU.

Engineering outreach website features daily theme for kids

Engineering Community Outreach is rolling out easy-to-do activities for kids and families on its "at home" website. The site features a daily theme with hands-on things to do with items around the house, a deeper dive into the STEM concept, a program or movie to watch together and a short bedtime boredom buster. Each day, the ECO staff will offer new activities and add LEGO build challenges for students to take part in and be recognized. Consider signing up for the "Fun From Home" updates here:

Faculty or staff with an activity or resource to share on the "at home" website can email it to

ISU Surplus offers Dell equipment during no-contact sale for employees

ISU Surplus, which is closed to walk-in traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, launched a "noncontact" drive-up option April 3 for faculty and staff working remotely who could use additional Dell computer equipment to do their jobs. Employees work with the surplus staff via email to purchase Dell monitors, keyboards and mice, and pick up their purchase outside the surplus facility on Airport Road. Prices range from $3 to $30; debit and credit cards are accepted forms of payment.

Cochran stays in facilities post on temporary assignment

While he retired from Iowa State April 1, manager of facilities maintenance Ron Cochran will be serving ISU and facilities planning and management on an emergency temporary assignment through June 30.

Resources added to 'remote work' website

Information technology services (ITS) has redesigned the Remote Work website to list and link to more than 30 articles about using available remote work and learning tools. Each of the links takes the user to the IT Knowledge Base, which contains short instructional articles supplemented with screenshots. Once there, users should click on "Remote Work Resources" in the "Category" menu to view all available titles. Using the search bar at the top of the screen allows users to search for all articles related to a specific tool. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and click "show more" to view more than 10 titles at a time. If you identify a need for an additional article within the IT Knowledge Base, send a message to

ISU WellBeing offers weekly connections through May

Members of the ISU WellBeing team are leading several weekly events during April and May for ISU employees; no registration is needed.

Update to temporary employment rules

Pursuant to the state Board of Regents' Declaration of State of Emergency issued March 18, some board policies and administrative rules have been waived and extended so long as the State of Emergency is in effect or as otherwise subsequently ratified by the regents. One of those is related to temporary employment. Provisionally waived is the policy that limits temporary employment to 780 hours in a fiscal year.