January 2021

'Speed dating' event gives quick overview of support programs

Students quickly can learn more about Writing and Media Center, Academic Success Center and the University Library in a virtual "speed dating" event Feb. 10. Match friendly faces to each of these support services as representatives share tips for making the most of their programming and announce special events to be held this semester. Each presentation will last no more than five minutes, in speed-dating fashion. Attendees will have a chance to ask questions before a special Valentine’s Day edition of ISU trivia. The winner will receive a $10 gift card to Chocolaterie Stam, a downtown Ames chocolate shop and coffee bar. Everyone who creates a semester action plan and shares a part of it will be eligible to pick up a Valentine’s Day goodie bag full of school supplies and sweets from the Writing and Media Center’s Carver 208 location beginning Feb. 11. See the "speed dating" website to learn about the programs and set up a "date" with a writing consultant, academic tutor or coach, or research librarian.   

Executive order rescinds restrictions on diversity training

An executive order by President Joe Biden rescinded a prior order by former President Donald Trump that would have restricted some training and instruction related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Trump order, issued Sept. 22, would have limited the content of some university training programs. An Oct. 20 memo detailed the anticipated effects of the order. A Jan. 25 memo to faculty and staff from university counsel Michael Norton and vice president for diversity and inclusion Reginald Stewart outlined impact the Biden order on diversity training -- and several other executive orders -- will have on Iowa State, including orders combatting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, preserving the DACA program and ending travel bans from certain countries. Biden issued the orders outlined in the Jan. 25 memo on Jan. 20, his first day in office. 

Obbink will discuss coronavirus and vaccination efforts at next P&S seminar

The next event in the Professional and Scientific Council Seminar Series will be held online Feb. 9 (2-3 p.m.). As we approach the one-year mark of the coronavirus pandemic, Kristen Obbink, ISU's COVID-19 public health coordinator, will answer questions regarding the virus and provide updates on campus resources and vaccination efforts. Use this link to submit a question in advance. Seminar series events this year are being livestreamed and each recording posted in Learn@ISU approximately one week later. 

Cyclone Cinema shares its spring titles

Cyclone Cinema, the free campus movie series hosted by the Student Union Board, opens this week with four showings of the science fiction/action thriller, "Tenet." Nightly showings (Thursday-Sunday) begin at 7 p.m. in 101 Carver, and Sunday screenings feature open captions. Face coverings are required and the auditorium seats are zip-tied closed to preserve a 50% capacity. 2020 and 2021 films will be screened weekly through April 25.

Student entrepreneurs sought for college pitch off in February

The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with ISU's seven colleges, will host its annual College-by-College Pitch Off Feb. 10-22 (all in 3231 Student Innovation Center; requests for virtual will be allowed). Registration is open to 25 students in each college. Students deliver a 90-second pitch about an idea or business they are working on to a panel of judges for cash prizes totaling $22,500. The top two in each of two categories (new idea and existing business) from each college event will advance to the Innovation Pitch Competition Feb. 25 (4-6 p.m.). Questions may be directed to Diana Wright at the Pappajohn Center, 296-8246.

Register now for P&S Council professional development event

Registration is open for the 2021 Professional and Scientific Council Professional Development Experience. This year's conference, "Cultivate Your Adventure: Growing Through Change," will be held virtually Feb. 25 via Hopin, an online events platform. Keynote speaker Renée Smith will share how to make work more human, and P&S employees will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue sessions on various topics. Participants will have the opportunity to engage further with Smith during a human workplace gathering experiential learning opportunity to be held March 10, 11 and 12. Registration is $25 for the one-day experience on Feb. 25 and an additional $15 for the human workplace gathering sessions. Visit the conference website to register before the Feb. 22 deadline or get more information about the agenda.

National recycling competition kicks off Jan. 31

Iowa State once again will participate in a national recycling contest against other university and college campuses this semester. The Campus Race to Zero Waste Competition is an eight-week event (Jan. 31-March 27), formerly called RecycleMania, in which campuses will compete in a variety of categories to reduce waste and advance recycling efforts.

"While the competition is stiff with hundreds of schools participating, we hope to leverage on this year's competition to actively engage all campus stakeholders to support our recycling and waste reduction efforts," said Ayodeji Oluwalana, recycling and special events coordinator.

Iowa State will participate in the following categories:

  • Per capita recycling
  • Diversion
  • Electronics waste
  • Game day, a one-day competition reporting the recyclables, food waste and trash for a single basketball game
  • One building challenge (General Services Building)

Workshop series focuses on term faculty

ISU ADVANCE has assembled a five-workshop series this semester that focuses on the professional development needs of term faculty. It opens Jan. 28 with a discussion moderated by associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince and concludes April 9 with a panel of term faculty discussing faculty governance. Participants may submit questions in advance of each event and registration for all workshops is via Learn@ISU.

Complete your Workday and HR, finance delivery survey by Jan. 31

Since Jan. 13, faculty and staff have been providing feedback on Workday, HR delivery and finance delivery via a campuswide survey. It's not too late to share your thoughts; survey responses will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 31. Individuals can find their unique survey link in emails delivered Jan. 13 and 20 from "WorkCyte." As a reminder, all individual responses remain confidential, with reports and analysis conducted by the office of institutional research. Questions about the survey may be directed to institutional research executive director Karen Zunkel or associate director Amanda DeGraff.

Maps highlight available study spots

Select classrooms and many common areas are serving as study spaces during spring semester. No reservations are needed. Occupant capacities and hours will be posted on classrooms; common spaces are available during regular building hours. Physical distancing and face covering requirements must be observed. A PDF that includes maps, locations and hours is available online. 

Goldfinch live music series resumes Feb. 6

Bondurant singer/songwriter Marc Bailey performs on the Stephens Auditorium stage Feb. 6 (7 p.m.) as part of the center's Goldfinch Room series for local musicians. The larger stage will allow guests to maintain a distance of 10 feet between groups. Masks are required except when eating or drinking. Tables for up to 4 people are available for $40. Livestream links are $10 (single stream) and $20 (group stream). Purchase a table or livestream online.

New university style: Advisor, not adviser

The university's editorial standards guide (found on the university marketing website) has changed the spelling of "adviser" to "advisor," effective Jan. 25. In consultation with university human resources (UHR), strategic relations and communications made this change official for the campus community. The new professional and scientific classification and compensation system, implemented this fall, lists 15 job titles in seven categories that include the word "advisor." In the previous classification system, the spelling of "adviser" for similar positions was based on university and industry standards at the time. UHR believes the change better aligns the university with current standards and will be helpful in recruiting, retaining and promoting employees.

Campus units are asked to update their style sheets to reflect this change in communications aimed at both campus and external audiences. Items like business cards, plaques, signs, etc., can transition to the new spelling over time. Please consider changes now to online or digital resources.

On-demand passes for "Sleep Squad" go on sale Jan. 22

Stephens Auditorium is presenting Sleep Squad, an interactive, virtual theater experience that turns your home into a rocket ship and creates a new bedtime ritual for kids age 4-12. Virtual show dates are Feb. 4-21. Performances are available starting at 6 p.m. for the date purchased and can be viewed any number of times for 14 days thereafter. On-demand passes go on sale online at 8 a.m. Jan. 22; prices are $35 (video only) or $50 (includes a prop kit shipped to you; allow two weeks for delivery). Sleep Squad is created by Story Pirates, creators of the popular podcast for kids.

New tutorial videos explain your classroom technology

Information technology services (ITS) has created two video tutorials, 3-4 minutes in length, for faculty and instructors about using audiovisual technology in general university (GU) classrooms. The videos are captioned and available on ITS' YouTube Channel and imbedded in its knowledge base articles. From a technology perspective, Iowa State has two kinds of classrooms:

  • Level 1 (about one-fourth of GU classrooms). Equipment includes a pan/tilt/zoom camera and microphone, lecture capture recorded to Panopto in the Cloud, and USB/USB-C and HDMI cables for integrating with the instructor's videoconferencing or recording software. Some also have an in-classroom recording option that only requires a flash drive. YouTube video. Knowledge base article.
  • Level 2 (about three-fourths of GU classrooms). Equipment includes a web camera, boundary microphone and USB/USB-C cable for connecting to instructor's device. YouTube video. Knowledge base article.

Not sure how your classroom is equipped? Review this GU classroom list.

Eight slides: Campus efforts to manage the pandemic

COVID-19 data from the fall semester, captured in eight slides, tell a story of the tremendous effort to manage the pandemic on campus through testing, case management and contact tracing.

Place Valentine fudge orders by Jan. 29

The Food Science Club is accepting preorders online through Jan. 29 of its Valentine fudge. Available flavors are chocolate, peanut butter, cookies and cream, chocolate mint and Cyclone (chocolate fudge with M&Ms, peanuts and mini marshmallows). Two sizes are available: a half pound ($6) and a pound ($10). Orders will be available for pick up Feb. 10-11 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) in 206 MacKay.

ISU Creamery has afternoon hours spring semester

The ISU Creamery, 2953 Food Sciences, opens for spring semester Monday, Jan. 25, with new hours: Noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. At the shop, you may purchase classic and college ice cream flavors by the scoop or in 32-ounce cartons; payment is by cash or credit/debit card. Metered parking is available at the east parking deck on Wallace Road. Enter the building at the Wallace Road entrance and follow the signs to the creamery. In addition, 8-ounce cartons of the eight college flavors are sold for $5.50 at Sparks café on the fourth floor of the Student Innovation Center (weekdays 9 a.m-5 p.m.). 

W-2s are available in Workday

Employees' form W-2, the federal document summarizing income and tax withholding for the 2020 calendar year, are available now in Workday. To access your W-2, log in to Workday and click on the Pay icon. Select "My Tax Documents" under the "View" column. Click the view/print button to see your W-2. Additional  information is in the W-2 Job Aid. 

Free face coverings available Jan. 22, 25

Free I-State branded face coverings will be distributed to students Jan. 22 and 25 at two central locations: 130A Parks Library and 3630 Memorial Union. They also will be available at college offices throughout the semester -- 102 Catt, 1200 Gerdin, 131 MacKay, 2270 Veterinary Medicine, 1300 Marston, 19 Curtiss, 1137 Pearson and 134 Design. Residence hall desks also will distribute face coverings. Two per student will be available. These are the same style of adjustable face coverings that were distributed to students at the start of fall semester.

Pipette calibration offered on campus Feb. 1-5

Chemistry stores is hosting a pipette calibration service Feb. 1-5. Quality service and calibration for all major brands and makes of pipettes will be provided by a dedicated, factory-trained technician. The service includes cleaning, lubrication and calibration of pipettes. Prices are:

  • $40, single channel/repeater pipette
  • $105, multichannel pipette

Prices don't include any parts that may need replacing. Pipettes can be dropped off at the chemistry stores office, 1351 Gilman, on or after Jan. 27. When calibration is complete, owners will be contacted to pick up their pipettes. Questions may be directed to John Burright, 294-0200.

Reminder: Research Days proposals due Jan. 29

Iowa State's 2021 "Research Day" was restructured to break out activities over three days (March 23-25) and hold all events online. A schedule of events is online and includes a keynote address by science comedian Brian Malow on how to convey complex topics to people outside of your field, online poster session via iPoster, lightning talks and a networking session to brainstorm with researchers across campus on up-and-coming challenges. Registration for presenters is open through Jan. 29 or until all available spots are filled. Attendee registration also is open.

Session proposals sought for virtual STEM career conference for girls

The Program for Women in Science and Engineering seeks virtual session proposals for its Go Further Girls STEM career conference for female-identifying students in grades 8-10. The conference seeks to inspire girls to learn about STEM fields and careers. Virtual Go Further week is April 6-8 (Tuesday-Thursday), with opportunities for prerecorded or live sessions. Facilitators should provide an engaging virtual activity focused on a STEM field or career and share information about majors and careers in your field. Submit your proposal online by Friday, Feb. 5. Contact Sarah DuBois for more information.

Jan. 15: University is open, online classes meet as scheduled

The university remains open today, Friday, Jan. 15. Employees should coordinate with their supervisors to work remotely if possible, and be cautious when determining whether it's safe to travel to campus. Those unable to get safely to work should contact their supervisors or department offices. All winter session classes are online and will meet as scheduled.

Reminder: Complete your Workday survey

All faculty and P&S and merit staff members should have received an email Jan. 13 from "WorkCyte" inviting their participation in a Workday and HR/finance delivery survey. Results from the survey will be incorporated into the work plans of university human resources, the division of operations and finance, and information technology services. Questions about the survey may be directed to institutional research executive director Karen Zunkel or associate director Amanda DeGraff.

Study abroad hiatus extended through Aug. 1

Iowa State won't offer any study abroad programs with travel between May 2 and Aug. 1, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert announced this week. Since last March, Iowa State has been observing a rolling 30-day ban on international travel for students implemented by the state Board of Regents and still in effect. University and board leaders will monitor the global pandemic situation and provide an update when decisions are made about study abroad programs scheduled after Aug. 1.

CyThx recognizes those who make others feel valued

Now in its third year, CyThx gave Iowa Staters a chance to thank the faculty, staff and graduate teaching assistants who make them feel like a valued member of the ISU community. The initiative is a partnership of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, ISU Learning Communities, Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The 2020 version drew 227 submissions, honoring recipients from 102 university units -- some of them multiples times. Each message was shared with the recipient and the recipient's unit leader. Go to the CyThx website to see the recipients and the messages that submitters chose to make public.

ISSO updates spring enrollment guidelines for international students

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) has updated its spring 2021 COVID-19 update page to reflect current Student and Exchange Visitor Program and Department of State guidance for international students in F-1 and J-1 status for the spring 2021 semester. Please review the guidelines for enrollment requirements for initial and continuing F-1 and J-1 students. Contact ISSO with any questions about spring 2021 enrollment by emailing

P&S Council sets member numbers for fiscal year 2022

The number of council members who sit on the Professional and Scientific Council during fiscal year 2022 that begins in July will decrease by two, based on the staffing levels at the end of 2020. Of the 3,265 P&S employees at Iowa State as of Dec. 31, 2,183 worked in the academic affairs division, 401 in the president's division, 387 in operations and finance, and 294 in student affairs.

The council has a representative for every 75 P&S employees, which next year will come to 29 council members in academic affairs, five each in the president's division and operations and finance, and four in student affairs, representation committee chair Jason Follett told the council at its Jan. 7 meeting.

There currently are six council members for both the president's division and operations and finance. Representation levels in the other two divisions will remain the same. Based on the remaining terms of current members, the council elections in March will aim to seat 11 new members from academic affairs, two from operations and finance, and one each from student affairs and the president's division. 

Alumni award nominations are due Feb. 15

The ISU Alumni Association is seeking nominations by Feb. 15 for six awards that will be presented during Homecoming 2021. Award descriptions and nomination forms are online. Questions may be directed to Katie Lickteig. The awards for ISU alumni 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 Volunteer Award, recognizes alumni association members age 40 years and younger who show volunteer leadership in the association or alumni-related activities
  • Impact Award, recognizes individuals, organizations or units whose programs/accomplishments brought recognition to the university and increased the involvement of ISU constituents in the life of the university in the last year
  • Alumni Service Award, recognizes alumni and friends whose service supports the daily work of the alumni association

Nominations due Feb. 1 for student employee award

Nominations are due to the office of student financial aid by Feb. 1 for the 31st annual Student Employee of the Year award. Nominees must be undergraduate students employed part-time on campus for at least six months between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021 (anticipated). The award recognizes student employees' demonstrated effectiveness in eight competencies set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: critical thinking/problem solving, oral/written communications, teamwork/collaboration, digital technology, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, career management and global/intercultural fluency. More information, including the nomination form, are online. Questions may be directed to Erin Schwartz, 294-0102, or Julie Arnold, 294-0103. Iowa State has nearly 10,000 undergraduate student employees.

COVID-19 vaccines are focus of Jan. 15 town hall

The university community is invited to a town hall Friday, Jan. 15 (2-3 p.m. via Webex) that will focus on COVID-19 vaccines. A panel will address questions about availability and distribution of vaccines on campus and in the Ames community. Panelists are Erin Baldwin, associate vice president for student health and wellness; Kristen Obbink, COVID-19 public health coordinator; David Verhoeven, assistant professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine; and Dan Fulton, McFarland Clinic infectious disease specialist. The town hall will be recorded and made available on the COVID-19 Updates and Resources website.

Vet Med's spring semester will launch four days early

The College of Veterinary Medicine was approved to modify its spring semester calendar in order to provide students a few short pauses from their intensive curriculum. The first day of class will be Tuesday, Jan. 19, four days ahead of the announced Jan. 25 start. Two two-day breaks will be inserted during the semester, Feb. 25-26 and April 5-6.

Honors program invites proposals for fall seminars

The University Honors Program invites proposals from experienced instructors (all levels) for fall 2021 Honors seminars. The submission deadline is Friday, Feb. 19. Honors seminars are one- or two- credit courses that examine topics of current or special interest in an active learning environment. Seminars generally are limited to 17 students and offered on a satisfactory/fail basis. The Honors Program allocates $500 to seminar instructors for professional development. More information is on the Honors program website; applications should be submitted online.

Share your thoughts next week on Workday, HR and finance delivery

It's been 18 months since Iowa State implemented Workday, HR delivery and finance delivery. As we begin 2021, university human resources, the division of operations and finance, and information technology services want to understand how things are going from the perspective of employees across the institution. All faculty and P&S and merit staff members will receive a unique email invitation Wednesday, Jan. 13, to a Workday and HR/finance delivery survey. The goal is to understand what is going well for faculty and staff and identify areas where we can continue to improve. Survey results will be incorporated into the work plans of the three units. 

Individual responses will remain confidential, with reports and analysis conducted by the office of institutional research. Questions about the survey may be directed to IR executive director Karen Zunkel or associate director Amanda DeGraff.

Federal judge halts enforcement of diversity training order

A ruling by a federal district court judge temporarily prevents enforcement of an executive order by President Donald Trump that restricted some training and instruction related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Given the presidential transition coming Jan. 20, the Dec. 22 ruling likely will permanently diminish the impact of the executive order, university counsel Michael Norton said in a Jan. 5 memo to faculty and staff. The preliminary injunction is effective nationwide and applies to the portions of the order that prohibit recipients of federal grants from using federal funding to promote concepts identified in the order as "divisive" and federal contractors from using the concepts in workplace training programs. An FAQ released Oct. 20 provided Iowa State faculty and staff with guidance on how the order would impact university programs. The judge ruled that provisions temporarily prevented from being enforced likely would violate the First Amendment and Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Online resources available for stimulus information

The IRS began distributing a second round of stimulus checks this week, following the passage of a federal coronavirus relief bill. Eligible recipients will receive $600 per household member. Payments are automatically sent to the bank accounts or mailing addresses the IRS has on file for taxpayers. Iowa State's payroll, benefits and tax office has posted a link to online resources the IRS is providing on the stimulus payments, which is the best source for answering questions. The IRS website includes an online tool for checking the status of the most recent stimulus payments and the first round distributed last spring.

Ombuds team launches a blog for ISU employees

The ISU ombuds team of Dina Eisenberg and Chuck Doran started a blog last month to help ISU employees understand -- and trust -- the virtual service they provide. In fact, the first topic is just that: Why should I trust you? Since August, Iowa State has contracted with the Boston-based firm, MWI, for ombuds services for faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate and professional students.

P&S Council's January seminar focuses on ombuds service

The next event in the Professional and Scientific Council seminar series is set for Jan. 12 (2-3 p.m., online) and focuses on ISU's free, confidential ombuds services. Dina Eisenberg and Chuck Doran, mediators with the nationally recognized dispute resolution firm MWI, will discuss how they can assist in resolving university-related matters. MWI partners with the university to offer ombuds services. 

All seminar series events this year are livestreamed, and the recorded session posted in Learn@ISU approximately one week later.