March 2021

LAS Colleges launches two-year student innovation academy

This fall, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) is launching a two-year academy for first- and second-year LAS majors, LAS Innovation + Entrepreneurship Academy, to offers students opportunities to foster their entrepreneurial drive. During the first year, students will gain insight into entrepreneurship through readings, reflections, case studies and guest speakers, and learn about community and state resources that can help them develop their ideas. In the second year, students will be matched with university and local mentors who will guide them as they advance their projects. Faculty and staff are invited to contact academy director Rebecaa Runyan,, to nominate students for the academy. The first cohort will be about 30 students and expand as the program develops. Virtual information sessions for students are scheduled April 2, 5 and 7.

Face masks and other safety items newly covered by health flex

Personal protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are now considered an eligible expense for reimbursement under a health care flexible spending account (FSA) if they are used for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19. See Iowa State's FSA FAQ or the ASI website for details. 

Renewal begins April 6 for library extended loan items

ISU Library items that were borrowed on extended loan and due May 7, 2021, can be renewed beginning Tuesday, April 6. Renewal options include online, in person or via phone. 

Requests due April 4 to teach in Student Innovation Center

Instructors who teach a course that inspires students to innovate through experimentation, interdisciplinary collaboration or the free exchange of ideas are invited to request a space to teach the course in the Student Innovation Center this fall. Available spaces (and their capacities) are the auditorium (119), a large classroom (84), a learning-in-the-round classroom (62), a team-based learning classroom (54) and a medium classroom (48). Fill out the online form by April 4 to submit a request.

Student club's Animal Learning Day is April 17

The Block and Bridle Club will hold its annual Animal Learning Day on Saturday, April 17 (9 a.m.-1 p.m., Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Rd.). The event is free and provides an opportunity for the public to learn about animals in agriculture and interact with them. Face coverings and social distancing will be required.

P&S well-being seminar series continues April 20

The next event in the Professional and Scientific Council seminar series will be Tuesday, April 20 (2-3 p.m., online via Adobe Connect). As employees begin to emerge from self-isolation and rejoin their colleagues on campus, this session completes a two-part series on health and wellness related to post-pandemic well-being, including resources available to staff on and off campus. Panelists are senior worklife and wellbeing coordinator Stephanie Downs, behavioral health state specialist David Brown, student wellness dietician Lisa Nolting and university human resources worklife and family services coordinator Cris Broshar. A recording of the session will be archived in Learn@ISU approximately one week later.

ISU Creamery is adding Saturday hours

Beginning April 10, the ISU Creamery, 2953 Food Sciences Building, will be open on Saturdays (2-6 p.m.). Weekday hours this semester remain noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. More information about ice cream flavors and sizes is on the ISU Creamery website.

Pop-up plant sale is April 1 at Reiman Gardens

To make room in the greenhouse for new plants, Reiman Gardens is holding a pop-up plant sale Thursday, April 1 (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., conservatory complex lobby). Shop a variety of tropical houseplants such as orchids, sansevierias, clivias, bromeliads, tropical fruit trees and succulents. Prices range from $1 to $35. Plants will be sold "as is;" garden staff recommend keeping purchased plants in quarantine from other house plants for a week or two.

Registrar shares spring graduation dates, times

The registrar's office has posted start times for spring commencement events: separate master's, Ph.D. and D.V.M. events Friday, May 7, and undergraduate events by college Saturday, May 8, on two stages at Jack Trice Stadium.

Presentation proposals sought for Youth Programs Symposium

Presentation proposals are being accepted for the 2021 Youth Programs Symposium to be held virtually Friday, April 23 (8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) Hosted by the risk management office, the symposium is for youth program leaders and other interested faculty and staff members who would like to learn more about youth programming at Iowa State. Proposals will be accepted until 4 p.m. on April 2. For more details and to submit a presentation proposal, click here.

Aerospace engineering professor passes away

Colleagues are mourning the death of R. Ganesh Rajagopalan, a professor of aerospace engineering who passed away March 19. Rajagopalan was a highly regarded researcher responsible for unique contributions to rotorcraft, wind energy systems and computational fluid dynamics. He joined the Iowa State faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1991 and professor in 2001. He recently was recognized by Iowa State's 25-Year Club for his 35 years of service to the university. Due to COVID-19 precautions, there will be no public visitation, and a private memorial ceremony will be held. 

Extension extends face covering mandate

ISU Extension and Outreach vice president John Lawrence extended the face covering mandate for extension, slated to end March 31, to May 8 to coincide with the end of the spring semester.

Submit course materials now for summer and fall

It's important for instructors to submit summer and fall semester course material requirements to the ISU Book Store now, giving bookstore staff as much time as possible to overcome any issues with sourcing or shipping. Materials -- which could include textbooks, courseware, eBooks, course packets, manuals, open educational resources or subscriptions -- will be listed for the course on AccessPlus. Instructors should submit selections to their department coordinator as soon as possible. Contact Carl Arbuckle, course materials buyer (, 294-0236), or John Wierson, digital course materials buyer (, 294-3501), with questions.

Save the date: Alumni awards event is April 7

2020 recipients of ISU Alumni Association, Memorial Union and college alumni awards will be celebrated during an April 7 virutal event (7 p.m.). Registration closes at noon that day, and those who register will receive an email with a link to view the virtual recognition. They'll also have the ability to leave notes of congratulations that will  be shared with the awardees. Registration is not required to attend.

Happy Birthday, Iowa State

Happy 163rd Iowa State! Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm was established on March 22, 1858, by the legislature of the State of Iowa. Story County was selected as a site in June 1859 and the original farm of 648 acres was purchased for $5,379. In 1862, the Iowa legislature voted to accept the provision of the Morrill Act, which was awarded to the agricultural college in 1864. It would be another five years before the college enrolled its first class.

Provost shares guidelines for international travel

Employees who want to travel internationally for university business must have their itinerary reviewed by the office of risk management and complete a travel agreement/informed consent form at least two weeks in advance of their departure. Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert shared the new guidance in a March 18 memo to deans and department chairs. On March 11, the state Board of Regents lifted its ban on international travel for regent university students and employees, leaving decisions to university leaders. Wickert also noted that:

  • All international travel still is considered high-risk.
  • Board of Regents or university policies regarding international travel could change at any time. 
  • A new draft policy on visiting scholars, with a targeted effective date of May 1, is available for public comment through April 11 in the policy library.

Restrictions eased for sororities, fraternities

The division of student affairs has revised restrictions on social events and visitors for the sorority and fraternity community. In a March 12 message sent to students and advisors in the sorority and fraternity community, student affairs leaders announced some parts of a moratorium have been lifted or altered as the result of fewer COVID-19 cases within the community and across campus. Under the new guidance, sorority and fraternity chapters are required to register all events through the university event authorization system and, when appropriate, through their governing councils. Also, chapters can host events off-campus at approved locations, and may host outdoor philanthropic events at their houses. Chapters may allow one guest per member living in the chapter house.

Last fall, the division of student affairs, in partnership with the office of sorority and fraternity engagement, implemented restrictions on social events, nonmember visitors and nonresident traffic as a result of high COVID-19 transmission rates in some chapters.

Applications due April 18 for Miller OER mini-grants

Iowa State instructors can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to help use open educational resources (OER) in their courses during the 2021-22 academic year. OER are educational materials that are free for students and free for faculty to customize, which can improve learning outcomes and make courses materials more accessible for all students. Using OER saved ISU students more than $500,000 in 2020-21. Miller Open Education Mini-Grants, awarded annually since 2018, provide ISU faculty funds to locate, adopt, adapt, update or create OER. A virtual Q&A for those interested in applying will be held 2-3 p.m. April 2. Applications are due by April 18.

Nominations due April 19 for Ivy Women in Business Awards

The Ivy College of Business invites nominations for its annual Ivy Women in Business Awards. Established in 2017, the awards celebrate women in business and their champions, and serve as an opportunity to inspire female college students as they prepare for a bright future in business. Please consider submitting a nomination and sharing this information with anyone who may be interested. Nominations must be received online by April 19.

P&S Council election to be held March 22-26

Voting for positions on the 2021-22 Professional and Scientific Council will open Monday, March 22, and run through 5 p.m. Friday, March 26. P&S employees should receive an email March 22 with instructions on how to view biographical information about candidates and cast a ballot for a representative. Candidates were nominated in late February and early March. Voting typically takes less than five minutes. 

Rock of Ages livestream concert is April 24; tickets support Stephens

The five-time Tony Award-nominated musical Rock of Ages will play a one night, bi-coastal livestream jamfest, Rock of Ages: All-Star Reunion Concert, Saturday, April 24 (7 p.m. CST). Proceeds from tickets bought on this link support Stephens Auditorium. Tickets go on sale at noon Tuesday, March 16; early bird pricing is $27 through March 21 and $33 after. Ticket purchasers have the option of watching the concert live and/or on demand for an additional 24 hours. Stream the show on any computer browser (laptop or desktop), mobile web, the Stellar Android or iOS app, or on TV via the Stellar app on Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku.

It's Wednesday; buy some ice cream

The Dairy Science Club's Wednesday ice cream sale will feature vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, Oreo and Resse's flavors today (noon-2 p.m., near the Lush Auditorium north doors in Kildee Hall). The price is $2 per cup. The club also fills orders for events and functions; send an email to for more information.

Applications due March 31 for DIS team leaders

Applications are due March 31 for Destination Iowa State (DIS) team leaders, a paid leadership opportunity for returning students. DIS is the three-day welcome/acclimation event for first-year students before fall semester begins. Learn more about the position on Instagram (@IowaStateLeaders) or join a live virtual information session Thursday, March 25 (4 p.m.). Or apply online.

Pappajohn Center hosts free 'Start Something' workshops during March and April

The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is hosting a series of "Start Something" free workshops during March and April designed for freelancers doing the '5 to 9' and looking to create a side income. Each week, participants will learn more about developing a skillset -- for example, flipping thrift store items, selling your art on Etsy or investing in real estate. Students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome. The virtual events take place over Zoom (noon-1 p.m.).

ISU guidance forthcoming on international travel

State Board of Regents president Michael Richards announced March 11 that he has lifted the board's ban on international business-related travel for faculty, staff and students. The ban had been in place since March 5, 2020, in response to the escalation of COVID-19 cases around the world. Richards' action gives decision-making authority to the university presidents for their respective campuses. Further guidance for Iowa State faculty, staff and students on university-sponsored international travel will be released soon.

Students: Accept innovation challenge on voting

A series of online workshops are available to help guide student teams working to design campaigns to increase student voting in public elections. The innovation design sprint begins March 24, with $3,000 in prizes being awarded April 16. It's sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, political science department and the Student Innovation Center.

Recall issued for electrostatic sprayer

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall notice for Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers with lithium-ion battery packs due to the potential for the battery packs to catch on fire or explode. Iowa State purchased many of these units for cleaning and disinfecting campus buildings for COVID-19. Victory Innovations will supply, at no charge, new battery packs to replace the old battery packs. Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is coordinating the disposal of the battery packs in accordance with state and federal laws. If you have a sprayer with model VP-20A or VP-20B on the battery pack, contact Troy Carey, 515-294-9495, for disposal information.

Innovation showcase is April 16-23

Save the date: Ignite Innovation Showcase will be held Friday-Friday, April 16-23. It will include competitions, a festival of student-produced films, the spring undergraduate research symposium, workshops, annual Fashion Show and more. Live and virtual sessions will highlight the investment faculty, staff and the broader community make in Iowa State's student innovators, and demonstrate student ownership in innovation. All spectators will participate virtually.

Title IX sexual harassment is focus of March 26 summit

The Sexual Misconduct Leadership Committee invites faculty and staff to attend the Campus Virtual Summit Addressing Title IX Sexual Harassment on Friday, March 26 (1-2 p.m. via Webex). Two sessions will be offered; one for students and one for faculty and staff. Registration is encouraged but not required.

On March 8, President Biden signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the Trump administration's Title IX regulations to determine whether the regulations are consistent with the policies of the Biden-Harris administration. Because the Title IX regulations went through an official notice and comment process, it is widely accepted that the regulations can't simply be revoked without a similar notice and comment period. So, Biden's executive order doesn't have an immediate impact on institutions, but foreshadows possible changes. The summit will cover current ISU regulations on sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

Daylight saving time starts Sunday

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 14. Spring ahead; turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night when you head to bed.

Nomination deadline extended to March 12 for P&S Council seats

Professional and scientific (P&S) employees are invited to nominate themselves or a colleague for a position on the P&S Council. The nomination deadline was extended through March 12 for the April election. Members represent more than 3,500 P&S employees across all four ISU divisions and have a voice in the decisions, events, and activities that make Iowa State better. To complete the nomination form, provide a recent head shot (JPEG file) and brief summary (fewer than 1,250 characters with spaces and punctuation) of your qualifications and why you want to serve on the council. Questions may be emailed to the council's representation committeeMessage from President Wendy Wintersteen.

Library hosts conversation with Iowa book author

University Library will host a virtual conversation with alumna Helen Gunderson ('67) about her two-volume anthology, "The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era," March 24 (6-7 p.m. via Zoom). The book consists of regional and neighborhood history, a personal memoir, spiritual insights and many photographs of Black Hawk County. Daniel Hartwig, head of special collections and university archives, will moderate a conversation between Gunderson and Cornelia Butler Flora, Distinguished Professor of sociology emerita. Registration is requested.

Women of achievement recipients to be honored March 11

The 10 recipients of the Ames-ISU YWCA's 2021 "Women of Achievement" awards will be recognized during a virtual event Thursday, March 11 (6:30-8 p.m., livestreamed on Facebook). The women include three ISU staff members, four ISU students and three Story County community members.

Fee added for employee replacement ISU Card

Due to budget cuts and rising supply expenses, the ISU Card office no longer will provide free replacement ID cards for employees. Effective April 1, employees will be assessed a replacement fee of $25 for any lost, stolen or intentionally damaged ISU Card, payable by cash, check or charge to an employee's U-Bill. The initial ISU Card still will be free.

Order in advance for ice cream pickup on March 11

The ISU Creamery will offer its next ice cream curbside pickup on Thursday, March 11 (4:30-5:30 p.m., circular drive on east side of Food Sciences Building). Select from eight college and six classic flavors. Orders for 8-ounce cups ($5.50) and 32-ounce cartons ($12) should be emailed by noon March 10 to Accepted forms of payment are credit/debit cards and cash (exact change). 

Sustainapalooza is Wednesday in the MU

ISU's 2021 Symposium on Sustainability continues, Wednesday, March 3, with an in-person Sustainapalooza (5:30-8:30 p.m., MU Great Hall). Hosted by the office of sustainability, the come-and-go event is an opportunity for members of the campus community to pick up some green-minded ideas and giveaways.

Antimicrobial resistance virtual conference set for April 20-21

The National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education, headquartered in the ISU Research Park, will host its inaugural annual conference online April 20-21 (two 2-hour blocks daily with a poster session during the lunch breaks). The conference includes traditional presentations, interactive talks and facilitated discussions. An online student poster contest will award cash prizes to the top three submissions. Member institutions (Iowa State is a founding partner) may send unlimited representatives at no cost but attendees should register by April 16; registration for non-members is $50. Email to request a scientist or student scientist member application. Questions about the conference may be directed to Erica Hellmich, 515-294-3352.

Foundation's migration to Salesforce continues

Last May, the Iowa State University Foundation began transitioning from a legacy alumni database, ONE, to a new constituent relationship management (CRM) system, Salesforce. Specifically, it is using Ascend, a nonprofit-focused application that works with the Salesforce software. Ascend on Salesforce will serve a critical role in supporting the university's efforts to communicate with and engage alumni and friends. Users can select from flexible features and configurations to optimize integrated communication, digital interaction and relationship management with university stakeholders. During the week of Feb. 22, 115 staff and faculty who have used the ONE system received training for Ascend on Salesforce.

Both systems will be available until September, when ONE will be retired. Until then, employees will be able to use ONE for any business processes and information not yet supported by the new system. Members of the university community who have questions, have access to ONE and were unaware of the change or were expecting to hear from the ISU Foundation and haven't, may email

ISU admissions also has used Salesforce since 2017 to manage its undergraduate student recruitment campaign.