Repurposed studios

Large studio filled with students working at tables.

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Fourth-year architecture students prepared earlier this week for final presentations Friday in their Architectural Design course. Architecture and landscape architecture students in the College of Design are the beneficiaries of two former television studios in the heart of the Communications Building that opened this fall as design laboratories. The country's first television station owned and operated by a university, WOI-TV was sold in 1994, and the studios had seen intermittent use since then.

Updates for position descriptions, wellness headline council meeting

Changes to the writing process for Professional and Scientific position descriptions are coming soon. Emma Mallarino Houghton, director of classification and compensation in university human resources, briefed P&S Council members about standard "job factors" that will be rolled out next month.

"The different parts of the position description drive different things," Mallarino Houghton said. "The job duties section typically tells us what classification you are as an employee. The job factors section typically drives the [P-level or pay grade]."

The standardized language for job factors of each classification already exists (it was approved by the state Board of Regents in 1993). That language will replace specifics written by employees and their managers for each individual position. When position descriptions are created or updated in the PeopleAdmin system, the standardized language automatically populates the job factors section of the form, based on the position's classification.

"The language describes the level of work required at each P-level and within each classification. It does not describe the work, which is what the duties section does," Mallarino Houghton said. "Language within the position description gives us the necessary elements to determine pay grade for a position within a classification."

Mallarino Houghton said the system change recently was piloted with some users and will appear side-by-side with the old view, beginning in January. The old view will be phased out and replaced with the standard job factors.

"We're planning to use the phased approach for two to three months, depending on how feedback comes in," Mallarino Houghton said. "If we need to go longer, we will."

Wellness update

Stephanie Downs gave council members an overview of wellness program developments. Downs, ISU's wellness coordinator, said information she collected over the last year from campus conversations, surveys and an inventory of campus resources helped create an action plan.

"As we've built the action plan, we've really been talking about moving from wellness to wellbeing," Downs said. "We've identified six elements for Iowa State. These elements -- the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, financial and community -- are the framework for understanding the comprehensiveness of what wellness can be and bringing in the term 'wellbeing' to that."

Downs outlined five "strategic priorities" that the action plan will address over five years:

  • Improving employees' health
  • Helping employees make and maintain healthy lifestyle choices
  • Creating a supportive environment that makes healthy choices easy
  • Providing employees with the tools to manage and use the health care system
  • Fostering a culture of wellbeing that helps employees in work and life

Some initiatives Downs said to expect in 2016 include an ISU Wellbeing website, program listings (series, workshops, etc.) in Learn@ISU and a personalized wellbeing portal. She said a registered dietician nutritionist will be hired this spring.

Looking to the future, Downs said a community partnership -- which includes the city of Ames, McFarland Clinic, Wellmark and Mary Greeley Medical Center -- is in the early stages of exploring chronic condition support programs. A medical self-care program also is planned.

Other business

Council members approved proposed tweaks to council bylaws that outline university committee assignments. The changes align committee appointments with the following council positions:

  • Policies and procedures committee chair, to policy library advisory committee
  • Compensation and benefits committee chair, to university benefits committee
  • Vice president for equity and inclusion, to university committee on diversity


Faculty numbers reflect growth

Senate president Rob Wallace shared the 2015-16 faculty numbers during his remarks at the Dec. 8 Faculty Senate meeting. The official headcount of 1,973 faculty -- taken this year at midnight on Oct. 30 -- includes tenured, tenure-eligible and non-tenure eligible positions.

"That is ... a net increase of 81 positions," Wallace said. "We have made progress over the last year in terms of faculty hires. In the current budget situation, we're not likely to do the same thing between 2015 and 2016."

More data and statistics are available in the faculty and staff section of the institutional research office's 2015-16 Fact Book.

Safety first

Interim chief Aaron Delashmutt gave senators an overview of safety presentations that ISU police provide the campus community, including:

  • Security evaluations and recommendations for general, personal and emergent office safety plans
  • Training to recognize and report disturbing behavior
  • Violent incident response training (VIRT)

"If you have a specific need in your area that's different than what we offer, we'll tailor it to what you need," Delashmutt said.

Other business

Senators approved a pair of academic proposals, including:

  • Discontinuing the botany graduate major, which has had no enrollment since 2003
  • Establishing a minor in geographic information science, an interdisciplinary program administered by the community and regional planning department in the College of Design

Prior to the botany decision, Wallace shared its history at Iowa State. He said the botany program produced Iowa State's first master of science (1878), Ph.D. (1916) and female Ph.D. (Ada Hayden) graduates. Wallace also noted that George Washington Carver earned bachelor's and master's degrees in botany at ISU.

Branding made simple

The designer managing a website, the faculty member making a PowerPoint presentation and the administrative assistant buying unit T-shirts should find it considerably easier to imbue their creations with the university look.

A new, online brand standards guide pulls all of the university's brand assets into one site. University marketing director Carole Custer said the guide is stocked with many easy-to-use branded materials, including wordmarks, templates and a promotional toolkit for creating apparel and giveaway items.

"These guidelines help all of us to create professional, effective communications that speak with one Iowa State voice," she said.  "People see more than 2,500 brand messages a day. Consistent brand elements make our university stand out in the crowd."

Custer noted that the new site includes:

Custom-built wordmarks for units

Wordmark downloads are available for the main university marks and each of the colleges. Note to those downloading wordmarks: You'll be prompted to sign into Office 365 with your Net-ID to get these wordmarks.

Custom wordmarks for departments and units are available for $261. Order through

Fresh colors

The primary color palette has been slimmed down to include Iowa State's signature cardinal and gold and a few khaki shades. The secondary palette includes 15 colors chosen to complement the primary group. Some greens, blues and other shades were "freshened up." Some weren't even available when the university's identity system was launched in 1990,

Time-saving templates

Research presenters needn't spend valuable time on design. They can download branded PowerPoint presentations or  posters in several sizes ranging up to 56 inches by 36 inches. The template site also makes it easy to create nametags, brochures, fliers and more. Find templates under "print" > "print collateral."

Time for a comeback

CyHawk Series trophy, vertical view

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Three Cyclone squads will host the Iowa Hawkeyes in the next few days as part of the intrastate CyHawk Series. Men's basketball tips off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, at Hilton Coliseum, with the women's basketball squads following at 7 p.m. Friday. The Iowa State and Iowa women's swim teams have a dual meet starting at 6 p.m. Friday in the Beyer Hall pool.

Only resale tickets remain for the men's basketball game; women's tickets are available for $6-$12, with tickets in the balcony ends on sale, five for $5. Admission is free to the swim meet.

The Hawkeyes lead this year's series 10-4, picking up points in volleyball, football, women's soccer and wrestling, and an academic point for last spring's graduation rate. Iowa State's early points came in women's and men's cross country.

The CyHawk Series Trophy (pictured) currently is at home in the Jacobson Building, following last spring's Iowa State victory.