A new one for Fish Tank Lobby

Fish escapes from its plastic shipping pouch

Named for one of its defining features, the Fish Tank Lobby near the southwest doors to the College of Veterinary Medicine was "up-tanked" earlier this month. A new 350-gallon tank nearly doubles up on the aquarium it replaced. With members of the college's Aquatic Animal Medicine Club leading the effort, approximately 175 fish, representing 18 fresh water species, were introduced to their new home on March 3. (Pictured) One of the fish escapes its plastic shipping pouch. Club members will be responsible for feeding the fish and testing the water quality. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Related story:

Just keep swimming, March 4, 2016

Campus visits scheduled for three Human Sciences dean finalists

The committee tasked with leading the search for the next dean of the College of Human Sciences has identified three candidates who will visit campus after spring break. Their two-day interviews will include meetings with faculty, staff, students, campus leaders and external stakeholders. The finalists and their visit dates are:

  • Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in rehabilitation psychology and special education and associate dean of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin, Madison, March 21-22
  • Laura Jolly, professor of textiles, merchandising and interiors, University of Georgia, March 29-30
  • To be announced on March 31, visiting April 5-6

Each finalist's schedule also will include an open forum with the campus community and public. The forums will be recorded and made available at the conclusion of the interview process for those unable to attend in person. Those interested in attending the open forums should hold the following dates and times:

  • Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell: Monday, March 21, 4-5 p.m., 2019 Morrill
  • Laura Jolly: Tuesday, March 29, 4-5 p.m., 0210 Bessey
  • Candidate 3: Tuesday, April 5, 4-5 p.m., 0210 Bessey

Information on the finalists, including interview itineraries and resumes, will be posted for each candidate on the provost's office website on the Thursday prior to each visit.

The finalists were selected following off-campus interviews conducted by the search committee and senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, Feb. 27-28.

 "Serving as dean of the College of Human Sciences is a tremendous opportunity, and there is a lot of interest in the position," Wickert said. "The search committee did a great job in identifying the three finalists, and I am excited for our students, faculty, staff and community to meet with the finalists during their visits to Ames."

The search committee is co-chaired by Cathann Kress, vice president of Extension and Outreach, and Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Editor's note: This story was edited as each of the finalists was announced.


Related story:

Committee named for Human Sciences dean search, Oct. 8, 2015

Foreman named equal opportunity director

Margo Foreman, associate director of the office of equal opportunity at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, will become Iowa State University's next director of equal opportunity. Foreman will start at Iowa State April 25.

Margo Foreman

Margo Foreman

"Ms. Foreman is highly regarded for her unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion," President Steven Leath said. "Her experience and credentials will be an asset to the university as we strive to create a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for everyone."

In her new post at Iowa State, Foreman will manage equal opportunity, affirmative action, discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct programs and serve as the university's Title IX coordinator.

"The university mission fits inside my own personal mission, my career ideals about making the world around me a better place," Foreman said. "I fell in love with the idea of being a member of an organization where I can practice, grow and help to create positive changes. I believe Iowa State University is the organization and community where I can make that happen."

During her first few months on the job, Foreman said she will ask university community members what they see as equal opportunity priorities on campus. She noted that her role is "to initiate partnerships and collaborative relationships across campus so equal opportunity, equity, and affirmative action can be embraced."

Foreman has served the IUPUI office of equal opportunity for 17 years. After starting as executive secretary to the director, she moved on to positions as equal opportunity specialist, assistant director of diverse workforce recruitment and retention, and associate director of the office.

Foreman earned a bachelor's degree in general studies with a concentration in social behavior science (2005), and a master's degree in public health (2013), both from IUPUI.

Mary Sirna, administrative adviser for ISU police, has been serving as interim EO director since October.

Senate considers a mandatory course

A motion to adopt a required course for international undergraduate students was introduced at the March 8 Faculty Senate meeting. The seminar, aimed at helping students transition to an American university, was launched experimentally last fall and continued this spring. Senators will vote on the motion next month.

"The idea is that the international students that come in need help getting acclimated to academic life in the United States," said academic affairs council chair Tim Bigelow. "There are several best practices that have been developed and one aspect of that is to have an orientation course for them."

As proposed, the mandatory International First Year Experience Seminar (University Studies 110X) would be a one-credit, semester course coordinated jointly by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the International Students and Scholars Office. It would include a weekly large lecture section (50 minutes) and smaller recitation groups that also meet weekly.

Current students -- one American and one international, both with leadership training -- would facilitate the recitation groups. Graduate students would work with the lecture sections and guest faculty and staff lecturers would present on topics such as campus resources, academic issues, U.S. culture and immigration regulations.

Talking football

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell spoke to senators, giving them some insight on his education-based background and its impact on his coaching style.

"My job is to coach the student-athlete," he said. "I will put that in terms of the student-athlete piece of having success both academically and athletically once a young person comes to our institution."

He credited Iowa State's recruiting success to the academic strength of Iowa State and said faculty can expect the football players to be "ambassadors of the student-athlete experience." He said he has asked them to be 10 minutes early to class (what he called "Cyclone time") and to sit in the first two rows. He added that they will conduct "class-checking" to make sure the football players -- particularly freshmen and those struggling academically -- are attending their classes.

"I want you to know from my end how serious I take it," Campbell said. "We won't have great success on the football field until we do a great job academically, off the field."


  • Darren Berger, assistant professor in veterinary clinical sciences, was elected as a Faculty Senate representative to the athletics council, running against Al Murdoch, assistant professor in kinesiology.
  • Senate at-large elections will be conducted April 5 and the elections for council chairs and senate secretary will be held April 19. Nominations are being accepted.

June completion likely for research park hub building

All-glass enclosed building.

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Venture south to the third roundabout installed on University Boulevard since last summer and you'll see it. Iowa State's economic development core facility, anchoring a new third phase of the ISU Research Park, is enclosed and moving toward an anticipated completion date in June.

The front (pictured above) of the two-story, 42,000-square-foot building faces north, toward the first two phases of the research park about one-quarter mile away.

The building will provide a one-stop shop for industries and businesses seeking Iowa State assistance and expertise. University offices scheduled to relocate to the hub facility this summer include economic development and industry relations, intellectual property and technology transfer, research foundation, Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship (including the CyBIZ Lab), Center for Industrial Research and Service, and the ISU Small Business Development Center. Administrative staffs for the research park and Central Iowa Cultivation Corridor also will move to the building.

The 2013 Legislature appropriated $12 million to cover construction costs.

Related stories:

Expansion at ISU Research Park will create economic development hub, Sept. 10, 2015
Officials break ground for new economic development hub, Sept. 11, 2014

Guidelines for teaching staff move forward

The provost and university human resources offices will receive a request for action from the Professional and Scientific Council. At its March 3 meeting, the council approved a motion to share its guidelines for P&S teaching staff with both offices.

The council's executive committee developed the guidelines for P&S staff who teach for-credit courses as part of their duties or outside their position descriptions, and for their supervisors and department chairs. The document outlines the various resources and policies that apply to teaching appointment issues -- such as time allocation, position description updates, additional compensation, faculty rank and maximum teaching loads.

A summary in the council's document indicates a need for "streamlined communication." It also states that the guidelines "should be easily accessible, should be included in supervisor training and should provide a comprehensive resource for all parties."

Along with distribution to human resources liaisons, supervisors and department chairs, the approved document also includes a recommendation to integrate the guidelines in:


Councilor elections

Vote online March 9-25 (by 5 p.m.) via AccessPlus. Candidate bios are available on the council website.

The council elected its 2016-17 officers. Their terms begin in June, when president-elect Clayton Johnson (College of Engineering) moves into the president role. The incoming officers are:

  • Jessica Bell (natural resource ecology and management), president-elect
  • Jordan Bates (internal audit), vice president for university planning and budget
  • Ben Green (information technology), vice president for university community relations
  • Samone York (animal science), vice president for equity and inclusion
  • Melissa Gruhn (chemistry), secretary and treasurer

The council also approved two council member appointments to vacant seats:

  • Megan Fink (ISU Dining), as a student affairs representative
  • Sara Morris-Benavides (U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory), as a College of Veterinary Medicine representative

ISU, alliance report early success in increasing graduation rates

The 11 universities, Iowa State included, that formed an alliance in late 2014 to help improve college graduation rates, recently received $3.8 million in new funding. The new money for the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation and USA Funds.

A collaboration of top-tier research institutions, the UIA has four objectives:  producing more graduates, graduating more students across the socioeconomic spectrum, sharing data and innovating together.

Increases in low-income graduates

Since its inception, UIA members have increased the number of degrees awarded to low-income students (defined as those eligible for Pell Grants). Collectively, from 2012-13 to 2014-15, UIA members graduated 3 percent more low-income students. Iowa State was well above the norm during that period, raising the number of Pell-eligible graduates from 952 to 1,292 -- a near 36 percent increase.

The alliance universities will give special attention to predictive analytics over the next few years. With an $8.9 million U.S. Department of Education grant, the universities, led by Georgia State University, Atlanta, will study the impact of analytics-based advising on student success.

Iowa State's analytics study

An advising analytics study already is underway at Iowa State. Since last fall, advisers in selected departments have been piloting use of a software program that analyzes 10 years of Iowa State data to predict current students' chances of graduating in their chosen majors.

Early results appear promising and, next fall, all ISU advisers will have access to the analytics program for their advisees.

"This year, the UIA will focus on using predictive analytics to enhance success of low-income and first-generation students through more intensive advising interventions," said Steve Freeman, University Professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering and Iowa State's UIA liaison. "We'll begin tracking students that begin their Iowa State careers in fall 2016 and by following their progress over the next three years, we will be able to provide research-based evidence of the impact of predictive analytics and the use of the data to enhance student success.

"In addition to these large projects, we have tweaked some of our student success initiatives based on the best practices from other UIA schools," Freeman said. "We are leveraging the collaborative nature of the UIA to improve practices at Iowa State that not only impact the target population of low-income students, but enhance student success for all students."

With the latest $3.8 million investment, the UIA has been awarded $18.45 million in total funds. Supporters include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Markle Foundation, USA Funds and U.S. Department of Education.

Related stories:

Advisers test big data's potential, Feb. 11, 2016
Iowa State joins alliance to help more students graduate, Sept. 18, 2014

The Brunnier will be blooming March 25-27


Contributed photo.

Signs of spring are beginning to appear, but the season will be well underway at the Brunnier Art Museum during the eighth annual "Brunnier in Bloom" exhibition, March 25-27. The event is free and open to the public.

The event features floral designs created by central Iowa florists, garden club members and Iowa State horticulture students that complement pieces from the museum's art collection.  

The show opens Friday, March 25, with a Flowers After Hours reception (6-8 p.m.).  Visitors will hear live music by the Britches and Hose Ukulele Club, mingle with the floral artists and vote for the People's Choice award. A cash bar also will be available.

Award-winning entries will be announced Friday evening. This year's judges are Ann-Marie Fiore, professor, apparel, events and hospitality management; Michael Morain, Des Moines Register features reporter; Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen, Ames city council member and operations manager at Wheatsfield Cooperative; and Megan Gilbert, ISU junior, Iowa State Daily arts reporter.

The exhibition continues Saturday and Sunday with the Weekend Showcase (11 a.m.-4 p.m., both days). Bring the kids and let them work on crafts while you browse the floral displays. Raffle tickets for prizes from Raygun, Portobello Road, Reiman Gardens, Massage Heights, the Iowa State Center and more will be available for purchase throughout the weekend. Proceeds will benefit University Museums' educational programming. Visitors also will receive half-price admission passes to Reiman Gardens, good March 25-27.