Welcome to fall semester

Student ascend and descend the front stairs of Curtiss Hall

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences associate dean David Acker (lower right) offered ISU hort farm apples and a smile to students entering and leaving Curtiss Hall late Monday morning. About 190 administrators, staff and faculty volunteered at five welcome stations Monday and Tuesday, sharing fruit, ice water, maps and assistance to students navigating campus, some for the first time. Sept. 2 is the 10th day of the semester, when the official student count will be taken. Stay tuned ...

ISU information security tightens network access to thwart would-be intruders

Would-be intruders currently launch approximately 150,000 attacks a day on the ISU network. To counter these attacks, network and security teams will tighten off-campus access to the networks, beginning Sept. 1.

"It's a move that will require some cooperation from Iowa Staters who access their office computers or servers from home or mobile devices," said IT security operations interim director Andrew Albinger. "But the frequency and seriousness of threats to our information security in recent months has made it necessary."

RDP, VNC, Telnet -- If you know these acronyms, you're affected

How VPN helps

Intruders try to hack into the ISU network by continuously guessing names and passwords and, occasionally, they get lucky. ISU's VPN adds an extra, more formidable security barrier. ISU experts are monitoring for abnormal activities and intruders get bumped out after just a few attempts. 

The changes only will affect people who log on to campus computers and servers remotely using RDP (remote desktop protocol), VNC (virtual network computing) or Telnet, Albinger said.

If they're not already doing so, these individuals will need to add a preliminary step to their log-on process by signing on to the ISU virtual private network (VPN).

Albinger advises those who use RDP, VNC or Telnet to seek assistance from their departmental IT staff and test the new VPN setup soon.

"Once the VPN software (Cisco Anyconnect) is installed on your device, you simply open it and sign on with your Net-ID and password before connecting to ISU. Be sure to check the VPN from an off-campus location before Sept. 1," he added.

No changes in email, Blackboard access

The new security measures won't affect those accessing ISU websites, email (Outlook or Cymail), AccessPlus, Blackboard or similar sites. No VPN is required to access these sites on-campus or off.

Leath reintroduces Principles of Community

Dismayed by hate graffiti on campus in July of 2005, student leaders sought to inspire a higher level of respect, open mindedness and community among Iowa Staters.

By summer's end, a student government-appointed group had drafted six principles that exemplified the kind of community that Iowa State could and should aspire to be.

Tough summer?

Resources are available for those struggling with coursework or emotional or physical issues.

The Principles of Community subsequently were endorsed by key campus groups and university leadership. But a decade later, many in the university community may have forgotten or never heard of them.                                                           

President Steven Leath revived the principles in Monday's welcome message (PDF) to students, faculty and staff. Noting incidents of racism and bigotry on campuses, including Iowa State's, Leath wrote "your fears and frustrations are important to me and to the university community."

He added that as part of working together toward a more inclusive and accepting campus, the university community must commit to the Principles of Community, which "are as relevant and useful today as ever."

Principles of Community

Respect: We seek to foster an open-minded understanding among individuals, organizations and groups. We support this understanding through outreach, increasing opportunities for collaboration, formal education programs and strategies for resolving disagreement.

Purpose: We are encouraged to be engaged in the university community. Thus, we strive to build a genuine community that promotes the advancement of knowledge, cooperation and leadership.

Cooperation: We recognize that the mission of the university is enhanced when we work together to achieve the goals of the university. Therefore, we value each member of the Iowa State University community for his or her insights and efforts, collective and individual, to enhance the quality of campus life.

Richness of Diversity: We recognize and cherish the richness of diversity in our university experience. Furthermore, we strive to increase the diversity of ideas, cultures and experiences throughout the university community.

Freedom from discrimination: We recognize that we must strive to overcome historical and divisive biases in our society. Therefore, we commit ourselves to create and maintain a community in which all students, staff, faculty and administrators can work together in an atmosphere free from discrimination, and to respond appropriately to all acts of discrimination.

Honest and respectful expression of ideas: We affirm the right to and the importance of a free exchange of ideas at Iowa State University within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect. We work together to promote awareness of various ideas through education and constructive strategies to consider and engage in honest disagreements.

Related story

Principles approved, Feb. 9, 2007

Resources for those affected by a summer of tragedies

It has been a difficult summer.

Acts of violence, natural disasters, terrorism and other traumatic events -- as well as our nation’s political climate -- affect students, faculty and staff in ways we cannot always anticipate.

Time for community

President Leath revives principles to live, learn by.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to offer help to students who may be struggling with course work, emotional/physical health or simply navigating campus.

In some cases, students may be referred to the Dean of Students office, located in the Student Services Building. Staff can be reached at 294-1020 or dso-sas@iastate.edu.

Services and resources available through the Dean of Students office include:

  • Student counseling service
  • Academic success center
  • Multicultural student affairs
  • Thielen student health center
  • Student support services
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender student services
  • Student disability resources

A full list of student resources can be found online.

Faculty and staff who are having difficulty may seek help through Iowa State’s employee assistance program. Employee and Family Resources offers confidential assistance and counseling to employees and their families, including stress, anxiety, depression, parenting, substance abuse and legal and financial concerns.

Food, beverage guidelines set for university classrooms

After decades of a "no food or beverages" rule, departments and student organizations that use general university classrooms now may bring in both. The new guidelines took effect the first day of fall semester and apply to the 214 classrooms and auditoriums coordinated centrally by the room scheduling office. They don't apply to spaces scheduled by colleges and departments. The Memorial Union has its own food policy.

The guidelines respond to increasing requests to bring in food as well as to a student government resolution passed in February. Student leaders successfully argued that allowing food and nonalcoholic beverages in more university spaces would help student organizations recruit members, which ultimately helps more students get involved at Iowa State and have a better college experience.

"In the past few years, the requests to serve food and nonalcoholic beverages in classrooms have been on the rise," said instructional facilities coordinator Katie Baumgarn. "We hope these guidelines will support the efforts of the various organizations on campus."

Senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory, with the support of President Steven Leath and his cabinet, opted to extend the guidelines to all users of general university classrooms.

In order to keep custodial staff in the loop about events in their buildings that will include food or beverages, the guidelines require some pre-planning -- and some post-event cleanup. They are:

  • Groups that want to serve food or nonalcoholic beverages during non-class events will need to indicate the type of food and beverages when they complete a room request form
  • For class-related food or beverage requests, a 48-hour advance notice needs to be emailed to roomscheduling@iastate.edu
  • Users are responsible for their own cleanup (including trash removal from the room). A cleaning fee will be assessed to the organization or department if a room is not returned to its pre-event status, or if food-related damage occurs.

Baumgarn noted that many groups and departments already have submitted their room requests for the semester. Those who would like to add food items or nonalcoholic beverages to an earlier submission are asked to email roomscheduling@iastate.edu with their requests.

Summer synopsis


The Hotel Memorial Union was transformed over the summer into residential space for more than 70 students. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Fall semester 2016 has commenced, and campus is alive with students, faculty and staff.  There's anticipation for what lies ahead, but that doesn't mean summer was uneventful. Here's a look at some of the changes that took place at Iowa State the past few months.

Old is new again

  • After nearly two years of reconstruction, College of Engineering administrative offices are home again in Marston Hall. Move-in occurred from mid- to late-July, and the historic campus building is open to the public. Key elements of the new Marston are three state-of-the-art classrooms seating up to 80 students each; a 177-seat auditorium; special events center; student lounge/welcome center; office suites for the Engineering's dean, communications, career services, student services and development staffs; and lots of space for students. A building rededication is planned for 4 p.m. on Sept. 29.
  • Heads up on Pammel Drive. The former four-lane road was repaired, resurfaced and restriped as a two-lane road with left turn lanes and painted center medians. The change is intended to improve pedestrian safety and help Pammel function like other campus roads.
  • Students took up residence in the former Hotel Memorial Union. The hotel, which closed July 1 to make more room on campus for student housing, is home to more than 70 students on the Memorial Union's top three floors. ISU Surplus organized a rummage sale of hotel furniture in July.
  • Work wrapped up on the plaza area surrounding the Fountain of the Four Seasons, just north of the Memorial Union. The renovation, part of President Steven Leath's campus beautification initiative, included stone benches, pavers, additional sidewalks and landscaping. An irrigation system also was added.
  • In June, crews finished installing new panels featuring building street addresses and the university template on 170 building signs. Entries in the university's directory also include the new addresses. Employees should become familiar with their full office addresses, and share them with outside vendors, publications, associations and others who send mail or packages.
  • The 49,210-square-foot Economic Development Core Facility on the south edge of the ISU Research Park opened in late June. President Leath, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and members of the state Board of Regents were among the first to tour the $12 million facility.

Comings and goings

  • Warren Madden's 50-year career at Iowa State was capped off at a public retirement reception June 24. Madden, a 1961 graduate of the Engineering college, began his ISU career in 1966 as the contracts and grants officer. He was named vice president in 1984 and promoted to senior vice president in 2012.
  • Retired Navy Rear Adm. Kate Gregory became Iowa State's first senior vice president for university services on July 11. The university services division was created as part of the reorganization of the business and finance office as a result of Madden's retirement. Gregory oversees seven campus service units: business services, environmental health and safety, facilities planning and management, public safety, Reiman Gardens, University Museums and WOI radio group.
  • Laura Dunn Jolly became the third dean of the College of Human Sciences on July 5. Prior to joining Iowa State, she served as dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Athens, since 2007.
  • Michael Norton joined Iowa State July 11 as university counsel. He serves as Iowa State's legal adviser and oversees the university counsel office. Norton has extensive experience with Title IX compliance, employment law, data protection, policy development and training. He replaces Paul Tanaka, who retired in May.
  • Kristi Darr, director of human resources, was named interim vice president for university human resources on Aug. 1. The position had been held by Julie Nuter, who resigned in July to accept a position with Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago.

Regents' decisions

  • On the heels of a smaller-than-requested increase in state funding, the state Board of Regents approved a $250 tuition increase for resident undergraduates, effective this fall. (Last December, the board had approved a tuition freeze for resident undergraduates). The board approved additional tuition increases of $100 for nonresident undergraduates and all graduate students, and $50 for all veterinary medicine students (in addition to increases approved last December).
  • The board approved Iowa State's FY 2017-22 strategic plan. The plan encompasses four goals, each of which includes subgoals and metrics for measuring achievement.
  • Nontenure eligible faculty, primarily in the College of Veterinary Medicine, have a new appointment option: clinical faculty at the assistant, associate and full professor levels. The new appointment responds to a need for clinical and diagnostic specialists working in service and teaching roles.
  • The board accepted a final report from MGT of America consultants that said a downtown Des Moines location is the best spot for Iowa's regent universities to provide degree and certificate opportunities for working adults and high school and community college graduates. A West Des Moines location ranked second and the former American Institute of Business (AIB) campus (now owned by the University of Iowa) was third. The board took no further action on the report.

Employees, take note

  • Iowa State's equal opportunity office needs all employees to complete online training on Title IX and unlawful harassment by the end of August. All employees are required to complete the training every two years; managers are required to take an additional course. Look for an email dated Aug. 5 from ISU's online training vendor, Workplace Answers. Click on the link in the email to access the training. New employees should contact eooffice@iastate.edu for instructions.
  • The University Benefits Committee approved a request from the Professional and Scientific Council to increase employee tuition reimbursements from a three- to four-credit maximum each semester. In addition, the application period opens 10 weeks prior to the start of classes at ISU each semester and closes the Friday before the term starts. In the past, application deadlines varied.
  • Iowa State's employee assistance program (EAP) now offers up to three additional free counseling sessions annually to benefits-eligible faculty and staff and their family members. The change doubles the number of free counseling sessions from three to six per incident, per year.
  • SafeRide ISU, a new Uber-like service, was launched Aug. 22. Students, faculty and staff can summon rides at night (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) on campus using their Net-IDs and the SafeRide ISU app. The app is available for Android devices now and should be available soon through Apple's app store. SafeRide is offered through Iowa State's department of public safety. 

And one for the calendar

  • The student Homecoming committee's proposal to add a parade to this fall's celebration received a green light from administrators. The date: Sunday, Oct. 23 (2 p.m. start, downtown Ames). The intent: Create more opportunities for ISU students not affiliated with a Greek sorority or fraternity to get involved in Homecoming.

Bigger fun planned for Insect Zoo open house

Children looking at caged bugs.

More than 85 species of arthropods will be on display during the Insect Zoo's "Bug Village" open house. Photo by Bill Shoemaker.

A family-friendly event that debuted last year was so popular that bigger quarters were needed this year. With more than 800 visitors to the Insect Zoo's open house in 2015, this year's "Bug Village" will be held in the Molecular Biology Building's atrium on Saturday, Aug. 27 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.).

"We believe that we will more than double the attendance this year," said Ginny Mitchell, education program coordinator in entomology. "With the anticipated turnout, we moved it into a bigger space."

This year also brings special guest and noted "Bug Chef" David George Gordon to the event. Gordon, who authored the Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, will use insects in his cooking demonstrations. A crew will be filming Gordon and open house activities for a segment on the "National Geographic Explorer" documentary series.

"They will be getting peoples' reactions to eating bugs -- talking to them about entomophagy and how it can become more accepted in the western culture," Mitchell said.

About 20 faculty, staff and students volunteer for the day's activities, which include an interactive display of more than 85 live species, cockroach races (complete with a track), maggot art and "Leonardo Da Roachy" painting. Short films featuring insects will be playing in the Insect Zoo theater throughout the event. Insect Zoo T-shirts ($15), bumper stickers ($5) and live Madagascar hissing cockroaches ($5) will be available for purchase.

Cyclone Cinema announces fall titles

The fall installment of Cyclone Cinema opens tonight (Aug. 25) with the third film in the Captain America superhero series, Civil War. As in the past, film showings begin at 7 and 10 p.m. nightly, Thursday through Sunday, in 101 Carver. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Cyclone Cinema logo

Hosted by the Student Union Board and funded by Student Government and the Inter-Residence Hall Association, every semester Cyclone Cinema brings to campus feature films released in theaters in the last six months.

Director of student activities George Micalone said Cyclone Cinema welcomed more than 24,000 patrons last year, with Friday nights typically capturing the largest crowds.


The film captioning feature is regularly turned on for the Sunday showings, but can be turned on for any showing. Micalone said the request simply needs to be made before the film begins.


Cyclone Cinema's concession stand features Ankeny's Brandmeyer popcorn and candy selections ($2), and bottled Coca-Cola products and water ($1).

Here is Cyclone Cinema's fall lineup:

  • Aug. 25-28, Captain America: Civil War, rated PG-13, starring Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Sept. 1-4, Zootopia, PG (animated), voices of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman
  • Sept. 8-11, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, R, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron
  • Sept. 15-18, The Jungle Book, PG (animated), voices of Neel Sethi and Bill Murray
  • Sept. 22-25, X-Men: Apocalypse, PG-13, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender
  • Sept. 29-Oct. 2, Central Intelligence, PG-13, Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson
  • Oct. 6-9, The Legend of Tarzan, PG-13, Alexander Skarsgård and Samuel L. Jackson
  • Oct. 13-16, Finding Dory, PG (animated), voices of Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks
  • Oct. 20-23, Star Trek Beyond, PG-13, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto
  • Oct. 27-30, Ghostbusters, PG-13, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig
  • Nov. 3-6, The Secret Life of Pets, PG (animated), voices of Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet
  • Nov. 10-13, Suicide Squad, PG-13, Will Smith and Jaime FitzSimons
  • Nov. 17-18 only, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, R, Zac Efron and Adam Devine
  • Nov. 24-27, Fall break, no film
  • Dec. 1-4, Snowden, R, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scott Eastwood