Fresh -- if damp -- start

Students cross central campus on wet sidewalks.

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Fall semester rang in Monday with a few downpours throughout the day. Fortunately, not every class passing period was a drencher. (Pictured) students seem to appreciate a rain-free walk across central campus. The size of this year's student body will be announced after Aug. 31, the 10th day of the semester.

Save the morning: Wintersteen installation is Sept. 21

President Wintersteen flanked by regents on the day they announc

Members of the state Board of Regents flank Wendy Wintersteen on the October 2017 day they selected her as Iowa State's 16th president. The board officially installs her to the post Sept. 21. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

While she's been in the top leadership post for nine months, Wendy Wintersteen is opening her first full academic year as university president this week. The state Board of Regents and the Iowa State community officially will install her in that role during a Sept. 21 ceremony and celebration in Stephens Auditorium. Members of the university community received an invitation by email earlier this week from Olivia Madison, dean emerita of library services and chair of the installation planning committee.

Doors will open at 9:15 a.m. The installation ceremony begins at 10:15 a.m. and will be followed by a reception in Stephens' Celebrity Café, at the north end of the main floor. For those unable to attend in person, the installation will be livestreamed.

Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa State's 14th president (2001-12), will return to campus to introduce Wintersteen. Music professor Michael Golemo is composing a musical fanfare for the event. Look for additional details about the installation ceremony in an upcoming issue of Inside Iowa State.

Temporary signs can be dangerous in the wrong place


For safety reasons, temporary sandwich board signs like this shouldn't be placed on sidewalks in the flow of pedestrian traffic. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Temporary signage is common on campus, appearing fleetingly in spots chosen for maximum impact. But that impact can be unexpectedly unfortunate if movable signs -- especially sandwich boards -- are designed and placed without considering pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.

Ensuring temporary signs are satisfying accessibility requirements is an ongoing concern, said inclusion services coordinator Nora Ryan, who also is the university's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.

"A lot of these mistakes are committed inadvertently. We need to raise awareness so we can change the culture and encourage the universal design of spaces," she said. "You may not have a disability that affects your daily life, so you might not have that first-hand experience of navigating in a world where spaces aren’t designed with your needs in mind. It's innocent ignorance, in some ways. But that's why education and awareness are so vital."

One of the most common issues is sandwich board signs set up in the middle of sidewalks instead of next to them, Ryan said. That's a tripping hazard for pedestrians, especially blind and low-vision folks. Surprising obstacles also are dangerous for individuals with mobility devices such as wheelchairs and people distracted by their phones.

"It's not only annoying and frustrating, it can be a serious health and safety concern," said Ryan, who has received complaints from individuals who have tripped over these signs repeatedly across campus.  

Another concern, more prevalent indoors, is movable signs that block doors or permanent room signs, Ryan said. The floor space should be clear in front of permanent room signs, which contain braille text, Ryan said.

Ryan encourages anyone who notices a potentially hazardous sign to call or email her immediately at 294-0059 or The equal opportunity office also has an online form for submitting complaints about barriers to access.

University departments and offices have been receptive to requests to adjust sign placements, but it's often more difficult with special events, as the organizers are tougher to track down, Ryan said.

Ryan suggested four tips to make temporary signs more accessible:

  • Put it in the grass. Signs placed along campus walkways should be out of the flow of traffic and off the surface. The lone exception? A temporary sign is fine situated against a fixed object, even if the object is in the middle of a path.
  • Look behind you. Careless placement of stick-style temporary signs can block permanent signage that's essential for anyone navigating an unfamiliar space.
  • Hinge side is best. Avoid putting signs near door handles because individuals who use mobility devices need room to maneuver while opening the door. Provide at least the 18-inch square buffer area on the floor that permanent signs require. Even better, move the sign next to the door hinges instead.
  • Go big and bold. When designing a sign, use contrasting colors with the largest text possible to make it easier to read. 


24/7 vehicle pickup arrives in September

Touch screen

Drivers check out and check in daily rental vehicles on a touch screen connected to a key kiosk. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

Several years in development and in response to customer interest, university transportation services (UTS) will open a key kiosk Tuesday, Sept. 4, for its daily vehicle reservations. The new system -- a computer touch screen for checking in and out, and two locked panels containing keys for more than a hundred vehicles -- allows customers to pick up and return vehicles around the clock, including over the weekend. The 24/7 system also can handle last-minute reservations or changes to reservations -- for example, an illness that results in a driver change.

The kiosk was installed in the vestibule of the UTS office on Haber Road.

UTS key kiosk

UTS manager Kathy Wellik said the change is intended to improve and expand customer service. For example, conference-goers leaving town Sunday morning won't have to check out a vehicle Friday afternoon. Or, better clarity in reservation times and lengths means that more drivers could take advantage of the half-day rate (reservations of six hours or less qualify).

In an era of flat to shrinking budgets, the automated system also builds in efficiency to the vehicle reservation service, ultimately decreasing the size of the fleet by about a dozen cars.

"Other universities that purchased this system said their customers love it once they have used it," she noted. "We're anticipating a smooth transition, though we know there will be a few bumps. I ask customers to be patient as we work through those."

A three-minute video walks drivers through the process of using the key kiosk. Wellik said she and other UTS staff are available to attend department meetings to train drivers in the new system or answer questions.

The familiar

Much about using UTS vehicles for university travel isn't changing. For example:

  • The online reservation system is unchanged. Use a computer, phone or other electronic device to make reservations -- but they can't be made at the kiosk.
  • The rate structure is the same, though more trips may qualify for the half-day rate.
  • Drivers need to top off the gas tank (card provided) before leaving the vehicle in the UTS lot.
  • Drivers need to remove personal items and trash from the vehicle (trash cans are next to the fuel pumps).
  • UTS staff are inside the building (during business hours) and happy to assist drivers. The kiosk also includes a spot for drivers to leave a note about issues or concerns so staff can respond immediately.
Keys in kiosck

A lit green light alerts drivers to the key set they should use.

A few adjustments to note

An automated system that doesn't require an in-person key handoff has some inherent safeguards, Wellik noted. For example:

  • Every driver must have a completed profile in UTS' online reservation system (it will be the same as his or her university net ID).
  • A reservation has to list the appropriate driver (a driver not on the reservation won't be able to access keys after hours).
  • Drivers may check in up to 15 minutes prior to the start time requested in the reservation.
  • Accuracy in the reservation regarding start and end times becomes more important. Another driver may be using that vehicle later in the day.
  • Drivers who will return to campus later than indicated in their reservation should call UTS (294-1828 during business hours, 509-1686 evenings and weekends) to let staff know. As necessary, staff will assign another vehicle to the next reservation. The system also is programmed to offer an alternative when vehicles are unavailable for any reason.
  • When drivers return vehicles, they'll record on the touch screen both the vehicle's odometer reading and stall number where it's parked.

Wellik said a key concern at UTS is providing a clean vehicle to every driver even though staff won't be checking vehicles between reservations as they do now. Driver courtesy will be critical to maintaining clean interiors. If necessary, drivers are welcome to use the vacuum on the east side of the transportation services building.

"Most of our customers return vehicles fairly clean. But if a driver opens a vehicle that's unacceptable, please notify our staff right away so we can remedy the situation," she said.

New artwork to debut at installation ceremony

Presidential chain of office

Photos by Christopher Gannon.

When Wendy Wintersteen is installed as Iowa State's 16th president on Sept. 21, she'll be wearing the most recent addition to University Museums' Art on Campus collection -- an identical, but proportionally smaller, version of the presidential chain of office.

Artist sketch of presidential chain pendant

Sketch by sculptor Jeanne Stevens-Sollman.

A bit of history

The first presidential chain and a matching ceremonial mace were commissioned by University Museums and the alumni association in 2008 for use at formal university ceremonies. The complementary pair was crafted in silver, bronze and tiger maple by sculptor Jeanne Stevens-Sollman. Museums director Lynette Pohlman said the Pennsylvania-based artist's sculpture and medallic art is reminiscent of former university artist-in-residence Christian Petersen.

"Her artwork comes out of the tradition of Christian Petersen, who made small bronze medallions before he went into large-scale sculpture," Pohlman said. "Jeanne has a very distinguished career of her own in fine art and medallic arts, and has a long list of national artistic credentials."

Why the change?

The original chain, titled "Monile Praesidis Maxiumus," weighs nearly four pounds and measures 38 inches long. The presidential chain that will debut at Wintersteen's installation, "Monile Praesidis Secundum," is six inches shorter and almost two pounds lighter.

"It became apparent that the first presidential chain was quite large," Pohlman said. "It was ponderous to wear, especially for long ceremonies."

Pohlman said the smaller-scale presidential chain is appropriate for individuals of any physical stature and provides the president more freedom of movement -- for example, when handing out diplomas or maneuvering through other commencement duties.

Presidential chain pendant representing Beardshear Hall

Steeped in ISU history

The chain is designed to drape over the shoulders of the president's academic robe. Representations of the campanile and Beardshear Hall serve as pendants on the front and back of the wearer, respectively. The chain is fastened at the shoulder with epaulets crafted in the shape of Beardshear's columns and inscribed with the words "leadership" and "service."

The bronze links of the chain -- eight total -- reflect architectural elements of the campanile, with bas-reliefs of corn on their underside. Four of the outward-facing bronze links contain the words "engagement," "learning," "discovery" and "access." Small silver links (12) also represent the columns of Beardshear.

"We commissioned sculptures with symbolism and words specific to Iowa State," Pohlman said.

Both presidential chains and the mace are on display at the Alumni Center. Private gifts from an anonymous donor and Carole and Roger Custer, Jefferson, funded the newest chain.

Wintersteen to celebrate 'Faces of Iowa State' exhibit in Fort Dodge


Artist Rose Frantzen paints logistics and support services director Norm Hill on April 6, 2017. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

President Wendy Wintersteen will be in Fort Dodge next month to help celebrate the latest stop in the statewide tour of the "Faces of Iowa State" exhibition.

The portraits of subjects with deep ties to Iowa State -- including students, staff, faculty and alumni -- got its start at the Iowa State Fair in 2016, when Iowa artist Rose Frantzen painted 19 in 11 days. In later sittings, Frantzen expanded the collection to 39 portraits, an exhibition which opened last fall at Iowa State's Brunnier Art Museum.

"Faces of Iowa State" highlights the university's rich tradition of portraiture and shows "the development of ISU as a story of democracy where the vision, dreams and actions of individual people play a vital role in how our collective identity is shaped," according to University Museums, which organized the project and will maintain the portraits as part of its Art on Campus collection.  

After its stint at the Brunnier, the traveling exhibition was on display in Frantzen's hometown of Maquoketa and at museums in Muscatine and Okoboji. The collection now is at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum in Fort Dodge through Oct. 14 and will be at the Harvester Artspace Lofts Exhibit Gallery in Council Bluffs Nov. 4-Dec. 31.

Wintersteen will join some portrait subjects and Fort Dodge-area alumni for a reception for the exhibit at 5 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Blanden Museum, and there's an easy way to join her. University Museums is offering an "art bus" from Ames to Fort Dodge, which Wintersteen also will ride.

Reservations for the art bus are first come, first served. The trip costs $20 per person. It will leave from the Iowa State Center about 3 p.m. Email or call 294-3342 to reserve a spot.