Is this the one?

Female students sit on a couch to test for comfort

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Incoming freshmen (left) Jayne Ancona, West Des Moines; and Annika Parks, Urbandale, try on for size one of the many couches available to them Monday at the fourth annual Rummage RAMPage, going on all week at the city's intermodal parking facility on Hayward Avenue. The city and university sustainability programs are among the sponsors of this low-cost, volunteer-driven event, intended to keep useable furniture and housekeeping items out of a landfill at lease changeover time each summer.

The eight-day sale continues through Aug. 3, when the prices on remaining items drop in half. Sale hours are noon-6 p.m. (Thursday-Friday) and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

What happens with Workday service requests

WorkCyte story archive

New to ISU or need to catch up on the WorkCyte project? Visit Inside's archive of stories following project developments since Iowa State chose the Workday system in 2016.

It may seem like a leap of faith to send Workday questions to the general finance and human resources service emails we're being asked to use, but it helps the improved service delivery (ISD) teams quickly learn and respond.

"The service teams are prioritizing that work," said Kyle Briese, finance manager in operations and finance. "We are not trying to take away relationships, but we don't want someone to guess at the triaging and get lost at the front end of the process."

"In this short term [during the Workday launch], it helps us manage the volume of questions and work we're receiving," said Dwaine Heppler, associate vice president for human resources services and strategy.

Where does the service request go?

Emails sent to the general HR ( and finance service ( addresses are automatically routed to the HR or finance service delivery team assigned to the sender's unit. For example, an email from someone in the College of Design would land in the juniper team's inbox.

All team members monitor the service inbox, where incoming emails generate service tickets in the ServiceNow system used to manage workflow. From there, ISD specialists assign the service ticket to themselves or others, if appropriate. 

Senders receive instant acknowledgment of their email submissions, followed by progress notifications. Continued communication can happen through the system or outside it -- phone, email or in person -- to accommodate the sender or the urgency of the service request.

Briese said the ServiceNow system logs how long service tickets are open, who has worked on the request and work notes made along the way. Specialists add information to the work notes to keep everyone up to speed -- including the initial sender -- on the resolution of the question or issue. 

"Everything can be tracked in the system: time, progress and who's participated," Briese said. "We're also able to see if specialists might be working on a large number of service requests and reassign tickets to others who have some capacity to take more on."

Future finance requests

Briese recommends that employees continue to use the finance service email instead of sending initial requests directly to an individual service team specialist. A mutual inbox allows the team to cover gaps when specialists are out of the office or unavailable.

"These are the paths we've set up for people to be served well. Service requests are more easily integrated and distributed to get the answers you need," Briese said.

The team inbox streamlines service work for specialists, who also need to manage transactions within Workday and monitor their personal email inboxes. Briese said as faculty and staff gain experience with Workday, it's likely some of the initial service emails they're receiving will taper off.

"This is a bridge for users who aren't yet comfortable with Workday or just need to pass something into a work queue," he said.

HR gets personal for personnel

Heppler said the volume of requests sent to the HR email has leveled off but likely will increase during the first payroll period in Workday. He said requests sent to specific HR specialists are expected because HR work differs from finance transactions, requiring more individual conversations to address personnel matters.

"Our work is less transactional. We are encouraging as much direct connection with the specialists as possible," he said.

Heppler advised users to submit just one issue per email when sending inquiries to the HR service delivery address. Multiple emails on the same issue also slow the process, he said.

"If you haven’t heard back right away, please be patient as we make sure the issue is routed to the right person and they are in a position to respond," he said. "If an acknowledgement email from ServiceNow is received, the issue has been logged and will be processed."

Finance fast lane

A resource for common finance questions was added to the WorkCyte website ("How Do I" under the ISD dropdown menu). One click launches an email to the finance service address with an identifying subject line and a template of information needed to initiate the transaction. For example, how to book and reimburse travel.

"This is trying to further that service point -- you're trying to go through the fast lane, and we want to help you through the fast lane. If you give us these things, we can move this very quickly through the system," Briese said.

Heppler and Briese ask for continued patience while finance and HR teams learn, manage their workflow and shift to ongoing support.


Karen Zunkel head shot

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Karen Zunkel moved into her new position as executive director of institutional research (IR) on July 22.

She joins the IR team from the office of the senior vice president and provost, where she had served since 2013 as director of undergraduate education and academic quality. Previously, she led the Program for Women in Science and Engineering for more than a decade (2002-13), adding a part-time provost's office appointment, director of undergraduate programs, in 2004. Zunkel managed the Engineering college's undergraduate student services for five years (1997-2002). She started her career at Iowa State as an instructor in the College of Engineering in 1991; she also has taught in the School of Education.

Zunkel earned bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering from Iowa State and the University of Oklahoma, respectively, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State.

The IR office is in suite 203 of the Kingland Building at the corner of Lincoln Way and Welch Avenue. Her phone is 294-8539, and her email address remains

How the iconic alumni calendar comes together

Carole Gieseke and Jim Heemstra

Alumni association assistant vice president for communications Carole Gieseke and photographer Jim Heemstra are the driving forces behind the annual alumni calendar, a common sight in campus offices. Photo by Rachel Mummey, ISU Alumni Association.

As a freelance photographer, Jim Heemstra's business travel often takes him across the country. When on assignment in a college town, he likes to walk the campus, asking himself about each school's buildings and grounds: Where are the 13 photos?

That's how many Heemstra photographs are published each year (one per month, plus one on the cover) in the alumni association's August-to-July calendar, a freebie for members and an annual showcase for the university's stately scenery. The Des Moines photographer has shot for the calendar since 1992.

In all those years, he said, finding new angles on Iowa State's most iconic buildings and spaces has never become tedious. But at nearly every other school he's visited, he can't imagine finding a year's worth of calendar-worthy beauty, let alone 13 every year for a generation.

"I ask, 'Could I do 13 photos on this campus?' Most of the time, I say no," Heemstra said.

The striking combination of Iowa State's well-preserved central buildings and expansive lawns makes campus particularly photogenic, Heemstra said. Those images are potent nostalgia for alumni, especially those who don't live nearby, said Carole Gieseke, assistant vice president of communications at the alumni association.

"The campus is beautiful. It was beautiful when they were here, and it's beautiful now," said Gieseke, the calendar's editor.

But even university employees who work on campus every day appreciate a reminder. Of the roughly 38,000 calendars printed each year, 35,000 are sent to member households. More than half of the remaining sales are to campus units (1,560 in 2018-19), which could make the calendar the most common item on the wall of any given Iowa State office. Here's how it comes together.

Sunrises and snowstorms

The calendar is a 12-month project, as Heemstra shoots all year to ensure the scenes match the seasons. Sometimes the calendar follows a theme, like this year's then-and-now motif that includes an inset historical photo of each month's building or landmark. That requires some summertime planning on what to feature.

Otherwise, Heemstra takes a spontaneous approach to finding fitting photos. He tends to shoot much of his calendar work on meandering walks, especially in the fall and spring when colors are at their peak and the air is crisp. He used to jot down photo ideas in a notebook, but he's been doing it long enough that he doesn't need to anymore.

"It's a chance-favors-the-prepared-mind kind of thing. If I get too calculating, the pictures get stale," he said. 

Less randomly, he does watch weather forecasts and satellite imagery, with a close eye on conditions that may create remarkable cloud formations or sunrises. Given the generally east-sloping contour of campus, its sunrises are much more impressive than its sunsets, he said.

"You have to have sky and light. They have to excite me. The buildings are almost kind of secondary. My main concern is the light and the sky and the composition," he said.

His least favorite time to shoot is midsummer, when humidity makes the air milky and the grass can get brown. Winter can be high stakes, as only wet snows with little wind are visually optimal. Depending on the year, there may only be a couple storms that qualify, Heemstra said.

Because the sunrises are better than sunsets, and most of the photos don't have people in them by design, he'll often visit campus at dawn on Sundays.

"It always reminds me of being in a really cool park," he said. "It's a morning campus."

From 8,472 to 13

By the time he turns in his discs of images each spring, Heemstra has captured several thousand photos -- 8,472 for a recent calendar, to be exact. He submits the full set to Gieseke, with several hundred marked as his favorites. She trims those down to the 13 that grace the walls of homes and offices for the next year.

Seasonality is a top consideration. September and October show fall colors. December can go the holiday route or be wintery. Snow or ice is a must in January and February. April and May need brilliant spring hues. June, July and August are full-bloom summer. March and November are the in-between months, a flexibility that allows for a new piece of art or a spectacular sky.

Setting is equally important. Gieseke tries to rotate what locations are featured, looking back over the last five years or so to jog her memory. She wants familiar buildings and places in photos that don't feel familiar. There are some constants. Nearly every calendar includes the Memorial Union. The campanile and Lake LaVerne, usually with swans, are every-year inclusions. The campanile is especially mandatory.

"There was one year we didn't have one, and boy, did I hear about it," Gieseke said.

Difficult photo selection decisions often weigh artistry versus effectiveness.

"We have the discussion all the time. Yeah, that's a nice picture, but do I really want to look at it for a whole month? That squirrel is adorable, but is it a month's worth? It could be a squirrel anywhere," Gieseke said. "If there's not a recognizable landmark, it's not a successful picture."

A wide net

There's more to the calendar than photos. It's also full of information. The pages after July are full of contacts and promotions for the alumni association and its programming, plus a directory of Iowa State colleges and offices.

The calendar itself contains extensive scheduling details. Gieseke puts out a call to university units for calendar information in the spring semester and incorporates much of what she gets: academic deadlines, performances, athletics schedules and public events of all sorts.

Numerous holidays are included, more so in recent years. After Reg Stewart was hired as Iowa State's vice president for diversity and inclusion, he asked if the alumni calendar could highlight a larger selection of holidays, reflecting a wider variety of faith traditions and ethnicities. His office provides a holiday list, which Gieseke said she is pleased to add.

"I think it makes it a more inclusive calendar, and it also opens the eyes of people who don't celebrate some of these things," she said.

Some are superfans

Iowa State's alumni calendar is at least 52 years old. The alumni association's version dates back to at least 1982, based on back issues Gieseke has. An even earlier version was included with The Alumnus, the alumni magazine of its day, from at least 1961 through 1974, according to library archives.

Gieseke said she doesn't expect major changes in the future for the calendar. In a member survey a few years ago, about half of respondents said they wouldn't change a thing. She often hears from superfans.

"Some people have rituals where they won't turn the page until the next month. They want to be surprised," she said. (Spoiler alert, don't look at the back cover, which has a gallery of each month's photo.)

Heemstra gets his share of gushing calendar comments, too. He enjoys seeing it displayed so widely, and many people tell him they keep each year's version.

"It's always nice to have the place look prettier than it probably really was," he joked. "They can think of winter as pretty white snow on things."

Entrepreneurs will pitch at the fair

More than 150 Iowa State University entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to visitors at the university's exhibit during the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18. The exhibit, "The Great Iowa State Pitch Off: STANDING InnOVATION!" will be in the Varied Industries Building.

Standing Innovation state fair logo

The theme of Iowa State's fair exhibit is part of an ongoing university initiative to nurture a campuswide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and to provide resources and support for students, faculty and staff to turn their ideas into reality.

"We are showcasing the energy and creativity of our students, and how that results in innovation and entrepreneurial projects that impact Iowa communities and businesses," said Carole Custer, director of university marketing. "Iowa State has never before had daily events of this magnitude at the state fair."

Pitching to win

Students from every college, as well as ISU Extension and Outreach and recent alumni -- more than 150 participants in total -- will compete in the pitch-offs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the first eight days of the fair. There will be 14 pitches -- two per hour -- every day. Each entrepreneur will have up to five minutes for their presentation, followed by a five-minute Q&A with the audience. Each hour, audience members will vote for participants to move to the semifinals by dropping a soybean into a Mason jar.

From the daily pitches, 56 semifinalists will emerge to pitch again Aug. 16-17, four per hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for a panel of judges. 

Seven winning pitches will be announced on the last day of the fair. A "Best in Show" winner will receive a $5,000 award. President Wendy Wintersteen and senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert will present the awards during a 1 p.m. ceremony Aug. 18 at the ISU exhibit.

A legacy of innovation

The university's fair exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Approximately 350 volunteers will help out at the ISU exhibit over the course of the fair. When students aren't pitching, fairgoers will be able to watch videos showcasing students pitching over the past year, highlights of how each college advances entrepreneurship and innovation, and submissions from the "Pitch Me ISU" contest -- an opportunity for undergraduate students to share their world-changing ideas if time and money were no issue. One Pitch Me submission will be selected for a $1,000 award.

In addition, the exhibit will showcase Iowa State innovations throughout history -- one highlight from each college, as well as ISU Extension and Outreach and the library. ISU alumni innovators and entrepreneurs will be able to submit their company name and contact information to keep up-to-date on opportunities to mentor, network and collaborate with ISU entrepreneurship programs and initiatives.

"Fairgoers will witness firsthand what happens when our university and the state of Iowa invest in the next generation," Kerns said. "And Iowa State students will see that they can make a difference right now. You don't have to be 40 to make an impact on the world."

Kerns describes innovation as "the capacity to imagine and create in a novel way," and entrepreneurship as "the capacity to capitalize on that innovation to create opportunities for yourself and others."

Athletics trophies, ticket drawings and more

Visitors can view athletics trophies from the past year, have a temporary waterless Iowa State tattoo applied, and pick up a football poster or schedule card. They also can enter drawings for:

  • Tickets for the Nov. 23 Iowa State vs. Kansas football game
  • Tickets for any Cyclone volleyball match of the 2019 season
  • $25 ISU Book Store gift card
  • ISU Alumni Association annual membership

Four winners will be announced daily.

The ISU Book Store will be part of the Iowa State exhibit with a wide variety of merchandise, gifts and apparel, including new Farm Strong T-shirts and fall game day gear. 

Check off your ISU Extension 'bucket list'

ISU Extension has a "bucket list" for fairgoers this year: a to-do list that adds Iowa State pride to a day at the fair. Search for red 5-gallon buckets at venues around the fairgrounds, each indicating ISU Extension events and places to check off the list.

Several bucket list items can be checked off on Friday, Aug. 9, including Cy's participation in a mascot grape stomp at Grandfather's Barn and ISU Extension weed scientists' annual weed identification contest on the Agriculture Building lawn.

4-H Day on the Grand Concourse, also Aug. 9, is a time to learn about all things 4-H, receive a sunscreen stick and take a photo with inflatable Cy. 4-H is headquartered at Iowa State and available in all 99 counties.

Nearly 2,000 4-H members will exhibit 5,000 livestock entries in the livestock buildings, and 4-H'ers will have 4,500 contest entries on display in the 4-H Exhibits Building. The colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences will award scholarships to selected 4-H'ers. Photo frames at Grandfather's Barn, Discovery Garden and outside the 4-H Exhibits Building are reminders of the connection these venues have to Iowa State.

Special events include 4-H Healthy Living Day on Aug. 10, Invent STEM on Aug. 11, Iowa 4-H Global Citizenship Day on Aug. 15 and the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame induction program Aug. 18.

ISU veterinarians staying on top of animal health

Three veterinarians from the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, College of Veterinary Medicine, will oversee the health of all animals at the fair. They are:

  • Assistant professor Dr. Troy Brick
  • Clinical assistant professor Dr. Rachel Friedrich
  • Postdoctoral research associate Dr. Megan Hindman

Fourth-year veterinary medicine students Kacey Leigh Klemesrud, Allysa Koethe, Rachael Ostrem and Mikalah Smith will assist the veterinarians.

Oversight for Iowa State Center moves to athletics

Management of the Iowa State Center transferred to the athletics department from the division of operations and finance, effective Aug. 1.

VenuWorks has managed operations for the Iowa State Center since 2015. Iowa State will continue to partner with the company for event management at Stephens Auditorium, Fisher Theater and the Scheman Building through the duration of the current contract, which expires June 30, 2020, and will use this time to explore the possibility of future partnership opportunities with VenuWorks. Iowa State Center staff will continue to serve in their positions.

The transition is part of ongoing efforts to create greater efficiency, productivity and innovation in university programs and services. The athletics department already was managing Jack Trice Stadium and, since 2008, Hilton Coliseum.

"Combining operations of our athletics venues with the Iowa State Center into one management portfolio will allow for greater efficiencies in operations, enhancement of facilities and the opportunity to increase the value and benefit of the Iowa State Center," said President Wendy Wintersteen.

"The Iowa State Center is a tremendous educational and cultural asset to the university, the Ames community and central Iowa," she said. "We will continue to sustain the level of excellence and excitement expected by tens of thousands who use these facilities every year, as well as those who faithfully come to Hilton and Jack Trice to cheer on the Cyclones."

P&S Council effort would connect colleagues with similar interests

An effort to offer interest groups for Iowa State employees is moving forward, with the aim to form the groups in the fall.

The idea to create a way for employees to share their out-of-office pursuits with co-workers came from the Professional and Scientific Council's peer advocacy committee, which began working on the project last year.

"You know Reddit? That's my concept. Let people come up with topics they want to connect about and discuss," said committee chair Jacob Larsen, director of the language studies resource center in the world languages and cultures department.

An initial survey offered earlier this year through Adventure2, the university's online well-being program, received about 300 responses, with 85 percent saying they would be interested in joining an interest group.

Based on that response, a second survey posted on Adventure2 this week seeks to determine employee interest in specific categories, including:

  • Books
  • Recreation (walking, running, softball, etc.)
  • Creative arts (knitting, crafting, photography, etc.)
  • Gardening
  • Food
  • Mindfulness
  • Games
  • Parenting

The survey, available through Aug. 16, also is looking for all employees interested in creating, leading or co-leading groups. Respondents also may suggest other potential interest groups.

Larsen said the groups will launch beginning in the fall. At first, they'll likely be organized online, probably on the Canvas learning platform. But the hope is that they'll lead to offline gatherings.

"If you're discussing motorcycling, why wouldn't you meet up to ride together?" Larsen said.