Safety precautions in place at reopened bookstore

entrance to the ISU Book Store

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The ISU Book Store in the Memorial Union reopened this week with reduced hours (10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays) to give staff additional time for cleaning and sanitizing. In addition to physical distancing reminders throughout the store, just 50 guests can be in the store at one time -- about 15% of capacity -- to help protect staff and shoppers. Staff are wearing cloth face coverings, and shoppers are asked to as well. The bookstore is selling Iowa State-branded face coverings in the store and online and germ keys (online only). 

Iowa State units also are reminded of the option to reserve cloth face coverings for employees through central stores.

Employees at higher risk for COVID-19 can request work arrangements

To ensure a safe ramp-up of on-campus operations this summer and fall, employees, post-docs and graduate assistants with risk factors that make the coronavirus more dangerous -- or live with someone at higher risk -- can request an alternative work arrangement that limits potential exposure.

Iowa State faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate assistants and student workers will receive an email June 4 with information about how to submit a request for an alternative work arrangement via an online form on the university human resources (UHR) COVID-19 website.

Employees with one or more of the risk factors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or living with a person who with one of the potential complications, can self-designate as high-risk. CDC guidance says COVID-19 poses a greater chance of severe illness when contracted by people who are 65 years or older or have any of these medical conditions:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Severe obesity with a body mass index of 40 or higher
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease
  • Compromised immune system from conditions such as cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids or other immune-weakening medications

After submitting a request, employees will receive an email containing further instruction on the information needed to complete their request, along with next steps. The email will come from (Origami is the software provider for the ISU portal being used for the request process.)

Any medical information provided will be kept confidential and will not be shared with an employee's supervisor. UHR will review requests and discuss proposed arrangements with supervisors. Employees will be involved in the interactive process of determining a suitable option for safely performing their job duties. College leaders will consult on faculty arrangements, and the Graduate College will consult on arrangements for graduate assistants and post-docs.

"Our faculty and staff have demonstrated great resilience these past several months, but we also know more challenges lie ahead in our efforts to ensure safe work environments for all," said Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty. "I encourage faculty to work with UHR and their college leaders to ensure that teaching and learning activities are safe not only for students, but for their instructors as well."

Though plans for the fall semester are still being developed and finalized, it is critical to submit requests as soon as possible to allow time for appropriate discussion and planning. 

Employees with questions can contact UHR at or 294-4800.

UHR developing post-pandemic flexible work guidance for staff

With on-campus work limited to essential services since mid-March, many Iowa State staff have been getting an involuntary and impromptu trial run in working from home. Some have needed to work at different hours than usual.

Prior to COVID-19, ISU didn’t limit staff from working remotely or outside typical business hours, but more encouragement for remote work and flexible shifts is a strategic priority of university human resources (UHR) and the Professional and Scientific Council. It also was an issue raised in the 2018 climate survey.

UHR is developing a program this summer for flexible work options for Iowa State staff, including recommendations for employees requesting such arrangements and what supervisors should consider before approving them. The goal is to boost employee well-being and productivity by promoting work-life balance.

"In today’s work environment, employees have different needs," said Kristi Darr, interim vice president for UHR. "Overall, ISU has looked at being present in the workplace as a sign of an employee’s productivity, and we know that technology allows many positions to have greater flexibility than in the past. We need to help supervisors think differently about measuring productivity and the support they can offer for their employees.

"Providing flexibility to a staff member, with the right expectations, can support employee retention, job satisfaction and employees' overall well-being," Darr added. 

UHR began studying the issue seriously earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic. Widespread remote work caused by COVID-19 gave employees and supervisors a chance to see what works and what doesn't.

"With so many employees working from home, questions we would have asked about what people would want have been answered by what people are doing. I think we're able to start at a different point than we would have before," said Ed Holland, UHR benefits director.

In June, UHR will meet with focus groups that include staff, supervisors and faculty who manage staff. After incorporating focus group feedback, the tentative goal for the flexible work program is a late August release.

The initiative is unlikely to involve any formal policy changes and will apply to staff, not faculty. The hope is to give staff and their supervisors the tools for considering options, Holland said.

Jolly reappointed as Human Sciences dean

Laura Dunn Jolly, dean of the College of Human Sciences (CHS), has been reappointed to a second five-year term.

Dean Laura Jolly

Laura Jolly

During her first term, Jolly has been successful in working with faculty and staff to advance the college's strategic goals, including increasing access to high-impact learning experiences; fostering diversity, equity and inclusion; enhancing research capacity and engagement with Iowans; stewardship of the college's human, financial and physical resources; and engaging with alumni, friends and community.

"The College of Human Sciences is a rich and academically diverse college and a destination for students and faculty," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "Laura has done an outstanding job leading her college, and I look forward to its continued success."

Wickert thanked the CHS dean review committee for managing the comprehensive process. The group was cochaired by Sarah Bennett-George, associate teaching professor of apparel, events and hospitality management; and Tera Jordan, associate professor of human development and family studies and assistant provost for faculty development. Wickert also expressed his appreciation to HS faculty and staff who participated in the process by completing surveys, attending interviews or contacting members of the review committee.

"I am honored to be reappointed as dean," said Jolly, who began her service in July 2016. "I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students and partners to advance our strategic priorities and goals."

Jolly holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, and earned her master's and doctoral degrees from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. Prior to her arrival at Iowa State, she held faculty and administrative positions at the universities of Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech University.

The College of Human Sciences includes the School of Education and four departments:

  • Apparel, events and hospitality management
  • Food science and human nutrition
  • Human development and family studies
  • Kinesiology

It serves Iowans in all 99 counties through Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and operates several clinics, research centers and the child development laboratory school on campus.

Campus buildings are ready when employees return

As department leaders plan for increased campus operations this summer into the fall and alter their spaces to keep employees and students safe, they may have questions about their building systems. Inside talked with facilities services director Bob Currie, facilities planning and management (FPM), about what's occurred in buildings closed since spring break.


Do units need to ask FPM to restore heating, cooling and ventilation systems in their building?

No. Building heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, which were switched to setback mode in mid-March, actually were returned in mid-May to normal mode, which includes bringing in outside air. "Normal" meets the current codes for filtration and ventilation, so from that perspective, buildings are ready for occupancy.


In light of the pandemic, has the university made any changes to air handling systems -- or practices -- that would help keep employees safe?

Facilities staff remained on campus the last three months to complete preventive maintenance of building systems and do additional cleaning to keep campus in a state of readiness for the return of faculty, staff and students. New air filters and regularly disinfecting common space touch points are some examples of changes we've made this spring.


Should I be concerned my building's ventilation system could transmit the coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the risk of transmission through building ventilation systems likely is very low. Indoors, a higher risk would come from failing to respect the physical distancing recommendation of 6 feet between individuals.


As an extra precaution, can we ask that the fresh air intake be increased?

In some buildings it's possible, but adjustments that add outdoor air will negatively impact indoor temperature and humidity -- and thus occupant comfort. Controlling temperature and humidity levels for the comfort of employees in that space is the priority. Excess humidity also can impact the performance of sensitive equipment, damage building components and create mold growth.


How about water systems in campus buildings? Do those need to be flushed prior to employees returning?

They are ready as well. Since mid-March and on a weekly schedule, maintenance teams have been flushing the water lines to keep both hot and cold water systems fresh.


Where should we send questions about air handling or water systems for specific buildings?

The systems should be in normal operation mode. If you suspect an error or a breakdown in your building, call FPM's 24-hour service line, 294-5100.

Employee parking permit renewals open June 10

Employee parking permits for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will go on sale Wednesday, June 10 (starting at 9 a.m. via AccessPlus). While the state Board of Regents on April 1 approved fiscal year 2021 permit price increases of roughly 3%, university administrators have since opted to hold permit fees at current levels. Rates will not increase on July 1.

FY21 parking permit rates

24-hour reserved




General staff*






Motorcycle (employee)


*Includes lots designated for Ames Lab

Renewal deadlines

Parking director Mark Miller said that because of the delay in starting the permit renewal process this spring, permits will be available for online purchase through the fall semester. However, employees who want to renew a reserved or 24-hour reserved permit must do so by Friday, July 10. After that date, parking staff will start to assign non-renewed reserved permits to the next employee on the waiting list.

Department-purchased permits

Miller said parking contacts in university departments will receive an email in the next few days with directions for renewing department-purchased permits. Whether or not they receive an email invitation, departments may order permits online (see ISU Departmental Permits) starting Tuesday, June 9.

Missed payroll deduction

Miller said payroll deductions for parking permits unintentionally were missed in May. That oversight will not be made up, he said. The June payroll deduction will occur.

Parking counter opens June 8

The parking division's service counter in the southwest corner of the Armory will reopen Monday, June 8. Service hours will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Ames Intermodal Facility permits

The date annual permits go on sale for the city-university intermodal parking facility at 129 Hayward Ave. in campustown is to be determined. Permits will be sold on the facility website; payment is by credit card only.

MU ramp parking

Seasonal permits for the Memorial Union parking ramp are for sale online and will go up about 2.5% as approved in April.

MU parking and ISU parking are separate entities.

Memorial Union ramp: FY21 permit rates

Annual (sold out)


Fall or spring


Winter (Nov-Feb)





Tuition rates, salary policy on regents' June 4 agenda

The state Board of Regents is expected to approve previously announced flat tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year when it holds a virtual meeting June 4. Salary policies for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and appointments to the board's new efficiency advisory subgroups are other items on the agenda. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed on the board's website. The agenda also is online.

The tuition decision covers all tuition rates for all students for the year, but board president Mike Richards said last month the board could revisit spring semester rates later this fall as more information becomes available. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, holding tuition rates in place is the board's effort to provide financial predictability for the students and their families, as well as the universities. Mandatory fees for ISU students would decrease $4, reflecting a net $4 drop in the student activities fee.

ISU proposed tuition* and mandatory fees: 2020-21










Professional (Vet Med)



*standard tuition; doesn't reflect differential tuitions

Salary policy

Included in the consent portion of the agenda are salary policies for the year that begins July 1. If approved, Iowa State's approximately 1,300 merit employees will receive a 2.1% increase on July 1, according to the state's two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Iowa chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Minimums and maximums in the merit system pay plan would increase 2.1% in all 19 pay grades.

As President Wendy Wintersteen shared with the campus community in an April 20 memo, university leaders at that time were preparing FY21 budgets 5% leaner than the current year. As a result, Iowa State won't offer performance-based salary increases for faculty, P&S and contract staff and post-docs on July 1.

Regents advisory group

At the board's April 30 meeting and anticipating the pandemic would significantly impact operating budgets, Richards appointed an advisory group to look for collaboration opportunities among the three regent universities to gain efficiency. Co-chairs David Barker and Nancy Dunkel are joined by colleagues Nancy Boettger and Jim Lindenmayer. At their June 4 meeting, the board will approve appointments to two subgroups that would look at academic and administrative efficiencies, respectively.

The academic subgroup contains the provosts and faculty senate presidents from the three universities, including Iowa State's Jonathan Wickert and associate professor of graphic design Carol Faber, respectively. The administrative subgroup has three members: the senior vice presidents for operations and finance at the three schools, including Iowa State's Pam Cain.

Their work is supposed to wrap up by the board's November meeting.

Other Iowa State items

Iowa State leaders also will ask the board to approve:

  • A new degree program in the Graduate College, a master of arts in teaching history, targeting post-baccalaureate students without teacher preparation who want to teach in a K-12 setting. It provides prerequisites required by the state for licensure to teach history and other social studies subjects at the secondary level -- in a formal structure. The School of Education and history department have been offering this preparation on an ad-hoc basis.
  • A request to begin project planning to replace the university's last two coal-fired boilers in the power plant with natural gas-fired boilers. Three other natural-gas boilers are now four years old. The project includes removing coal-handling systems and the coal storage site east of Haber Road, at an estimated cost of $12 million to $14 million. Annual utility savings from the change will be $3.7 million.
  • A department name change in the Ivy College of Business, from management to management and entrepreneurship, to better represent the department's growing emphasis on entrepreneurship -- in curriculum, degree offerings and faculty specialization, effective immediately.
  • A 15-foot-wide easement to the city of Ames, extending about a thousand feet along the southeast corner of the Veterinary Medicine campus, for a paved bike path (it's currently gravel) to connect the ISU Research Park to South Fourth Street.

The board's campus and student affairs committee will receive a presentation on "campus and student life during COVID-19," from senior vice president for student affairs Martino Harmon and his peers.

Energy savings added up in April

When the pandemic closed campus in March, the university implemented energy-saving measures similar to those taken during a winter break partial shutdown in buildings with low or no occupancy. Mark Kruse, utilities services director in facilities planning and management (FPM), said 66 buildings -- nearly half of Iowa State's campus inventory -- implemented some energy reduction measures, saving more than a half million dollars in utilities costs in April alone.

"The energy management staff in FPM deserves all the credit, quickly developing and implementing a plan to lower building temperature set-points, extend set-point time duration and turn off lights," Kruse said.

Iowa State uses multiple energy sources:

  • Chilled water (used for cooling buildings, walk-in coolers and IT equipment)
  • Electricity
  • Steam (used for heating buildings and hot water, humidification and sterilization equipment)
  • Natural gas
  • Water/sewer

In comparing this April's energy consumption with average use over the last four years, every energy source saw a double-digit percentage drop, in part helped by mild weather conditions. The nearly 11% decrease in steam use seems modest compared to a 73.2% drop in water and sewer demand. But it was the 27.5% non-weather-related electricity reduction that saved $270,136 -- the biggest chunk of the $586,340 total cost reduction.

"These are the lowest campus energy flows we've seen in about 20 years," Kruse said.

Kruse said there was little change in energy use in research buildings and labs, while residence halls and the Iowa State Center saw the biggest reductions. 

Although many buildings were closed, they were not abandoned. Kruse said FPM staff maintained water quality by testing and flushing the lines weekly, which they continue to do. He said FPM brought building environmental controls back to "normal" operations as part of the phased reopening plan.

"FPM wants to make sure the buildings are ready and safe for use when people return to campus," Kruse said.


April energy consumption

Utility April avg (2016-19) 2020 use % decrease Cost reduction
Chilled water 2,201,818 tons 1,226,212 44.3% $202,633
Electricity 12,727,897 kilowatt-hours 9,222,234 27.5% $270,136
Steam 49,119,051 kilowatt-hours 43,750,032 10.9% $78,869
Water/sewer 18,409,502 gallons 4,929,063 73.2% $27,120
Gas 9,005,819 cubic feet 7,751,680 13.9% $7,581