Airy classrooms available

Class meets in large tent on the library quad

Members of a music class sing together Monday morning under the tent north of the Enrollment Services Center. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A dozen tents erected on lawns across campus can be used as a safe alternative to indoor activities -- including for classes, tutoring sessions, instructor's office hours and group projects. Student organizations are welcome to use the tents after 5 p.m. for their gatherings. And, as students are finding, a tent also is a convenient study space when a university group hasn't claimed it.

The tents project is a provost's office effort to help assure academic continuity during the pandemic and provide outdoor spaces this fall for instructors and students who feel safer working outdoors. Julie Kieffer, a member of the university response team, has coordinated tent installation with college and university library liaisons. She said the last of the tents -- one near the Gerdin Business Building and two on the west side of the Veterinary Medicine complex -- are going up this week.

Most tents are available on a simple first-come, first-served basis. Some of the colleges and units hosting tents have adopted a reservation process (see table below for details). For example, the Ivy College of Business will use the same reservation system it has for scheduling rooms in the Gerdin Building.

Hosts furnished their tents with either an instructor's table and chairs or a set of picnic tables. Users are asked to follow the scouting tradition and not leave any trash behind when they depart.


Inventory of campus tents for academic uses



Reservation source



Southeast of Design





South of Armory





West of Marston (large)


Online form (select "west Marston lawn")


picnic tables

West of Marston (small)


Online form (select "west Marston lawn")



South of Library




picnic tables

East of Pearson


Lori Sulzberger

Music and theatre


South of MacKay


Student Services Center

Human Sciences


North of Curtiss



Agriculture and Life Sciences

picnic tables

South of Agronomy



Agriculture and Life Sciences

picnic tables

Southwest of Gerdin


Hannah Sanderman


picnic tables

Northwest of Vet Med (2) near volleyball courts



Veterinary Medicine

picnic tables

* Available on a first-come, first-served basis
1 M-W-F (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) reserved for music classes
2 M-F (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) reservations accepted; first come, first served evenings and weekends

Review committee delves into Catt files

Members of the committee reviewing requests to rename Catt Hall have been taking an in-depth look at Carrie Chapman Catt and the suffrage movement she helped lead.

The resources for the committee come from History Associates Inc., the Maryland-based research firm hired last spring to help committee members learn more about Catt's beliefs and activities, and about comments that led to requests to remove her name from Catt Hall. An 1880 Iowa State alumna, Catt was one of the national suffrage leaders who waged a decades-long campaign that culminated in ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.

Over the summer, History Associates Inc., historians assembled more than 200 files about Catt and the suffrage movement from extensive collections and repositories throughout the country. The materials were provided to committee members last month.

The 17-member committee, appointed in March by President Wendy Wintersteen, will review the materials as one step in the university's Consideration of Removing Names from University Property policy.

"We have an excellent committee that is diligently assessing multi-faceted historical issues, and will continue to work its way through the steps outlined in the policy and procedures to arrive at a draft recommendation on whether Catt's name should be removed," said Carol Faber, committee chair, associate professor of graphic design and past president of Faculty Senate.

Next steps

The review committee has met virtually several times, with the pace picking up this fall. Faber outlined next steps in the review process:

  • The committee will draw on expertise of faculty, staff, alumni, experts and others familiar with Catt.
  • The committee will provide opportunity for requestors, designees linked to the honoree and representatives of university departments or units impacted by the decision to meet with committee members.
  • The committee will determine whether any legal or contractual implications would arise from removing Catt's name.

Later steps for the review committee involve preparing a draft report outlining its recommendation that will be made available for public comment. The committee also will invite comments on its draft report from those who petitioned for the renaming and from university units and other stakeholders impacted by the decision.

After receiving comments, the review committee will submit a final report and recommendation to Wintersteen.

Mother-daughter faculty duo enjoys shared experience


Angelique Brellenthin, left, is an assistant professor in kinesiology while her mother, Cornell Brellenthin, is in her first year at Iowa State as an English lecturer. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Cornell Brellenthin's orientation as a new faculty member at Iowa State was a little different than most. Brellenthin already had a trusted friend and colleague at ISU -- her daughter.

Cornell and Angie Brellenthin are perhaps the first parent-child faculty pair to serve simultaneously at the university.

"I think it just speaks to our love of learning and education," said Cornell, in her first year as a lecturer in the English department.

Angie, an assistant professor of kinesiology, came to Iowa State in 2016 as a postdoc before joining the faculty last fall.

Seeing the passion and energy her mother has as an educator left an impression on Angie growing up. The relationships Cornell had with colleagues and a career that allows her to explore questions with people who were excited about them appealed to her.

Cornell said doing homework with her daughters at night became a routine that may have planted the seeds of interest in education at an early age.

During a time that can be challenging for faculty, working on the same campus provides a support system for both even if their teaching schedules are complete opposites of one another.

"I know I benefit from my mom's wealth of teaching experience," Angie said. "I am fairly new to teaching, so having different circumstances coming up and being able to talk to my mom is very helpful."

Coming to ISU

In a reversal of roles, it was Angie who helped recruit her mother to Ames. Cornell previously worked at the University of Maryland, College Park, and taught remotely last year. Cornell moved to Minnesota to care for her mother, and made several trips to Iowa to visit Angie and the ISU campus.

"She took me on several tours of the campus and told me how much she enjoyed it and how she appreciated the people that she worked with," Cornell said.

Cornell's interest was piqued, and when the English department had an opening she applied. For Angie, it was a chance to have family close for the first time in a while.

"I had never had family in the area in Iowa, so it was nice to have the potential where we could have regular family visits again without always having to buy a plane ticket," she said. "I looked forward to having that shared experience, and her having the same enjoyment I have on campus."

The ISU environment drew both to the campus because of opportunities in and out of the classroom, but the people they work with quickly made them feel anchored.

The two rarely cross paths, but Angie has taken time to point out important places on campus, including the ISU Creamery.

Family foundation

The Brellenthins are a family devoted to education. Angie attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for a decade for her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees before finding her way to Ames. She said she has always loved school, earning her degrees in succession before turning to teaching.

Cornell's career began with 10-year stints in both banking and publishing -- at Reiman Publications in Wisconsin --  before beginning nearly 20 years in education.

"My love of literature is how I ended up in English," said Cornell, whose other daughter, Jacque, works at the Library of Congress in Washington. "Reading and discussing books is something I would be doing even if it weren't my job."

Cornell said seeing Angie begin her career helps put perspective on her own teaching and the growth she made. It also pushes her to try new things in lectures and interactions with students.

Angie has already shown her ability as a researcher, receiving a National Institutes of Health funding award on her first attempt.

"I am just so proud of her," Cornell said.

Free speech training, survey are in the works

Iowa's regent universities and community colleges jointly hired a digital training production company, Boston-based Six Red Marbles (SRM), to produce training on free speech. The intent is that students and employees at all 18 schools will complete the training, an annual requirement approved in February by the state Board of Regents and one of 10 recommendations from the board's new free speech committee.

In an update to the board at its Sept. 15-16 meeting in Ames, board counsel Aimee Claeys said the state's community college system also was searching for a free speech module, so the two groups opted to share the project. Attorneys for both are developing an outline of necessary content. SRM will develop the training module, and a joint committee will review, edit and make suggestions. The goal, Claeys said, is to complete the project toward the end of fall semester and go live early in the spring semester.

A second recommendation the board approved in February is that the three universities complete a survey of faculty, staff and students on free speech every two years. The board's chief academic officer, Rachel Boon, assembled a committee of campus representatives (diversity, equity and inclusion; institutional research, survey specialists) to find or build a survey all three universities can use. The group will develop a free-standing survey because "no vendor has what we're looking for," she said, but it is drawing from various survey models. A draft survey is nearly done, and the next piece is to develop the guidelines for administering it.

Boon said she and Claeys are strategizing on the timing of the free speech training and survey "and how we layer those to ensure it works most effectively." Boon is hopeful the survey could be ready to use yet this semester.

New facility for engineering department

The regents approved Iowa State's request to name the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department's new building for alumni C.G. "Turk" and Joyce Therkildsen, who are providing the lead gift ($42 million) for the estimated $50 million facility. It will be named Therkildsen Industrial Engineering.

In August 2019, Iowa State received board permission to begin planning a new building for the department. Because it will be paid for only with private gifts, no further board approval is required. The proposed building site is southwest of Howe Hall.

The board also approved Iowa State requests for two other building projects:

  • Final approval on a $2.85 million project to replace the 43-year-old external office windows on the College of Design building and replace the sealant around the concrete panels between the rows of windows. Earlier attempts to repair the windows weren’t successful. Work will begin in the spring and wrap up by the end of 2022. University funds will cover the project.
  • Permission to begin planning for a two-story north addition and infill to the east side of the one-story perimeter to Town Engineering Building, home to the civil, construction and environmental engineering department. The project also would renovate approximately 25% of existing space and add teaching and research labs, classrooms, collaboration areas and offices for graduate students. The project (estimated at $25 million) would be funded completely by private gifts.

Next year's state funding requests

Ahead of an Oct. 1 submission deadline, the board approved the universities' state funding requests for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Iowa State seeks an increase of $7 million in general university operating support and nearly $1.4 million more in economic development funding in two pieces:

  • $376,519 in recurring funds to fully fund, based on the FY20 request, the three state biosciences platforms managed by Iowa State (biobased products, vaccines and immunotherapeutics, and digital and precision agriculture). The University of Iowa manages the fourth, medical devices.
  • $1 million in one-time funds to serve as matching funds for two U.S. Economic Development Administration regional "challenge" programs: one that spurs industry growth, and another that builds coalitions of educators and industry representatives to design and implement STEM instruction to address private sector needs.

"Iowa State is already one of the leanest and most efficiently run universities in the country," said President Wendy Wintersteen in her remarks to the board. "We will continue to do our part by taking prudent actions to reduce spending and generate cost-savings, but we also need the state to do its part to invest in Iowa State University for today and for the future."

Without an increase in state support, she said it will get more difficult to retain excellent faculty and staff through competitive salaries, implement "tens of millions of dollars" in technology that improve operations and the student experience, or put a dent in the backlog of deferred maintenance projects.

The board also will include two Iowa State projects in the five-year (FY2023-27) capital funding proposal it submits to the state Oct. 1:

  • A $60.8 million request over four years (FY23-26) for an estimated $64.3 million, 69,300 square-foot second phase to the under-construction Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, scheduled for completion in August 2023. Construction on the addition could begin in 2024, said facilities planning and management director Paul Fuligni. With the addition, the VDL could consolidate all testing, research and administrative services under one roof. Included in the current building project is space for the lab's case receiving, sample processing, pathology, necropsy and bacteriology functions and a new incinerator. The addition would provide space for these functions: molecular diagnostics, virology, toxicology, serology, analytical chemistry and administration.
  • An $18.9 million request over four years (FY24-27) to replace LeBaron Hall and renovate a small portion of MacKay Hall. A proposed $21.5 million in private gifts and $14 million in university funds would round out the funding for the two-phased, estimated $54.4 million project. As proposed, phase 1 would replace the existing building with 50,000 new square feet and renovate a connecting area in MacKay; phase 2 would add another 20,000 square feet to the south end of the new building.

Campaign summary

Wintersteen said more than 96,000 donors designated their gifts to the recently completed $1.542 billion "Forever True, For Iowa State" campaign for these purposes:

  • $500 million for student support, including 56,000 scholarships.
  • 148 new named faculty positions, which provide faculty with resources to invest in teaching programs, research and other strategic priorities.
  • $548 million for program support such as the "One Health" initiative in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • $275 million for new or renovated facilities, including the Student Innovation Center, Stark Performance Center and Gerdin Business Building addition.

In other university business:

  • During the public comment portion of the meeting, Faculty Senate president Andrea Wheeler and president-elect Jon Perkins asked board members to reconsider their prohibition of a mask mandate on the university campuses and allow faculty to set the rules for their classrooms.
  • The board approved a request to close four outreach or research programs due to concluded funding, a leader departure or both: Center for International Agricultural Finance, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Center for Arthropod Management Technologies and Center for Nanotechnology in Cementitious Systems.


New learning paths give shape to LinkedIn courses

There are more than 16,000 courses available on LinkedIn Learning, which provides 24/7 professional development, skill-building and training of all sorts to every Iowa State employee.

Making the most of the platform's deep library is now a little bit simpler, as university human resources (UHR) has created 14 "learning paths," training courses built from LinkedIn Learning material to address common professional development needs.

Extensive options are part of what makes free and unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning, formerly, such a valuable resource. Need a primer on presentation design? A crash course on SharePoint? Confused about what a blockchain is? Interested in food photography? No problem. There's a course on those topics and countless others on LinkedIn Learning, which the university has offered to employees for more than a decade.

Learning paths give users a way to navigate through a substantial training program on LinkedIn Learning, finding the best and most useful instruction on broad topics among a breadth of choices, said Ed Holland, UHR benefits and WorkLife director. 

"LinkedIn's catalog is expansive. We've tried to package courses to help focus on some development tracks that employees will find relevant," he said. "And that may lead to exploring other resources available on LinkedIn."  

ISU's learning path topics are a mix of development areas identified by UHR and frequent requests from employees, such as the Professional and Scientific Council's push in recent years for expanding supervisor training, Holland said.

"We realize this isn't going to solve every training issue, but it's something we could get to campus quickly by leveraging the resources already available to employees," he said.

The paths range in duration from about five hours to 12 hours. The virtual modules are easy to progress through as time allows, since courses save the point where a user pauses. Links to ISU learning paths are available on UHR's WorkLife website under the growth and development menu. They're accessible via an Okta login.

UHR will solicit employee feedback on the learning paths, including possible new paths to offer, Holland said. Here are the titles and lengths of the paths currently offered: