Welcome to spring semester

Accounting instructor Anne Clem at the front of the classroom

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Teaching professor of accounting Anne Clem introduces herself to students at the outset of her Accounting 284 -- Financial Accounting class Tuesday, the first day of the semester. Clem is in her 28th year teaching the course for the business college, reaching 600-800 students per term.

"Every semester is an opportunity to share with a new group of students as they discover their passions, interests and strengths. It is amazing to get to be a small part of their journey while they're at Iowa State. The first days of class are among my favorite days of each year," Clem said.

December payslip reinforces financial value of employee benefits

Iowa State employees know one of the advantages of working at the university is the strong benefits package it provides.

With tax season approaching and employees looking for a complete view of their financial situation, it can be helpful to see the value of the benefits, especially following the last payslip of 2022 in December. Employees can access their payslips by clicking on the "Pay" app on the Workday home screen. Each one includes a section called "Employer Paid Benefits" where the cost of the university's share of benefits and mandatory deductions is listed and itemized, on both a per-pay-period and year-to-date basis.

With the year-to-date totals, every employee's December payslip shows how much Iowa State spent on their benefits that year, said Ed Holland, director of benefits for university human resources. While situations differ widely, the annual tally for ISU-paid benefits can be a sizable sum.

"The December payslip really gives you a good sense of what your employer has paid and what you have paid over the course of the year for benefits," he said. "It shows the investment the university puts into you each year."

Seeing indirect compensation outlined in an easy-to-understand manner also can help raise awareness about benefits, Holland said. Employees may notice that Iowa State, like all employers, matches employee tax contributions for Medicare and Social Security, the latter listed in Workday as OASDI (old age, survivors and disability insurance). Or they could see a benefit they forgot they had, such as basic life insurance, that's provided by ISU for employees. 


Governor provides funds for second phase of veterinary diagnostic lab

The front doors of the new veterinary diagnostic lab

Interior finishing work continues on phase 1 construction at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, scheduled for completion this fall. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Jan. 17 announced $40 million in funding for phase 2 of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) at the College of Veterinary Medicine campus.

The governor also proposed in her budget an additional $20 million from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund -- $10 million each in fiscal years 2024 and 2025 -- to total $60 million in state support for the project.

"The Veterinary Diagnostic Lab is absolutely critical to support and protect our state and country's agriculture industry and food supply," Reynolds said in a news release. "This investment will significantly expand the VDL's capacity to support Iowa's $32.5 billion animal agriculture industry and will keep this nationally-recognized lab on the forefront of cutting-edge technology. Iowa will remain a global leader in agriculture, combatting foreign animal diseases, and recruiting and retaining veterinary talent."

In its fall funding requests to the 2023 Iowa Legislature, the university sought $62.5 million in state support over four years for the proposed $66.5 million second phase of the state laboratory. Rounding out the funding would be $2.7 million in university funds and $1.3 million in private gifts. Reynolds' announcement provides 60% of the funds needed for a second phase, which, when completed, would allow all VDL operations to be in one facility.

"We are deeply grateful to Gov. Reynolds for allocating these critical resources to construct phase 2 of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "This funding will help ensure the VDL can continue to provide cutting-edge services and support to Iowa's livestock and poultry producers."

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig also expressed gratitude for Reynolds' decision to provide funds for what he called a "critical piece of infrastructure."

"The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is enormously important to Iowa's nation-leading livestock industry and provides immeasurable expertise on worldwide animal health and food safety issues," Naig said. "Our close partnership with the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has been essential in implementing our response to the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak, and we rely on their team's recommendations as we enhance our preparedness for other foreign animal disease threats."

The initial $40 million state investment in phase 2 is available from funds directed to Iowa in the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the U.S. Congress' third major pandemic recovery package.

Phase 1 is 80% complete

The $75 million first phase of the VDL is about 80% complete and scheduled for occupancy late this fall. The first phase is supported by $63.5 million in state appropriations over five years (FY19-23), $7.5 million in university funds and $4 million in private gifts.

A second phase is necessary because 80% of the existing lab's work and services were not able to be included in Phase 1. These critical diagnostic services include molecular diagnostics, serology, virology, analytical chemistry, toxicology and pharmacology, genetic sequencing, bioinformatics, BSL-3 lab, and the VDL's research and development function.

Fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the VDL provides quality diagnostic services for animals. The staff at the full-service laboratory process more than 100,000 cases each year and conduct more than 1.5 million tests annually.

Web theme implementation is underway

Websites using the university's new design are starting to pop up. The mobile-friendly web theme -- based on the new Iowa State homepage that debuted last summer -- is free to download. Page design flexibility is built in, with a suite of component blocks that work for both text- and visuals-heavy websites.

The central website theme is an important part of President Wendy Wintersteen's "one university" initiative, giving users a consistent online look and feel from site to site. In a June 22 memo, Wintersteen asked campus units to support a universitywide transition to the new theme, beginning with a July 2023 goal for student-focused sites.

"Let's continue to work together as one university on the strategies and practices that lift up Iowa State, enhance our reputation and strengthen our brand," Wintersteen wrote.

Resources and tools

A resource website (theme.iastate.edu) provides web developers and content managers with tools for implementing the new theme, including:

  • A web style guide with component block details and guidance for things like content creation, information architecture, accessibility, and search engine optimization
  • General informational training videos for developers and content creators
  • Page design samples
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Developer tools, including a fractal library with asset documentation
  • Free downloads in multiple versions

Website builders also are invited to join an informal discussion forum on Microsoft Teams to learn about theme updates, crowd-source ideas, or report bugs/issues.

Theme package options

There are several options for implementing the new web theme, including a base package that can be developed for use in any content management system, a raw PHP version and a fully developed WordPress version of the package. Drupal users can contact either IT services' web development team or the CALS/LAS web development team for more information about the Drupal version. Departments and units that work with a third-party vendor should direct them to the resource website to ensure consistent implementation of the theme.

Next steps

Don't know where to start or need help? Contact project manager Erin Rosacker, edavison@iastate.edu or 515-294-8870.


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What to remember about campus in winter

Students weren't the only ones to return to campus this week. Several inches of snow also fell Wednesday into Thursday.

Knowing where to park when significant snow covers campus parking lots will help you and the facilities planning and management (FPM) crews that clear lots. Drivers are asked to not park in their usual parking lots until they have been cleared. There are several designated lots where all valid ISU parking permits will be honored:

  • Southwest corner of Iowa State Center (lots A3, A4, B5 and B6)
  • North of Molecular Biology (lots 29 and 30)
  • North of General Services Building (lot 41)

Anyone parking at the Iowa State Center can ride CyRide to campus. The free #23 Orange route runs at five- to 10-minute intervals. During significant weather events, CyRide adds buses to routes to assist the campus community.

FPM crews follow these six priorities for clearing snow and ice:

  • Roadways serving university facilities
  • Parking lots: Accessible spaces, then permit spaces and general spaces
  • Main walkways traversing campus and leading to main building entrances
  • Main building entrances and accessible entrances
  • Secondary sidewalks (those not in the primary route to campus facilities but instead leading to side or back doors
  • Secondary building entrances including side and back entrances and limited-access exits

Employees may use the online report a problem form or call 294-5100 to let FPM know about spots where ice or snow are a concern.

Safe walking

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) developed safe winter walking posters in PDF format that can be printed and hung in buildings across campus. EHS has five tips for walking on snow or ice:

  • Plan ahead to give yourself time.
  • Wear shoes or boots with good traction.
  • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles, entering or leaving buildings and climbing or descending stairs.
  • Walk on designated walkways.
  • Use short steps or shuffle for stability.

There are salt/sand shakers located in many building entrances across campus that employees and students may use to treat problem areas. If more salt/sand is needed during the snow season, call 294-5100.

Safe driving

EHS offers several tips for winter driving:

  • Remove all snow and ice from windows, headlights and taillights before you drive.
  • Make sure all movements are controlled and deliberate. Accelerate slowly to avoid loss of traction and loss of control.
  • Move in a manner that will allow others to adjust to your actions.
  • Anticipate actions of other drivers and dive defensivley.
  • Bridges and overpasses freeze before other road surfaces -- use caution.
  • Remember -- "Smooth and slow on ice and snow." Beware of "black ice" when the roadway appears dry but the color of the pavement is darker and dull looking.
  • Driving in winter conditions causes rapid mental and physical fatigue and reduces reaction times.
  • Use greater following distances. Stopping distances on roads with ice and snow can triple over distances under normal conditions. Double or triple the two second-count rule to create a buffer zone behind the vehicle in front of yours.
  • Pass with care; passing lanes are not as well maintained as driving lanes.
  • Brake and steer gently and deliberately. Brake carefully with short rapid application of the brakes.
  • Turn on your low-beam headlights or fog lights whenever fog, rain or snow reduces visibility. High beams increase the glare and reduce visibility.

Exhibition is a closer look at Jack Trice sculptures

As part of Iowa State's yearlong centennial observance of Jack Trice, university museums commissioned artist and Iowa State alumnus King Au, Des Moines, to capture three sculptures of Trice in creative photography for its permanent collection. Au's new works of art are featured in the exhibition, Through the Photographic Lens of King Au: Honoring Jack Trice, which opened this week in the Neva M. Petersen Gallery, lower level hallway of the Christian Petersen Art Museum at Morrill Hall. It runs through Oct. 8 and is open to the public weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Giclée print of Jack Trice sculpture

Game Day, by King Au, 2022. Giclée image commissioned by University Museums on the centennial of Jack Trice's death. Part of the Art on Campus collection.

An opening reception will be held Saturday, Jan. 21 (2-4 p.m., Morrill Hall), with remarks from Au scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The event is free and the public is invited.

"Art has the power to commemorate, memorialize, celebrate and honor," said university museums director Lynette Pohlman. "King Au has been photographing Iowa State's Art on Campus Collection since 1995. In this exhibition, he adds his own unique interpretations of Jack Trice's legacy."

The exhibition includes large giclée prints, text about Trice and artist's video, "Beyond Game Day Conversations," about the project concept and implementation. In one of the commissioned images, "Game Day," Au celebrates Trice as an athlete and leader of his time, depicting Ed Dwight's 2009 sculpture I Will! The Jack Trice Legacy. Confetti-like football tickets are added to this image, each one with a barcode that scans to and represents an actual seat at Jack Trice Stadium.

Au earned bachelor's (1982) and master's (1985) degrees in architecture from Iowa State.

University museums will host several other special events this semester connected to the Trice centennial commemoration:

Sketching on Napkins | The Jack Trice Tribute Story: Breaking Barriers

  • Sunday, Jan. 29, 2-3 p.m., 1017 Morrill
  • Repeated Thursday, Feb. 9, noon-12:50 p.m., 1017 Morrill
  • This program explores the 2022 sculpture near the north entrance to the stadium by artist Ivan Toth Depeña that honors, commemorates and memorializes Trice's campus legacy as expressed through the power of art. It includes a video with Depeña, done in partnership with Cyclones.tv, on the process of creating Breaking Barriers.

Art walk: Athletics and the Body

  • Wednesday, March 29, noon-1 p.m., begins outside State Gym
  • Museums docent Steve Petska will lead an art walk that focuses on depiction of the human form in the university's Art on Campus collection.

Art walk: In Commemoration (registration required)

  • Wednesday, April 12, noon-1 p.m., begins at Christian Petersen Art Museum, Morrill Hall
  • Join Lynette Pohlman, director and chief curator, to explore the legacy of Jack Trice and commemorative sculptures honoring him, as well as the tradition of commemorative sculptures at Iowa State.