A warm Cyclone welcome

Female employee in red shirt talks with female students

Photo by Christopher Gannon.


Chrissy Rhodes (center), a communications specialist in the residence department, speaks with an incoming student and her mom Tuesday morning at the resource fair in the Student Innovation Center, a Day 2 component (10 a.m.-noon) of new student orientation. Expect families on campus later this weekend; one of two orientation sessions with a Sunday start is June 9. New student orientation runs through June 28; a one-day orientation for transfer students will be held Monday, July 1.

New contract automatically posts ISU jobs to LinkedIn

A new partnership between Iowa State and LinkedIn Corporation will automatically post university job openings on the LinkedIn platform. All openings -- faculty, professional and scientific, merit -- that are posted externally via Workday and appear on the ISU Jobs site will be shared to LinkedIn, where they'll appear on the Iowa State company page.

Formerly, it was a case-by-case decision to post ISU job vacancies to LinkedIn.

"We're excited about this partnership. It will save time and money while also sharing our university job opportunities with an audience of millions," said Dawn Kepley, associate director of talent acquisition in university human resources (UHR). "Search committees, hiring managers and our talent acquisition team no longer need to manually post jobs to LinkedIn if they are posted externally via Workday."

An initial one-year contract began June 1.

Kepley said the partnership with LinkedIn provides these additional benefits to Iowa State:

  • An overall cost savings of 50% compared with annual average payments to LinkedIn for job advertisements.
  • Candidates can apply in Workday directly from LinkedIn.
  • Would-be candidates can opt in to receive job alerts via email for specified fields and positions and receive notifications via their LinkedIn profile.
  • Candidates can view Iowa State job openings in their LinkedIn newsfeed and through search results.
  • ISU employees have the option to share Iowa State job openings with their LinkedIn network and on all social media platforms.

Expanded visibility in LinkedIn

LinkedIn is both a professional networking and job posting platform, with the potential to reach candidates in all stages of their career journey. According to its 2024 membership data, LinkedIn has more than a billion members on its platform, with close to 64 million users seeking jobs every week. Among active members, higher education is the second-highest employing industry, behind only health care.

Learn more about where ISU jobs are featured on LinkedIn (PDF). Questions may be directed to UHR talent acquisition at employment@iastate.edu.

Farewell, 'click here': Choosing descriptive text for your links

Hyperlinks are an easy way to share with readers useful information we don't need to (or perhaps want to) include in our own document. Absent a broken URL, they usually serve their purpose, but some link language is clearer, more helpful and more accessible than others. Inside worked with the communications and digital accessibility teams in IT Services on a few best practices for creating descriptive and accessible text links in websites, emails, documents or course materials.

Word choices matter

Red and gold graphic of laptop screen with IT for me

Select words and phrases for your links that are descriptive, self-explanatory and clear about their destination. For example, nomination instructions, campus parking map or contact us are short and unambiguous. Read more about how we select our cohort is less clear about where you're taking your readers.

A single word -- for example, directions -- may not be descriptive enough to stand on its own.

The words in a link should make sense and provide information even if you isolate them. Avoid using uninformative phrases such as:

  • Click here
  • Here
  • More
  • Read more
  • Link to [a destination]
  • Info

In fact, the phrase "click here" is unnecessary even when it precedes more meaningful words. Click here for the list of award recipients can be shortened to Award recipients. "Click here" also assumes every user is operating with a mouse, but some may be using their keyboard or other assistive technology to navigate links.

Less -- with impact

Links should be as concise as possible without sacrificing meaning. In most cases, that can be accomplished with several words or a phrase. Workshop registration or lab safety checklist make their point. Unfortunately, there is no maximum allowable length of link text -- a sentence or entire paragraph are possibilities -- so resist that temptation and convey the purpose of the link -- but no more.

Linking to non-HTML resources

Alert your readers when your link takes them to non-website sources such as PDF, Word or PowerPoint files. This cue content should be presented inside the link, rather than just after it, so it's included with the link for screen reader users. For example, spring semester enrollment (PDF) is preferred to spring semester enrollment (PDF). If your link will open in a new window or tab, tell your readers that, too: spring semester enrollment (opens in new window).

More considerations for digital accessibility

Well-planned links aren't just about helpful language; they're also critical to accessibility. The federal deadline for accessibility compliance is coming in early 2026. Here are a few more best practices that will help get your digital content ready:

  • Readers with vision disabilities may use a screen reader which converts on-screen content to audio. Screen readers say "link" before reading each link, so again, there's no need to include language such as "link to."
  • Avoid listing a long URL as your link -- and not just because they're ugly. Screen readers must break down the URL to its letters, numbers and characters, which isn't a useful sequence to hear for the screen reader user. The exception might be a web address that's a short word or words, for example, housing.iastate.edu.
  • The temptation to copy and paste full URLs as the link is especially common in emails. The best practice is to use the "insert link" option and write a descriptive text hyperlink.
  • Browsers and digital programs typically underline hypertext links by default, so don't change this. To avoid confusion, non-link text shouldn't be underlined.
  • Use accessible color constrast for your link. Colored text also signifies a link, but a mildly contrasting color may not meet accessibility requirements. WebAIM's color contrast checker or the TPGi color contrast analyzer can help you assess your selections. Don't rely solely on color to indicate links; use color in tandem with underlining.
  • When an image is your link, provide alternative text ("alt text") to convey the content of the image and its purpose. (Writing useful alt text is a topic for another story.)
  • Avoid overlapping or consecutive links because the screen reader might not decipher where one link ends and the next begins. Links that are too close together also make it difficult for users to select one, especially on mobile touch devices. One solution is to put the links in a list, either bulleted or numbered.


Residence cleaning heats up for summer visitors, fall students

Man in T-shirt and jeans moves wooden wardrobe in dorm room

Custodian Ken Meeder moves a wardrobe away from the wall as part of his deep cleaning of residence hall rooms, an annual task he's doing for the last time this summer. Photo by Angie Hunt.


As the elevator doors opened to a quiet second floor, Ken Meeder pushed his custodian cart across the hall and unlocked the door to room 2227 in Martin Hall.

Just days earlier, the Iowa State residence hall was bustling with activity as students wrapped up the spring semester and moved out for the summer. Now, the walls in room 2227 were bare, wardrobes and desk drawers empty -- nothing left behind by the students who made this room their home.  

After a quick assessment of the space, Meeder fell into his routine of dusting desks and wardrobes, wiping down the walls and moving furniture to sweep and mop the floors. It takes about an hour, on average, to clean each room. With nearly 5,000 rooms and apartments on campus, it's no small task.

But that doesn't seem to faze Meeder, a custodial lead for the department of residence. In his 24th year at Iowa State, the summer routine is one that Meeder and his team know well and approach with pride.

"There is pride, there really is. The areas where they work all year, because everyone is assigned to an area, that really becomes their pride and joy," Meeder said. "The staff really works hard to do a good job and believe me, they do work hard."

The magic behind the scenes

Planning for summer cleaning usually starts in January or February. Nate Wise, interim assistant director for residence halls building services, said that in addition to deep cleaning all the rooms after an academic year, his team must prepare for thousands of visitors staying in the residence halls this summer.

The turnaround begins immediately, which is why the custodial team spent graduation weekend cleaning rooms for ISU students staying on campus for the summer and for athletes competing in the Iowa Special Olympics May 16-18. By the time students and their families started arriving May 20 for Odyssey of the Mind's world finals competition, the custodial staff had worked 15 days straight.

And that was just the first two weeks of summer break. The department also hosts visitors for athletic camps, long-term academic programs and other special events. Wise said it wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork and dedication of the 102 custodians in the residence halls.

"When you think of the sheer numbers and the staff numbers we have, you look at it and think it's impossible for us to do this job. And the staff does it day in and day out," Wise said.

"They're dedicated to our students and the folks we have as visitors," he added. "They really are the ones behind the scenes that make the magic happen."

It's home

Despite the daunting to-do list, Meeder said he enjoys the summer months and what he feels is a "more relaxed atmosphere" on campus.

This is the last summer Meeder will spend deep cleaning and preparing the residence halls for fall. He plans to retire in November, just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday. And after 24 years on the job, he said the residence halls have become more than a place to work.

"It's home,” Meeder said. "It's more than a second home. And with the years that I've been here, to me everybody is like my son or daughter or grandchild."


Tuition, CYTown agreements are on regents agenda

Tuition rates for the 2024-25 academic year and an agreement between Iowa State and Ames-based McFarland Clinic for the first building in CYTown are on the agenda when the state Board of Regents meets June 11-13 at the University of Iowa. The meeting agenda is online and public sessions of the meeting will be livestreamed on the regents' website.

Board members met May 10 for a first review of proposed tuition increases, at Iowa State a 3% for resident undergraduates and 4.5% for nonresident undergraduates and all graduate students except those in the executive MBA program. The Ivy College of Business proposes a 10% tuition increase for its executive MBA program to cover cost increases in materials, instruction and participant travel.

As proposed, tuition for students enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program would increase 5% for residents and 3.5% for nonresidents.

Student leaders from the three universities will have time to comment on the proposed increases during the meeting.

The table below presents proposed tuition and mandatory fee rates for fall. Tuition rates don't reflect supplemental tuition paid by students in specific colleges or programs.


Base tuition and fees: 2024-25 academic year


Proposed tuition


Proposed tuition
and fees










































*Years 1-3, fourth year is 12 months


The Business college also is in the second of a three-year process to align tuition rates for sophomore business majors with those for juniors and seniors, who have paid supplemental tuition since fall 2009. The proposed increase is $1,340 for resident sophomores and $2,476 for nonresidents.

Iowa State also has proposed a $20 increase (1.3%) to students' mandatory fees, split among the technology fee ($10 increase), recreation fee ($7 increase) and Memorial Union building fee ($3 increase). As proposed, all Iowa State students would pay at least $1,535 in mandatory fees. Students in specific programs pay a higher technology fee, according to the demands of that program.

Iowa State requested a $4.5 million increase (about 2.6%) to its general university operating appropriation for the budget year that begins July 1. The Legislature increased that appropriation by $4.35 million.

CYTown agreements

The proposed land lease agreement between the university and McFarland is for 30 years, with five-year renewal options. As proposed, McFarland would lease 30,000 square feet in the south end of the under-development CYTown district north of the football stadium, on which it would build and operate a medical facility for the primary purpose of providing ISU student-athletes convenient access to orthopedic and imaging services. Secondarily, the clinic would complement Thielen Student Health Center by providing after-hours and weekend services.

As proposed, McFarland Clinic would pay to construct its building. Upon completion, ownership would transfer to the university, which would lease it to McFarland. Iowa State leaders anticipate that all property and facilities constructed in the CYTown area would be owned by the university and remain property tax-exempt.

McFarland would pay Iowa State $50,000 per year in rent, increasing $5,000 per year for 30-years.

The board also will be asked to approve a proposed agreement between Iowa State and the city of Ames that establishes a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for CYTown tenants. Following a proposed timeline, collected funds would be reinvested in the CYTown development, including existing performing arts facilities at the Iowa State Center. The amount of PILOT to be collected for each building each year would be calculated similarly to the assessment and collection of property taxes in Ames.

Salary policy

University salary policies for the year that begins July 1 also are on the agenda.

As announced in November 2022 and following a transition this fiscal year, Iowa State will implement FY25 salary increases on Jan. 1, 2025, for faculty, professional and scientific (P&S) staff, contract staff and post docs. The timing shift puts some space between state appropriation decisions, the regents' tuition-setting process and parameters for employee salary increases. The change also moves the window for performance evaluations for those employees to the fall.

The agenda item gives authority to executive director Mark Braun to approve salary policies when the universities submit them this summer or fall.

Part of the salary increase for Iowa State's approximately 1,100 merit employees follows the state's two-year contract with Council 61 (PDF) of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. That contract calls for an across-the-board 3% increase on July 1. As proposed, merit employees also would be eligible for a performance-based increase of 1% to 2% on their anniversary date at the university.

Iowa State also is requesting a 3% adjustment to the P&S pay grade structure (PDF) , effective July 1. The proposal is based on median increases for higher education and general industry since the last adjustment in March 2022. Employees whose salary falls below the new minimum in their grade would be increased to at least the minimum by Oct.1.

Executive evaluations

Board members will complete annual performance evaluations of the three university presidents in a closed session Tuesday, June 11. The board would share any compensation decisions Thursday morning during the full board meeting.


The board (or board committees) is scheduled to receive these presentations:

  • Supporting students and faculty with open education resources, with Anne Marie Gruber, librarian and coordinator of the Textbook Equity initiative, University of Northern Iowa; and Mahrya Burnett, librarian and member of Iowa OER, University of Iowa; and Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost, Iowa State; academic affairs committee, Wednesday 10:45 a.m.
  • 2024 changes to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (changes since 2020 and anticipated impact), with Jamie Jorgensen and Maria Lukas, office of general counsel, University of Iowa, free speech and student affairs committee, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.
  • Faculty research, "Bible and Archaeology: A New Entrepreneurial Approach to Humanities Public Education," with Robert Cargill, Roger A. Hornsby Associate Professor in the Classics, University of Iowa, full board, Thursday, 11:30 a.m.


Rec services app provides ease, information

Ray Schmidt remembers the frustration. The Iowa State alumnus recalls walking from his dorm to State Gymnasium to work out but forgetting his student ID. Schmidt, recreation services' marketing director, and other members no longer have to retrace their steps as long as they have their cellphone and a mobile app. 

Launched in August 2022, the rec services app provides quick and easy information on 20 topics from a real-time visitor count to personal training and fitness classes. Schmidt said the most popular feature is the digital ID generator users scan for entry. Members -- including more than 530 faculty and staff -- no longer need to bring a wallet or purse to the gym.

"The app makes it easier for our members, but also it deters pass backs, where someone scans in and then gives their card to someone else to use. The app generates a unique code each time," Schmidt said. "We also saw that most of our website traffic comes from mobile devices, so it was like a seamless transition with the app."

The app -- available in Apple and Google Play app stores -- also provides links to facility hours, equipment rental, the Adventure Program and more. Schmidt said the real-time visitor count helps faculty and staff avoid the busiest times of day -- before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

"During the noon hour we see a lot of faculty and staff because we have fitness classes specifically catered to that audience. They can work out and still get ready for their classes or work," he said. "We also have retirees who book our personal trainers, and that is beneficial for them and our students who are interested in that field after graduation."

Competitively priced

Schmidt said rec services keeps membership costs competitive with other options in the Ames area to encourage faculty and staff to join. Memberships are available by the day, week, month or year.

An annual membership costs $30 per month and includes the recreation centers, yoga studio, cycling studio and functional training. Schmidt said individual memberships for each of those services at private facilities could add up to $380 or more each month.