Man of the hour


Iowa State students got a rare opportunity this week -- a chance to meet the university's first Nobel laureate, Dan Shechtman, a research scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and professor of materials science and engineering. In October, Shechtman was named the recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of quasicrystals. For about eight months each year, Shechtman also serves as the Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology.


The College of Engineering produced a video recap of Shechtman's press conference and student reception.

The College of Engineering organized a student reception in Shechtman's honor on Feb. 14. Students received an "autograph" card, which contains facts and stats about Shechtman; a lapel pin in the shape of a quasicrystal (similar to a pentagon); and temporary ISU tattoos. Students also perused displays about materials science, sponsored by undergraduate and graduate student groups.

Shechtman will share the story of his 1982 discovery of quasicrystals during a public lecture Feb. 20 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall). The campus community is invited. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Next phase of Biorenewables Complex starts soon; some parking lots affected

When construction of phase two of Iowa State’s Biorenewables Complex begins next month, one impact will be to parking lots on the west and north sides of campus.

Project manager Mark Huss, a facilities planning and management engineer, said excavation and site preparation will get under way on March 12. During the construction project, general staff parking Lot 6 (west of the construction site) will close and become a fenced work area for two years. The east/west sidewalk between the College of Design and the Biorenewables Research Laboratory (phase 1) will remain open.

Beginning March 10, faculty and staff with general parking permits who usually park in Lot 6 will need to find spaces in other general staff lots on campus. Parking division manager Mark Miller said he expects most people will move to open stalls in general staff lots west and north of the Molecular Biology and Communications buildings. The Ames Intermodal Facility at Hayward Avenue and Chamberlain Street, scheduled for completion this June, also will provide an additional 400 parking stalls. Approximately 20 employees with reserved spaces in Lot 6 were reassigned to other lots on the west edge of campus.

Miller said that 60 percent of the parking stalls in Lot 6 will become available again when phase two of the Biorenewables Complex is completed.

Phase 2 construction

The project will include a:

  • 70,000-square-foot office and classroom wing (Virgil B. Elings Hall)
  • 100,000-square-foot research and teaching wing and 8,000-square-foot atrium (Sukup Hall and Atrium)
  • 150-seat auditorium

It is being funded through $60.4 million in state appropriations over four years and $14.1 million in private gifts.

When it’s completed in the summer of 2014, this second phase of the Biorenewables Complex will be home to the agricultural and biosystems engineering department. The facilities are being designed to pursue a LEED® Gold level certification, as the Biorenewables Research Laboratory and Hach Hall already have received.

A color-coded campus parking map is available online.

Council discusses salary recommendation

Members of the Professional and Scientific Council discussed a salary recommendation for FY13 at their Feb. 9 meeting, turning a draft motion over to the executive committee to refine and submit to university administrators.

The draft motion introduced by the compensation and benefits committee asked for a minimum salary increase of 1.75 percent for employees who received satisfactory performance appraisals. The recommendation also encouraged the use of the exceptional performance pay program and additional funds to address market and other equity needs.

Brenda Behling, assistant to the executive vice president and provost, reminded council members that fiscal planning now includes the new salary adjustment policy, which sets minimum and maximum percentage increases for both faculty and P&S staff.

"The administrative units are required to plan for the allocation of salary increases, and that's a new concept," Behling said. "Prior to that, we had salary bills that provided the funding."

Faculty Senate president Steve Freeman said the senate's resource policies and allocations council recommended a 1 percent minimum increase, with the expectation that departments would plan for additional merit increases (1 to 2 percent).

Dissatisfaction with the draft motion and a short turnaround time for its submission to administrators prompted the council's unanimous decision to send the recommendation to the executive committee for immediate work.

President-elect David Orman said the executive committee, which convened immediately after Thursday's council meeting, "settled on a 1 percent [minimum] recommendation." The recommendation was forwarded to the office of the executive vice president and provost. He said a revised draft motion likely will be approved at the Feb. 16 executive committee meeting and then forwarded to the University Budget Advisory Committee, which meets Feb. 27.

Other business

The council committees compiled lists of issues and priorities for a master "visioning list" that the executive committee plans to review over the coming weeks. Orman said the executive group will identify what items on the list to continue monitoring or move forward.

Marvelous place for a frightful time

king pavilion

Second-year architecture students working upstairs this week in the College of Design's bustling King Pavilion were nearing the end of an assignment that asked them to create machines that invoke some type of human phobia: Entrapment, weightlessness, speed, not being in control anyone? Photo by Bob Elbert.

Design reorganization plan gets senate approval

A reorganization plan for the College of Design sailed through the Faculty Senate with unanimous support at the body's Feb. 14 meeting. The senate's endorsement of the plan will be forwarded to executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman.

The reorganization plan (PDF) calls for expansion from four to seven departments in the college, including:

  • Architecture
  • Community and regional planning
  • Graphic design
  • Industrial design
  • Integrated studio arts
  • Interior design
  • Landscape architecture

Next time

Three issues will be up for a vote at next month's meeting. Senators will consider:

  • Faculty Handbook (section updates, adding language about Iowa State's conflict of commitment policy
  • Faculty Handbook changes, adding a new section ( to reflect the university's new research misconduct policy
  • Recommended items for inclusion in class syllabi, including statements on academic dishonesty, disability accommodation, dead week, harassment and discrimination, religious accommodation and contact information for academic issues.

Other business

Senators unanimously endorsed a resolution asking the state Board of Regents to grant the title of president emeritus to former president Gregory Geoffroy. When asked, Hoffman said history showed it is customary to grant the title to ISU presidents who retired from the presidency and did not take a position at another institution.

Dan Zhu, associate professor in supply chain and information systems, was elected chair of the academic affairs council, running unopposed. The position opened when Suzanne Hendrich (food science and human nutrition) stepped down to take over senate president-elect duties.

Take part in interactive art

Jennifer Drinkwater

University Museums invites the public to a series of studio open houses with artist and ISU art and design lecturer Jennifer Drinkwater. Her interactive project, "Working Over Wood: Recomposing the Grant Wood Murals," is housed in the Christian Petersen Art Museum, 0003 Morrill Hall.

Check in and win

Visitors using the foursquare app on their mobile devices can check in during the studio open house and receive a free Grant Wood poster.

Drinkwater is encouraging visitors to help recompose the nine-panel 1934 Grant Wood mural, "When Tillage Begins, Other Arts Follow." She recreated the mural on steel panels (2.5-by-6-feet each), allowing participants to position painted magnetic pieces to reflect their own interpretations. Drinkwater also is soliciting ideas and suggestions for more magnetic additions to the project.

"This is artwork we want people to touch and interact with," said Allison Sheridan, University Museums collections manager and communication coordinator. "Normally, museums would cringe at saying 'please touch the art.'"

The display is open daily during museum hours. Drinkwater's open studio hours take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays through April, except March 16. Photo by Bob Elbert.

In the home stretch


Junior Chelsea Poppens (shooting) and her Cyclone teammates will play two Big 12 Conference foes at Hilton in the next week: Saturday against Oklahoma (a Pink Zone game) and Tuesday against Missouri. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.; tickets are $12 (reserved) or $10 (general admission), youth tickets are half price. 

Following three more regular season games, head coach Bill Fennelly's squad then will wait to see if it earns a spot in postseason play. Hilton will be a site for first- and second-round games March 17 and 19 in the women's NCAA Championship. Photo provided by Iowa State Athletics Communications.