Going green, Cyclone style

green two

It truly was a team effort last Friday on a section of north-exposure roof at the Memorial Union. A former gravel-topped roof, approximately 15 feet by 60 feet, was replaced with a green roof – in this case, 1-foot by 2-feet trays of 2-year-old sedum and allium varieties that are both shade and drought tolerant. With funding from the MU and the Government of the Student Body, logistical support from facilities planning and management and Central States Roofing of Ames, and plantings from Roof Top Sedums in Davenport, student volunteers with various green connections placed about 350 trays of plantings on a cool, drizzly day. The roof design was created by senior horticulture student Miles Thompson (pictured below), who happens to work in the MU and long coveted the roof as a great location for a green roof (it's the primary entrance to the building from the parking ramp). The MU green roof joins these others on campus: King Pavilion, Horticulture Hall, a Bissell Road bus stop and the Biorenewables Research Laboratory. Photos by Bob Elbert.

P.S. Thompson not only is fond of green roofs; he's also a Cyclone fan. See it in his design?


Three provost finalists will interview on campus next week

Three finalists have been named in the search for Iowa State's senior vice president and provost. They are:

  • David Manderscheid, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Carlo Montemagno, founding dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati
  • Jonathan Wickert, dean of the College of Engineering

"We're pleased to have this set of accomplished finalists for this important leadership position at Iowa State," said Wendy Wintersteen, chair of the search committee and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "We look forward to their upcoming visits to campus and encourage faculty, staff, students and members of the public to attend the open forums and provide comments on the finalists."

Manderscheid will be on campus April 23-25; Montemagno, April 26-28; and Wickert, April 22-24. Each will meet with members of the university community and participate in an open forum. The forum schedule is:

  • Wickert, Monday, April 23, 10:30 a.m., MU Pioneer Room
  • Manderscheid, Tuesday, April 24, 1:30 p.m., MU Pioneer Room
  • Montemagno, Friday, April 27, 10:45 a.m., MU Gallery

Those who wish to comment on finalists should submit an online evaluation by noon on Monday, April 30. The online evaluation form will be available on the senior vice president and provost search site. For those who cannot attend the forums, a video of each finalist will be posted to the search site shortly after each forum.

About the finalists



David Manderscheid has served as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of mathematics at the University of Nebraska since 2007. Prior to his current position, he was professor and chair of the department of mathematics at the University of Iowa for six years. He served as associate chair and director of the graduate program for the math department at the University of Iowa from 1997 to 2001. He began on the Iowa faculty in 1985 as a visiting assistant professor and National Science Foundation mathematical sciences postdoctoral fellow. Manderscheid also has worked as an instructor at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Manderscheid earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics (1976) at Michigan State University, East Lansing, and a doctorate in mathematics (1981) from Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Manderscheid's vita and campus visit schedule



Carlo Montemagno was named the founding dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati in 2010. Previously, he served as dean of the College of Engineering from 2006 to 2010 and dean of the College of Applied Science from 2009 to 2010. (The two colleges were integrated in 2010 as the College of Engineering and Applied Science.) Montemagno also is the Geier Professor of Engineering Education and a professor of bioengineering.

He was a faculty member, department chair and a center and institute administrator at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 2001 to 2006. He was on the Cornell University faculty for six years, and has worked in several positions for the Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy.

Montemagno earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural and biological engineering (1980) from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; a master's degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering (1990) from Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and a doctorate in civil engineering and geological sciences (1995) from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Montemagno's vita and campus visit schedule



Jonathan Wickert has served as dean of the College of Engineering since 2009. He is the James and Katherine Melsa Professor of Engineering and a professor of mechanical engineering. He came to Iowa State in 2007 as chair of the department of mechanical engineering and the Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Previously, he served 17 years on the faculty in the mechanical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Wickert earned bachelor's (1985) and master's (1987) degrees and a doctorate (1989), all in mechanical engineering, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Wickert's vita and campus visit schedule

In February, executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman announced she would step down from her post by the end of the calendar year and advised president Steven Leath to begin a search for her successor.

Senators hear about electronic class evaluation system

An electronic class evaluation system piloted in the fall of 2010 is in widespread use on campus today.  Sixty-eight percent of academic departments are using the Campus Climate system for class evaluation, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) director Ann Marie VanDerZanden told the Faculty Senate during its April 17 meeting.

"Yesterday, alone, we had 15,369 students attempting to complete an online course evaluation survey," she said.

In a report to the senate, VanDerZanden said the Campus Climate system was the result of interest among some colleges, departments and the provost's office in an electronic class evaluation system.

The fall 2010 pilot of the Class Climate software involved four colleges, 34 departments and some 8,300 students in 468 unique course sections. VanDerZanden said the Class Climate pilot:

  • Yielded a 75 percent response rate among students
  • Cost about 79 cents per student (software costs)
  • Required less staff time to administer than traditional paper evaluations

Representatives from every college, academic affairs and students affairs studied the results of that pilot. Subsequently, a recommendation to senior leadership proposed that the university move forward with Class Climate, VanDerZanden said.

By November 2011, 108 academic departments and other programs such as Engineering Student Services and CELT were using Class Climate.  

Class Climate response rates (percentages)

Fall 2011 65.5
Summer 2011 60.0
Spring 2011 74.4

Paper vs. electronic

While endorsing the value of class evaluation, several senators were skeptical of the electronic version. Traditionally, students have filled out paper evaluations during class time.  Some senators said they believe the in-class paper system lends itself to more thoughtful evaluations than those that can be done online virtually anytime and anywhere.

One senator bluntly said she's found students to be "mean" in electronic evaluations, something she attributes to the culture of online commenting.

VanDerZanden replied that instructors can require that Class Climate evaluations be done in class. The process requires instructors to get a password that is provided to students during class.

Student-athlete academics

Faculty athletics representative Tim Day presented senators with an annual academic report card on Cyclone student-athletes. For the fifth consecutive semester, Iowa State's student-athletes out-performed the general student body, earning cumulative grade points of 2.94 and 2.90 in the 2011 spring and fall semesters, respectively. That's just slightly better than the grade-gradepoint average of all students, which was 2.91 for spring and 2.88 for fall.

The six-year graduation rate for student-athletes dropped to 58 percent last fall, down from 64 percent in 2010. By comparison, the graduation rate for all students was 60 percent this fall.

For the second consecutive year, all of Iowa State's athletics teams cleared the NCAA's academic progress rate benchmark (925). Programs that fall below the minimum number on the retention and academic eligibility matrix are penalized. The Cyclone softball team led six programs (women's basketball, men's and women's golf, swimming, gymnastics and volleyball) that rated 990 or higher in 2011.

New academic programs

Senators approved an undergraduate wind energy minor that will be administered by an interdisciplinary group from departments within the Engineering; Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Agriculture and Life Sciences colleges. The minor is aimed at students majoring in engineering or meteorology.

Three master's degree programs also were approved, including:

  • A master of design in sustainable environments, an interdisciplinary program in the College of Design. It is targeted toward students with professional degrees in art, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, planning or engineering.
  • A master of urban design, an interdisciplinary program in the College of Design. Intended for students with degrees in architecture, landscape architecture or city planning; or students with professional design experience.
  • A master of engineering in engineering management, offered through distance education by the department of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.

Catalog policies

Three proposals for the academic catalog from the senate's academic standards and admissions committee were approved as part of the consent agenda. The changes include:

  • Increasing the drop limit from two to four courses for undergraduates
  • Converting undergraduate non-report (NR) marks to F grades after one year or upon graduation, rather than removing them from student records
  • Allowing students to repeat pass/not pass courses on a graded basis

Four finalists named in dean of students search

Four finalists have been named in the search for Iowa State's next dean of students. They are:

  • Pamela Anthony, assistant dean of students at Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Miron Billingsley, associate vice president for student affairs at Prairie View A&M, Texas
  • Adam Goldstein, associate dean of students at Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Terry Mena, associate dean of students at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

Each finalist will interview on campus during the next two weeks and participate in a public forum at the Memorial Union. The forum dates and locations are as follows:

  • Goldstein: April 24, 3 p.m., Pioneer Room
  • Billingsley: April 27, 3 p.m., Campanile Room
  • Anthony: May 1, 3 p.m., Cardinal Room
  • Mena, May 2, 3 p.m., Cardinal Room

The finalists' vitae and an evaluation form for use by members of the university community are posted on the vice president for student affairs' website

Former dean of students Dione Somerville left Iowa State last June to become vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. James Dorsett, director of the international students and scholars office, has been serving as interim dean of students since early October.

Students make choices to hold down meal plan rates


Students decided that special events, such as "Prom Night" held last spring in the Seasons dining center, will be eliminated next year, one of several concessions that's part of their strategy to hold meal plan rates flat. File photo by Bob Elbert.

When it meets in Cedar Falls next week, the State Board of Regents will be asked to approve flat pricing for student meal plans at Iowa State next year. It would be a mistake to assume that means nothing is changing.

As she has done every year, ISU Dining director Nancy Levandowski involved her student clients in a three-month review process last fall that considers questions such as:

  • What services do you want to add?
  • What services can you live without?
  • What price increase is acceptable?

She laid out her projected cost increases, including salaries and benefits, food costs, utilities and repairs, and ideas for facility improvements. Overall -- and with no service changes -- that would have meant just over a 3 percent increase in meal plan prices next year.

"Every year, we do this education with the students and every year they want different things," Levandowski said. "While they were asking for a few new things, this group was very, very committed to getting to zero.

"And it's important that we get to where they want to be. It's their plan," she added.

If approved, the flat rate applies to student meal plans only. Other components of ISU Dining, such as retail cafés, catering and vending, will go up based on market analysis and unavoidable cost increases.

Students decide

And so a fall's worth of meetings and "what if's" came down to a handful of decisions. The leadership of the Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA) – the governing body for the holders of 7,000-plus of ISU Dining's 10,000 annual meal plans – opted for:

  • Guest meal passes. Beginning in the fall, students with any of the semester meal plans can use up to five meals each semester for guests.
  • Additional hours in targeted locations. Two convenience stores will stay open until 2 a.m., and Saturday hours will be added at Clyde's Sports Club.
  • If approved by the regents April 26, a 0 percent increase in meal plan prices.

To achieve these, IRHA leaders agreed to give up:

  • Special, themed events in the residential dining centers, typically one per semester at each location. Examples have included prom night, Las Vegas night, biker night, circus night, beach night ($90,000 in savings).
  • Different daily menus in the Maple-Willow-Larch and Union Drive dining centers. With one menu, food quantities go up and unit costs come down. With the exception of some Buchanan Hall residents, Levandowski said students told her they select a dining center for its location, not its menu that day. The dining center at Oak-Elm, due in part to its proximity to M-W-L, will continue to offer a menu different from the other two ($330,000 in savings).
  • Water bottles, purchased by ISU Dining for meal plan students, for to-go beverages from the residential dining centers ($21,000 in savings).

"Can we keep going zero [percent] every year? Most likely not," Levandowski said. "Where do I find money to improve our facilities if I keep having 0 percent increases?"

But, she added, "We'll do this all over again next year. And next year's students may feel differently about this year's decisions."

Savings options that Levandowski outlined and students rejected for 2012-13 included removing the Sunday evening meal at one dining center, closing a dining center weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. to eliminate "continuous dining," closing cafés at 3 p.m., or cutting back on food upgrades, for example a juice maker, hot cereal or some salad bar items.

Off the beaten (Veishea) path

Veishea is more than cherry pies and the parade. Inside Iowa State asked ISU's Facebook friends to share some of their favorite, never-miss Veishea activities. Here's a sampling of what they recommend. Perhaps some of these activities will become your new favorites, too. All events are free and take place on Saturday, April 21, unless indicated.

Bring on Veishea 2012

Nothing says spring like Veishea, Iowa State's popular, student-run festival. Here's a sample of what's in store for Veishea goers.

  • Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Majors (SCUM) theatrical chemistry demonstrations, April 20 (7 p.m.) and April 21 (9 a.m and 2 p.m.). All shows are in 1002 Gilman.
  • Stars Over Veishea production, Rent, April 20, 21, 22 (7:30 p.m., Fisher Theater). Cost is $21 ($16 for students).
  • Midnight Pancake Feed, April 21-22 (12-3 a.m. or while supplies last, central campus). Cost is $4 per person.
  • Food Science Club's fudge sale (8 a.m.-5 p.m., 206 MacKay). Cost is 3 pieces/$1, half-pound/$5, and 1 pound/$9.
  • Block and Bridle Club's live farm animal display, (beginning at 8 a.m., Iowa Farm Bureau Pavilion/Kildee Hall)
  • Geology department's rock and mineral sale (9 a.m.-5 p.m., 157 Science I). Costs vary.
  • Horticulture Club spring plant sale, April 20 (1-5 p.m.) and April 21 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Sale is in the greenhouse at Horticulture Hall. Costs range from $2 to $12.
  • International Food Fair (11 a.m.-3 p.m., Memorial Union Great Hall). Cost is $3 per person plus $1 to $4 for food items.
  • College of Veterinary Medicine open house (11 a.m.-3 p.m., Vet Med).
  • Planetarium shows (1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., ISU Planetarium, Physics Hall).
  • ISU Groove Drumline Club performances (3 p.m.; 4:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Tye Recital Hall).

Bring on Veishea 2012

Cherry pies

It wouldn't be Veishea without the cherry pies. File photo by Bob Elbert.

Iowa State's beautiful spring campus backdrop is ready. Student organizers of the university's annual festival are ready. And the Iowa State community is ready to celebrate the 90-year tradition that is Veishea. Here's a sample of what's in store:

Veishea favorites

Off the beaten (Veishea) path

There's more to Veishea than you might think. Check out some of the favorite can't-miss Veishea activities posted by Iowa State's Facebook friends.

Canoe races on Lake LaVerne, recreation tournaments (including some new contests), the "Veishea Says I'm Funny" student comedy competition and the Cyclone Idol talent search will be back.

This year's Stars Over Veishea production, presented by ISU Theatre, Veishea and the music department, is Rent. The story focuses on a group of young artists and musicians, struggling to create and survive under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The smash musical enjoyed a 12-year run on Broadway, and in 1996 received a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Musical. Intended for mature audiences, performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 20-21, and 2 p.m. on April 22 in Fisher Theater. Tickets are $21 ($16 for Iowa State students and those under 18) and available at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office and Ticketmaster outlets.

President Leath will lead the parade

President Steven Leath, accompanied by his wife, Janet, will celebrate his first Veishea as grand marshal of Saturday's parade. Parade co-chair Wes Strohbehn, a senior from Gladbrook, is expecting more than 100 entries, including three traditional floats, two balloons, four bands, eight performances and at least 10 dignitaries. The parade will wind its way through campus starting at 10:30 a.m. (beginning near the Armory and ending at the east campus parking deck).

The parade can be viewed statewide on the Mediacom Connections channel (cable channel 22 in central Iowa) at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It is tentatively scheduled to air again on the following dates:

  • April 22, 6 p.m.
  • April 23, 7 p.m.
  • April 28, 5:30 p.m.
  • April 29, 4 p.m.
  • Also available through video-on-demand for 90 days.

Marc Harding, assistant vice president of admissions, and KASI-AM program director Mel Crippen will anchor the Mediacom telecast.

Veishea Village: Martial arts, face painting, snacks, prizes and learning

Academic organizations, student groups and Ames organizations will present more than 85 displays on central campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Veishea Saturday. They will include demonstrations of laser technology, electricity and magnetism from the Physics and Astronomy Club; information from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; martial arts displays (hapkido, judo, taekwondo and kumdo) and the opportunity to milk a cow and sample homemade ice cream from the Dairy Science Club.

Green Veishea

Signs tell how Veishea goes green for Earth Day.

The Student Organic Farm will offer organic, heirloom tomato and pepper seedlings for sale. And several organizations and exhibits will team with Live Green! to share progress on campus sustainability efforts. Visitors who stop by at least five booths in the Live Green! tent can win a sustainable prize. Elsewhere, the ISU Horsemen's Association will provide pony rides at the horse barns on the north side of campus; the Geology Club will sell minerals, fossils and jewelry at rock-bottom prices in Science I (room 157); and veterinary students will hold their annual petting zoo, tours and open house from 1 to 3 p.m. at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Pancakes, cherry pies and a whole lot more

Midnight pancake feeds will be held on Friday and Saturday, and a waffle breakfast will be served from 8 to 10 a.m. on central campus prior to the parade on Saturday. Taste of Veishea vendors will be located on Union Drive and near Molecular Biology, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Sunday.

And don't forget to pick up your cherry pie -- an Iowa State tradition since 1919. Hospitality management students will make and sell 12,750 of the delectable little tarts on Friday and Saturday (7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily or until they're sold out). Pies are $1 each in 16 MacKay. Proceeds help fund scholarships.

More than 3,000 Veishea visitors are expected to attend the International Food Fair on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The festival will feature more than 40 foods and beverages from 15 different countries. Admission is $3, plus the cost of food samples. To avoid long lines at the door, prepurchase your tickets by April 19 at the MU west ticket booth (ground floor) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Smoke over Veishea

A new barbecue competition, Smoke Over Veishea, will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on April 21 in the Communications Building parking lot. More than 25 grilling and barbecue enthusiasts from around the Midwest will offer free samples. The event is officially sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

Concerts in the Molecular Biology parking lots

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday night outdoor concerts are available to ISU students, faculty, staff and alumni. Concerts will be held rain or shine; tickets are nonrefundable. Tickets will be exchanged for wristbands at the concert venue.

Through April 20 at 4 p.m., anyone with a valid Iowa State University ID can purchase up to five tickets for $15 (single night) or $20 (for both nights). Faculty, staff and students may buy Live@Veishea tickets online.

Alumni who wish to buy tickets may contact Beth Lott at the ISU Alumni Association, blott@iastate.edu.

The complete Veishea entertainment lineup, including many free events (comedy acts, jugglers, breakdancers, a hypnotist, chainsaw artist and more)  and a schedule of all Veishea events is available online.