Getting started on a college education


Cyclone Aide and senior Rachel Kirkpatrick (center) assists freshmen in the College of Human Sciences as they register for their first semester of classes last week in a MacKay Hall computer lab. An estimated 4,900 students are participating in two-day orientation sessions during June; more than 500 of them in the College of Human Sciences.

"We want to help them start to transition from high school," noted Dayle Nickerson, classification officer and academic advising coordinator for Human Sciences. "They're registered college students when they leave and they feel pretty good about that. That's our goal."

Each college has evolved its own registration process during summer orientation. In Human Sciences, students spend 30 minutes with their academic advisers before heading to the lab, where Nickerson and her student team are standing by to help with the logistics. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Kosovo president visits Iowa State

Kosovo delegation at Horticulture Station

Nick Howell takes the Kosovo delegation on a tour of the Horticulture Research Station. President Atifete Jahjaga (beige jacket) is between Kosovo ambassador Akan Ismaili (left) and National Guard Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Atifete Jahjaga, president of the Republic of Kosovo, stopped by campus and the university's Horticulture Research Station east of Gilbert Wednesday.  

The visit is part of a military exchange program between the Iowa National Guard and the Kosovo Security Force. The Guard, host of Jahjaga's three-day Iowa visit, is working to expand the program beyond the military by fostering Iowa-Kosovo relationships in such areas as education, agriculture and business.

Accompanying President Jahjaga on the visit were the Kosovo ambassador to the United States Akan Ismaili, U.S. ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell, Isa Mustafa, mayor of Kosovo's capital city Pristina, and Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr, adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard.

The delegation met with ISU officials in Beardshear Hall for an introductory overview of Iowa State, then toured the Center for Crops Utilization Research in the Food Sciences Building and the Horticulture Research Station.

Provost Hoffman and Kosovo President Jahjaga

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman greets Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga in Beardshear Hall. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Among Iowa Staters meeting with the Kosovo delegation were:

  • Elizabeth Hoffman, executive vice president and provost
  • Miles Lackey, associate vice president and chief of staff
  • Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Jeffrey Iles, chair of the horticulture department
  • Lawrence Johnson, director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research
  • Mark Honeyman, director of ISU research farms
  • Nick Howell, Horticulture Research Station superintendent
  • Denise Bjelland, director of global agriculture programs

Akinc named interim dean of College of Engineering

Mufit Akinc, an Iowa State faculty member since 1981, has been named interim dean of the College of Engineering effective July 30.

Mufit Akinc

Mufit Akinc

He succeeds Jonathan Wickert, who will assume the role of senior vice president and provost at Iowa State on the same date. The search for a permanent dean will begin later this summer.

“I am very pleased that Mufit has agreed to serve as interim dean,” said current executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman. “He did an excellent job as chair of materials science and engineering from 1995 to 2006, and has continued to serve the college in a leadership role in international programs. He has great relationships with alumni and donors, and works to build bridges across the university.”

Akinc is a professor of materials science and engineering and has led the college’s international engagement initiative since 2010. He also holds a courtesy appointment in chemical and biological engineering, and is an associate scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

Maintaining college momentum

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as interim dean of one of the largest and most outstanding engineering colleges in the country. I am mindful of the gravity of this responsibility and will do my best to live up to the expectations and trust bestowed on me with this assignment,” Akinc said. “With the support of colleagues and friends of the college and ISU senior leadership, we will maintain the momentum achieved during Dean Wickert’s tenure and transfer the leadership of the college to the permanent dean in a timely fashion.”

As interim dean, Akinc also will hold the James and Katherine Melsa Professorship in Engineering.

Akinc’s research involves interdisciplinary projects that improve the properties and performance of materials by manipulating chemistry and processing methods, including the synthesis of nanomaterials inspired by biology.

Akinc earned bachelor’s (1970) and master’s (1973) degrees in chemistry from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. He received his doctorate (1977) in ceramic engineering from Iowa State. Before joining the ISU faculty, Akinc was an assistant professor at Kansas State University, Manhattan; and Middle East Technical University.

(Mufit Akinc is  pronounced moo-FEET Ah-KINCH.)

Transportation hub offers south campus parking option

Intermodal facility

Construction crews are putting the final touches on the Ames Intermodal Transportation Facility, which opens July 1. Photo by Bob Elbert.

What used to be university parking lot 60, west of the Chamberlain Street intersection on Hayward Avenue, now is the city's transportation hub. The $9.2 million Ames Intermodal Transportation Facility was introduced to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday.

The project, funded with federal grant money and matching funds, encompasses bus, taxi, bike and commuter traffic. CyRide owns the facility, and Iowa State's parking division is managing it. Regional bus and shuttle service will begin July 1.

CyRide director Sheri Kyras said she applied for $12 million more in grant funds to add another 250 spaces in a second-phase structure on the facility's west side. Kyras said parking revenue from the phase two addition would add a CyRide circulator route at the facility. Currently, CyRide's nearest bus stop is on Welch Avenue, near Chamberlain.

Many modes in intermodal

The two enclosed bus bays will accommodate the Jefferson Lines and Burlington Trailways interstate bus lines and Executive Express shuttles to the Des Moines airport. A taxi stand is located on Hayward Avenue, and bike racks and bike lockers are available for those who pedal to the hub. The facility boasts 384 parking spaces, including covered parking slots on the multilevel ramp, and an open, paved lot to the west. Vehicle entrances are located on Hayward and Sheldon Avenues.

Going for gold

Jon Harvey, project manager and architect in facilities planning and management, said work at the facility is expected to wrap up by the end of the month. He said the project is aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification, which will be determined next fall.

Parking permits

Parking at the facility is free until Aug. 1. Permits are available for faculty, staff, students and the general public. Annual permits rates vary for covered ($480) and uncovered ($180) parking spaces. Monthly permits ($50 covered, $20 uncovered), metered spaces (75 cents per hour) and daily access ($10 maximum) also are available. Carpool and vanpool parking is free.

Making a differerence

Five Iowa State faculty members were awarded the title of Distinguished or University Professor this spring. They will be honored at a university awards ceremony on Sept. 21.

Distinguished Professor awards are given to full professors whose contributions to their academic disciplines are recognized nationally or internationally. University Professor awards are bestowed for exceptional contributions to the university. Following are this year's honorees -- two Distinguished Professors and three University Professors:

Dan Shechtman
Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering

Shechtman received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 1982 identification of a new type of material: quasicrystals. His revolutionary discovery changed scientists' understanding of how atoms arrange themselves in solids, which has impacted subsequent research and understanding not only in materials science but also chemistry and condensed matter physics. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Shechtman is a partial-year professor in the department of materials science and engineering and a research scientist in the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.

Jonathan Wendel
Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wendel's influence is in the field of plant evolutionary genetics. He is widely viewed as the world's leading authority on polyploidy -- genome doubling -- particularly how gene function changes in response to instances of gene duplication. He is at the top of his field in applying genomic technologies to questions in plant evolutionary biology. Wendel is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Wendel is a professor and chair in the department of ecology, evolution and organismal biology.

Steven Herrnstadt
University Professor

Herrnstadt has used his expertise to integrate art and design with digital technology, creating ever-changing opportunities for faculty, students and staff in the College of Design and beyond. For example, he and an undergraduate student created the first computer animation at ISU in the 1980s. He is a founding faculty member of the interdisciplinary graduate program in human computer interaction. He helped biology faculty create Meta!Blast, the educational video game with accurate 3D representations of cell parts, and he has an ongoing role in the biological and premedical illustration program to keep its digital illustration techniques up to date.

Herrnstadt is a professor of art and design.

Gordon Miller
University Professor

Miller has worked continuously to strengthen the chemistry curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students -- for example, creating a course, modifying another to be more useful to engineering students and putting in place a mechanism to introduce first-year students to research opportunities across campus. He also helped change the lab safety culture in his department both by adding curricular components to courses and developing and demonstrating new lab procedures for students, staff and faculty. As department chair (2002-05), Miller led the early feasibility planning for a new chemistry building that eventually became Hach Hall.

Miller is a professor of chemistry.

James Oliver
University Professor

Since becoming director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center in 2003, Oliver has expanded its research efforts from engineering-centric to university-wide; faculty collaborators represent every college. His efforts on the recent $5 million upgrade of VRAC's C6 facility helped make it the world's highest-resolution immersive virtual reality facility. Iowa State's human computer interaction graduate program, which he helped develop a decade ago, has become one of the largest and most prominent in the country and a model for interdisciplinary programs on campus.

Oliver is the Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering and also a professor in the departments of: industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and aerospace engineering. He is the director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center and the graduate major in human computer interaction.

Criteria for the professorships

Through their research or creative activities, Distinguished Professors have significantly impacted or improved the quality of their disciplines. They also have demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one of the following: teaching and advising; extension/professional practice; or institutional service. The 2012 recipients receive a $6,500 addition to their base salaries.

Acting as change agents, University Professors have made significant contributions that improved the university. In addition, University Professors have demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one of the following: research and/or creative activities; teaching and advising; or extension/professional practice. The 2012 recipients receive a $6,000 addition to their base salaries.