Lancelot and Elaine have a guest


Since mid-summer, Lancelot and Elaine, Iowa State's resident swans on Lake LaVerne, have played host to a regal-in-its-mind duck. The duck comes and goes, according to campus services crew who have monitored the threesome, and the swans' tolerance for their guest appears, at times, to be waning. Does anyone know swanspeak for "Leave us alone"? Photos by Bob Elbert.

Pursuit funding awarded to 12 teams through health Initiative

A dozen teams recently received funding to pursue large-scale grants and contracts in the areas of animal, human, plant and environmental health. The funds were awarded under the Health Research Initiative (HRI), a program to support the formation or expansion of interdisciplinary teams addressing grand challenges in these areas.

Each team awarded HRI-1 and HRI-2 pursuit funding will be expected to submit at least one large-scale grant or contract proposal for external funding.

The health initiative is in concert with the Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research, announced last month. Information sessions for teams interested in the Presidential Initiative will be held Oct. 18 and Oct. 26.

A total of 32 interdisciplinary proposals were submitted to the HRI, requesting more than $2.2 million and representing 35 departments, seven colleges, 120 faculty (33 assistant, 32 associate and 52 full professors) and 29 other collaborators (clinicians, lecturers, postdoctoral fellows and graduate assistants).

Health Research Initiative pursuit funding was awarded to the following projects (only the PI is listed):

Funding Level Project Title Team Leader
HRI-1 Mucosal Biology for Improved Gastrointestinal Health Gregory Phillips, vet microbiology and preventive medicine
HRI-1 The Use of Novel Precision Agriculture-based Technologies to Provide Cost-effective, Sustainable Solutions for the Management of Soil-borne Pathogens Forrest Nutter, plant pathology and microbiology
HRI-1 The Development of Novel Strategies for the Efficient Diagnosis, Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases Michael Cho, biomedical sciences
HRI-1 Nanomedicine and Vaccine Development Michael Wannemuehler, vet microbiology and preventive medicine
HRI-2 Impact of Poultry Production and Processing Practices on Emergence of Plasmid-Bearing Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. on Retail Poultry Meat Lisa Nolan, vet medicine administration
HRI-2 Innovative Strategies to Control Neglected Tropical Diseases Timothy Day, biomedical sciences
HRI-2 An integrated Research on Health Impact of Harmful Algal Blooms Wilson Rumbeiha, vet diagnostic and production animal medicine
HRI-2 Preventing Diabetes in African-American Adults: Identifying Sustainable Behavioral Changes and Understanding Biological Pathways Carolyn Cutrona, psychology
HRI-2 Antibiotic Resistance with Chronic Bacterial Diseases Bryan Bellaire, vet microbiology and preventive medicine
HRI-3 Workshop to Establish a Research Team to Investigate the Potential for Personal Health Records to Support and Promote Patient-Centered Outcomes Joey George, supply chain and information systems
HRI-3 Workshop to Develop Expertise in Mucosal Immunity and Mucosal Vaccines Annette O’Connor, vet diagnostic and production animal medicine
HRI-3 All-Iowa Virology Symposium Susan Carpenter, animal science


HRI-1 funding, up to $150,000, was awarded to existing teams of three or more faculty from different disciplines. The expected funding outcome will be one or more grant and contract applications of $1 million or more to an external agency.

HRI-2 funding, up to $50,000, was awarded to new teams of three or more faculty from different disciplines. The expected outcome of funding will be submission of one or more grant applications of $500,000 or more to an external agency.

HRI-3 funding, up to $10,000, was awarded to support a conference, workshop or research meeting with the intent of identifying collaborators who will address the ISU-HRI blueprint. The expected funding outcome will be the development of collaborative research teams, including collaborators from the regent universities, medical schools and other institutions.

Jim Reecy, director of the Office of Biotechnology and professor of animal science, and Ruth MacDonald, professor and chair of the department of food science and human nutrition, co-directed the solicitation and review process for the pursuit funding.

The Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research, announced by president Steven Leath in his installation address, invests in initiatives that promote a culture of interdisciplinary research while helping to secure new large-scale grants and contracts and adapt to the changing priorities of federal funding agencies.

Search begins for next business dean

The search for the next dean of the College of Business is under way. Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert has identified an 18-member search committee to seek a successor to Labh Hira, who retired in March and currently serves as interim president of the Iowa State University Foundation.

Search committee co-chairs are Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for academic personnel and chief diversity officer; and Pamela White, dean of the College of Human Sciences. Ruth Caccia-Birch, administrative specialist in the provost’s office, will assist the committee with its work.

Michael Crum, professor and Ruan Chair in Supply Chain Management, is serving as interim Raisbeck Endowed Dean of the College of Business.

Search committee

Additional members of the search committee include:

  • Sanjeev Agarwal, professor of marketing
  • Jennifer Blackhurst, Walker Professor in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and associate professor of supply chain management
  • Steve Carter, director, Iowa State University Research Park and Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Joli Coil, president, MBA Association, and graduate student in business administration
  • Arnold Cowan, Wells Fargo Professor in Finance
  • Brenda Cushing, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Aviva USA
  • Pol Herrmann, John and Deborah Ganoe Professor in Business and professor of management
  • Qing Hu, Union Pacific Professor in Information Systems and associate dean for graduate programs, College of Business
  • Helen Jensen, professor of economics and head of the food and nutrition policy division at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
  • Diane Janvrin, Mark and Pam Fisher Fellow in Accounting and associate professor of accounting
  • Ric Jurgens, former chairman and chief executive officer, Hy-Vee Inc.
  • David Kingland, president and chief executive officer, Kingland Systems Corp.
  • Sekar Raju, Gerald and Margaret Pint Fellowship and associate professor of marketing
  • Steven Schuler, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines
  • Spencer Vore, president, Business Council, and senior in accounting
  • Kathy Wieland, director, Career Services, College of Business

The committee will start its work immediately, and is in the process of retaining a search firm to assist in identifying candidates. Nominations for the position may be submitted to Bratsch-Prince ( or White (

Homecoming turns 100

Cy the Mascot (1954)

The beloved Cy mascot was "hatched" in 1954 (shown here with the pep squad). Alumna Wilma Beckman Ohlsen won the contest to name the new cardinal mascot. Photo from ISU Special Collections, University Library.

There's plenty to celebrate during Iowa State's "Cytennial" Homecoming, which marks the 100th anniversary of the annual event. This year's celebration, "Taking Ames by Storm," culminates with the Oct. 27 homecoming football game against Baylor. There are several early events planned to gear up for the main event.

History lesson

ISU professor and engineering vice dean Samuel Beyer suggested an alumni celebration for the 1912 Iowa State-Iowa football game. President Raymond Pearson embraced the idea and sent an invitation to alumni just two weeks prior to the game. Reportedly, more than 150 alumni returned to campus for the weekend events, which included tours, a university-wide "Beat Iowa" pep rally with cheers and songs, and an alumni reception on game day. A tradition was born.

Iowa State College in 1912

Homecoming score: Iowa State College 7, Iowa 20
Football field: State Field (Parks Library site)
Football coach: Clyde Williams
President: Raymond Pearson
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,815 (839 freshmen)
Deans: Charles Curtiss (Agriculture); Anson Marston (Engineering); Charles Stange (Veterinary Medicine)
Room and board: $8-$14/month
Tuition: Free for Iowa residents, $25/semester out-of-state

Find out more

State Fair flair

Sarah Pratt, sculptor of the Iowa State Fair's butter cow, will begin sculpting a life-sized butter Cy in Kildee Hall Oct. 22. Pratt apprenticed with ISU alumna Norma "Duffy" Lyon, who was widely known as the butter cow lady for 46 years. An estimated 300 pounds of butter will be used for the sculpture, which was commissioned by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Visitors can watch the sculpting process Oct. 22-26 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) in the Kildee atrium. The viewing window of the cooler will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during Homecoming week, and 7:30 a.m. to kickoff on game day. Homemade ice cream, made by the ISU Dairy Science Club, will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.

Sign of the times

The alumni association has yard signs and posters available to promote this year's homecoming milestone. Fans can pick them up at the Alumni Center (420 Beach Ave.) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, while supplies last.

Will wear button for food

Homecoming buttons are on sale ($5) at the ISU Alumni Center and during Cyclone Central tailgates. The $5 collectible entitles the wearer to a daily free lunch (menus) on central campus during homecoming week and at the Oct. 26 pep rally. Buttons also can be purchased at the lunches and other campus locations to be announced.

Yell Like Hell

The first round of the annual Yell Like Hell competition is Sunday, Oct. 21 (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), on central campus. Second-round battles are Oct. 24 (6:30-8 p.m., Alumni Center), and the finals will be performed at Friday's pep rally. Introduced in 1963, the student skits are 5:30 long and must incorporate the homecoming theme and ISU fight song.

Painting the town

Cyclone spirit will take to the streets -- and windows -- of Ames on Sunday, Oct. 21. Organizations and clubs will participate in storefront window painting along (Main Street) and in Campustown (Lincoln Way, Welch Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Victory Lane, located near Lot C6 at the Iowa State Center, will get a fresh coat of spirit from 2 to 6 p.m.

Salary report: P&S employee retention a concern

The turnover rate for professional and scientific employees at Iowa State is higher than David Trainor would prefer. Trainor, associate vice president for human resource services, discussed the turnover rate and other data from the 2013 Professional and Scientific Annual Salary Report during an Oct. 4 open forum.

Turnover rate

Trainor said that from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, 243 P&S staff left Iowa State. Of those, 90 (37 percent) accepted other jobs, 44 (18.1 percent) left for personal reasons and 43 (17.7 percent) had term or temporary appointments. Fifteen individuals retired or entered phased retirement, and a few others were dismissed, laid off, left with a partner/spouse, went on long-term disability or died.

The overall P&S turnover rate was 9.6 percent, including retirements. Excluding retirements, the turnover rate was 8.25 percent.

"I think that's a little high -- meaning, I think it's a little too high," Trainor said to a group of about 50 P&S employees. "We should have a more favorable turnover rate, probably closer to the fiscal 2009 number of 7.3 percent."

Trainor added that the Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that the average turnover rate across the nation for FY12 was 16.7 percent.

"But Iowa State is a great university, we're not average," he said.

An in-depth look

A complete look at the FY13 P&S Salary Report (PDF) is available on the HRS website.

New hires leaving too quickly

Of the 243 P&S employees who left the university during FY12, 68 had been employed less than one year; 27 less than two years. Of all the staff who left, 65.4 percent had five years of service or less.  Even when term appointments were excluded from the numbers, 25 percent of the P&S employees who left were at Iowa State less than a year.

"That's a concern to me," Trainor said. "That means there's something going on. We should not be losing that number of people."

During the question-and-answer session at the end of the open forum, an employee asked Trainor if employees give detailed reasons for leaving. Trainor replied that it's difficult to conduct effective exit interviews because of the outdated technology currently in place. He added that sometimes employees are gone before HRS has a chance to contact them.

"We have process issues to work out," he said. "I haven't been overly satisfied with the level of data that we're able to generate, but we want to get there."

Other interesting data

Trainor highlighted other statistics about P&S employees, such as:

  • Most P&S employees fall into the 30 to 35 pay grade levels
  • More P&S employees are female than male, especially in the entry level pay grades
  • Minorities account for 10 percent of P&S employees in all pay grades except level 41, which is 30 percent minority

Other HRS projects in the works

In addition to the P&S salary report, Trainor provided a brief update on other HRS initiatives, including:

Comprehensive employee wellness program

  • HRS recently hired a consultant to develop a wellness plan
  • An assessment of the university's current wellness facilities and programs is taking place now through November
  • Employees will have an opportunity to offer input through focus groups
  • The goal is to create one of the best comprehensive university employee wellness programs in the nation

Upgrade of hiring software

  • An upgrade is under way of HRS' hiring software, PeopleAdmin, which should be complete in 24 to 30 weeks
  • Following the upgrade, the hiring process should be more efficient and user friendly 

Industry team transferred to gain efficiencies

To support president Steven Leath's strategic vision to increase and enhance partnerships between Iowa State and industry, one of the service teams in the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration has moved. Effective Oct. 1, the industry team transferred to the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT).

The realignment will allow ISU's contracting activities to be more closely coordinated with efforts to build public-private relationships. The intent is that both outreach activities to industry and funding will increase.

The team, now named the industry contracts team, will report to Lisa Lorenzen, OIPTT executive director. A new position, associate director of industry contracting, has been created and will be posted soon. Faculty and staff input will be a key piece of the candidate interview process.

Researchers are asked to contact the team as soon as discussions about potential projects occur with industry. Providing project information early to team members will assist with their review of the project and allow them to assess and manage potential compliance, budget or contracting issues.

Continue to use GoldSheet for industry proposals

Researchers still should use the GoldSheet to submit industry proposals. The OSPA proposals team will continue to review proposals for compliance with university budgetary requirements.

The industry contracts team will review contract terms and conditions, and will continue to use the OSPA database for tracking industry and award data. Industry proposal and award information will continue to be available via InfoMaker for reporting purposes. This information also will be available in the eData portal when it goes live on July 1, 2013.

Industry contracts team

Team member Portfolio
Laura Carabillo
Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences, IPRT, InTrans, Iowa Energy Center, Iowa Water Center, Ames Lab, Deere, Boeing, Caterpillar, Rockwell Collins
Lynne Mumm
Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bioeconomy Institute, Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, Biocentury Research Farm, Monsanto Pioneer/DuPont, Syngenta, ConocoPhillips, Dow
May Wu
Colleges of Business, Design and Human Sciences; commodities; Office of Biotechnology; Plant Sciences Institute; ADM; POET; IBM

Contact info

The industry contracts team moved last summer from Pearson Hall to the second floor of Lab of Mechanics. However, the mailing address remains 1138 Pearson, Ames 50011-2207. The new email account is ( still will work but researchers are asked to use the new email address.)

Dean's gallery: A new kind of art exhibition


The Dean's Art Gallery in 130 Curtiss features agriculture-themed pieces from the university's Art on Campus collection. Photo by Bob Elbert.

University Museums' newest campus gallery is – at first glance – in an unlikely location: the outer hall of the dean's suite in Curtiss Hall. The Dean's Art Gallery (PDF) features seven Christian Petersen sculptures, a four-piece pastel drawing sequence by Iowa artist Ellen Wagener and judging trophies awarded to Iowa State student teams near the turn of the 20th century. They share an agricultural theme and many of them reflect agriculture's dependence on the seasons.

Dean's Art Gallery

Christian Petersen sculptures

  • George Washington Carver, 1949
  • Plaster models for the Fountain of the Four Seasons, 1940
  • Cowboy, Cutting Horses and Two Polled Hereford Heifers, 1953-54
  • 4-H Calf, 1941

Ellen Wagener pastel drawings, 2006

  • Spring, Cyclone
  • Summer, Thunderstorm
  • Fall, Cumulus
  • Winter, Blizzard

Judging trophies

  • A.E. Cook Trophy, 1900
  • International Livestock Exhibition Award, 1900

"What are Christian Petersen's four maidens [from Fountain of the Four Seasons] worth to this university? Priceless. What good are they sitting in a storeroom?" said University Museums director Lynette Pohlman. "Our goal is to place art in the public realm."

Pohlman credits College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean Wendy Wintersteen for the exhibition.

"She's been thinking about art and agriculture for decades," Pohlman said. A chance conversation in that hallway between the two women created a quick partnership, and Pohlman followed up with a proposal for the space. She said nearly half of the 2,000-plus pieces in the university's Art on Campus collection are related in some way to agriculture.

"The gallery has transformed this space," said Wintersteen, who also provided the introduction statement for the exhibition. "Previously, it was a corridor cluttered with cubicles, dividers and filing cabinets that made it a maze to reach offices or a heavily used conference room.

"It wasn't the optimal kind of welcome you'd wish to provide to state, national and international leaders who visit one of the nation's foremost agricultural colleges. It also didn't send the right kind of message to prospective students and parents visiting Curtiss Hall," she said. "Now the Dean's Art Gallery provides that warm welcome for visitors and students, and provides usable space for small receptions and informal gatherings."

The dean's gallery in Curtiss Hall is a five- to 10-year exhibition, Pohlman said. Her staff may refresh it periodically, particularly since the university owns so many agriculture-related pieces of art.

Pohlman said she hopes to do more small galleries on campus in the future. Space, lighting, security and environmental (temperature, humidity) requirements make them "not inexpensive" exhibitions to assemble, she noted.

"We try to place as many pieces as we can around campus," Pohlman said. "We love to get things out of storage. We know they inspire learning."