August occupancy

Troxel Hall

Work on Troxel Hall, going up north of the Farm House Museum, is moving toward a late April completion. The building will add a tiered, 400-seat lecture auditorium to Iowa State's general university classroom inventory. Classes will be scheduled there for the first time in the fall semester.

A glass wall and tall windows along the building's south and east sides, respectively, will provide airy, naturally lit indoor waiting areas for students. The building will have a set of restrooms, back-of-auditorium rooms for faculty preparation and after-class meetings, and an elevator. The orange roof layer seen in the photo will be covered with a vegetated roof by early summer. Iowa State is pursuing LEED® Gold certification for Troxel Hall.

Visible behind Troxel Hall (l-r) are Catt, Horticulture and Bessey halls. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Feed the meter with a (smart) card

Smart meter

Photo by Bob Elbert.

Within six months, virtually all parking meters on campus will let you pay with a pre-paid smart card. Parking staff began installing new meter heads in the most popular lots around campus this week.

If you frequent metered lots near Beardshear, Howe, Hach, Hamilton or Carver halls or the new State Gym, you'll soon be able to use a Smart Card to feed the meters.  (Coins also will continue to work in the new meters.)

Parking division manager Mark Miller said all 245 meters on campus will be replaced within the next six months.  The new meters display a large red and yellow sticker with a "P" and the words "pre-pay parking card."

"We're really trying to be more customer friendly," Miller said.  "The new meters should be particularly handy for students who regularly park on campus."

To get a card

If you want to pay for parking with a Smart Card, you'll need to purchase one in the parking division office, located at 27 Armory. There's a one-time $5 purchase fee for a card, which you can preload with up to $300. Additional money can be added to the card at the parking division office.

Smart Cards are also valid in the pre-pay lots near the Armory, Lied Center and the East Parking Deck. They won't work in the Memorial Union ramp.

Time limits remain

All meters on campus have designated time limits and will expire whether a Smart Card or coins are used. Time limits and operational hours are listed on each meter.

New equal opportunity director on the job Feb. 4

Robinette Kelley will become Iowa State's director of equal opportunity on Feb. 4. She comes to Iowa State from The State University of New York, Buffalo, where she served as assistant director in the equity, diversity and inclusion office.

At Iowa State, Kelley will lead and manage all aspects of equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, from ensuring university compliance with laws and regulations to investigating and resolving complaints. She is the first permanent director of equal opportunity since the offices of human resource services and equal opportunity were reorganized into separate units in 2011.

Kelley brings experience in labor and employment law and equal employment opportunity compliance to Iowa State. She spent the past four years at SUNY at Buffalo providing expertise on issues of equal opportunity, sexual harassment prevention, diversity and inclusion, disability and religious accommodations, and conflict resolution.  She also investigated and resolved complaints of discrimination and harassment and provided training on sexual harassment prevention, diversity and inclusion, and conflict resolution.

Prior to that, she served in the SUNY at Buffalo employee relations office, investigating complaints and labor/management issues, and advising and training managers on a variety of issues.

She received a master’s degree in higher education administration from The State University of New York at Buffalo and bachelor's degree in economics and finance from The State University of New York College at Buffalo.

New year updates from human resource services

The new year brings a sense of renewed purpose and a fresh start. From a human resource services perspective, this new year is a mixed bag of good and not-so-good. It means less money in your paycheck, but also a new opportunity for long-term care insurance. Here's a closer look. 

How the fiscal cliff negotiations impact your paycheck

As part of the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, federal lawmakers allowed a 2 percent FICA (social security) payroll tax reduction to expire on Dec. 31. The reduction was passed a few years ago as part of the economic stimulus bill. The result? Payroll taxes will increase 2 percentage points -- from 4.2 to 6.2 percent -- on the first $113,700 of an individual's annual income, beginning Jan. 1. For example, employees who earn $50,000 a year will see their take-home pay reduced by approximately $83 a month.

Iowa State employees will begin seeing the impact in their January paychecks.

Long-term care insurance is available … again

Genworth Financial is holding long-term care insurance open enrollment for eligible Iowa State employees, their family members and retirees from Jan. 22 through Feb. 15. The company will send information about its long-term care products to eligible employees at their home addresses prior to the open enrollment.

Iowa State's previous group long-term care provider, John Hancock, discontinued offering new enrollment in long-term care insurance to Iowa State employees at the end of 2011. Coverage and payroll deductions (if applicable) continue for those employees who are already enrolled in the John Hancock group plan.

Employees are invited to learn more about long-term care at several webinars and live presentations scheduled during the open enrollment period.

Webinar schedule

Jan. 30, 9 a.m. (live webinar)
Meeting number: 719 745 028
Meeting password: LAF55gltc

Jan. 31, 1:30 p.m. (live webinar)
Meeting number: 712 794 073
Meeting password: LAF55gltc

Feb. 12, 1:30 p.m. (live webinar)
Meeting number: 715 804 483
Meeting password: LAF55gltc

Feb. 13, 10 a.m. (live webinar)
Meeting number: 712 498 452
Meeting password: LAF55gltc

You may teleconference in to the webinars by calling (866) 692-3158 and entering participation code 7660167.

Live presentation schedule

If you prefer to meet face-to-face with a Genworth Financial representative, presentations are planned on Feb. 5 and 7 in the Memorial Union Gold Room, and on Feb. 6 in the MU Cardinal Room. Formal talks will begin at 9 a.m. and noon all days; an additional presentation is planned for 3 p.m. on Feb. 7.

Beginning Jan. 22, contact Genworth Financial online (group ID is ISU; access code is groupltc) or call (800) 416-3624 with questions about long-term care insurance.

Recycling takes hold with building services group

recycle bin

(clockwise, from left) Students Brent Vanderloop, Jabed Sarmiento, Jacob Bishop and Ben Ritland join their supervisor Eric Zierke around the dumpster where they collect scrap metal for recycling. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Their efforts likely won't earn any international citations. Or any state ones, for that matter. But the construction staff in Iowa State's building maintenance services takes pride in recycling demolition and construction materials from their projects. During 2012, they recycled more than 40,000 pounds of plaster and concrete and more than 162,000 pounds of scrap metal. More than 20,000 pounds of wood was reused – as scrap kindling for the coil boilers in the power plant, by ISU carpenters or perhaps by community members who frequent the free wood site on Haber Road.

This team has a skill set that would make any homeowner jealous. They replace broken windows and missing doorknobs, they create custom furniture and scientific props, they repair vandals' work, they adjust doorways or countertops to make rooms accessible and compliant with federal regulations. But their "bread and butter," as supervisor Eric Zierke calls it, is small, individual classroom and lab remodels. Because each one costs less than $100,000, they don't have to be bid to outside contractors. Most often, Zierke and his team collaborate with staff from room scheduling or IT Services' classrooms team to convert spaces from dated to state-of-the-art. In-house electricians, carpenters, plumbers and painters lend their skills, too.

The pilot

No one asked them to start recycling, Zierke recalls, but about three years ago, "we decided to hold ourselves to the same standards as our capital projects people. It's the right thing to do."

What started as a yearlong experiment evolved into a regular practice.

Any furnishings or equipment that might find a second home are taken to ISU Surplus for public sale. Scrap metal -- for example, from ceiling grids, fume hoods, furniture, pipes -- is delivered for recycling to east Ames' Bell Salvage, where the receipts go back into project budgets. Plaster, brick and concrete block – if the load is at least one third of a dump truck -- can be repurposed locally with Manatts. And the university is just entering a ceiling tile recycling program sponsored by the Armstrong company. Asbestos-free varieties of ceiling tile will be stacked on pallets and loaded into a semitrailer. When the trailer is full, Armstrong hauls it away.

Keys to success

Zierke credits two factors for the recycling program's success. First, the tweaking of standard computer software by facilities programmer Ron Kinyon allows Zierke's team to manage projects and track what is recycled. Zierke said student employees, four part-timers during the school year and as many as six full-timers during the summer, keep recycling affordable.

"It's hard, dirty work, but they follow directions really well," Zierke said. "I couldn't justify all the recycling we do if I was paying tradesman-level wages for what they do for us."


Council to vote on modified representation areas

In February, members of the Professional and Scientific Council will vote on proposed changes to their representation areas. Despite the organizational change, the number of council representatives will remain the same.

The representation committee introduced a pair of options at the council's Jan. 3 meeting, featuring four or six organizational areas. Currently, the council members represent the following six areas:

  • Academic and research
  • Business and finance
  • Extension
  • Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT) and U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory
  • President's office
  • Student affairs

Both proposed options more closely mirror the university's current administrative chart, but the four-area plan (that folds ISU Extension and Outreach and Ames Lab into academic affairs) came out the winner after lengthy discussion. It would group council representatives into the following organizational areas:

  • Academic affairs
  • Business and finance
  • President's office
  • Student affairs

An amendment passed to add a requirement for one designated representative from each of the 14 organizational areas that fall under the academic affairs umbrella. If there is not a candidate from one of the designated areas, the position would be filled with an at-large representative. Committee chair Dick Pfarrer said the Division of Academic Affairs currently has 1,900 P&S staff members, giving the area 26 of the council's 36 total representatives, including the 14 designated posts.

Other business

  • Three candidates will be on the ballot for the president-elect office at next month's meeting, including David Meisinger (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), Dick Pfarrer (residence department) and Amy Tehan (Ames Lab).
  • President Steven Leath will present the 2012 CYtation Awards at the council's Feb. 26 open forum (noon-1 p.m., MU Campanile Room).

Climatologist, cake baker are part of spring lectures

In turn it will address subjects as complex as global warming and as seemingly simple as cake. The lectures program spring lineup includes a variety of American guests, with a few foreign ambassadors in the mix, too. Here are a few events you might want to note in your calendar. Unless indicated, these events begin at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall.

The university community will have the chance on Jan. 28 to watch – and discuss – director Lee Hirsch's 2011 documentary Bully, which looks at how school bullying affected the lives of five students and their families, including a 12-year-old boy from Sioux City. The 90-minute film showing begins at 7 p.m.; discussion will follow.

Warren Brown

Warren Brown

Two ambassadors to the United States will talk about foreign policy challenges in 2013 during a Feb. 7 joint presentation. Since February 2001, Francois Delattre has served as France's ambassador to the United States. Peter Ammon has served in that role for Germany since August 2011. The two also served previously as their nation's ambassador to the other's country.

Health educator turned federal government attorney turned TV food host Warren Brown will tell his entrepreneurial story during a Feb. 18 lecture, "Find Your Passion, Follow Your Calling." In 2002, Brown left his job as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to start CakeLove, a bakery that now boasts six locations in the Washington, D.C., area. He hosted the TV show Sugar Rush on the Food Network (2005-07), and ran a D.C. restaurant, the Love Café, which opened in 2003 and closed a year ago.

Charles Fishman

Charles Fishman

Investigative journalist Charles Fishman comes to campus Feb. 25 to talk about water. He wrote the 2012 book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. He noted that while we love water, we don't appreciate or respect it and we need to figure out how to manage it more wisely. A lot of technological advances exist to increase water productivity, but the harder part is changing our thinking about water, he said. Fishman also wrote the New York Times bestseller, The Wal-Mart Effect.

The university's 9th annual Symposium on Wildness, Wilderness and the Environment (a March 29 day-long event) also will focus on the future of water. A full schedule of events will be announced at a later date.

Climatologist Michael Mann, who directs Penn State University's Earth System Science Center, will discuss the subject of his 2012 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars during a March 7 lecture. Mann's research team created a 1998 chart (which resembles a hockey stick) that reconstructed temperature records over thousands of years and showed a rise in temperatures in conjunction with industrialization and fossil fuel burning. He writes about why he and other researchers remain the target of those who assert that global warming stems from nonhuman factors, such as sunspots and natural temperature variability.

Former University of Iowa student Zach Wahls comes to campus April 2 (7 p.m.) to talk about the makings of a family. Two years ago this month, Wahls, who has two moms, spoke at a public hearing hosted by the Judiciary Committee in the Iowa House of Representatives on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa. A video of that presentation currently has more than 17 million views on YouTube. Wahls temporarily left school to focus on activism and promotional activities.

The lectures program's full schedule is online and is updated throughout the semester.

Carillon concert kicks off MLK events


ISU carilloneur Tin-Shi Tam. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 21, and the Iowa State community is marking the holiday with several events throughout January. All events are free and open to the public.

  • "Let Freedom Ring" carillon concert, Jan. 16 (11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m., central campus). Listen to the bells of Iowa State as carilloneur Tin-Shi Tam pays musical tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. She'll perform several spirituals and hymns, ending with Let Freedom Ring (live webcast).
  • Community birthday celebration, Jan. 21 (6 p.m., Ames Middle School, 3915 Mortensen Rd.). Celebrate King's birthday with songs, stories and cake.
  • Legacy convocation, Jan. 24 (4 p.m., MU Sun Room). Musicians and speakers will showcase King's legacy -- a global vision of equality for everyone. ISU alumnus Arnold Woods III, Des Moines, will give the keynote address, and recipients of the Advancing One Community Awards will be recognized.
  • Lecture, "Race, Racism and Race Relations in America," Michael Eric Dyson, Jan. 31 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall). Dyson, University Professor of sociology at Georgetown University, is a scholar of black history and a cultural critic who has authored 16 books, including April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How it Changed America.