Iowa State enrollment is 33,241

Students head to class on central campus

More students than ever have joined the between-classes trek across campus. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Iowa State University's fall 2013 enrollment of 33,241 is the largest in school history, an increase of more than 7 percent (2,201 students) over the previous record of 31,040 in fall 2012.

It's the fifth year of record enrollment and the seventh consecutive year of growth at Iowa State. The student body represents every Iowa county, all 50 states, and 106 countries.

As pleased as President Steven Leath is with the university's growing enrollment, he says it's far more interesting to examine what's driving the demand for Iowa State degrees.

"There are so many tangibles and intangibles that go into the college decision process. There's no single force that causes enrollment to rise, and over time, it will ebb and flow. But we can identify some contributing factors right now," Leath said. "We are both recruiting and retaining larger classes at Iowa State. There's high demand for programs of study that have long been our core strengths. Iowa State offers a robust student experience that allows freshmen to get involved on campus from their very first day – whether in learning communities, intramurals, clubs or other leadership opportunities. And in the end, students tell us they see a return on their investment because they get good jobs."

Overall, 94.3 percent of Iowa State graduates are either employed or pursuing further education within six months of graduation.

Fall 2013 marks the highest resident undergraduate enrollment ever at Iowa State – 18,009. More than 65 percent of Iowa State's 27,659 undergraduates are Iowans.

This fall's resident undergraduate enrollment tops the previous record of 17,674 set in 2001, and equals 959 more in-state undergrads than enrolled at ISU last fall. (Total Iowa resident enrollment is 19,850.)

This year, Iowa State has attracted its largest freshman class ever – 6,089 – and 3,540 (58.1 percent) are Iowans. Each year, Iowa State enrolls more Iowa high school graduates as new freshmen than any other four-year school.

"Most important, we are admitting students who are prepared to succeed at Iowa State. The qualifications of our incoming students remain high," Leath said, citing consistent mean ACT scores, high school GPA and class rank.

By the numbers

Iowa State's student numbers set records in nearly every category again this fall:

  • Record undergraduate enrollment of 27,659, an increase of 2,106 students from fall 2012.
  • Record international student enrollment of 3,797, an increase of 287 students from fall 2012. The overall number also reflects a record in the number of international undergraduates: 2,172.
  • Record diversity. More than one in five Iowa State students is either a U.S. multicultural student or an international student. Total U.S. multicultural and international enrollment is 7,486, or 22.52 percent of the student body. (The previous record set in fall 2012 was 6,765, or 21.79 percent of the student body.)
  • U.S. multicultural enrollment is 3,689 (11.1 percent of total enrollment), a new record and an increase over last fall's 3,255 students.
  • Iowa State welcomed a record number of U.S. multicultural new freshmen this fall – 782 – up from last year's record of 700.
  • For the past seven years, Iowa State has met or exceeded the 8.5 percent minority enrollment goal set by the Iowa Board of Regents.
  • Record total new freshman enrollment of 6,089, up from last year's record of 5,366.
  • Record Iowa new freshman enrollment of 3,540, up from 3,251 last year and surpassing the record of 3,314 set in 2001.
  • Record nonresident new freshman enrollment of 2,188, up from last year's record of 1,865.
  • Record international new freshman enrollment of 361, up from the 2010 record of 283.
  • Record new transfer student enrollment of 2,042, up from last year's record of 1,841 students.
  • Record transfer enrollment from Iowa's community colleges: 1,214, up from last year's record of 1,111 students.

Fall 2013 enrollment by college

Agriculture & Life Sciences








Human Sciences


Liberal Arts and Sciences


Veterinary Medicine

586 professional;
122 graduate

Interdepartmental Units
and Graduate Undeclared







Presidential initiative sets sights on high-impact faculty hires

Iowa State is using $1.5 million in state appropriations to support the hiring of new tenured or tenure-track faculty in areas of high impact to the university and state of Iowa.

The President's High Impact Hires Initiative will provide matching funds to help the colleges hire new faculty to meet teaching needs due to high enrollment, conduct research that benefits Iowa's economy and provide service to the state through ISU's 99-county Extension and Outreach program.

Faculty hired through the initiative also will support President Steven Leath's goal to hire 200 new faculty in three years.

"This is an investment in the future of our university and state," Leath said. "Greater support from the Iowa Legislature allows us to strategically grow Iowa State's faculty in ways that address our immediate needs on campus, as well as areas critical to Iowa's future."

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be submitted through the college deans and evaluated competitively by the provost's office, based on six criteria:

  • Increased teaching capacity in high enrollment programs
  • Increased teaching or research capability in areas critical to Iowa's economic future, such as the biological sciences, agriculture, physical sciences and engineering
  • Collaboration to recruit faculty with joint appointments across departments or colleges and Extension and Outreach
  • Interdisciplinary reach, such as biorenewables or the intersection of the arts and humanities with technology
  • Experience or expertise in innovative pedagogy, including the use of technology to enhance learning
  • Research, teaching, outreach and service that contribute to Iowa State's diversity mission, including access to education among underrepresented groups, and scholarship focusing on underserved populations

Successful proposals will be announced in October, and recruitment will begin immediately.

Questions regarding the High Impact Hires Initiative may be directed to college deans or the provost's office.

Color it cardinal and gold

Beat Iowa cookies

Photo by Bob Elbert.

It's all about the cardinal and gold this week in anticipation of Saturday's annual Iowa-Iowa State football game. CyRide buses carry the Beat Iowa message on their electronic displays, Beat Iowa signs have shown up in campus windows and ISU Dining is filling bakery cases with Cyclone-themed cookies. Amanda Bellis, a baker for ISU Dining, helped make an estimated 1,900 cookies for cafés, C-Stores and dining centers this week.

Other Beat Iowa Week events include a Sept. 13 Cyclone gear garage sale (11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) and Friday at the Center (5:30-7:30 p.m.) celebration at the Alumni Center. Frederiksen Court's Sept. 13 Beat Iowa Bash (6-9 p.m.) will feature contests, games, guest appearances, entertainment and food. A spirit rally will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Focus groups -- A good place to have your say on classroom needs, technology

Asynchronous learning, synchronous learning, blended learning, flipped classrooms, LMS, BYOD, MOOC, EOR.*

What's a learning ecosystem?

"It's holistic view of what's needed in learning, from technology right down to the whiteboards and the furniture."

--Jim Twetten, director of academic technologies, ITS

Technology is fueling a lot of acronyms and activity in higher education of late. It's also creating challenges for those building and equipping tomorrow's learning ecosystems. To build physical classrooms and electronic learning systems for the long haul, planners need good intelligence about which educational trends are likely to stick, what new innovations are just around the corner and what emerging technologies soon will become teaching necessities.

At Iowa State, key groups involved in learning ecosystem planning are seeking that intel from the campus community and MindWires Consulting, a California firm that specializes in digital education planning and assessment.

 A closer look at the learning and teaching environment

The campus groups -- information technology services; the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and facilities, planning and management-- are several months into an intensive assessment and review of the learning and teaching environment at Iowa State. The assessment asks the question: How well are we facilitating world-class learning at Iowa State and what critical needs are emerging as we face the challenges of the future?

Key elements of the assessment, which should be completed in November, are:

  • Individual interviews with university leaders
  • Focus groups with more than 200 Iowa State administrators, faculty, instructional support staff and students
  • Interactive consultant-designed workshops to explore trends in learning technology and online education
  • Surveys querying the opinions of faculty, staff and students

Focus groups, next week and early October

Focus groups with faculty, instructional support staff and students will be held Sept. 19-20 and Oct. 1-2. Representatives of MindWires Consulting will query faculty and staff about their needs in the classroom and talk about trends in learning management systems and online strategies and potential plans for Iowa State.

Share your thoughts

If you willing to share your thoughts about classroom needs, volunteer to participate in focus groups Sept. 19-20 and Oct. 1-2.

Individuals in units across campus are invited to participate in a focus group, said Jim Twetten, director of academic technologies in information technology services. He encouraged others who want to participate in a group to complete the volunteer form on the assessment site.

"We want a broad mix," he added, "from the tech savvy user to the tech skeptic and everyone in between."

"It's important that we consider the whole learning ecosystem in the broadest possible sense, getting input from all perspectives," said Ralph Napolitano, associate director for online learning in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. "We have an extensive hierarchy of support structures aimed at providing a rich, multi-faceted world-class educational experience for all of our students -- however and wherever we reach them.  Our task presently, is to best facilitate all of the supportive connections that enable the ISU brand of hands-on, world-relevant education to continue to grow and thrive in the age of technology in learning."

October surveys

Two surveys on the needs of the ISU learning ecosystem will be conducted in October. In the first, faculty and instructional support staff will be asked to detail instructional needs. A second survey to all students seeks to better understand student expectations about physical and virtual learning spaces and related technology. This survey will explore such things as the number of electronic devices students own and how they could best use them in their academic pursuits.

Plan will shape investments

The assessment will be used to help develop a long-term direction for the learning ecosystem at Iowa State, Twetten said.

"It will guide us as we make investments in Iowa State learning technologies and classroom environments, helping us to spend our funds even more wisely."

Twetten noted that the annual operating budget for the academic area of ITS is nearly $3 million.  "And that's just in ITS. There are colleges and departments making significant investments in their own learning ecosystems, as well, and this process will help inform those entities, too."

Napolitano added, "As the landscape of online educational tools and learning technologies continues to inspire many innovative directions in blended learning, we purposefully remain focused on the basic pillars of value, reach and service."

Process details, history

The assessment and review, officially designated the Learning Ecosystem Assessment and Review of Needs (LEARN) process, is run by a small steering committee, co-chaired by Twetten and Napolitano. A larger committee facilitates information flow between the university community and consultants. A list of committee members and details are on the LEARN website.

A 2012 discussion about reviewing Iowa State's learning management system (Blackboard) sparked the review and assessment of the entire learning and teaching environment.

"Based on discussion with faculty, we opted to take a holistic view," Twetten said. "The interface between technology and the physical components of a room is really getting blurry. You can't just say, 'All I want to talk about is the learning management system when things used in the physical classroom like video capture software or clickers have significant ties back into that system.

"Our intent is to find out what's needed in our entire learning ecosystem."


*LMS, "learning management system;" BYOD, "bring your own device;" MOOC "massive open online courses;" OER, "open educational resources"

Five questions for Joe Schaefer

Joe Schaefer

Joe Schaefer's colleagues in aerospace engineering "decorated" his office on the first day of fall semester, Schaefer's 50th in a college classroom. Submitted photo.

Joe Schaefer started his 50th year as a professor this fall. His colleagues in the aerospace engineering department marked the milestone with cookies, posters depicting Schaefer as a super hero and an office decorated with cardinal and gold streamers. Inside asked Schaefer about all those years in college classrooms.

Joe Schaefer

Position: Senior lecturer, aerospace engineering
Age: 72
Education: B.S., Loras College, 1962; M.S., University of Toledo, 1964; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1972; all in physics
Time at Iowa State: 14 years

Please walk us through your 50 years as a professor.

I started teaching in the fall of 1964 at Loras College in Dubuque. I spent 35 years at Loras, including stints as chair of the department of physics and engineering sciences and nine years as chair of the faculty. I came to Iowa State in 1999. Our daughters had taken jobs in central Iowa and we knew they wouldn't be coming back to Dubuque. We found a lot in Ankeny and built a home and then I went looking for a job. At that time, people were taking phased retirement at Iowa State and some departments were looking for help. And that's how I fell into this job.

What do you remember about your first days as a professor?

I taught an advanced introductory physics course and the lab that went with it. At that time we had quite a few good, strong physics majors. It was a popular thing to study because of the space program.

And what are you teaching 50 years later?

This semester my major responsibility is fluid mechanics. I'm teaching EM 378, Mechanics of Fluids. I also teach the strength of materials lab, EM 327, Mechanics of Materials laboratory. We've been able to replace some pieces of vintage equipment that were large chunks of iron occupying a great deal of laboratory space with computer-driven tools. I'm pretty happy about that. Those changes provided room for the department's M:2:I (Make to Innovate) program. Look at the posters the students in M:2:I have out there in the hallway (lower level of Howe Hall). What they're doing is really something.

And what is your relationship with students these days?

I was cleaning off my desk the other day and found this note in one of my piles. It's something a student wrote in one of my course evaluations last year and I wrote it down: "Dr. Schaefer is the kind of teacher lazy students would hate."

You don't sound like you're in any hurry to retire.

No, they treat me so well here. There are enough challenges to make it interesting. And I have enough energy and interest to do this. It's still really a nice life.

Online center offers faculty another professional development tool

Iowa State faculty members, postdocs and graduate students – nearly 7,000 in sum -- are invited to activate an account with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, an independent, Detroit-based center that provides mentoring, networking and career development support, largely online, for its members.

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost purchased a one-year institutional membership ($20,000) at the center. All faculty – fulltime, part-time, tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure eligible – as well as postdocs and grad students may activate an individual account. The instructions for doing so are listed at the end of this announcement.

Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince encouraged faculty members to activate a membership and try some of the center's services, which include facilitated learning communities, workshops and discussion groups. Slides, audio recordings and transcripts of past activities are archived and available for a year. The center's expertise is in writing well and getting published, mentoring and developing faculty, and faculty advancement.

Check the ISU calendar

Fall workshops and discussion groups offered by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity are in Iowa State's online calendar. Iowa Staters may sign up for events via AccessPlus or by sending an email to

"This is another tool in the toolbox for our faculty. It's a resource each one can use. It supplements some of the provost-level and college-level things we're doing on campus in faculty mentoring and faculty development," she said.

Bratsch-Prince said she sees two strengths in the center. First, it provides a safe and professional but external network for ISU faculty.

"Sometimes you may not want to share something with a person in your department or even your institution," she noted. "And, it's good to have lots of people to bounce ideas off."

Second, she thinks the center deals well with issues that are relevant to faculty of color and to women faculty. Cinzia Cervato, faculty fellow for early career faculty development in the provost's office, concurred.

"The center emphasizes a diverse faculty and offers good role models. That's very helpful for a place like Iowa State, where we don't have large communities of ethnic faculty, for example, African-Americans," Cervato said.

Cervato said Iowa State faculty also will appreciate the scheduling flexibility the center offers.

"People are so busy. In one or one-and-a-half hours in their office, they can pick up a lot of really helpful ideas," she said.

Cervato said the center will keep track of how many Iowa State individuals activate memberships and the kinds of programs and services they request this year. That information will help the provost's office assess the usefulness of the center when the institutional membership is set to expire.

Questions about Iowa State's institutional membership may be directed to Cervato, 4-7583.

How to activate your membership account in the NCFDD

1. Go to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity website
2. Select the "Become a Member" tab and choose "Individual Membership"
3. In the middle of the Individual Membership page, select "Click Here"
4. On the "Select Your Member Type" page, select the third option, "Institutional Sub-Account"
5. On the "Select a Username" page, enter your ISU-issued email address in the first "Username" box and complete the registration process
6. You will receive an email within 24 hours confirming that your account is active

Regents assemble requests for state funding next year

Iowa State's top building funding request to the state for the year that begins next July 1 is $5 million in planning funds for a new building and building renovations in the biosciences. The state Board of Regents finalized and prioritized FY15 state funding requests at its meeting Wednesday in Cedar Falls.

The board's first capital request next year is $75 million for deferred maintenance and fire and environmental safety improvements at the five regent schools. How that would be allocated among the five hasn't been determined yet.

Iowa State's biosciences proposal calls for another $50 million in state support over three years (FY16-FY18), supplemented with $25 million in private gifts. Planning funds for a new building also was a top request for the current fiscal year, but the 2013 Legislature failed to fund the request. University leaders have cited both a critical shortage of space and the ineffectiveness of antiquated, functionally obsolete facilities in making biosciences building improvements a top priority.

Iowa State will ask for a 4.0 percent increase (nearly $7 million) in state support for general operating funds and a 3.2 percent increase for units receiving a direct appropriation (such as the Ag Experiment Station and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab), state economic development funds and the Regents Innovation Fund. The board proposed that, with this level of state support, the regent universities could keep tuition flat for a second year for Iowa undergraduate students.

Board president Bruce Rastetter said keeping Iowa's universities accessible and affordable is a shared responsibility of the schools, the board and legislators.

The increase request is based on the Higher Education Price Index's inflation projection for FY15, which is a range from 1.8 percent to 3.2 percent. The higher increase for general operating funds, he said, would help the universities meet inflationary costs without raising tuition for in-state undergraduate students.

Biennial report: Faculty activity

The board also received a biennial report on faculty work responsibilities and work week at all five regent schools. The report is based on a survey of faculty during the 2012-13 academic year; about 85 percent of Iowa State faculty returned the survey.

At ISU, tenured and tenure-track faculty members reported working 58.2 hours per week, non-tenure track faculty 51.8 hours, clinicians 56.8 hours and department chairs 59.1 hours.

When compared to the 2010-11 survey, there has been a slight shift of teaching responsibilities, away from tenured and tenure-track faculty to non-tenure track faculty. Last fall, 58.0 percent of all student credit hours (SCH) and 54.3 percent of undergraduate SCH were taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty. This represents a decrease of about 4.5 percentage points from fall 2010.

Non-tenure track faculty taught 31.0 percent of total SCH and 33.5 percent of undergraduate SCH in fall 2012, an increase of 4.1 percentage points (in both cases) compared to fall 2010.

Teaching responsibilities assigned to graduate assistants was nearly unchanged. Graduate assistants taught 11.0 percent of total SCH and 12.2 percent of undergraduate SCH in fall 2012, an increase of 0.4 percentage points in each instance compared to fall 2010.

More information from the faculty activity survey is available in the board's agenda item (PDF).

ISU faculty activity: Hours worked per week

Clinicians DEOs/Chairs
Student instruction 24.9 34.1 18.9 13.1
Research/creative work 21.1 6.1 11.9 10.6
Clinical work 0.6 4.9 17.7 0.1
Community outreach 3.1 2.3 3.2 1.9
Professional development 1.0 0.9 2.5 2.1
Administration/service 7.5 3.5 2.6 31.3
Total 58.2 51.8 56.8 59.1


Who's teaching our students: ISU student credit hours taught

  Undergrads Graduates Professional All students
Tenured 43.0% 71.8% 70.0% 46.1%
Tenure-track 11.3% 20.3% 8.5% 11.9%
Non-tenure track 33.5% 7.4% 21.5% 31.0%
Graduate assistants 12.2% 0.5% 0.0% 11.0%


Other business

The board also approved Iowa State requests to:

  • Replace senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden with university relations executive director John McCarroll as the ISU appointee on Iowa Public Radio's board of directors. Madden had served on the board since it was founded in 2005.
  • Close the Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence in the Institute for Physical Research and Technology. The center was established in 1997 with Federal Aviation Administration funding. It no longer receives federal funding and is not financially sustainable.


Senate starts school year with look at academics in athletics

Faculty athletics representative Tim Day presented an update on the academic progress of Iowa State's student-athletes at the Sept. 10 Faculty Senate meeting. Using numbers through the fall 2012 semester, Day said the student-athletes' GPA edged the overall student body (2.94 and 2.91, respectively) for the seventh consecutive semester.

"What we see is student-athletes' GPAs largely mirroring the grade points of the general population," Day said.

All of the athletics teams exceeded the minimum standard (900) set in the NCAA's academic progress rate (APR). The tennis team scored a perfect 1,000 while football's 928 was the lowest ISU score. The APR calculations include retention and academic eligibility metrics.

Day said Iowa State student-athletes enrolled as special admits show "a remarkable progression of improved performance." Some students who do not meet the university's admission requirements are admitted with special admit status.

Day told senators that NCAA initial eligibility standards are changing in August 2016. High school athletes must have a core GPA of 2.3 (currently 2.0), and complete 10 of their 16 core credits prior to their seventh semester (by the end of junior year). Academic redshirt seasons will be available for freshmen, allowing them to receive financial aid and practice -- but not participate in competitions -- while working on their academic progress.

Summer actions

Senate president Veronica Dark said the executive board was busy over the summer months, including actions that:

  • Supported the closure of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy
  • Created two task forces in cooperation with the provost's office: Task force examining the PRS (position responsibility statement) across campus and the Task force on the scholarship of engagement and outreach
  • Reestablished the committee that interacts with the senior vice president for business and finance and created a committee to communicate with the senior vice president for student affairs

Dark said the executive board met with the president and provost during its summer retreat. A summary (PDF) of the meeting is available online.

Other business

  • Dark reported that College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Beate Schmittmann and Graduate College dean David Holger will co-chair the internal search for the next vice president for research. She said a full committee should be named in the next week.
  • Senators unanimously approved language tweaks to the bylaws regarding eligibility of senate members.
  • Senators learned about a "high impact hires initiative" for tenure and tenure-eligible faculty.

'Fall' for this semester's lecture series

Just in case your schedule isn't quite filled to capacity, mark your calendar with this fall's lectures lineup.

An array of speakers, including Karen Hughes, global vice chair of Burson-Marsteller and a former adviser to President George W. Bush; Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and MSNBC political analyst; and Travis Taylor, National Geographic Channel's Rocket City Rednecks ringleader, all will make stops on campus this fall. To find out more about these and other upcoming lectures, access the lectures schedule online. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Here's a look at some of this fall's lecture highlights.

"Who's Up, Who's Down and What's Really Going On," Eugene Robinson, Sept. 18 (8 p.m., Memorial Union Great Hall)

In 2009, Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his columns about the 2008 presidential race and Barack Obama's election as the first black president of the United States. Robinson also is an MSNBC political analyst and author of Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America. He has been a columnist with The Washington Post since 1980.

"The End of Money," David Wolman, Sept. 19 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

A contributing editor at Wired and author of The End of Money, Wolman shares how going cashless will impact the world; your wallet; and the retail, banking and finance industries. In his book, Wolman investigates alternative cashless currencies and technologies, including mobile-based banking systems.

"A New American Space Plan," Travis Taylor, Sept. 20 (7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium)

Taylor is the leader of the Rocket City Rednecks, a National Geographic Channel television series that follows the weekend experiments of five rocket scientists from Huntsville, Ala., home to NASA's Marshall Flight Center. Taylor has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA for 25 years, holds five degrees and is working toward his second Ph.D.

"Me the People: One Man's Quest to Rewrite the Constitution," Kevin Bleyer, Sept. 26 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Bleyer, an Emmy Award-winning writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, hopes to end the constant bickering about the U.S. Constitution simply by rewriting it. With humor and wit, Bleyer's presentation examines the nation's founding document, attempting to bring it into the 21st century.

"The CEOs of Leadership: Clarity, Example and Optimism," Karen Hughes, Oct. 3 (noon, MU Great Hall)

Hughes worked more than 30 years in public administration, public policy and communications. As Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs (2005-07), she reshaped the department's communications efforts. Hughes also was strategic adviser to President George W. Bush (2001-02), managing the White House offices of communications, media affairs, speechwriting and press secretary. She currently serves as worldwide vice chair of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm.

"At Home and Abroad," Bill Bryson, Oct. 28 (8 p.m., Stephens Auditorium)

Bryson is a travel writer and author of more than two dozen books, including A Walk in the Woods, about his hiking experience on the Appalachian Trail; Bill Bryson's African Diary, chronicling his trip to Kenya; and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, his memoir about growing up in Des Moines. Bryson's latest book, One Summer: America, 1927, delves into historic U.S. events that took place during the summer of 1927, including Charles Lindbergh's nonstop flight across the Atlantic and Babe Ruth's home-run record.