Reiman Gardens' 2014 theme is out of this world


Visit "Crash Landing" at Reiman Gardens' conservatory through April 12. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Tired of this winter's deep freeze? Take a trip to the desert Southwest without ever leaving Ames. 

Reiman Gardens' 2014 theme, "A Garden Odyssey," is inspired by space and science fiction. Activities, exhibits and events will focus on aliens, the solar system, unidentified flying objects and more. A list of upcoming events and exhibits is on the Reiman Gardens website.

The theme's inaugural exhibit, "Crash Landing," is on display in the conservatory through April 12. It features a plethora of desert plants, including a variety of cacti and succulents among numerous other colorful, blooming flowers. The gardens' staff converted the conservatory into a desert environment by adding rocks and sand to the ground structure.

The exhibit is a nod to the purported 1947 extraterrestrial phenomenon that surrounds Roswell, N.M. The exhibit's centerpiece is a crashed space ship (soon, visitors will see an alien life-form inside the space craft). The unidentified flying object features a metal disc with a capsule encased with colorful desert flowers. The trail of red flowers that flows behind the craft represents its crash pattern in the desert soil.

Reiman Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 ($4 for kids 4 to 17; free for kids 3 and under). 

Realignment planned for IPRT, centers

The offices of the Vice President for Research and of Economic Development and Industry Relations have announced a realignment for the Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT) and its centers, effective July 1. IPRT's administrative role as a research institute will end and its centers and activities will report to other administrative units.

The realignment is part of the university's ongoing effort to improve administrative efficiency and streamline research and economic development units. Leonard Bond, professor of aerospace engineering and director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, has served as IPRT interim director since October 2012 and will oversee the transition.

"The work of the faculty, staff and students associated with IPRT and its centers remains highly valued both within and outside of the university," said David Oliver, interim vice president for research. "The research and services provided will continue and we've taken care to minimize the impact of these changes as much as possible."

Three IPRT centers will report directly to the Office of the Vice President for Research beginning July 1. They are:

  • Center for Nondestructive Evaluation
  • Microelectronics Research Center
  • Virtual Reality Applications Center

Two IPRT centers will report to colleges:

  • Center for Building Energy Research will report to the College of Design
  • Center for Catalysis will report to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies, with its mission of promoting thermochemical technologies, will be incorporated into the Bioeconomy Institute.

Program management of Science Bound will shift to the School of Education in the College of Human Sciences. Investments also will be made to expand the program's reach, connect students with researchers and labs, and foster more integration with Iowa State's other STEM-related colleges and outreach programs.

Assistance to businesses

Program management of IPRT Company Assistance will shift to the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), a joint program of the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations and the College of Engineering. This change will further promote the services provided by Company Assistance throughout Iowa and attract more company and industry partnerships with Iowa State. The Company Assistance laboratories will remain at their current locations.

"We're bringing our programs that serve Iowa companies under one umbrella," said Mike Crum, senior policy adviser and leader of the economic development and industry relations office. "The result will be an approachable and flexible program that helps companies achieve their business goals."

Preliminary diversity report to president

Ensure the office of equal opportunity is adequately staffed. Review employee recruitment efforts. Identify public transportation options between Ames and Des Moines.

The consultant who's been reviewing Iowa State's diversity programs and resources included these recommendations and several others in a recent preliminary report to President Steven Leath. The report is the precursor to a comprehensive report expected this spring.

Leath said he plans to use both reports to promote and enhance diversity at Iowa State. In announcing the review last March, he said that Iowa State "is as diverse as it has ever been, but we have a responsibility to build upon past successes and ensure that we strive every day to create an environment that is as welcoming as possible to all people."

View the report

Leading the diversity study is Jerlando Jackson, founder of The Jackson Consulting Firm, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an ISU alumnus. Since last spring, Jackson has been conducting interviews, focus groups, surveys and analyses of Iowa State's diversity-related assets and programs.

Findings, recommendations

Following are findings and recommendations in Jackson's preliminary report.

Finding No. 1: Awareness of policies and responsibilities pertaining to hiring, discrimination, recruitment and harassment varies greatly across campus.


  • Ensure that faculty and staff take online training on harassment and Title IX (1.1)
  • Ensure the office of equal opportunity is adequately staffed for training individuals and groups (1.2)
  • Ensure that all search committee chairs receive lawful hiring training (1.3)

Finding No. 2: Employee recruitment efforts vary greatly across individual units.


  • Review employee recruitment efforts with an eye to developing best practices (2)

Finding No. 3: ISU must enhance its partnerships with surrounding business groups and communities to reach its full potential with respect to diversity.


  • Leverage strong relationships between the university and city to encourage service and retail development within Ames (3.1)
  • Work with the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau and related groups to attract to Ames major national and regional events with a diversity-focus. Encourage ISU units to assist in sponsoring such events (3.2)
  • Build on existing efforts to link Ames/ISU with other communities in central Iowa, particularly Des Moines. (3.3) Tactics that might be considered:
    1. Work with community partners to identify public transportation options between Ames and Des Moines
    2. Include among Capital Corridor plans a component on recruiting diverse businesses to central Iowa

Moving forward

Leath and university administrators will review and consider the preliminary report recommendations, said Miles Lackey, associate vice president and chief of staff.

"The president is very serious about moving forward on diversity issues, and the preliminary report provides some useful information to inform steps in the near term," Lackey said. "We’re also looking forward to receiving the final comprehensive report which we anticipate will inform university diversity strategies as we look into the future."

Lied video board debuts this week

Lied videoboard

From right to left, Nathan Terry (ISU athletics marketing), Josh Klein and Jimmy Stewart (both from the Delta Timing Group) tested the new video board Thursday at the Lied Center. The portable control center, which includes results and video feeds, is situated at the lower track's northwest finish line. Photo by Bob Elbert.

As teams and spectators arrive for the Bill Bergan Invitational at the Lied Recreation Center this week, a new high-definition video board will greet them from its perch on the north end of the facility. The system adds real-time action and results capabilities to the men's and women's indoor track and field event.

Bill Bergan Invitational

  • Thursday, Jan. 30 (noon-3 p.m.)
  • Friday, Jan. 31 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Feb. 1 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Admission is free
  • Tentative schedule (PDF)

Teams: Iowa State, Iowa, Kansas State, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Texas, Wisconsin

Three 20-by-12-foot panels comprise the display. The outside panels sport Iowa State athletics and Big 12 Conference logos. The middle panel has full video capabilities. Chris Jorgensen, senior associate athletics director for facilities, planning and management, said live action, meet results and introductory videos are among the possible displays.

"It's no different than the video boards at Hilton and Jack Trice Stadium, in that respect," he said.

ISU regularly hosts four collegiate meets and one high school event during the indoor track and field season. Jorgensen said Iowa State's Lied Center is the only Big 12 facility capable of hosting the conference indoor track and field championships and the video board is another investment in that meet.

Currently, the video board will be used solely for athletics events. Jorgensen said that could expand in the future for events such as the Iowa Special Olympics. The project cost an estimated $300,000.

Winter break efforts achieve cost savings

Despite periods of bitterly cold temperatures, Iowa State still managed to post energy cost savings over winter break.

"We had some extreme cold weather in that period which certainly had an impact on what we potentially could have saved," said Bob Currie, director of facilities services.

During the 12-day partial shutdown, the average temperature in Ames was 14 degrees. Five days hit subzero temps, including a low of -20 degrees on Dec. 24.

"That was the coldest day of the year," Currie said. "We had to go back and turn systems on to survive that weather."

Energy conservation efforts were implemented in 23 buildings and a record 55 buildings closed during the partial shutdown. In that span, Currie said ISU averaged about $3,340 in savings each day, thanks to conservation efforts. Total savings were about $40,100 ($31,142 electricity and $8,959 steam).

The full semester break didn't provide any break from the cold. During that 23-day stretch, temperatures averaged 12 degrees, including 12 days with subzero temps. The mercury rose above freezing on just five of those days.

Conservation efforts still saved more than $4,000 on average, daily. In all, FPM saw $95,904 in savings during winter break ($85,983 electricity and $9,921 steam).

Partial shutdown savings

  FY10 FY11 FY13 FY14
Days 11 11 11 12
Electric $42,364 $41,174 $25,898 $31,142
Steam $18,537 ($624) $37,088 $8,958
Daily average $5,536 $3,686 $5,725 $3,341
Total $60,900 $40,550 $62,986 $40,100


Semester break savings

  FY10 FY11 FY13 FY14
Days 23 23 30 23
Electric $94,474 $103,640 $133,257 $85,983
Steam $20,358 $2,324 $50,727 $9,921
Daily average $4,992 $4,607 $6,132 $4,169
Total $114,831 $105,964 $183,984 $95,904


Regents will act on numerous Iowa State building requests next week

The residence department will seek permission to grow its capacity – on several fronts – when the state Board of Regents meets next Thursday in Cedar Falls. Department leaders propose to lease 16 more apartment buildings (for approximately 560 students) in southwest Ames beginning Aug. 1 and build a residence hall (about 700 students) east of Buchanan Hall on Lincoln Way. In collaboration with ISU Dining, the residence department also would like to renovate the former Friley Hall dining center into a food court.

The residence plans are among numerous building projects Iowa State leaders hope to start formal planning on, including expansions at the football stadium and the Scheman Building. The board meeting begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 6 at the University of Northern Iowa's student union. The full agenda is online, and all public portions of the meeting will be audio streamed on the board's website.

New residence hall

Record-setting freshman classes, coupled with as many as 2,000 residence hall students who want to return to a hall, has created a big demand for Iowa State's approximately 7,200 residence hall beds, said residence director Pete Englin. While Iowa State doesn't require students to live on campus, many are choosing to.

"The experiences provided in the residence halls connect new students to a community that fosters student success," he said.

A new 700-bed residence hall would help address the demand. Englin said he sought input from Inter Residence Hall Association leaders on a location for the hall. The site west of Friley was another option, but students favored the Buchanan site, he said.

If the board gives the green light and planning proceeds, Englin said the goal would be to have the building open by fall 2016 or earlier. An early cost estimate is $50 million, which would be funded by dormitory revenue bonds.

A long-term department goal, he said, is to eliminate the need to lease off-campus spaces to operate them as residence department housing. This year, there are five such buildings; one in Campustown and four in southwest Ames, which added space for about 500 students.

The department will ask the board for permission to lease 16 under-construction apartment buildings in southwest Ames on Maricopa Drive and to renew the lease on four adjacent buildings it currently leases. The 20 buildings would provide a residence department experience for about 760 students during the 2014-15 year.

Friley dining center

Converting the former dining room and kitchen into a food court would help ease the demand for food service on central campus, particularly at midday. As proposed, yet-to-be-determined but multiple stations would have their own menus and pay registers, with a shared seating area open all day for student use. The estimated $5 million renovation, to be funded by dormitory revenue bonds, would add an east entrance (currently the dining area is accessible from within Friley).

Biosciences facilities

Iowa State also will ask to begin formal planning for two biosciences facilities: A teaching and research facility planned for the northwest corner of Stange Road and Pammel Drive (current site of Industrial Education II) and an addition to the east side of Bessey Hall that provides introductory and advanced teaching spaces. The project also would renovate unidentified space. An estimated cost of $80 million would include $25 million in private gifts and a proposed $55 million in state appropriations (including $2 million in planning funds in FY15). A planning study for biosciences completed in December, which identified needs and considered existing facilities, calls for nearly 160,000 additional square feet of space to meet student interest and employer demand for bioscience-related skills and degrees.

Marston Hall renovation

The board will be asked to approve renovation plans and a budget ($24.1 million) for Marston Hall, the home of the College of Engineering. The plan reserves the two lower floors for high-traffic uses, such as classrooms and student services, and moves the college's administrative units, including the dean's office to the upper two floors. The proposed financing of the project is $15.9 million in university funds and $8.2 million in private gifts. Construction could begin in September and last about 18 months. Leaders have planned a "sustainable reinvention of a historic building;" the university hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification for the project.

Scheman Building addition

Iowa State will seek board permission to renovate the Scheman Building and build a north addition to it. The request is subject to a successful bond referendum by Ames voters on March 4 to pay for the city's half of the project. The new space would add convention-style "flat space" and is expected to help the city and university compete more successfully within the state to host educational and other large events. The estimated $38 million cost -- $32 million in new construction; $6 million in renovation -- would be shared by the city and Iowa State. The city's share would be covered by a bond sale; the university's portion by a combination of university funds, private gifts and user fees.

Stadium improvements

The athletics department will seek permission to proceed with planning to replace the south end zone of Jack Trice Stadium. The proposed project would "bowl in" the stadium with two decks of seating, including some type of premium indoor seating. The project would upgrade the south video/sound systems and add storage and guest services. The project also would develop some of the parking lots between the stadium and Reiman Gardens as green space. Roy and Bobbi Reiman, founders of Reiman Publications and for whom the gardens are named, provided a lead gift of $25 million in November for the estimated $60 million stadium project.

Lagomarcino Hall renovation

Interior demolition work began earlier this month in Lagomarcino Hall's north wing for the School of Education project. It will consolidate administrative offices, advising offices, classrooms and support spaces on both floors around a new north entrance and lobby. Iowa State is submitting another revised budget ($5.4 million) to the board because all project bids received in November exceeded the budget ($5.1 million).

Enhance your teaching skills with CELT's help

There's no need to leave campus for a teaching conference when you can glean the latest teaching tips and trade secrets right here at Iowa State.

Each semester, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) holds an Award-winning Faculty Series where ISU faculty who have earned teaching accolades share their knowledge with other instructors. 

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, director of CELT, professor of horticulture and the recipient of numerous teaching awards, is the series' next speaker on Feb. 3 (12:10-1 p.m., 2030 Morrill). Her topic, "Aligning Your Course with Learning Objectives Creates Efficiency, Concrete Learning Gains," will address well-written and measurable learning objectives that can result in more efficient class preparation and constructive feedback for students. She also will offer ideas on how to determine measureable learning objectives, now required by the state legislature.

"In order to meet the requirements of state legislation, faculty who teach larger courses need to determine if students are meeting at least one learning objective for the course," VanDerZanden said. "A key to being able to do that is to have measureable learning objectives."

All instructors are invited to attend this free seminar. To register, log on to AccessPlus, click on the "Employee" tab, and select "HRS Training" in the left column. Click "Continue" and "Courses." Scroll to the CELT classes, and select "Enroll" next to class you wish to attend.

Professor of animal science Curtis Youngs will present the next seminar in the series on Feb. 13 (12:10-1 p.m., 2030 Morrill). His topic is "Active Classroom = Engaged Students."