Jones' paintings a fitting backdrop for ISCORE conference

Brenda Jones

The vice president for students affairs conference room doubles as a gallery for Brenda Jones' ISCORE paintings. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Nothing sets the stage for the annual Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE) like a Brenda Jones painting. Jones, associate professor in integrated studio arts, has been setting the stage for 15 years, providing art for the conference's promotional posters. Her striking paintings, dominated by faces -- brown, black and white -- have become a fitting symbol of the event that promotes understanding across races and ethnicities.

Register for ISCORE

This year's ISCORE is March 7 in the Memorial Union. Register here.

Senior vice president for student affairs Tom Hill brought the first ISCORE conference to campus in 2000. Based on the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, ISCORE features a series of sessions led by faculty, staff and students.

When Hill asked Jones to create a painting for the first conference, she was happy to oblige.

"I knew what he was trying to do, bringing this conference to Iowa State," she said. "Dr. Hill was saying to students, 'You have people here who really care about you. It doesn't matter if you're white, Hispanic or Native American.'"

Jones found inspiration for her ISCORE paintings from a variety of individuals -- icons like George Washington Carver, contemporaries at Iowa State, "incredible people" she met on her travels. She does plenty of traveling. She lives in Rome almost half the year, teaching students in the College of Design's international program. Many of the ISCORE paintings were created in Rome and shipped back to Iowa State, where they were assembled and printed as posters.

Jones' original works now line the student affairs conference room and offices.

Japannah Kellogg, a student support services coordinator who's worked on the ISCORE program for many years, notes that Jones has supported ISCORE events in more ways that artistry.

"When she was able, she was right there at the conference with the students, bringing a unique perspective," he said. "She's done it all as a favor to the project."

In recognition of her work, ISCORE developed the Brenda Jones Change Agent Award, given annually to an ISCORE student alumnus.

"This is what I have to give back," Jones said of her ISCORE work and teaching in general. "Everybody should feel obligated to give something back."

Iowa State is part of national manufacturing lab announced by White House

METal virtual reality facility

Students (from left) Leif Berg, Meisha Rosenberg and Ryan Pavlik assemble parts in a virtual factory created by Iowa State's METaL virtual reality facility. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Iowa State is a top-tier partner in a new Digital Lab for Manufacturing to be based in Chicago with affiliated partners across the country.

President Barack Obama recently announced a $70 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to support creation of the lab by UI LABS, a Chicago-based research and commercialization collaborative. In addition to the defense grant, industry, academic, government and community partners have pledged $250 million for the lab, creating a $320 million enterprise.

Iowa State will be a tier 1 partner of the Digital Lab and will conduct research through grants and projects awarded to Iowa State researchers.

“The Digital Lab for Manufacturing is expected to bring significant resources to Iowa State and greatly enable our research programs in these key areas of advanced manufacturing and the emerging economy," said President Steven Leath.

The Digital Lab is designed to be the country’s flagship research institute for digital manufacturing and design innovation. The idea is to apply computing and data analysis to improve manufacturing machines and factories. The lab will focus on three technical areas: advanced analysis, intelligent machining and advanced manufacturing enterprise.

As a top-tier partner in the Digital Lab, Iowa State will have seats on lab boards and committees, giving the university a voice in the lab’s operations and funding decisions. Iowa State also provides the lab with expertise and resources from three university centers: the Center for e-Design, the Virtual Reality Applications Center and the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation.

Janis Terpenny, director of the Center for e-Design, Iowa State’s Joseph Walkup Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering  and department chair, is expected to provide technical leadership for the Digital Lab’s work in advanced manufacturing.

“We are pleased to share our expertise with UI LABS, industry, fellow researchers and educators from around the nation in the new Digital Lab,” Terpenny said. “This is public-private partnership on a grand scale; one capable of providing the significant resources and talents to advance research, effect change for manufacturers large and small, and prepare the next generation for the multifaceted demands for a new type of workforce.”

Engineering dean Sarah Rajala said, “We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with an outstanding team of industry, government and academic partners to advance the field of advanced manufacturing and design innovation, and to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing.”

Advanced manufacturing is one of Iowa’s largest industries, contributing $28 billion annually to the state economy. Iowa State works closely with industry, community leaders and educators across the state through partnerships with National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers such as the Center for e-Design and the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, as well as the Center for Industrial Research and Service, the Iowa Innovation Council and education programs in science, technology, engineering and math.

It was a great green year

shirt bags

Students (l-r) Casie Tindell, Bailey McIntosh and Carolyn Scarpelli "upcycle" used T-shirts into bags at the Sustainapalooza portion of Iowa State's annual Symposium on Sustainability Feb. 25 in the Memorial Union. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Unit leaders summarized achievements behind the university's gold rating last fall in a higher education sustainability tracking program and the Live Green! program honored three projects during the 2014 Symposium on Sustainability Feb. 25 in the Memorial Union. The annual event also included a sustainability fair, poster session and two evening lectures.

In October, Iowa State received a gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The rating system recognizes a wide range of efforts in operations, teaching and research, and planning and administration. A few of those highlights were:

  • Students have been planning alternative (service-oriented) spring breaks for the last eight years; five such trips in five states are planned for next month.
  • Iowa State generates 6.4 tons of waste annually; less than one-fourth of which (22 percent) goes to a landfill.
  • Prepared (but unused) food from ISU Dining is distributed daily in Ames to the Food at First community meal program, Youth and Shelter Services or the Curt Forbes community correctional facility.
  • 99 percent of copy paper purchased for campus use contains recycled product, about 85 percent of furniture purchased has at least 20 percent recycled content
  • Every house or floor in the residence system has a recycling program and a sustainability coordinator

Presenters also gave a quick peek at sustainable projects being studied or in the works that could further green the campus. They included natural gas boilers that alone will reduce Iowa State's carbon footprint 12 percent, going paperless on more processes and communications, a bike share program and a system for cataloging student service hours for inclusion in their transcripts.

Award-worthy efforts

Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability were given to:

  • Greeks Go Green, a 2-year-old program in Iowa State's fraternities and sororities to organize and promote sustainable practices at each of the houses and on campus
  • ISU's Sustainable Agriculture Student Association, for its efforts to grow and provide fresh produce to Ames' Food at First free meal program, where members have volunteered since 2012
  • Landscape architecture student Qiyi Li, for her paper airplane art installation in the College of Design last semester, intended to increase public awareness of conservation practices

Four campus buildings also received recognition for energy conservation. Linden Hall (residence facility), Physics Hall (research/laboratory building) and Curtiss Hall (academic/administration building) had the smallest electrical footprint in FY13 within their building category (measured in Kwh/square foot). The Extension Youth 4-H Building was recognized for the greatest reduction in electrical consumption (31.5 percent) over three years (FY10 to FY13). The overall campus goal is a reduction of 15 percent based on a three-year average.

Director of sustainability Merry Rankin announced that the 2015 sustainability symposium would be held on Feb. 24.

New options for Hub patio

Your 2 cents

The design concepts will be available for comments on the project website March 6-9.

Schematic: The Hub west patio

A team from Ames-based Bolton and Menk Inc. will hold an open house on Thursday, March 6, to gather feedback about design concepts for the Hub's west patio area. The space will get a $125,000 makeover this summer.

Two to three design concepts will be on display in the current outdoor patio area during the open house (9 a.m.-noon). The campus community is invited to stop by to view the plans and give feedback during the open house, or visit the project website March 6-9 to submit comments. The event will move indoors to Parks Library if the weather is a problem.

Chris Strawhacker, landscape architect in facilities planning and management, said the existing patio pavement, retaining wall, lawn berm and seating will be removed to create a larger space.

"This project will renovate the outdoor seating area with the construction of a new paved plaza, seating and landscaping," he said.

Construction is slated to begin in May and wrap up in August.

CELT announces recipients of Miller Faculty Fellowships

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has announced the 2014-15 Miller Faculty Fellowships. Out of a record 26 applications, six projects were funded for a total of $60,000.

Miller Faculty Fellowships provide faculty members with opportunities to enhance their scholarly work in undergraduate academic programs and develop innovative ways to enhance student learning. Any ISU faculty member may submit proposals, individually or with a team.

The 2014-15 Miller Faculty Fellowships recipients are:

A gift that keeps giving

The Miller Faculty Fellowships are funded through the estate of F. Wendell Miller, who left his entire estate jointly to Iowa State and the University of Iowa.

Proposal: "Development of a Veterinary Clinical Skills Learning Laboratory"
Authors: Stephanie Caston, assistant professor, veterinary clinical sciences; Jennifer Schleining, associate professor, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine; and Dean Riedesel, professor, veterinary clinical sciences
Funding: $14,920

Proposal: "Team-based Learning Outcomes: Developing a Survey Instrument to Evaluate Student Motivation and Beliefs About Learning"
Authors: Lisa Orgler, lecturer, horticulture; Monica Lamm, associate professor, chemical and biological engineering; Georgeanne Artz, assistant professor, economics; Ann Smiley-Oyen, associate professor, kinesiology; Michael Dorneich, associate professor, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; Holly Bender, associate director, CELT; Sandra Gahn, program manager, institutional research; Sarah Bickelhaupt, graduate assistant, human development and family studies; Keri Jacobs, assistant professor, economics; Cassandra Dorius, assistant professor, human development and family studies
Funding: $14,760

Proposal: "Show Them the Data: A Strategy to Improve Engagement and Enhance Student Learning Outcomes in STEM Classrooms"
Authors: Monica Lamm, associate professor, chemical and biological engineering; Clark Coffmann, associate professor, genetics/development and cell biology; Patrick Armstrong, associate professor, psychology; Robert Reason, associate professor, School of Education; Shana Carpenter, assistant professor, psychology
Funding: $15,000

Proposal: "American Sign Language Learning Modules for Comprehension and Interpretive Skill Enhancement"
Author: Jonathan Webb, lecturer, world languages and cultures
Funding: $6,209

Proposal: "Using Learning Modules to Prepare Honors Students for Capstone Projects"
Authors: Susan Yager, faculty director, honors program; Laurie Smith Law, program manager, honors program; Dana Schumacher, program coordinator, honors program
Funding: $5,900

Proposal: "Mutants, Microbes and Molecules: Course Development for a Student-driven, Inquiry-based Microbiology Laboratory"
Author: Claudia Lemper, lecturer, plant pathology and microbiology
Funding: $3,211

Envy, genius drive stage drama

Amadeus promo photo

Junior Mason Tyer portrays the frenetic Mozart in ISU Theatre's production of Amadeus. Photo by Nancy Thompson.

Fiction based in history is the backdrop for ISU Theatre's production of Amadeus, which highlights a perceived rivalry between music composers Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The drama begins its two-weekend run at Fisher Theater Feb. 28.

Genius and envy are the driving forces behind the Academy and Tony award-winning work by Peter Shaffer. Salieri, who will never be anything more than average as a composer despite sacrificing everything, is affronted by the effortless genius of the boorish Mozart. Although he admires the transcendent quality in Mozart's music, Salieri's jealousy spills over into rage and a tragic result.

Juniors Christopher Priebe (Salieri) and Mason Tyer (Mozart) headline an 18-member cast. Theatre program director and professor Jane Cox is the stage director.

Tickets are $17 ($15 for seniors, $9 for students) and are available at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office, through Ticketmaster and at the door. Friday and Saturday show times are 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.