The wait is nearly over

Sukup Atrium

Progress continues at the agricultural and biosystems engineering facility, with construction about 90 percent complete. Crews have hand-mixed and troweled nearly three-fourths of a white terrazzo floor in the atrium (pictured), which connects Elings (left) and Sukup (center) halls with the Biorenewables Research Laboratory (right), phase one of the complex.

Outdoor site work, including sidewalk pouring, will begin next month. The first faculty and staff should be moving in by late May, with most moves occurring during June and July. Students will use the building fall semester. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Salaries, workers' comp top council business

Members of the Professional and Scientific Council approved a salary recommendation that proposed an average 2.9 percent salary increase for P&S employees who meet or exceed job expectations. The motion, introduced by the compensation and benefits committee at the March 6 council meeting, also recommended an across-the-board 1.5 percent increase to the P&S salary matrix to "reflect market trends" and remain competitive.

"The purpose of this recommendation is to reward high performance from P&S employees. That's the No. 1 goal," said committee chair Chuck Rodgers. "The second goal is to begin moving employees out of the hiring range, up toward the midpoint and into the second and third [tiers] of the pay matrix. It's also a good tool for college departments and units to retain top performers."

The recommendation outlined variations in the percentage increases, based on employee performance and rank within pay grade -- top, middle or bottom. The recommended ranges for performance rewards were:

Position in matrix Bottom third Middle third Upper third
Percent of P&S employees 25.25% 50% 24.75%
Eligible salary increase 2.5-4.5% 2-4% 1.5-3.5%
Average salary increase 3.4% 2.9% 2.4%


Council members voted down an alternate recommendation that required a performance appraisal to be on file with university human resources.

Workers' comp

Julie Nuter, associate vice president for university human resources, told council members that the winter weather has produced more workers' compensation claims -- mostly slip-and-fall incidents -- statewide. She said the state is taking a closer look at those claims.

"I would say that Iowa State University is not alone," Nuter said. "University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa also are experiencing the same situation we are."

Peer advisory committee chair Jessica Van Winkle said three P&S employees contacted her about workers compensation issues, including claim denials, last month. She said the state's follow-up questions and lack of knowledge about campus parking were sources of frustration during the appeal process.

"Human resources is in conversation with the state. There is a meeting coming up soon to talk about this," Nuter said. "We are aware that this is a system-wide issue; that all the institutions are looking at it and are taking it seriously with the state and with Sedgewick [Claims Management Services]."

Spring break is service time for some students

Eagle Butte, SD service team

Another Iowa State student team will return to Eagle Butte, S.D., on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, next week to assist children and families. Pictured is the 2013 Eagle Butte team. Submitted photo.

International student and computer engineering junior Romina Rivadeneira will spend her spring break with 10 other Iowa State students in one of the poorest counties in the nation, Buffalo County, South Dakota. There, they'll study and play daily with children on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

The Dance Marathon veteran, who knows a little bit about children living with adversity, is looking forward to the week.

"I couldn't pass up this opportunity," she said. "It's going to be eye-opening, but I feel like we're really going to be helping these kids. What better way to spend spring break?"

In its eighth year, Iowa State's alternative breaks program is sponsoring service trips for students next week to Colorado, Georgia (two), South Carolina and South Dakota. Each group includes nine students and two student leaders. Depending on how far they're journeying, they'll head out on Saturday or Sunday and return to campus by March 22.

The Government of the Student Body supports each trip with $1,000; students pay between $100 and $200 each to help cover food costs, fuel and rent for a university van. Housing is provided.

"These are pretty inexpensive trips," said leadership service coordinator Kevin Merrill, and the students know not to expect many frills. "If it's a cot, but the shower is warm, they're OK."

Merrill said he tries to build balanced student teams that represent many aspects of the university. He said interest among students is high, typically twice as many applications as the 55 slots available for spring break.

"We get seniors applying who have used spring break as a vacation and who want to do something that matters with their last break," he said.

Following interviews and their selection in October, the teams meet weekly during spring semester to learn more about the experience ahead and develop a plan for their assignments. Merrill's staff train the student leaders, who in turn train their teams.

Sophomore TrayVon Weaver will return to Atlanta next week as an alternative break veteran and a team leader. His team will work through two local agencies to assist international refugees.

Weaver, who as a 13-year-old from Clinton completed a month-long service trip in Southeast Asia, said he's drawn to working with refugees and learning other cultures. He said he wants to help refugees, especially children, form a positive perspective of the United States.

"When you get to be a punching bag, a toy for a kid, that's an awesome time," he said. "We're superstars to them, we're role models."

And, on his graduation day, Weaver said he wants to look back and know that he "did more in college than go out and have a crazy time."

"It's important to put others before yourself," he said.

In early April, the five spring and two winter alternative break teams will attend a reorientation, a show-and-tell of sorts. Merrill said an important goal of the program is that the students learn how to talk about their experiences.

The five service sites

  • Wellington, Colo.: Harvest Farm, an addiction recovery working farm for men. Students work alongside the men at the farm and learn about their lives. The week includes a guided day in Denver to see and understand the kinds of situations the men came from.
  • Atlanta: City of Refuge and Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta. Students help new international refugees transition, including setting up apartments, working in a community garden, assisting with large group meals and leading activities for children.
  • Rising Fawn, Ga.: Cloudland Canyon State Park. Students work on trail repair and other outdoor maintenance projects to prepare the park for spring opening.
  • Spartanburg, S.C.: Christmas in Action. Students assist with repair and maintenance projects on the homes of elderly and disabled residents.
  • Eagle Butte, S.D.: Cheyenne River Youth Project. Students plan and organize after-school activities for Native American children on a reservation and assist with other projects.

Deloitte review team comes to campus week of March 24

A team from Deloitte Consulting is scheduled to be on campus March 24-28* as part of the "listen and learn" first phase of a review of Iowa's three regent universities. The team will visit Iowa City March 31-April 4 and Cedar Falls April 7-11, announced regent Larry McKibben at the state Board of Regents' March 12 meeting at the University of Iowa.

McKibben chairs the board's Efficiency and Transformation Review Committee, which last month selected the Deloitte group to conduct an efficiency review of each of the universities and the three schools as a system. He said the week will include a campus forum, to be led by President Steven Leath, and meetings with "campus stakeholders, to listen and learn."

"We look for our university presidents to be leaders in this process," McKibben said. "They'll set the tone for people getting involved."

Leath's chief of staff Miles Lackey is Iowa State's representative to the review committee.

McKibben said the efficiency review "is not out taking money from the universities; we're repurposing resources for the long-term benefit and survival of these three universities."

Earlier in the meeting, four University of Iowa students interrupted the discussion, chanting, "Ditch Deloitte. Stop the audit." They were escorted out of the room by campus police officers.

More faculty hires

During his campus update to the board, Leath reported progress on his pledge to hire more than 200 faculty in the first years of his presidency. He said more than 140 new faculty have been hired in the two years since he arrived. Iowa State is recruiting now for 114 faculty openings, 29 of which fall under Leath's high-impact hires initiative announced last September. Iowa State is using $1.5 million from state funding growth this year as matching funds to help colleges hire tenured or tenure-track faculty in areas of impact to the university or the state.

Leath also had high praise for Cyclone senior men's basketball player Melvin Ejim, named Big 12 Player of the Year in both coaches and Associated Press sports media votes this week. The four-year history/business major has a GPA above 3.7. Ejim also was named to All-America teams by United States Basketball Writers Association (second team) and (third team).

"He's the type of student-athlete we try to recruit at Iowa State," Leath said.

Parking permit increases

Annual parking permits would go up $12 (reserved and 24-hour reserved) or $6 (general staff, Ames Lab, residence, departmental, vendor) under a proposal reviewed by the board. A vote is scheduled for the April 24 meeting. Motorcycle permits would go up a proposed $3 and academic year student parking, including residence lots and the football stadium lots, also would go up a proposed $6.

Annual parking permits for the Memorial Union ramp, including employee permits, would go up a proposed $12 and semester permits would go up $6 ($5 for summer). The cost of a "winter" permit (November through February) would not change.

ISU's parking division, based on a recommendation from the Transportation Advisory Council, also asked to increase the illegal parking fine by $10, to $40, beginning July 1. The illegal exit fine at the MU ramp would go up a proposed $15, to $65.

Proposed permit increases on July 1




24-hour Reserve






General staff*












Memorial Union









   Fall, Spring









* Includes residence department, Ames Lab staff permits

Student residence rates

Iowa State proposes to increase all resident hall rooms and Frederiksen Court apartment rates 1.5 percent for the 2014-15 academic year and the Schilletter/University Village apartments 1 percent. Room rates vary according to building, air conditioning availability and number of roommates.

Semester meal plans would go up 1.3 to 1.4 percent, as requested, and block meal plans (25 to 100 meals) would go up 1.5 percent.

The proposed increases would equate to an additional $109 for a student opting for the standard rate, which features a double room without air conditioning ($4,154) and the Gold meal plan of 225 meals and 200 dining dollars each semester ($3,676 for the year). The total for this package would be $7,830.

The board also will vote on residence and dining rates at the April meeting.

Honorary degree, program changes

In other board action, Iowa State received permission to:

  • Award a Doctor of Humane Letters to Stephen Rapp in May for his leadership in prosecuting individuals responsible for crimes against innocent people. Rapp, a Cedar Falls native, heads the Office of Global Criminal Justice in the U.S. State Department. President Barack Obama appointed him Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues in 2009. He is a former Iowa legislator (1973-75, 1979-83) and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa (1993-2001). Faculty members in the anthropology department nominated Rapp for the honor.
  • Terminate the Master of Agriculture in the professional agriculture program, launched in 1981 as a distance education option, due to a wider range of more focused graduate program options for students and reduced faculty interest in the program. The termination will take effect when the 26 enrolled students complete the program, no longer than five years.
  • Change the name of a bachelor's program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, from public service and administration in agriculture, to agriculture and society. The name reflects the program's focus on the social and human sides of agriculture, and is intended to help strengthen students' efforts to market themselves to would-be employers. The name change will occur this August.


*The review team visit was postponed to the week of April 14.

Interdisciplinary programs introduced to senate

The Faculty Senate got its first look at three new interdisciplinary academic programs and unanimously approved a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language at its March 11 meeting.

A pair of gerontology degrees -- a master of science and a doctorate of philosophy -- was introduced at the meeting. Both programs would be administered by the interdepartmental gerontology program.

A minor degree program, "Applications of Learning and Leadership Sciences," also was introduced. Six departments would be involved: Agricultural education and studies; agronomy; animal science; food science and human nutrition; horticulture; and natural resource ecology and management.

Jonathan Sturm, professor of music and theatre, stated a concern about the lack of humanities and arts involvement in the degree program.

"It's an interdisciplinary degree, but I'm not entirely sure it's interdisciplinary enough," Sturm said. "We're not seeing any psychological courses here -- psychology of leadership; we're not seeing anything that addresses leadership in humanities, we're addressing it more in science. I think that leaves a vital part of leadership out in this minor."

Jan Thompson, chair of the senate's curriculum committee, said the program developers are eager to serve a broad range of students and would welcome additional participation from more faculty, including those in the arts.

"We are approaching this from the standpoint of the sciences involved in both learning and leadership," Thompson said. "Certainly, the approach that we've taken has been very interdisciplinary. I don't think any one of the folks involved would argue that there is not an art to leadership, but there's a very applied and experiential approach to working with students to help them develop skills that are essential components -- doing and being as leaders."

Senators will vote on the proposed programs next month.

Caucus feedback

Senate president Veronica Dark said caucus discussions last month generated feedback about faculty salaries and benefits, which she shared with President Steven Leath. She said there was "general satisfaction" with benefits and some dissatisfaction with salaries and raises. Some specific feedback she shared included:

  • Add wellness incentives, benefits
  • Provide tuition help for families
  • Strengthen the relationship between performance and raises
  • Address salary compression

Other business

  • Tera Jordan (assistant professor, human development and family studies) and Dark (professor, psychology) were elected as representatives to the athletics council in a four-person race.
  • Associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince said 81 promotion and tenure cases are under consideration this year. A report on the decisions will be shared with the senate at semester's end.

Paying tribute to a rock legend


Guitarist and singer Buddy Guy is one of several musicians who will pay tribute to Jimi Hendrix at Experience Hendrix 2014 on March 15. Contributed photo.

Musicians Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson and others will pay tribute to the late, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix during the Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour on March 15 (7:30 p.m., Stephens Auditorium).

The artists will perform Hendrix's music, both individually and together, for a unique musical experience sure to please rock guitar enthusiasts.

Tickets, $55 and $68 ($78 tickets are sold out), are available at the Iowa State Center ticket office or through Ticketmaster