Day at the Capitol

Capitol rotunda

The state Capitol rotunda was awash in cardinal and gold last week as Iowa State officials, faculty, staff and students mingled with legislators and other state officials, including Gov. Terry Branstad. The latest edition of ISU Day at the Capitol included more than 20 exhibits showcasing Iowa State's academics, community outreach, research, innovations and jobs creation.

President Steven Leath led the ISU contingent, which included representatives from all seven colleges, Extension and Outreach, and various other units and departments. Photo by Bob Elbert.



Leath announces Veishea task force

President Steven Leath has announced the members of a task force to study the future of Veishea in the aftermath of the event's suspension for 2014.

Leath has asked senior vice president for student affairs Tom Hill to chair the task force, which will study Veishea and assess its role and relevance for the future. Hill is working to schedule the first meeting and says he will ask the group to provide recommendations to Leath before the end of June.

"After I receive the task force's report, I will review those recommendations with city and campus leadership before making a decision," Leath said.

In addition to chairman Hill, members of the task force include:

  • Pamela Anthony, Dean of Students
  • Ann Campbell, Mayor of Ames
  • Bob Currie, director of facilities services, facilities planning and management
    (P&S employee representative)
  • Chuck Cychosz, chief of police, Ames Police Department
  • Karl Kerns, 2014 Veishea general co-chair, senior in animal science
  • Hillary Kletscher, 2014-15 Government of the Student Body president, junior in biological systems engineering
  • Warren Madden, senior vice president for business and finance
  • Sophia Magill, 2005 Iowa State alumna, assistant director of federal relations, 2004 GSB president (Magill served on executive committee of the 2004 Veishea task force)
  • Nick Morton, 2014 Veishea general co-chair, senior in environmental science
  • Micheal Owen, University Professor of agronomy, Faculty Senate representative and Veishea Advisory Council member
  • Eric Peterson, 2007 Iowa State alumnus, 2006 Veishea general co-chair (the year Veishea was reinstated)
  • Melissa Pierce, general manager, Campustown Property Management
  • Barbara Pleasants, adjunct assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, co-president of the South Campus Neighborhood Association
  • Richard Reynolds, director of the Memorial Union and Veishea adviser
  • Jerry Stewart, ISU police chief and director of the department of public safety
  • Dwayne Vande Krol, JD, CPA, 1993 Iowa State alumnus, 2009-10 ISU Alumni Association board chair
  • Pam White, College of Human Sciences dean and University Professor of food science and human nutrition
  • Jeff Woody, graduate student in biomedical sciences, co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Ex-officio, nonvoting member:

  • Paul Tanaka, University Counsel

More information and updates from the task force will be provided at as it becomes available.

Schwartz named director of DOE's Ames Laboratory

Adam Schwartz has been named director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, operated by Iowa State.

Adam Schwartz


Schwartz is division leader of the Condensed Matter and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif. He also coordinates LLNL's projects for the Critical Materials Institute, a $120 million DOE energy innovation hub led by the Ames Laboratory. He will begin his duties in Ames on June 2.

"Ames is a world-class institution known for its work in materials science, computational chemistry and condensed matter theory, and Adam will certainly maintain the high caliber of research," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.  "He will guide Ames Lab as it confronts new challenges in science and technology in service to our nation."

"Iowa State is honored to operate the Ames Lab on behalf of the Department of Energy, and the partnership between the university and lab is important to the entire nation," said President Steven Leath. "Dr. Schwartz's outstanding scientific credentials, leadership skills and vision will be tremendous assets in moving the lab forward."

Schwartz's research has focused on plutonium aging and alloys, advanced characterization and the dynamic properties of materials. In addition to serving as director of the Ames Laboratory, he also will hold the rank of tenured professor in the department of materials science and engineering.

"The Ames Lab is a world leader in materials science with an exceptional reputation and with great momentum," Schwartz said. "I look forward to working with the lab's scientists and operations staff to develop new materials and technologies that address America's energy challenges."

Schwartz earned bachelor's and master's degrees in metallurgical engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the University of Pittsburgh. He joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate in 1991.

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert thanked interim director Tom Lograsso for his leadership of the lab, as well as the search committee for its thoughtful evaluation of candidates.

ISU servers patched for Heartbleed Bug

Iowa State's information technology experts have identified and patched university servers that were susceptible to the latest Internet security risk -- the "Heartbleed Bug."

The pervasive bug was announced Monday, April 7, sending techs on campus and around the world scrambling to apply the fix.

Information technology services (ITS) staff  "were up half the night," patching the bug on Iowa State's critical servers, said Andy Weisskopf, senior systems analyst.

Net-ID, AccessPlus passwords

Fortunately, the core systems that protect ISU Net-ID and AccessPlus passwords were not compromised, said chief information officer Jim Davis.

"There's no need for faculty, staff and students to change their Net-ID passwords at this time,"  Davis said. "However, we do recommend that everyone regularly change his or her password as a good security practice. And we strongly recommend that individuals change their passwords for personal online services."

Big sites affected

An estimated two-thirds of sites on the Internet, including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, were affected by the Heartbleed Bug.

The fix involved upgrading OpenSSL software, which is commonly used by Internet sites to encrypt data. Researchers recently discovered a flaw in the software that could allow exploiters to retrieve data, including passwords and other personal information, from vulnerable computers.

Protecting all your other passwords

There's no way to know whether unscrupulous types discovered the flaw and exploited it, Davis said. He advises individuals to check all of the other websites on which they use passwords and make the necessary changes. Here's how:

  1. Determine if websites you sign into are vulnerable to the Heartbleed Bug and, if so, whether they've applied the Heartbleed patch. Here are a few ways to check:
  2. If there was no Heartbleed vulnerability on a site, no password changes are needed
  3. If there was Heartbleed vulnerability on a site AND the site has been patched, change your password
  4. If one of your websites is vulnerable to the Heartbleed Bug, but hasn't yet applied the patch, don't change your password. Wait for the website to make the fix.

Faculty promotions go to regents next week

Iowa State will seek final approval of 76 faculty promotions when the state Board of Regents meets next week at the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs. Iowa State's request includes 44 cases of promotion with tenure, 30 cases of promotion (individuals already are tenured) and two tenure awards without promotion. If approved the promotions take effect in August. A year ago, Iowa State brought 56 requests to the board.

The full agenda for the April 23-24 meeting is online and a live audio stream of public portions of the meeting will be available from the board's website.

The board also will receive the three universities' annual report on tenured faculty. The chart below breaks out faculty growth at Iowa State over the last three academic years:

  2013-14 2012-13 2011-12
Tenured 1,012 1,028 1,007
Tenure-track 294 303 286
Non-tenure track 557 511 470
Total 1,863 1,842 1,763


Iowa State reported that 103 tenured faculty members – 10 percent of the university's tenured faculty -- were reviewed last year (2012-13) as a result of the post-tenure review policy.

Salary discussions

As a run-up to a salary policy discussion at the board's June 5 meeting, leaders of employee groups not represented by a union have been invited to address the board. From Iowa State, this will include Faculty Senate president Veronica Dark and P&S Council president Steve Mayberry.

Student debt

The board also will receive an annual report on student financial aid. The trends include a federal Pell Grant program that hasn't kept pace with tuition increases, a small ($289,267) need-based Iowa Grant Program that continues to shrink, institutional grant totals that continue to rise and students' growing reliance on off-campus employment to help pay for school.

ISU undergraduate students: 2012-13

  Resident Nonresident
Total 17,050 8,503
Received financial aid 88.1% 77.4%
Graduated with debt 72.5% 45%
Average debt load* $28,787 $32,078
Average need-based debt load* $13,876 $13,713

*For those graduating with debt

Building requests

Iowa State will ask for the green light to build research laboratories in 10,500 square feet of unfinished basement in Hach Hall. When Hach opened in 2010, this space was reserved for future development to attract top-rated faculty to the chemistry department.

The $4 million cost already has been raised in private gifts.

The athletics department will seek permission to contract with Daktronics to design, fabricate and install a video scoreboard in the south end of Jack Trice Stadium. The existing message boards and scoreboards in the stadium and Hilton Coliseum were purchased from Daktronics, and the new system will be integrated with the existing system. At its February meeting, the board authorized Iowa State to begin planning improvements to the south end of the stadium and the space between the stadium and Reiman Gardens.

Superintendent candidate interviews

On Wednesday morning, the board will interview three finalists for the superintendent's position for the Iowa School for the Deaf (Council Bluffs) and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (Vinton), and is expected to introduce the new superintendent by mid-afternoon. In December, superintendent Patrick Clancy announced he would retire by the end of June. The three emerged from a first round of candidate interviews completed April 8-9 by a board-appointed search committee.

Board elections

The board also is scheduled to elect a board president and president pro tem. Bruce Rastetter and Katie Mulholland have held those posts, respectively, since last June.

In other business, Iowa State will seek board approval for:

  • Parking permit fees for the year that begins July 1
  • Residence and dining systems rates for the 2014-15 academic year
  • Proposed allocation of mandatory student fees for the 2014-15 academic year
  • Plans to terminate the Master of Public Administration program in the political science department due to lack of funding needed to retain the full-time faculty required for program accreditation. Program phase-out to accommodate enrolled students is expected to take two more years.
  • Plans to establish a Master of Engineering program in energy systems engineering, an interdepartmental, online, non-thesis program designed for practicing professionals

Glass recycling moves to the residence halls


Junior Abigail Romano stands among Tidy Cats litter bins destined for glass recycling duties in campus residence halls. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Almost two years ago, university scientists began collecting broken and discarded glass in yellow Tidy Cats litter bins to increase campus recycling efforts. Last October, junior Abigail Romano took that idea and ran with it, straight to the residence halls.

Aware that the City of Ames wants glass removed from its waste stream (it damages and limits the lifespan of machinery at the Resource Recovery Plant), Romano, who is a student liaison for the Department of Residence Green Team, spearheaded a new glass recycling program for on-campus residence halls using the cat litter bins.

"I thought adding glass recycling to the pre-existing paper, wet board, plastics and redeemables recycling would be a good project," Romano said. "They already use the Tidy Cats bins for glass recycling in the labs across campus so I thought it would be simple enough to translate that effort to the residence halls."

She pitched the idea to the GreenHouse Group's sustainability coordinators, who in turn, presented the initiative to their respective residence hall councils. All agreed the idea should move forward.

So far this spring, approximately 90 of the 35-pound bins have been placed in residence halls, including:

  • Martin
  • Eaton
  • Helser
  • Friley
  • Larch
  • Linden
  • Birch-Welch-Roberts
  • Barton-Lyon-Freeman

Romano said additional bins would be placed in Maple, Willow, Buchanan, Wallace and Wilson halls by fall semester. The bins are located with the halls' other recycling receptacles, usually in dens or restrooms. All glass, broken or intact, may be placed in the bins; light bulbs and sharps (needles, syringes, etc.) are not allowed.

Inexpensive project

The cost of the Tidy Cats bins was free, thanks to donations from cat owners and other green enthusiasts. The City of Ames also donated the outdoor recycling receptacles. The sturdy vinyl labels affixed to each bin cost about $600, which was funded by the residence department. Other incidental costs amounted to about $50.

How you can help

If you'd like to donate yellow, 35-pound Tidy Cats bins for campus recycling, drop them off -- clean with lids intact -- at director of sustainability Merry Rankin's office, 108 General Services Building, or at the front desk of the Environmental Health and Safety Services Building. 

Admissions director candidates will interview this month

Three finalists will interview on campus yet this month for Iowa State's director of admissions post. The names and curricula vitae of the finalists will be available on the senior vice president for student affairs website later this week.

Their interviews will include an open forum with the university community. A tentative forum schedule follows:

  • Tuesday, April 22, 11 a.m., MU Gallery
  • Thursday, April 24, 3:30 p.m., MU Gold Room
  • Wednesday, April 30, 10 a.m., MU Gold Room

A candidate evaluation form, for those who attend a forum and want to submit comments on a finalist, also will be available online by April 22.

Search process

A nine-member search committee, chaired by International Students and Scholars director James Dorsett and assisted by the search firm of Spelman and Johnson, has been working since February. The search committee conducted telephone interviews with semifinalists earlier this month. The intent is to announce the next director of admissions in May, with a start date to be negotiated.

Darin Wohlgemuth, who leads Iowa State's enrollment research team, has served as interim director of admissions since July 2012. Former director Marc Harding resigned to take a position at the University of Pittsburgh.

Search committee

Joining Dorsett on the search committee are:

  • Diane Beckman, director of university information systems in information technology services
  • Pam Cain, associate vice president for business and finance
  • Carole Custer, director of university marketing
  • Carmen Flagge, coordinator in the Office of Precollegiate Programs for Talented and Gifted
  • David Holger, associate provost and dean of the Graduate College
  • Spencer Hughes, past president of the Government of the Student Body
  • Roberta Johnson, director of student financial aid
  • Stephanie Salasek, associate director of admissions

Iowa Staters to share what matters to them

Iowa State's student-run multicultural magazine Uhuru will host "What Matters to Me and Why" on Wednesday, April 23 (8 p.m., Memorial Union Great Hall).

Ten individuals from the Iowa State community will present on life experiences, lessons learned and values solidified. Each was invited to speak for about five minutes about anything that fits her or his definition of "what matters to me." A time for audience Q&A will follow their talks.

The event is free and the public is welcome. The magazine staff hosted its first "what matters" event during fall semester 2012.

The scheduled speakers are:

  • Onalie Ariyabandhu, senior, president of Iowa State's International Student Council and survivor of the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami
  • Nicole Donato, senior, ROTC cadet and recipient of the ROTC Medal for Heroism for saving a life
  • Daniel Edozie, junior and Cyclone men's basketball player
  • Thomas Hill, senior vice president for student affairs and former Olympic, collegiate and military track athlete
  • Spencer Hughes, senior and past president of the Government of the Student Body
  • Peter Orazem, University Professor of economics and Ames City Council member with research interests in labor economics, economic development and government policy
  • Debra Satterfield, interim chair of graphic design with a research interest in art therapy for those living with developmental disabilities, epilepsy and autism
  • Caleb Swank, sophomore and president of The Green Umbrella sustainability organization
  • Catherine Swoboda, agricultural humanitarian, director of planning for The World Food Prize Foundation and youngest recipient of Iowa State's Outstanding Young Alumni Award (2013)
  • Cassidy Williams, senior, leader for Women in Computer Science and recent speaker at a White House tech summit and the United Nations