Nowhere I'd rather be


Sitting in the sun at Parks Library isn't a bad way to prep for final exams. This row was in high demand this week as students wound their way through the last week of the semester. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Graduates expected to top 4,000 this weekend

An estimated 4,016 students are completing degrees at Iowa State this week. At three ceremonies this weekend, they will celebrate their achievement with classmates, family and friends.



Master's and doctoral students -- estimated at 425 and 104, respectively – will be honored during the Graduate College commencement Friday, May 9 (8 p.m., Hilton Coliseum). Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Jonathan Wendel will address the graduates. Wendel is professor and chair of the ecology, evolution and organismal biology department. He was part of the international team that in 2012 mapped the cotton genome. He has received research, teaching and leadership awards at Iowa State.

At noon on Saturday, May 10, in Stephens Auditorium, the College of Veterinary Medicine anticipates conferring the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree on 147 candidates, including 22 Nebraska residents who completed their veterinary curriculum at Iowa State through a cooperative agreement with the University of Nebraska.



Alumnus Dr. Michael Riegger will address the graduates. Riegger serves as chief medical officer and senior clinician at the Northwest Animal Clinic and Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He currently teaches and hosts a course in the College of Veterinary Medicine on veterinary practice management, an area in which he is respected internationally.

At 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Hilton Coliseum, an estimated 3,340 students will be honored for completing bachelor's degree programs this spring. Alumnus and Brigadier General Patrick Doherty, U.S. Air Force, will give the commencement address.



Doherty serves as director of the $2 billion worldwide Air Force Services program, which coordinates needs as varied as Airman fitness, troop feeding, mortuary operations, entertainment, child development centers and family readiness programs. Doherty, a Bellevue, Nebraska, native, entered the Air Force through its ROTC program at Iowa State, where he completed a bachelor's degree (1987) in aerospace engineering.

Tickets are not needed for the commencement ceremonies. For those unable to attend in person, the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies will be video streamed live on the ISU registrar's graduation website. Video replay of the two events will be available around May 16 for approximately a month.

And, before and after the undergrad commencement ceremony, graduates and guests are welcome to tweet messages of congratulations at #cyclONEgrad. All are welcome to follow the conversation on the Tagboard site. Postings will be shared on the Hilton video board, but not during the ceremony.

The academic colleges also will honor their graduates during their own receptions and convocations Friday and Saturday. The ISU Alumni Association will host an open house for all graduating students and their families immediately following the undergraduate ceremony Saturday afternoon (approximately 4:30 p.m., Alumni Center).

Parameters set for July salary increases

Faculty, professional and scientific staff, contract employees and post docs with satisfactory performance evaluations this year will receive a minimum salary increase of 1 percent on July 1.

Earlier this week, President Steven Leath shared FY15 salary adjustment parameters with the three senior vice presidents for distribution to all units. The parameters are subject to final approval in June by the state Board of Regents.

Employees could receive higher increases, for better-than-satisfactory performance, to address market or equity issues, or as a retention adjustment. Individual salary increases greater than 5 percent are possible but will require permission from the appropriate senior vice president. A form exists for those requests.

More information, including an FAQ and the 5 percent excess request form, is available on the University Human Resources website.

Iowa State's salary adjustment policy applies to all funding sources. It requires university leaders each year to set minimum and maximum increases for employees receiving a satisfactory performance evaluation.

Leath noted that for budget planning, the targeted overall cost of performance-based salary increases at the university is 2.5 percent of the current payroll for these employees. As their budgets allow, colleges and administrative units have the flexibility to be above or below this target.

Salary increases for the FY15 faculty promotions ($6,500 for Distinguished Professors, $6,000 for University and Morrill Professors, $5,500 for full professors and $4,600 for associate professors) and increases due to P&S reclassifications don't replace or eliminate performance-based increases.

Unsatisfactory performance

An employee who receives an evaluation that is less than satisfactory will not receive a salary increase in July. He or she could receive a salary increase on Jan. 1, 2015, pending the outcomes of a performance improvement plan (P&S) or action plan (faculty, post docs) and another review in December.

P&S matrix adjusted

Effective July 1, the P&S salary matrix will be adjusted upward by 1.25 percent. The change applies to pay grade minimums, midpoints, maximums (except for P40 and P41, for which there is no established maximum salary) and the 'first third' targeted starting salary range. An employee salary that falls below the new minimum should be brought up to the new minimum before any annual salary adjustment is made.

Merit employees

The state is in the second of a two-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Iowa chapter, which covers nearly all university merit employees. As was the case last year, the contract calls for no salary increase on July 1. Merit employees who haven't reached the maximum salary in their pay grades will receive a 4.5 percent increase on their anniversary dates at the university.

Proposed model would send more state funds to Iowa State, UNI

A state Board of Regents task force wrapped up discussion this week on a proposal that would link 60 percent of the state's general university appropriation for the three regent universities to their enrollment of in-state students at all levels. The rest of the proposed formula ties state dollars to measurable outcomes such as providing access to targeted Iowa populations and students completing degrees.

The task force, which recommends subjecting the entire general university appropriation – about $480 million this year – to the funding formula, approved the model on a 4-1 vote. Len Hadley, retired CEO of the Maytag Corp. and the University of Iowa's representative on the task force, favored a model that counts all students in the enrollment portion of the model and weights graduate and professional students to recognize higher program costs.

Task force chairman and former regent David Miles will present the group's recommendations to the regents at the June 4-5 meeting in Ames. It's likely that Hadley will submit a minority opinion report to the board, either orally or written.

Miles said the model would be a "tremendous step forward in connecting state dollars to regents' priorities." He also noted that the model is intended to strengthen all three schools for the long run, "not speak to short-term funding problems."

Meeting since October, the task force was asked to investigate a funding model that's based on performance measures, not simply tradition plus inflation, as is the case now. Dating back to the 1940s, the current model divides the state appropriation on a perceived 40 percent/40 percent/20 percent (Iowa State/Iowa/Northern Iowa) split. But this year's general university appropriation is divided on approximately a 36 percent/46 percent/18 percent split, mirroring at least the last decade.

Recommendations for implementation

The task force will recommend an implementation period of two to four years, starting with the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2015.

As the schools' enrollments stand now, the proposed formula could shift tens of millions of dollars from the University of Iowa to Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa. With the intent of not negatively affecting the quality at any school, the task force also will recommend capping the reallocation each year at 2 percent of a university's FY13 general education revenue.

Miles and Hadley both expressed concern about the proposed model's effect on the University of Iowa.

Retired co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Cara Heiden, Iowa State's representative on the task force, reminded the group that "two universities are at risk now.

"There's a sense of urgency to get this reallocated and help two institutions that have had pain," Heiden said.

Restored state funds could cover funding shifts

Recognizing that the cap would slow down full implementation of the new model, Miles said it's even more important that the board convinces the Legislature to continue to restore regents funding – still about $98 million below FY09 levels -- cut during the lean fiscal years 2010-12. Additional appropriations should be channeled first to Iowa State and UNI, he said.

"We hope the cap is a worst-case scenario. For the Legislature to fund this transition would be a tremendous step forward," Miles said. "The greater the appropriation, the faster the transition [to the new model] will go."

The rest of the proposed formula

In the task force's proposed funding model, another 30 percent would be linked to these performance measures:

  • 10 percent: College access provided to targeted resident student populations (to be set by the regents but could include low income, ethnic minority, veteran or Iowa community college transfer students)
  • 5 percent: Progress to degree by resident students (counted as credit hours completed)
  • 10 percent: Degrees completed by resident students
  • 5 percent: Placement of all graduating students in jobs or further education in Iowa (the method for tracking this hasn't been determined)

The final 10 percent would be linked to board-directed, university-specific outcomes that reflect each school's mission. Task force members suggested possibilities such as sponsored research success or recognition of high-quality academic programs.

TIER's summer plans: Focus on administrative areas

Summer won't slow the state Board of Regents TIER review of its three universities, but it will bring a shift in priorities. Over the summer months, Deloitte Consulting, which is conducting the review for the regents, will focus primarily on Iowa State's administrative areas.

Some analysis of academic areas will continue during the next few months, but at a slower pace. With the return of many faculty, staff and students in the fall, consultants will beef up the academic side of the review, with special emphasis on broad university community participation in the process.

Phase 1

Deloitte consultants are eight weeks into the first phase of the review with two weeks remaining. In this data-collecting phase, consultants have conducted numerous interviews with faculty, staff and students while collecting ideas on reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving services.

Over the past week, teams have been meeting with "sounding boards" -- small groups of faculty, staff and students who are asked to both share and react to some of the ideas that are emerging though the review.

Phase 2

In phase 2, which begins this summer, consultants will sort through ideas for improving services or reducting costs and select some "potential opportunities" for in-depth, cost-benefit analysis.

Summer input encouraged

Suggestions on ways to improve Iowa State's programs, processes or policies are encouraged throughout the summer. Send  your ideas to

About the review

The expressed aim of the TIER (Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review) process, launched by the regents in late March, is to look at administrative and academic operations at the three state universities and find ways to maximize resources, improve efficiencies and contain costs.



Starting from scratch: Students' new foods

Yo-Tart display

Yo-Tart facts

Students who spent a semester inventing new food creations, from recipe development to industrial scale-up, cooked up a tasty food-sampling event in MacKay Hall on Tuesday. The students were part of professors Ken Prusa and Lester Wilson's in-class re-creation of what goes on in test kitchens at major food companies.

Pictured is senior Flannery Lucus with Yo-Tart, her Greek yogurt, frozen berry, granola-crusted concoction.

Read more about the tasty class projects.

Adding some green to the campus scene

Tree planting

Crews have planted 170 trees around Stephens Auditorium and Fisher Theater, 80 near Hilton Coliseum and 18 more by Jack Trice Stadium. The trees are replacements for dead, diseased and storm damaged trees, as well as ash trees that were removed in preparation for the arrival of the invasive emerald ash borer. Two drought seasons set back replacement schedules.

Over the next few weeks, 90 trees will be installed throughout campus, another 49 at Schilletter University Village, 49 at Frederiksen Court and 21 more in the Towers parking lot. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Senate examines promotion and tenure data

In his annual report to the Faculty Senate on May 6, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said he reviewed 82 promotion and tenure cases this year. Of those, 30 tenured faculty earned promotion to professor; 44 were promoted to associate professor with tenure and two associate professors were granted tenure. One additional case was granted an extension of the tenure clock and five cases were not granted.

"We had a very good set of cases this year," Wickert said. "It really starts with high-quality hiring. Many of them are coming into the tenure-stream ranks with some prior experience, which I think sets them up and prepares them well for the rigors of the probationary period."

Wickert shared a breakdown of the 82 cases, which included 64 men (60 approved) and 18 women (16 approved). By ethnicity, 54 of 57 white faculty and 22 of 25 minority faculty cases were approved.

"I read every page in every case," Wickert said. "I walk away from this process being impressed and awed by the fantastic things that are happening across the university. I'm always learning something from these cases and it really gives me a wonderful appreciation for what you and all of your colleagues do."

Wickert also showed how the group of tenure-eligible faculty hired in fall 2008 have fared. Of that group of 82, 48 earned tenure in FY14, three were denied tenure, 16 were granted extensions and six still are employed at ISU, but with a different appointment (professional and scientific or non-tenure eligible positions). The remaining nine left ISU before their tenure decision.

In a closer look at the resignations prior to tenure decisions, Wickert showed a drop from previous years. The FY06 group had 26 departures (33.8 percent), and 19 (42.2 percent) resigned from the FY07 cohort. The nine who left the FY08 cohort represented 11 percent of the group.

He pointed to several faculty programs and initiatives that are helping faculty succeed at ISU, including the spousal/partner accommodations. Wickert said $7.9 million has been invested into the program since FY01, providing support for 176 couples. Only 38 of those 352 individuals have left.

Other business

Senators wrapped up the academic year with unanimous approval of four items:

  • Revisions that better define the charge for the senate's outcomes assessment committee
  • A proposed online bachelor's of science degree in early childcare, education and programming
  • A name change for the College of Design's integrated studio arts department, to the department of art and visual culture
  • Faculty Handbook revisions (chapter, clarifying the process for changing the name of an academic unit

Emerging leaders named for 2014-15

Twenty-seven faculty and staff have been chosen to participate in the next cohort of Iowa State's Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA).

ELA is an academic-year initiative to develop faculty and professional and scientific staff currently serving in leadership roles at Iowa State, or who aspire to hold leadership positions. Beginning this August, participants will attend monthly sessions on leadership theory and practice, current issues in higher education and university-related challenges and opportunities. Each participant also benefits from a mentoring relationship during the year with a current Iowa State leader. The program is sponsored by the office of the senior vice president and provost.

The 2014-15 ELA class members are:

  • James Brown, finance department
  • Mark Boeck, ISU Foundation
  • Sumit Chaudhary, electrical and computer engineering department
  • Kasie Doering, office of the senior vice president and provost
  • Heidi Eichorn, College of Engineering administration
  • Amanda Fales-Williams, veterinary pathology department
  • Jonathan Fox, human development and family studies department
  • Michael Giles, recreation services
  • Patrick Gorden, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department
  • David Grewell, agricultural and biosystems engineering department
  • Carol Heaverlo, program for women in science/engineering
  • Kristine Johansen, office of intellectual property and technology transfer
  • Japannah Kellogg, student support services
  • Joanne Marshall, School of Education
  • Michael Miller, College of Design administration
  • Mani Mina, electrical and computer engineering department
  • JoAnn Morrison, veterinary clinical sciences department
  • Ralph Napolitano, materials science and engineering department
  • Brian Ntem, information technology services
  • Jennifer Owens, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences student academic services
  • Ulrike Passe, architecture department
  • Jennifer Schroeder, office of student financial aid
  • Emily Smith, chemistry department
  • Andrea Spiker, U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory
  • Lindsey Wanderscheid, facilities planning and management
  • Andrew Weisskopf, information technology services
  • Yi Wu, purchasing department

John Schuh, director of the School of Education and Distinguished Professor emeritus in educational leadership and policy studies, will lead the program for the second year in a row. Schuh worked with an earlier leadership development program called Shared Leadership for Institutional Change.

The provost's office established the ELA program in 2009 to help prepare a broader and more diverse group of faculty and staff for leadership roles across campus. The 2014-15 ELA class is the program's fifth.

Friendly aliens


Garden-inspired space aliens are descending upon Reiman Gardens with numerous out-of-this-world events supporting the 2014 theme, A Garden Odyssey. The gardens’ latest exhibition, "Alien Invasion," opened April 26 and runs through Oct. 19.


About 20 alien "gnomes" are part of the exhibition.

The outdoor exhibit features eight large-scale, extraterrestrial sculptures created by several artists who chose concrete, steel, aluminum and other materials as their media. About 20 concrete "alien gnomes," decorated by garden, hobby and community groups from across the state, also are part of the exhibition. Look for these colorful, 30-inch tall beings throughout the gardens' grounds.

Many of the large-scale sculptures are for sale. Anyone interested in purchasing them may call the gardens at 4-2710. Some of the alien gnomes will be available for purchase in the gift shop. They cost between $130 and $200. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Reiman Gardens.

Reiman Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (6 p.m. after Memorial Day). Public admission prices are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for kids. Children 3 and under, members and ISU students are admitted free. Photos by Bob Elbert.