Try something new

State Gym climbing wall

Sophomore Kevin Garter of Bettendorf ponders his next move during a recent climb on the rock wall at State Gym, one of three indoor facilities operated by recreation services. ISU faculty and staff may purchase rec passes -- by the year, semester, month or week -- and use any of the facilities, including group fitness classes. Pass rates and signup info are online.

Wondering when the "quiet" times are? Rec services' Jenny Pollard suggests scheduling your workouts between 6 a.m. and noon, or from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The rec facilities attract more students after 3 p.m. every day. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Visits scheduled for library dean finalists

Four finalists have been named in the search for the next dean of the University Library. They are:

  • Maggie Farrell, dean of libraries, University of Wyoming
  • Beth McNeil, professor and associate dean for academic affairs, Purdue University Libraries
  • Marilyn Moody, professor and dean of the University Library, Portland State University
  • Jeff Steely, associate dean of libraries, Baylor University

"We are pleased to bring four outstanding finalists to campus," said David Spalding, dean of the College of Business who co-chairs the search committee with associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince. "I am excited for them to meet the university community and share their visions for moving the University Library to the next level.

"On behalf of the search committee, I encourage students, faculty and staff, and the entire campus community, to attend the open forums and provide feedback," Spalding said.

Farrell will be on campus Feb. 26-27; McNeil on March 2-3; Steely on March 4-5; and Moody on March 9-10. Each will meet with members of the university community and University Library, and participate in an open forum. The open forums will begin at 3 p.m. in 2019 Morrill Hall on the following dates:

  • Farrell, Feb. 26
  • McNeil, March 2
  • Steely, March 4
  • Moody, March 9

Those who wish to submit comments on the finalists should complete an evaluation by noon on Monday, March 16. The online evaluation form will be available on the search website.

About the finalists

Maggie Farrell


Farrell has served as dean of libraries at the University of Wyoming since 2002. Her career also included positions at Montana State University; the U.S. Government Printing Office's Library Programs Service; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Arizona State University.

Farrell earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and master's degree in library science and public administration from the University of Arizona. She also completed programs in German and Russian language studies.

Beth McNeil


McNeil has served as associate dean for academic affairs at the Purdue University Libraries since 2009. Her career included library positions at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Bradley University and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

McNeil earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's in library and information science from the University of Illinois. She has also completed a doctoral program in human sciences, with a focus on leadership studies, at the University of Nebraska.

Marilyn Moody


Moody has served as dean of the University Library at Portland State University since 2012. Her previous service includes positions at Boise State University, where she served as library dean, as well as at the University of California, Santa Barbara; University at Buffalo (State University of New York); Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Iowa State University and Miami University.

Moody earned a bachelor's degree in the teaching of social studies and a master's in library science from the University of Illinois.

Jeff Steely


Steely serves as associate dean of libraries at Baylor University, a position he has held since 2012. His tenure at Baylor included positions as assistant dean and director of central libraries, assistant director for client services, and outreach services librarian.

Steely earned a bachelor's degree in history and religion from Bethel College, and a master's in library and information science from the University of Texas, Austin, where he also completed doctoral coursework in higher education administration.

Photos and vitae of the candidates will be available soon on the search website.

Joyce Garnett, university librarian emeritus at Western University, London, Ontario, has been serving as interim library dean since September.

Employee input is key piece of services assessment

Some university employees will be invited yet this month to share their insights on service processes – in the areas of human resources, information technology and internal financial transactions – as part of the state Board of Regents' TIER (Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review) project.

Chazey Partners, the Silicon Valley-based consultant hired to assist the regent universities in developing and implementing process changes, will gather input several ways from employees working in those three areas:

  • Activity-based survey: All employees in each of the three areas who spend at least 10 percent of their time on service processing will be asked to complete a survey on their job activities. The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. ISU leaders are working to eliminate duplication; the goal is that an employee whose duties overlap in two or more of the targeted service areas would receive a single survey.
  • Process workshops: An estimated 30 to 50 employees in each area will assess key, higher-level service processes and help identify options for streamlining them

Over the next several weeks, Chazey team members will lead these activities, assisted by ISU leads appointed in each area: associate vice president for university human resources Julie Nuter (HR), interim chief information officer Jim Kurtenbach (IT) and senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden (finance transactions).

Employees' participation in the survey and workshops will be critical to improving the processes, said Miles Lackey, chief of staff to President Steven Leath and Iowa State's representative on the TIER task force.

"Their input will enable us to identify ways in which we can improve our administrative services – making them more effective and responsive to customer needs," he said.

Lackey said Iowa State will not lay off any employees in these three service areas as a result of this assessment. He said any labor savings would be achieved through normal resignation and retirement rates.

The board hired the Chazey group last month to help the universities implement three of 17 efficiency cases identified in June by the board's initial TIER consultant, Deloitte Consulting. At the same time, the board approved the universities' own plans to implement changes that will:

  • Streamline HR's distributed model for service transactions
  • Streamline IT's distributed model for commodity technology services
  • Streamline the processing of finance transactions

Update on other TIER consultants

The board announced Feb. 13 that it selected Pappas Consulting Group of southern Florida to pick up the academic review portion of the TIER study. A timeline for the work is being negotiated as part of the contract, but work is expected to begin in March.

The academic review intentionally was set aside last summer so faculty could be involved in the discussion when they returned to campus for fall semester. However, the board's intent to hire a consultant for this piece of the efficiency study didn't materialize.

The Pappas team will work on two academics-related proposals from the Deloitte group's early list of 17. They are:

  • Expand the use of online technologies to enhance student learning
  • Improve enrollment management so students complete degrees on their preferred timelines

Because of the summer hiatus, the two never made it to the business case stage of development.

In January, the board also hired the Huron Consulting Group, Chicago, to find efficiencies and savings in the three universities' purchasing policies and operations, including better coordination of purchases in about 10 targeted categories. Huron outlined a 13-week process to complete its work, beginning the first week in February.

And finally, in December the board hired Ad Astra, suburban Kansas City, to continue its work on two business cases related to classroom scheduling and allocation of faculty teaching time. Ad Astra began its assessment work earlier in the fall as a subcontractor for Deloitte. It's a tech company that specializes in scheduling and academic planning services for colleges and universities.

Ad Astra's work for the board is expected to wrap up by the end of the semester.

Senate work

Sen Joni Ernst

Sen. Joni Ernst (center) walks with agricultural and biosystems engineering faculty members Raj Raman (left) and chair Steve Mickelson during a tour of the Biorenewables Complex Wednesday morning. With Congress in its first recess of 2015 this week, Ernst returned to Iowa to continue her 99-county tour. She also was a university guest at the Cyclone women's basketball game Tuesday evening at Hilton Coliseum. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Grants will help 'flip' 80 courses

Twenty-two teams have begun the task of converting more than 80 courses – delivered now in a traditional face-to-face format – to a variety of flipped classroom approaches. About two-thirds of the reworked courses will be rolled out this fall; the rest will be ready to go spring semester 2016.

ISU's Presidential Flipped and Hybrid Course Initiative is providing nearly $262,000 in one-time grants to get the job done, with departments providing nearly $55,000 in matching funds. Grants vary in size from $2,500 to integrate guest lectures, instruction and videos for a hybrid version of a 400-level supply chain management course, to nearly $28,000 to develop online content for four engineering courses that will include alumni and industry videos. All seven colleges and 25 academic departments are represented among the 22 projects.

Flipped class
A teaching model that flips the traditional instructional format. Students view lectures and other academic content (could be online) prior to class. Class time is used for active learning activities such as discussions, problem solving, projects and further explanation of materials.

Hybrid course
A specific fraction of a course's meeting time is replaced by online instruction. For example, in a three-credit course, one of the three weekly class sessions is replaced with an online session.

"We want this to be a widespread effort, an institutional effort," said Ralph Napolitano, professor of materials science and engineering and associate director for online education in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). "We'd like to use this not only to do great things in these courses, but to learn more about high-impact teaching and learning practices and about how to best implement the flipped classroom approach in all disciplines."

Napolitano said the primary motivation behind the initiative is to improve students' learning experiences. It also will assist a broader effort to use university classrooms more effectively and efficiently, aligning with a recommendation from the Student Experience Enhancement Council in its June 2013 report to President Steven Leath.

"There are so many ways of engaging students in the course content that just are not available through the traditional lecture system," Napolitano said. "This is not about replacing contact time with faculty. It's about augmenting traditional instruction with engaging online learning and maximizing the value of in-class time."

How it works

Napolitano said proposals for flipped or hybrid courses were evaluated using these criteria:

  • Potential to have a positive impact on students' learning experience
  • Enrollment in the course
  • How frequently the course is offered
  • Importance of the course to an academic program

In most cases, the conversion process is time and effort intensive as teaching faculty develop modules for online use – anything from pre-lab directions to instructional videos, quizzes, lectures and other learning activities. Last month, each team was paired with an instructional design specialist in CELT's online learning innovation hub who provides the lead support on its project. Napolitano said the CELT team discusses all the projects to coordinate the necessary support, whether that assistance comes from the hub or another campus expert.

The grants also are helping pay for things such as faculty release time, work time for graduate or undergraduate students, software licenses and hardware purchases.

"Our aim is that this group of 60-plus faculty and staff will provide examples of innovative approaches to learning that greatly enhance the student experience," Napolitano said. "By planting these seeds, we hope to inspire faculty across the university and help them see the possibilities -- that there's not necessarily any one particular way of doing something, and that it's OK to take a step back and consider other methods. In some cases, even small changes can provide big impacts on learning outcomes."

Get your green on at the sustainability symposium

An evening-only format is new to the annual Symposium on Sustainability, Feb. 23-24 in the Memorial Union. Sustainability director Merry Rankin said busy workdays and class schedules impacted daytime attendance, prompting the change.

All events are free and open to the public. No registration is required to attend.

Event details

The sustainability symposium kicks off Monday at 7 p.m. in the MU South Ballroom with a reception and poster session highlighting the university's green initiatives and accomplishments. At 8 p.m. in the Great Hall, keynote speaker John Warner, cofounder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, Wilmington, Massachusetts, will present "Green Chemistry: Helping Create a Safer, More Sustainable Future."

On Tuesday, the winners of this year's Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability will be announced at 5 p.m. in the Sun Room. The posters from Monday night's reception will be on display in the South Ballroom.

Sustainapalooza is Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Great Hall. This interactive, activities-based event features the "green" carpet, pledge wall, refreshments and giveaways. Attendees also may participate in green-it-yourself centers, which offer information on:

  • Upcycling (making new things from old items)
  • Outdoor skills (learning Leave No Trace principles)
  • Green personal care (turning plastic bottles into containers for homemade lip balm and making air fresheners from pine cones)
  • Greening your plate (creating healthy snacks that are quick, easy and inexpensive)

At 8 p.m. in the Sun Room, Tim Lindsey, global director of sustainable development at Caterpillar, will present "A Corporate Perspective on Sustainability."

More information about the Symposium on Sustainability is online.