Setting up house in the gardens

Construction of The Great Pumpkin treehouse.

Ames resident and artist Carroll Marty installed "The Great Pumpkin" Wednesday afternoon at Reiman Gardens. Eight tree houses in a new exhibit opening this weekend were inspired by celebrations; in Marty's case, Halloween. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

As part of Reiman Gardens' 20th anniversary celebration, eight individually themed structures are being installed this week. The tiny buildings are part of the "Intreeguing Treehouses" outdoor exhibit.

Visitors will find the interactive houses scattered throughout the gardens' 14 acres. Although not located in trees, the structures sit among them. Each is crafted by local architects and artists and inspired by a specific celebration or event.

The exhibit opens Saturday, April 25, and runs through Oct. 25. Reiman Gardens is open daily, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended summer hours (until 6 p.m.) from Memorial Day through Labor Day. General admission is $8 ($7 seniors, $4 youth); free with annual memberships ($55 and up).

"Intreeguing Treehouses" exhibit

Structure name



1872 Arbor Day Lane

Scott Rummery

Arbor Day

Metaphotonic Pod

Reinaldo Correa, Curt Engelhardt

Butterfly metamorphosis

Obon To

Denny Salisbury, Carroll Marty

Japanese Obon festival

Text Hut

Skip Willits

Festival of Books and the written word

The Audubon Treehouse

Mike Gustafson

Audubon Day

The Aviary: A Migratory Bird Hatchery

Pam Dennis, Ryk Weiss

International Migratory Bird Day

The Great Pumpkin

Carroll Marty


Treehouse Surprise

Denny Salisbury, Carroll Marty

Find it to see it


Heads up: A campus road near you may close this summer

The summer months equal road construction season at Iowa State, and 2015 will present a few significant projects. Here's a quick overview of the key ones; updates will be provided in faculty/staff announcements this summer as details become firm.

Wallace Road/Farm House Lane

The south end of Farm House Lane, removed in 2004, will be reconstructed and its juncture with Wallace Road reconfigured beginning days after spring commencement. Wallace Road and the adjacent sidewalks also will be elevated, as much as four feet in places. When it's completed, the south end of Farm House Lane will be gated to restrict vehicle traffic. This project will achieve several goals:

  • Improve fire and general access to buildings at the south end of Farm House Lane
  • Assure service access and fire protection to buildings along the road during the Bessey Hall east addition construction, which, beginning next spring, will close the north section of Farm House Lane for about 18 months
  • Eliminate steeper sidewalks in the Farm House Lane-Wallace Road-Union Drive triangle, making the walks compliant with ADA standards (slopes of less than 5 percent)

City projects with campus impact

Phased road reconstruction projects underway by the city on Hayward Avenue (near the Intermodal Facility) and West and Woodland streets will close sections of those streets and impact access to campus through September.

The city also plans to replace the traffic signals at the 13th Street/ Stange Road and Lincoln Way/Union Drive intersections sometime between mid-May and early August. These projects will require temporary lane closings.

Landscape architect Angie Solberg said a top goal is to make the Farm House corridor safer for pedestrians -- particularly its middle section (between Troxel and Ross halls) -- where there is a large volume of east-west foot traffic. Solberg said a long-term plan, once the Bessey Hall addition is complete, is to create a pedestrian corridor through the middle section of Farm House Lane by restricting vehicle access.

Work on the south end of Farm House Lane will begin May 11 and last about two months. As part of this project, and dependent on weather for timing, Lot 49 (behind Curtiss Hall) will be out of service while crews replace the concrete top of a utility tunnel before reconstructing the road over it. Solberg anticipates the lot closing will last two to three weeks during June.

Union Drive bridge

When Wallace Road reopens, a section of Union Drive in that vicinity will close for improvements to the bridge over College Creek. The bridge's existing west sidewalk and roadway will be removed and narrowed slightly so an east sidewalk can be added. A footbridge over College Creek just east of the Union Drive bridge will be removed. This work is scheduled to begin in early July and last about four weeks. The Knoll driveway will remain accessible via Lincoln Way.

North section of Beach Road

As part of the multiyear project to bring three natural gas boilers online in the ISU power plant, a 250-foot stretch of Beach Road, between the power plant and Forker Building, will close on May 11. Crews will run a high-voltage electrical feeder line from the substation north of the plant to the new boilers at the southeast corner of the plant – and under Beach Road for a stretch. Assistant director of utility services Randy Larabee said the work will close Beach Road for six weeks, perhaps longer if wet weather or underground complications impede progress.

West section of Osborn Drive

As part of the Davidson Hall demolition project, a utility tunnel running south of the former building will be removed, requiring a 50-foot length of Osborn Drive to close for about three weeks. That work begins on May 11 and should be completed by June 1.

CyRide bus routes impacted by the various road projects will be rerouted to nearby campus streets during the road closings. Details will be shared on the CyRide detours website and at the affected stops.

At a glance: Road projects by impact and location

Full road closings: Central campus (with anticipated dates)

  • Wallace Road: from Union Drive intersection east to the parking deck entrance, May 11 to early July
  • Beach Road: between power plant and Forker Building, May 11-June 26
  • Osborn Drive: 50-foot section north of Snedecor Hall, May 11-June 1
  • South end of Farm House Lane (includes entrance to Lot 49 southeast of Curtiss Hall), 2-3 weeks in June
  • Union Drive: from Wallace Road intersection to The Knoll entrance, early July to Aug. 1

Full road closing: Iowa State Center

  • Center Drive: from Beach Avenue to the east side of Stephens Auditorium, schedule TBA

Full road closings: University/Schilletter Village (with anticipated dates)

  • Stotts Road: from Blankenburg to Bruner drives, June-July timeframe
  • Bruner Drive: from Stotts Road to lot 201E, late summer
  • Blankenburg Drive entrance: from Stange Road, schedule TBA
  • Edenburn Drive entrance: from 24th Street, schedule TBA

Lane closings (road remains open)

  • Sheldon Avenue Extension: concrete patching at the south end (includes south entrance to Lot 9 west of the College of Design), schedule TBA
  • Union Drive: Between Bissell Road and Sheldon Avenue, concrete patching, schedule TBA
  • Crack and joint sealing between May 11 and Aug. 7: Pammel, Osborn and Union drives, University Boulevard, Wallace, Morrill, Haber, Veenker Golf and Bissell roads, State and Hayward avenues. The goal is to complete much of this work in the early mornings, evenings and on weekends.

Major sidewalk projects

  • Osborn Drive, from Physics to Science I halls, north side sidewalk will be widened, completed by Aug. 7, schedule TBA
  • Curtiss Hall, west ground-level entrance and sidewalk improvements, either during May or a July-Aug. 15 timeline (schedule TBA), area will be open during June
  • Sidewalk repairs will occur across campus from May 11 to Aug. 7

Senate starts debate on faculty responsibilities

Substantial changes to the policies and guidelines for faculty position responsibility statements (PRS) were introduced at the April 21 Faculty Senate meeting. The changes were developed in response to recommendations in a February 2015 task force report.

Prior to any discussion, senators approved a motion to move any vote on the proposed changes to next fall.

"We're not requesting that we postpone discussion of this item until fall, just that we put off the vote until we have the opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with our constituents," said Steve Freeman, University Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

The faculty PRS is a general job description, developed individually and changed throughout a faculty member's career as duties evolve. The PRS is used for faculty evaluations, including annual performance reviews and advancement reviews, such as promotion and tenure.

The proposed Faculty Handbook changes include:

  • Expanded areas of responsibility, from four to seven categories
  • Percentages that show proportion of effort in each category
  • Mediation processes available to all faculty
  • Formal PRS review dates
  • PRS development procedures
  • Information needed in a PRS
  • Annotated templates to accompany letters of intent

"The benefits of having a PRS have become more apparent over the years," said Veronica Dark, task force chair. "Now it is an important tool in all faculty evaluations. Given that, we thought faculty need to be educated about the PRS and be more involved in writing the PRS."

Student-athlete academic progress

Faculty athletics representative Tim Day gave senators his annual overview of student-athlete academic progress. He said the overall GPA of student-athletes was slightly lower than the general student body over the last two semesters, including a 0.04 point deficit (2.95 vs. 2.99) last fall.

All Cyclone athletics teams exceeded the NCAA's required academic progress rate (APR), which measures retention and eligibility of student-athletes. Four women's teams -- cross country, golf, indoor and outdoor track and field -- posted perfect scores.

"This year, Iowa State athletics turned in the best-ever APR report since the beginning of APR reporting in 2007," Day said.

Other business

Senators defeated a proposed change in the nonrenewal notification time for non-tenure eligible faculty contracts. The change would have shortened the notice from 12 months to six months for lecturers and clinicians with three or more years of service. The intent was to curb blanket annual nonrenewal notifications for faculty who will receive contract renewals within that same year.

Senators approved a proposed health coach undergraduate certificate. It is a 23-credit, interdisciplinary program that includes three departments: food science and human nutrition, kinesiology and psychology. The certificate must next be approved by the senior vice president and provost, but does not require approval by the state Board of Regents.

Keep an eye on the sky


Photo courtesy of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).

Spring has been kind to us so far, with mainly warm temperatures and tranquil skies. As Iowans, however, we know Mother Nature can quickly change her mind and bombard us with severe thunderstorms, lightning, floods and, occasionally, tornadoes.

The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) website contains a plethora of severe weather information, including lists of weather coordinators, evacuation maps and weather radio locations for campus buildings. The EH&S site also offers links to the National Weather Service websites and the following campus safety tips.

Severe weather

  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times, especially if severe weather is predicted
  • Sign up for an email or text alert from local news organizations
  • Download a weather app for smart phones or mobile devices (many are free)
  • If you receive a severe weather message, spread the word to your co-workers, especially those who work outside


  • If you hear a tornado siren while inside a building, go to a windowless interior room on the lowest level; bathrooms often are best.  Avoid buildings with large expansive roof structures, like the Armory. Many campus buildings have designated storm shelters.
  • If you are walking across campus and hear the tornado siren, get to the nearest building and follow the same procedures
  • If you are driving a car and debris begins flying around you, pull over and park. Your next two options are:
    • ​stay in the car, buckle your seatbelt and keep your head below the windows and cover it with your hands or a blanket
    • if you can safely get to a ditch or area lower than the road, exit the car, lie down and cover your head


  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to harm you
  • If you hear thunder -- even in the distance -- move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings are best. Sheds, picnic tables, tents and covered porches do not protect from lightning. If no safe buildings are nearby, get in a car (with a hard metal top) and close the windows. Stay there for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
  • If you are planning outdoor activities, know where to go for safety and how long it will take to get there
  • Consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them inside if thunderstorms are predicted
  • Don't use a corded phone while there's thunder and lightning, unless it's an emergency. Cordless and cell phones are OK.


  • Head to higher ground if a flash flood warning is issued for your area
  • Don't drive or walk through floodwaters
  • If you live or work in a flood-prone area, be prepared to evacuate quickly and consider gathering emergency supplies, such as:
    • three-day supply of nonperishable food and water
    • flashlight
    • seven-day supply of medications
    • copies of personal documents (for example: insurance policies, birth certificates, deeds)
    • cell phone with charger
    • tools for securing your home
    • insect repellent and sunscreen
    • extra sets of car and house keys
    • camera to shoot photos of damage to your property


For yourself or coworkers, know the signs of heat stress, such as:

  • muscle spasms
  • heavy sweating
  • fainting, collapsing
  • blurred vision
  • weakness, fatigue
  • pale, clammy skin
  • dizziness
  • confusion, erratic behavior

To avoid heat stress, take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area and drink water. If symptoms appear serious, seek medical help.


Library collaborates with peers to speed access to scholarly works

The Iowa State University Library is upgrading its information systems to help faculty and staff collaborate better with each other, both inside the university and among institutions, including other Iowa universities.

The Alma® library management system will replace another product by the Ex Libris company, Aleph, currently used by the library. Implementation will begin later this year, with an expected launch in July 2016.

Alma will facilitate collaboration across the academic library community through a "community zone" that allows users to benefit from the work of colleagues at other participating libraries.

"In an age where information is abundant, discovering the most relevant information is becoming increasingly difficult. It might be said we are data rich but information poor," said interim Library dean Joyce Garnett. "By leveraging the combined work of multiple libraries, Alma will support our customer-centered service focus, improve workflows and help us become more data-driven in our decision making."

Work generated in the community zone will directly impact the "discoverability" of information for students, faculty and staff. The Quick Search tool currently found on the Library's website will connect to Alma, helping scholars find the information they need. Users also can personalize search results according to their academic discipline and level of scholarly expertise.

"The upgrade will help our staff do what they do best, and that's provide exemplary service to Iowa State's students, faculty and staff," Garnett said.

The upgrade supports the state Board of Regents' recommendation encouraging collaboration among institutions. The University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa libraries also have selected Alma, as have the academic libraries of Drake University and Hawkeye Community College.

Survey identifies professional development needs

Last summer, university human resources (UHR) surveyed Iowa State's administrators, human resource liaisons and a sampling of professional and scientific employees to identify the training needs of supervisors in the areas of leadership and supervision. The survey's results and a Powerpoint presentation are available online. Here are some highlights of the findings:

More information

Join human resources specialist Don Broshar at the Professional and Scientific Council's seminar on April 27 (2 p.m., Gallery, Memorial Union) to learn more about the survey's results.

The three most common issues supervisors need help addressing:

  • Handling difficult behaviors
  • Strategic planning
  • Managing and resolving conflict

The top three issues related to people management:

  • Developing employees
  • Evaluating performance
  • Writing position descriptions

Perceived barriers to participating in training and development:

  • Time spent away from office
  • Lack of information about training opportunities
  • Lack of financial resources

Preferred format for professional development:

  • Face-to-face
  • Coaching/mentoring
  • Small group learning communities

Other conclusions:

  • There is opportunity for improvement in communication between supervisors and employees regarding professional development.
  • Participation in current professional development programs could be improved with better individual development planning between supervisors and employees.
  • A lack of coordination of professional development opportunities on campus has resulted in departments/units using outside vendors for training.

What's next?

UHR's ultimate goal is to use the survey's information to assist supervisors with their jobs.

"We want to help our supervisors enhance the work they do, and therefore, increase the effectiveness and satisfaction of employees at the university," said Don Broshar, human resources specialist. "In the end, our supervisors and employees ensure that we realize our institutional mission."

UHR has created a plan to address the challenges raised in the survey. Some of the next steps include:

  • Developing a coordinated learning platform as a portal for employee training opportunities. UHR and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) have partnered to roll out a web-based training platform, utilizing the training portal created by EH&S. The portal will be piloted this summer for a fall launch.
  • Creating a communication strategy for employee learning that raises awareness of development opportunities. This should roll out throughout the summer.
  • Targeting critical interpersonal needs by launching a new three-part series: Addressing Conflict Using the Tools of Employee Engagement.
  • Developing resources and support for the high-priority topics identified in the survey. This includes leveraging UHR's 12+ Supervisory Leadership Series, which addresses many of the training and development challenges brought up in the survey.

ISU Theatre anniversary year ends with four-actor play

ISU Theatre wraps up its 100th anniversary year with a four-performance run of On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning April 30-May 3 in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop. The theater department's newest faculty member, assistant professor Amanda Petefish-Schrag, is directing the comedy, which requires just four actors.

On the Verge, first performed in 1985, tells the story of three Victorian American female explorers (played by senior Annie Feenstra, sophomore Rosie Zbaracki and ISU alumna Kim Paul) who are traveling through a yet-unexplored land and, it turns out, time. On the journey, they meet an assortment of beings, all played by the same actor (senior Noah Allyn).

Petefish-Schrag said, "This play is not a romance, but it is absolutely a love story." She said she was a graduate student when she first became captivated with the play and the characters, who love -- adventure, ideas, words -- in spite of the obstacles they face as explorers.

Performances for On the Verge begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. A Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. Tickets, $18 (seniors $16, students $11) are available through MidwesTix or the Maintenance Shop ticket office (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) and at the door. Advance purchases are recommended due to the M-Shop's limited seating.