Students return early -- for a variety of reasons

Three clerks fill racks with ISU clothing

(L-R) University Book Store student employees Elizabeth Tursi, Morgan Tjarks and Sarah Luth fill racks with Iowa State apparel in preparation for the arrival of students next week. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The end of summer office hours on Friday is one indicator that a new academic year is approaching. An uptick in student activity, beginning this weekend, should confirm it. Inside provides a quick overview of some of the activities happening in these last days before fall classes begin on Aug. 24.

New student move-in

First-time students living in residence halls will move in Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 18-19 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, odd numbered rooms one day, even the next). Once a vehicle pulls up outside a hall, that family has 30 minutes to unload and move things inside. Sound impossible? Not at all when you have a small army of volunteers assisting – and they will. Nine hundred returning students will move back this weekend to help with the job. You'll know this generous group by their gold T-shirts.

Returning students

Apartment buildings operated this year by the residence department – including Frederiksen Court, Schilletter University Village, the Legacy tower in campustown and 30 leased apartment buildings in southwest Ames – all open to students on Saturday, Aug. 15.

Iowa State's residence halls open to returning students at 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20. Residence staff will be available through Sunday evening to check students into their rooms.

Residence department leaders advise faculty and staff to avoid areas where move-in congestion may occur Tuesday through Friday, including Beach Road on the east side of campus and Union Drive on the west side.

Parking lots adjacent to residence halls -- including employee lots -- will be closed to permit holders and reserved for move-in families Aug. 14-21.

Destination Iowa State

New students move in a few days early so their rooms are ship-shape by Thursday afternoon. Destination Iowa State (DIS), a three-day event designed to ease new students' transition to college life, begins with an outdoor picnic and kickoff at Hilton Coliseum Thursday evening.

As of last week, more than 5,750 first-time Iowa Staters – both freshman and transfer students – had registered. For the last few years, around 80 percent of freshmen, and about 65 percent of the incoming class overall, has attended DIS.

Led by 480 returning students, in teams of 12-15 they'll learn a little about managing their money, classroom etiquette and expectations from a faculty perspective, and living in a diverse community. They'll complete a community service project, better learn their way around campus, pick up their textbooks, enjoy meals together and attend nightly special events.

Destination Iowa State concludes Saturday night.

Sorority recruiting

More than 850 young women are registered for Iowa State's sorority recruitment events, which open Friday evening, Aug. 14, and continue through Thursday, Aug. 20. Recruits will move into their residence halls Friday morning, Aug. 14; returning sorority members began returning to their houses on Aug. 10.

If you haven't witnessed it, "Bid Day" during the morning of Aug. 20 will bring thousands of young women to central campus. Amid lots of cheering and running, young women are matched with sororities that reflect their personal academic, philanthropic and community service goals.

Marching band camp

A "fundamentals" camp for rookies and auditions for nearly 500 students vying for a spot in this fall's Cyclone football marching band are held Monday-Wednesday, Aug. 17-19. Band camp, for an estimated 350 newly auditioned members -- woodwinds, drums, color guard and twirlers – runs Aug. 20-23 at the practice field west of the Communications Building.

Joining the camp will be an addition to Iowa State's marching band lineup: a new band that will perform during football tailgating, soccer games and, this winter, wrestling matches.

Parking: Meters, moves, grace periods

Worker in a skid loader work on new parking area

Ten days ago, a skid loader was moving gravel on the empty lot south of Hach Hall. Today, the asphalt is down and the old Davidson Hall site is part of parking lot 23. The new space allowed officials to reconfigure other lots to increase the number of metered spots for students and reserved spots for employees. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

New parking meters are popping up around campus as officials work to create extra space for a record number of students and their vehicles. The new meters -- 47 in all – will affect some general staff spaces, but the good news for faculty and staff is those displaced spaces aren't going away. They're moving closer to central campus.

Parking director Mark Miller said the meters and lot adjustments are among several parking-related changes that will be in place when classes begin later this month. New parking conveniences – a meter-feeding app, a five-minute grace period on meters and extended free parking hours – also respond to student concerns, Miller said.

A key goal was to improve student parking without detracting from faculty and staff parking.

“We’ve done that,” Miller said.  “General faculty and staff parking will remain at current levels and reserved spaces will increase by 66.”

Changes in lots 12, 22, 23

The domino effect kicks in with the installation of the 47 meters on the northwest side of campus. The meters will be installed in two lots -- lot 12, a general parking lot west of the Communications Building, and lot 22, a general staff/reserved parking lot north of the Armory.

Lot 22's reserved spaces are moving to lot 23, south of Hach Hall. Lot 23 has 66 new parking spaces, due to its expansion into the former Davidson Hall site. Transferring the individual reserved spaces from lot 22 to lot 23 allows lot 22 to accommodate new meters and enough general parking to make up for general spaces lost in lot 12.

The new meters will bring the number of metered parking spots on campus to 782.

Parking app

The free Parkmobile smartphone app will give students and any others with the app an alternate way to pay at the prepay lots near the Lied Center (lot 100) and Armory (lot 21) and the east campus parking deck. Students can enter and exit the lots quickly, paying for parking while walking to class, Miller said. The app sends alerts when meters are about to expire, allowing app users to buy more time via phone. There’s a 15-cent or 35-cent charge for each Parkmobile transaction, depending on the way the users set up payment.

The Parkmobile app will only work in the three prepay lots to start, but Miller said it may be extended it to other university meters. All meters on campus still accept prepaid Smart Cards or coins.

More free parking

In the past, prepay lots needed to be paid Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In response to student requests, officials extended free park times to the entire weekend and added more weekday free time in the early evening. The new hours for these prepay lots are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition, most individual meters also will go to the 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. times.

Miller noted that meters located at some spots, for example, the Memorial Union or State Gym, will continue to require payment all hours, all days. Pay hours are posted on each meter.

Five minutes of grace

Parking officials have instituted a five-minute grace period on campus meters.  Once the meter reaches zero, drivers have five minutes of ticket amnesty. The meter will turn yellow and count backwards for 5 minutes.

Load zone timers

Enforcing the 30-minute load zones around residence halls and elsewhere can be challenging, Miller said. Since the clock doesn't really start until a parking enforcement employee chalks their tires, some drivers could tie up these spots for an hour or more. New meters in these zones should help. The driver pushes a button for a free 30 minutes when leaving the car. The clock starts instantly. These meters will be installed in as many locations as physically possible.

New faculty: CELT can help you get ready for classes

First-day-of-college jitters aren't unusual. They're expected when you're a first-year student getting acclimated to campus.

But what if you're a new instructor? Students expect you to know answers to their questions, and guide them gallantly through the first week of classes. But you're new, too; you're not even sure how to pay your ticket in the Memorial Union parking ramp!

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) invites new Iowa State faculty and teaching assistants to two events next week that should help alleviate some of that first-day anxiety.

CELT Teaching Symposium

The CELT Teaching Symposium is Aug. 18 (7:30 a.m.-noon, Scheman Building) and registration is open through Aug. 14. This half-day event is geared toward new faculty and teaching assistants. Attendees will:

  • Learn policies, practices and resources that affect teaching and learning at ISU
  • Become familiar with common student issues and successful outcomes, and be able to guide students to various campus resources
  • Discover CELT services, resources and development opportunities

Separate sessions for faculty and teaching assistants will run concurrently; agendas are online. There also is a new twist to this year's symposium. As proponents of the flipped classroom, CELT decided to "walk the talk" and give symposium participants an active-learning experience. All participants are asked to review several short, online learning modules prior to the event. Each module, accessible through Blackboard, includes a 7-minute video (on average), quizzes and surveys, and supplemental resources.  Attendees will break into small teams during the symposium and use information from the modules to discuss different student and classroom scenarios.

"We're trying to model the active-learning process, trying to make the symposium active, fun and useful," said Holly Bender, associate director of CELT.

Participants will need to use their Net-IDs (the first part of your ISU email address, prior to to access the modules in Blackboard. If you have any problems logging in with your Net-ID, contact the Solution Center at 294-4000.

New Faculty Orientation

New Faculty Orientation, planned for Aug. 19 (7:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Scheman Building), is open to all new faculty, whether tenured, tenure-eligible or non-tenure eligible. This includes assistant, associate or full professors; lecturers; clinicians and adjuncts hired since September 2014. Registration is open through Aug. 14.

This daylong event gives new faculty members an opportunity to meet each other and mingle with senior Iowa State administrators, including senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert and the deans of the colleges. Participants will:

  • Hear both early-career and experienced faculty share their insights for having a successful Iowa State career
  • Learn about ISU's culture, land-grant mission and the university's commitment to shared governance
  • Attend break-out sessions about the Ames community, flexible faculty policies, research funding, mentoring and other topics

Information on building a successful research program and small group discussions with the college deans take place in the afternoon. The day concludes with a networking social event.

Solar panels to join the grid

Workers position solar cells on a rack

From left, Jake Heims, Nathan Krakau and Michael Ottaway with CB Solar install a new array of solar panels Aug. 12. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A couple of 8 X 60-foot solar panels on the east side of campus soon will be feeding energy into the university's electrical system. The panels are a gift from CB Solar, Des Moines, a solar system contractor founded by Iowa State alumni.

The solar energy generated by the two 12.5-kilowatt panels should provide enough electricity to power a facility the size of The Knoll (the president's house) for three months, said Lindsey Wanderscheid, project engineer for utilities in facilities planning and management. The panels also will be useful in teaching and research, she said.

Panel installation began Wednesay and should be completed today. The panels are going up near the wind turbine, northeast of the ISU Power Plant, and are visible from University Boulevard. 

Within a few weeks, the panels should be tied into the electrical system and making a contribution to university energy needs, Wanderscheid said.

In exchange for the donated panels, ISU officials will provide the panel's generated electricity records to CB Solar.

The Power Plant forms the backdrop as workers install new solar

The Power Plant looms in the background as Ottaway (left) and Heims fasten down the array. Photo by Christopher Gannon


Council gets preview of online employee learning system

A central online hub for employee learning is in the works, with a fall rollout planned. Julie Nuter, associate vice president for university human resources (UHR), told Professional and Scientific Council members at their Aug. 6 meeting that the university-wide learning management system would house training and development opportunities from several units.

"It is a one-stop location for seeking out training and development opportunities at the university that are not academic in nature," Nuter said.

"Learn@ISU" is being built on a system that Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) already has in place and will offer a "course catalog" that can be searched by topic, date or the unit offering the training. Once the system is up and running, UHR's current registration method in AccessPlus will be discontinued.

In addition to UHR and EH&S, Nuter said courses from several partners on the project may be added to the system, including:

  • Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)
  • Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)
  • Dean of students office
  • Department of public safety
  • Provost office
  • Purchasing department
  • University library

"The system is set up in such a way that even though the platform is centrally managed, all those partners can administer their own training," Nuter said.

She said the system provides several reporting options, from individual transcripts to unit and university-wide participation data.

New award

The awards committee proposed the creation of another CYtation Award, this one to recognize an outstanding new P&S Council member. The criteria would include members who have served no more than 18 months on council.

If approved next month, the new award would be the fourth CYtation award (individual, team and Woodin) presented annually by the P&S Council. It's the only CYtation award reserved for council members.