So many possibilities

Two female students work on pencil sketches outdoors

Design 230 students Katie DuVal (left) of Harlan and Cara Maak of Altoona enjoy a central campus outdoor classroom to work on their pencil sketches Monday morning. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Shipment fire puts library preservation staff to work

Damaged book cover from postal truck fire.

Fire melted the plastic cover of this book, leaving behind a pattern from the corrugated cardboard wrapped around it for shipping. Photos by Mindy McCoy, ISU Library.

When a U.S. Postal Service semitrailer headed for Des Moines caught fire July 23, so did several packages from the university library.

Thirty books -- 16 from ISU's inventory and 14 being returned to lending libraries -- were on board. Fortunately, none of them were irreplaceable.

In an Aug. 11 post on the preservation department's blog, Seo detailed some of the books in the fire. An old pocket guide to France and a volume about Camp Dodge were among the items lost in the blaze. But one of the books was virtually untouched, despite "severely" burned packaging. Its subject? Witchcraft.

Dawn Mick, ISU's resource sharing and acquisitions management librarian, said shipping 30 books a day is typical. The postal service returned 14 volumes recovered from the fire. Eight were salvageable, including one unharmed book, and six more books were deemed destroyed. Sixteen were not returned.

"From a salvage perspective, 30 books is very manageable for the preservation department," said Hilary Seo, associate professor and head of the preservation department. "Over the years, we have been faced with hundreds of wet books at a time, including nearly a thousand damp to wet books earlier this year."

Smoke, water and fire caused a range of issues -- odor, discoloration, soot, charring and burning. Some of it was limited to the packaging (books were cardboard-wrapped and placed inside padded envelopes), and some of the melted packaging harmed the books.

Items returned to the library by the postal service.

The postal service salvaged 14 of the library's 30 books from the fire.

The lending libraries did not request restoration or return of their damaged volumes, so the university library's preservation staff worked on ISU's salvageable books. Seo said her staff tackled ruined covers, wet books and charred text blocks. For some, replacements were more time and cost-effective.

To get rid of the smoky smell, books were opened and placed in an airtight container with "Gonzo Odor Eliminator." Damaged covers were cut off and books were rebound. Damp books were opened, placed in front of fans and then put in a book press to avoid warping. Wet books were blotted (paper towels placed at intervals between sections of pages), then pressed and rebound if necessary.

"We did not find any mold growth," Seo said. "This may have to do with the fact that USPS did spread all of the mail out on racks to try to dry the packages."

Two selected for faculty fellowships

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost has selected Lisa Larson and Surya Mallapragada for faculty fellowships for 2015-17.

"Lisa and Surya are highly respected faculty leaders who will do an outstanding job serving their colleagues," said Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty. "Their efforts to enhance faculty development and recognition will have a significant impact on the university."


Larson, a professor of psychology, will serve as the ISU Advance fellow. She will work with senior academic leaders and college equity advisers to promote the recruitment, advancement and retention of all faculty, especially women and faculty of color at Iowa State.

ISU Advance, which began in 2006 through a grant from the National Science Foundation, is focused on implementing best practices in faculty hiring and retention, promoting diversity initiatives for faculty, and transforming department culture through dialogue, which is called the Department Enhancement Program.

Larson holds master's and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She joined Iowa State in 1998 after serving 12 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Mallapragada, who holds the Carol Vohs Johnson Chair, is a professor and former chair of chemical and biological engineering, and professor of materials science and engineering. Her fellowship work will focus on increasing national recognition for top Iowa State faculty through prestigious honors and awards.

Mallapragada holds bachelor's and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, respectively. She joined Iowa State in 1996 after a postdoctoral appointment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

About the fellowships

Faculty fellowships are designed to provide leadership and project management experience to faculty who are interested in, or aspire to, leadership positions at Iowa State. The program was announced in 2013 as part of a broader realignment plan, and to increase faculty participation in the provost's office. Fellowships typically are part-time for two years.

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Lots more qualifies for your blue bin under new recycling service

blue recycling bin filled with various papers and beverage conta

With Iowa State's new recycling contract, employees can mix papers and food/beverage containers in their blue office bins. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Recycling is a whole lot easier on campus this fall. Iowa State's new four-year recycling contract with Waste Management allows a big variety of recyclable materials to land in that blue bin under your desk previously reserved only for white paper. Known as both "mixed stream" and "single stream" in the recycling world, it will free employees from hunting for the appropriate bin or box for their newspaper, Coke can or used white paper.

So, go ahead and pack it all in: white and colored paper, newsprint, journals, phonebooks, catalogs, press board boxes, folders and envelopes. Paper clips and staples are OK. Mixed stream also includes beverage and food containers – whether glass, metal or plastic. But recycling coordinator Sue Mallas recommends that recyclers rinse containers to cut down on odors and avoid future problems with bugs and other pests. And keep straws and plastic forks and spoons out of recycling bins; those still are considered trash.

Offices that collect their beverage containers for the 5-cent deposit are welcome to continue those efforts, Mallas said.

Not included

The recycling contract with Waste Management doesn't cover all materials. Some campus recycling programs, involving other vendors or processes, will continue as they have been. These include:

  • Corrugated cardboard. Use the metal recycling cages located outside of buildings.
  • Laboratory glass. Square yellow buckets in labs for used laboratory glass are emptied into larger yellow bins on loading docks. Campus services teams take the large bins to the city's resource recovery plant for recycling.
  • Confidential documents. Iowa State uses a bonded vendor who shreds and recycles documents.

Tuesday is the day

Waste Management will collect recyclables from campus loading docks (or other outside locations) every Tuesday. Mallas said the local manager's intent is to arrive on campus about 4 a.m. and wrap up collection by 9 a.m. The Waste Management team will start in the central campus core and work its way out to the edges of campus. The closer your building is to central campus, the earlier the pickup will be, she said.

Interim summer

The unanticipated closing in late January of Ames Area Redemption Center, ISU's previous paper and food/beverage container recycler, forced ISU facilities leaders to patch together a plan that wouldn't interrupt campus recycling. For the last seven months, campus services crews transported all recyclables from building containers to a Waste Management collection site in Des Moines.

The mixed stream practice began "and we really liked the efficiency of it," Mallas said. It became a key part of the bid request as the university sought a new recycling vendor.

Director of sustainability Merry Rankin said she's excited Iowa State can offer mixed stream recycling for the long term.

"This should reduce the number of office containers and eliminate confusion about separating materials or concern about 'contaminating' designated recycling containers," she said.

Rankin said she's hopeful that the freedom to mix recyclable materials will free up some large wheeled containers, allowing the university to expand recycling options to more campus locations.

Service under the Waste Management contract began Sept. 22 and continues through June 30, 2019. Questions about recycling may be directed to Mallas, 294-0692.

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Wireless upgrades sweeping across campus

If the wireless connection in your workspace is a tad tenuous, take heart. A stronger signal very likely is in your future. In the meantime, you and your mobile device will find ready access to the internet in many other university buildings. 

Updates, by building

Find out whether wireless updates for your building are complete, in progress or still to come.

Over the past 15 months, 41 buildings have been outfitted with the latest in wireless access points. Over the next year and a few months, 52 more campus facilities will get similar upgrades.

A team of electrical contractors and information technology services techs are steadily working their way through campus, installing anywhere from 20 to 400 new access points in each building. Mike Broders, senior systems analyst in information technology services, said the number of access points depends on several factors -- building size, construction (wireless signals don't carry as far in old buildings with thick concrete walls) and the number of devices that will be vying for bandwidth (large lecture halls need more).

A year ago, consultants took readings and developed ideal wireless plans for every facility on campus. Those maps help determine the placement of the new access points.

Resembling small white smoke detectors, the access points are considerably more powerful than they look. They're the latest in wireless technology (Wi-Fi 802.11ac) and much faster than the previous high water mark for Wi-Fi (802.11n).*

When they finish early in 2017, the tech teams will have installed more than 4,500 access points in academic and student areas across campus. Some 2,600 access points have been installed thus far, in Bessey, Black, Carver, Coover, Curtiss, Gilman, Hoover, several College of Veterinary Medicine facilities and many other buildings.

These upgrades are part of a project funded by the Computation Advisory Committee, which oversees spending of student technology fees, and central administration. The upgrades are in addition to a separate upgrade to residence halls and the Frederiksen Court apartment complex, completed in August 2014.

* 802.11 references technical specs for wireless networks. Characters added to the end of the number, for example 802.11n or 802.11ac, indicate different iterations of the standard. Generally access points built to the latest standards will be faster and more powerful.

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Open forums scheduled in advance of reaccreditation visit

Iowa State will offer two public forums in October to share information about the university’s coming reaccreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 2:15-3 p.m., Hoover 1227
  • Friday, Oct. 9, 9-9:45 a.m., Memorial Union Pioneer Room

Dave Holger, associate provost for academic programs and dean of the Graduate College; and Karen Zunkel, director of undergraduate programs and academic quality, will discuss the reaccreditation process and the criteria for reaccreditation, and highlight details of the Nov. 2-3 site visit.

Assurance argument posted online

As part of the reaccreditation process, Iowa State submits an assurance argument to demonstrate how the university is meeting the commission’s criteria for accreditation in five areas:

  • Mission
  • Integrity: ethical and responsible conduct
  • Teaching and learning: Quality, resources and support
  • Teaching and learning: Evaluation and improvement
  • Resources, planning and institutional effectiveness

Students, faculty, staff and the general public may access the assurance argument online.

For more information on the Higher Learning Commission site visit and assurance argument, contact Zunkel,  294-7063 or

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A job well done

Faculty member Ajay Nair receives his award from President Steve

President Steven Leath (right) congratulates assistant professor of horticulture Ajay Nair, recipient of the university's award for early achievement in extension or professional practice, at the faculty-staff awards ceremony Sept. 21 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. All told, 52 faculty and P&S staff received recognition for exemplary work during the annual event. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Wireless upgrade status

Here's the schedule for wireless upgrades on university buildings.Return to "Wave of wireless upgrades" story.

In progress



Kildee/Meats Lab

Livestock Disease

State Gym












Enrollment Services

General Services







Memorial Union







Student Health

Student Services



Vet Med/Lloyd

VM Field Services












Agronomy GH

fall 2016

Alumni Center

spring 2016


fall 2015

Applied Sci. 1, 2, 3

spring 2016

Carver Co-Lab

fall 2015

Crop Genome

fall 2016


fall 2015


fall 2015


fall 2015

Extension 4-H

fall 2016

Extension IT

fall 2016

Family Ctr., SUV

fall 2016

Farm House

fall 2016

Fire. Training

fall 2016

Fisher Theater

fall 2016

Food Sciences

spring 2016

Forestry GH

fall 2016


spring 2016


fall 2015


spring 2016


spring 2016


fall 2015


fall 2015

Lab of Mechanics

spring 2016


fall 2015

Landscape Arch.

fall 2016


spring 2016

Library Storage

fall 2016

Lied Recreation

fall 2016


fall 2015

Molecular Biology

fall 2015

National Swine

fall 2016

Office and Lab

spring 2016


spring 2016


fall 2015

Plant Path. GH

fall 2016


fall 2016

Reiman facilities

fall 2016

Science I


Science II


Seed Sciences

fall 2015


fall 2016


fall 2016


fall 2016

VM Child Care

fall 2016

University Surplus

fall 2016

Veenker Club

fall 2016


University shares results of AAU student survey

A smaller percentage of Iowa State University students have been victims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct than the average reported Sept. 21 in new higher education survey results. However, Iowa State officials say the incidence rates remain too high and addressing these problems will continue to be a high priority. 

Iowa State released its results from the Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey. Twenty-six AAU members, including Iowa State, and one non-AAU university participated in the survey earlier this year. The survey focuses on sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment.

In a three-week period in April 2015, more than 5,200 Iowa State students completed the web-based survey.

An estimated 11.7 percent of the students at the 27 participating institutions experienced nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation during their college careers, AAU reported Sept. 21 based on completed surveys from more than 150,000 students. At Iowa State, the comparable figure is 9.7 percent.

Among female undergraduate students at the 27 institutions, the incidence rate was 23.1 percent. At Iowa State, the rate was 19.4 percent.

In addition to asking students about experiences over their entire college career, the survey asked specifically about academic year 2014-15. The results show 7 percent of Iowa State students experienced some type of nonconsensual sexual contact during the year.

“Sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment are serious problems on college campuses across the country and in society in general,” said President Steven Leath.

“These survey results provide us with valuable information on student experiences, their awareness and their perceptions. We have done a lot to address the problems of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment on our campus, but these findings will help guide us as we identify areas for continued improvement.”

The survey asked students if they had been victimized more than once. Overall, 6.1 percent of the Iowa State students said they were victims at least twice since they enrolled. The survey found higher prevalence among female students than male students.

Three other forms of sexual misconduct -- harassment, stalking and intimate partner violence -- also were included in the survey. Students who do not identify as heterosexual had a higher reporting rate.

The climate for responding

The AAU survey also asked students for their assessment of the campus climate in terms of university actions in cases of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Overall, 55.9 percent of the Iowa State students said it was very or extremely likely that victims making a report would be supported by other students. And, 74.9 percent said it was very or extremely likely that university officials would take such reports seriously.

Overall, 64.5 percent of the responding students said it was very or extremely likely that university officials would fairly investigate such reports, and 59.4 percent said it was very or extremely likely the university would take action against offenders.

However, the survey shows reporting rates are generally low among female Iowa State students who are victims of nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical violence or incapacitation. The primary reason for not reporting was victims did not consider the incidents serious enough.

Other Iowa State results from the AAU survey:

  • 14.4 percent of students said they suspected a friend had been sexually assaulted, and 69.7 percent took action to get help for the victim.
  • 39.5 percent of students said they had witnessed a drunken person “heading for a sexual encounter,” but 75.8 percent said they took no action. About 10 percent said they directly intervened.
  • 15.4 percent of students reported witnessing an individual acting in a sexually violent or harassing manner. About half of these students took action.
  • 29.4 percent of students said they were knowledgeable about university definitions of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, and 34 percent said they knew where to seek help in such cases.

“While it’s encouraging to see that many students take action when they see situations they believe could lead to sexual assault or misconduct, we still have room for improvement,” said Pamela Anthony, dean of students at Iowa State. “We also want students to understand that if they are victims of sexual assault or misconduct, reporting it will allow us to better help them.”

Mandatory training at ISU

In 2013, mandatory sexual misconduct training was implemented for Iowa State faculty and staff members, and students began taking the training last year.

“The training helps prepare students for issues they may face, including caring for their own health and safety, sexual assault prevention and harassment. This training is a critical step in ensuring a safe, secure and welcoming campus,” said Robinette Kelley, Iowa State’s director of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator.

The report of Iowa State’s survey results is available at

The aggregate results of the AAU survey are available at

Information about Iowa State’s policies, procedures and programs related to sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment is available at


ISU Theatre opens its season on the high seas

Senior Christopher Kent portrays Long John Silver in Treasure Island.

Senior Christopher Kent portrays Long John Silver in ISU Theatre's production of Treasure Island. Photo by Nancy Thompson.

ISU Theatre kicks off its 2015-16 season in swashbuckling style, with a production based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. The show opens its two-weekend run Oct. 2 in Fisher Theater.

2015-16 Season

Junior Adam Kroksh is cast as Jim Hawkins, a boy in search of adventure with a treasure map in hand. He finds it on the high seas, and in the company of Long John Silver, the famous one-legged pirate played by senior Christopher Kent.

The quest puts young Jim in the path of dangerous villains, including Billy Bones (senior Tyler Filipp), Anne Bonney (sophomore Mycailah Salvador), Israel Hands and Blind Pew (both characters played by senior Austin Farwell). The family-friendly production, directed by professor Jane Cox, features choreographed fight scenes and stage scenery designed by alum Erica Zaffarano.

Audience members are invited to linger after the performances for photos with the pirate-clad cast. Friday and Saturday show times are 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $11 for students, and are available through Ticketmaster and the Iowa State Center box office. Season tickets ($68-$99) also are available through the Iowa State Center.