Opening routine

Students in line behind stacks of notebooks

Students waiting to purchase textbooks and school supplies queue up in front of the checkout counter at the University Book Store in the Memorial Union Monday morning. The official student count for spring semester will be taken on Jan. 25, the 10th day of class, and posted to the registrar's website later that week. Photo by Christopher Gannon

Three finalists named in VP for student affairs search

Three finalists for Iowa State’s senior vice president for student affairs post will visit campus in late January and early February.

Finalists' CVs

The finalists are:

  • Martino Harmon, associate vice president for student affairs, Iowa State University
  • Lori Reesor, vice president for student affairs, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
  • Al Thompson, vice chancellor for student affairs and chief diversity officer, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Public forums

Each finalist will interview on campus over two days and participate in a one-hour public forum in the Memorial Union. At each forum, the candidate will make a brief presentation, then answer questions from the audience. The public forum schedule is:

  • Reesor: Monday, Jan. 25, 9 a.m., Pioneer Room
  • Thompson: Monday, Feb. 1, 9 a.m., Campanile Room
  • Harmon: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m., Pioneer Room

Search co-chairs Mike Crum, vice president for economic development and business engagement, and David Harris, senior associate athletics director, noted that a highly qualified group of finalists will come to campus to interview for "this critical position."

They encouraged the university community to take advantage of the opportunity to hear from the candidates, ask questions and provide feedback to the search committee. An online feedback form will be available on the search site site later this month.

About the finalists

Lori Reesor has served as North Dakota's vice president for student affairs since 2011. She also served as associate vice provost for student success at the University of Kansas, Lawrence; associate dean, assistant dean and adjunct instructor in the School of Education at the University of Missouri, Kansas City; and dean of students at Wichita State University, Kansas. In a previous stint at Kansas, she served as associate director of admissions, acting director and assistant director of new student orientation, assistant to the dean of educational services and residence hall director. She also served as a financial aid counselor, academic adviser and women's center program assistant at Iowa State.

Reesor earned a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; a master's in higher education from Iowa State; and a doctorate in educational policy and leadership from Kansas.

Al Thompson has served as vice chancellor for student affairs at UW-Stevens Point since 2011 and chief diversity officer since 2012. Prior to that, he served as associate vice president for student affairs and dean of student life at Eastern Washington University, Cheney. He was assistant to the chancellor for affirmative action and diversity at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, where he also developed and taught graduate courses in education professional development and organizational theory. At the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, he served as assistant to the chancellor for minority affairs, director of multicultural services and director of the ethnic studies program. He also was coordinator of minority student programs and residence hall director at Luther College, Decorah.

Thompson earned a bachelor's degree in psychology (1981) and master's in counselor education and student development (1985) from the University of Iowa; and a doctor of education (2004) from Saint Mary's University, Minneapolis.

Martino Harmon has served as Iowa State's associate vice president for student affairs since 2013. Previously, he served as executive director of student success and retention at Cincinnati State Community College, Ohio; dean of student development at Rhodes State College, Lima, Ohio; and dean of admission, retention and student life at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Mich. At the University of Toledo, Ohio, he held several posts -- interim assistant dean of students, director of the African American student enrichment office, director of freshman admission, associate director of admission and multicultural recruitment and coordinator of campus visits and admission counselor.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration (1987), master of education (1998) and doctorate in higher education and administration (2013), all from Toledo.

More information on the search site

Candidates' curriculum vitae are available on the senior vice president for student affairs search site. An online form will be available to provide feedback about the finalists.

The senior vice president for student affairs will succeed Tom Hill, who retired after serving as VP since 1997.

Related stories

Search begins for next student affairs leader, Oct. 8, 2015

Incremental appropriations would address growth needs

Iowa State will seek an additional $9.7 million in state operational support next year from a legislature that went to work on Monday. The funding request includes an $8.2 million increase (4.5 percent) to the general university appropriation and 2.7 percent increases (totaling about $1.5 million) to university units or programs that receive their own state appropriation. Examples of the latter include the veterinary diagnostic lab, cooperative extension, Leopold Center and the livestock disease research program.

The high end of the projected inflation range in the Higher Education Price Index for fiscal year 2017 is 2.7 percent.

If funded, the increase would represent about a 4 percent increase over this year's total state operating support of $238.8 million. Fiscal year 2017 begins July 1.

Differential requests

For the second time, the three regent universities (Iowa State, University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa) are requesting differential state support. An increase to Iowa State's general university appropriation would be used to maintain quality and address capacity needs associated with growing student enrollment. Examples include additional faculty and academic advising positions; investments in more student learning analytics; expanded opportunities for online learning; additional campus safety services; and more support for student experiences such as internships, study abroad, learning communities, undergraduate research and student organizations.

"As the state's land-grant university, we want to be accessible to students, but we can't let the quality of their experience suffer as more enroll at Iowa State," said chief of staff Miles Lackey, who oversees the budget development process.

Northern Iowa is requesting an 8.1 percent ($7.6 million) "equity adjustment" to its general university appropriation that recognizes its focus on educating undergraduate Iowa students and the limitations this puts on tuition revenue. Iowa is requesting a 1.9 percent increase ($4.5 million) to its general university appropriation for additional student support programs as its enrollment grows.

Salary support

As they do each year, the regent universities also asked to have their employees included in the appropriations bill that provides salary increase funding for employees in state agencies. The last time regent university employees were included in the salary bill was FY09.

State support for building projects

None of the regent universities are seeking funding for new building projects during this legislative session. Iowa State will receive more than $20 million in state support during FY17 for multiyear projects approved by previous legislatures. They are:

  • $19.5 million for the biosciences projects (new research/teaching facility at the Pammel Drive/Stange Road intersection and an east addition to Bessey Hall), the second of three years of state funding totaling $50 million
  • $1 million for the Student Innovation Center (to be built south of Sweeney Hall), the first of five years of state funding totaling $40 million

Budget development has begun

In the meantime, Iowa State's FY17 budget development process is underway. Last month, President Steven Leath outlined his budget planning priorities to the three senior vice presidents. They remain the four broad priorities Leath first presented during his fall 2012 installation:

  • Expand and enhance university programs and services to ensure that students have the best college experience possible, and ensure students are provided with the support they need to succeed, both inside and outside the classroom
  • Enhance the university profile by expanding our research enterprise and promoting our scholarly work
  • Promote economic development across the state and region
  • Ensure a welcoming, inclusive and safe campus and community

Leath noted then that the priorities would require repeated investments of money and effort.

"We have made great strides and established a lot of momentum in moving Iowa State to the next level," he wrote in a December memo to the three leaders. He asked them to again organize their unit budgets around the four priorities. Preliminary budgets are due to Leath on Feb. 1 and updated budgets on April 10.


Council seeks answers about leave policies

The executive committee of the Professional and Scientific Council is requesting clarification from university administrators about the use of vacation/leave policies and the flex hours program during a partial campus shutdown over winter break in a motion introduced at the council's Jan. 7 meeting.

"We received several contacts just prior to winter break from employees who did not feel they were being fairly treated by their departments, their supervisors or their college or units," said council president Tera Lawson. "They were being required to take vacation as part of the university's partial close. Upon getting into that further, it appears that it is actually a conflict between these three policies, which is why we are asking for clarification on the interpretation and application of these three policies."

The committee motion asks for clarifications and, if needed, changes to the flexible hours program and two policies (flex time and vacation leave) to "provide employees and administrators with a common interpretation and acceptable applications" during partial closures. An amendment added a request to clarify the definition of "essential employee."

"The flexible hours program is the one that pertains specifically to break periods," Lawson said. "According to Warren Madden, the intention of the policy was to allow people to be gone for those several days."

Lawson said the flexible hours program doesn't work well with the vacation leave policy, which allows departments to require P&S staff to take vacation leave "whenever, in its judgment, such action will be in the interests of the department."

Council members voted in favor of fast-tracking the motion with an immediate second read. The document was approved and will be sent to university administrators.

Tuition reimbursement

Also at the council's Jan. 7 meeting, the compensation and benefits committee introduced a motion with recommended changes for the tuition reimbursement program. Currently, eligible merit and P&S employees can apply for tuition reimbursement of up to three credits per semester through the program.

The proposed changes to the program include:

  • Increasing the maximum reimbursement to the equivalent of four credits per semester
  • Using actual program cost of tuition for reimbursement of ISU coursework

No changes to eligibility requirements or program guidelines were requested. Council members will vote on the motion at the Feb. 4 meeting.

Other business

  • Provost Jonathan Wickert said the search for the next dean of the College of Human Sciences is on track, with nearly 100 nomination submissions and several applications. July 1 is the projected start date.
  • Julie Nuter, associate vice president for university human resources, highlighted upcoming financial wellness sessions available to employees. Registration is available through the Learn@ISU portal.
  • Ed Holland, benefits director in university human resources, gave council members an overview of the 1095-C tax forms for Affordable Care Act reporting that will be available to employees through AccessPlus.

Police urge walkers, drivers and bicyclists to look out for each other

Ames police officer hands card to female student

Officer John Barney, Ames Police Department, greets students and hands out SMART cards at the corner of Lincoln Way and Lynn Avenue Monday. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Ames police officers and volunteers from the Campustown Action Association took to street corners along Lincoln Way Monday to launch a "Bike Walk Drive SMART" education campaign. The intent is to remind pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers to look out for each other and make choices that keep everyone safe.

Officers were stationed at corners from Ash to Hayward avenues.

"We hope this is a shared effort, because it is all of us. It's about respecting others who are crossing where we are," said Ames police chief Charles Cychosz, who handed out SMART cards at Welch Avenue and Lincoln Way at midday. "Conflicts can be resolved with a little respect and thoughtfulness. Anybody can make a mistake, but if we're looking out for each other, we can avoid a tragedy."

He noted that the prevalence of headphone and smartphone use by walkers, drivers and cyclists adds a different layer of danger to normal traffic interactions among those groups.

Cychosz said Ames' SMART campaign is based loosely on a "Walk Smart" campaign at the University of Maryland.

"Our issues are broader than walking," he said. "We've heard concerns from drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians."

What does it mean?

The acronym SMART stands for:

    Share the road
    Make yourself visible
    Always be aware
    Respect each other
    Take your time

While city and university leaders have talked about safety along Lincoln Way for some time, Cychosz said the death last month of an Iowa State student brought some urgency to the discussion. A predawn hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Lincoln Way and Ash Avenue on Dec. 14 killed Iowa State freshman Emmalee Jacobs.

More to come this spring

Cychosz said Ames has lots of traffic incidents involving bicycles. For that reason, his staff will be back on Lincoln Way corners "when the bicycles come out in the spring," he said.

ISU Police: If it doesn't seem right, report

This is the first of a two-part series on staying safe at Iowa State. Tips come from ISU police officers -- interim chief of police Aaron DeLashmutt, deputy chief Carrie Jacobs, Lt. Elliott Florer and officer Anthony Greiter.

Would any of these campus situations prompt you to call university police?

  • An individual wearing a bulky coat on a warm day
  • A couple having a heated argument
  • An angry visitor confronting a co-worker
  • A student on a bench, sobbing

ISU police officers predict that, in the cases of the arguing couple, angry visitor and sobbing student, most of us wouldn't make that call because a) it's none of our business, and b) we don't want to bother police.

The officers' response is simple: Make the call.

Next week in Inside

Having "the talk" at staff meetings, safety tips for classroom instructors, training resources

Recognize, report

Tens of thousands of people keeping an eye out for potential trouble can be a tremendous boon to campus safety, if they are willing to follow through.

Campus police encourage faculty, staff and students to set aside their reluctance to call police (911 for emergencies, 294-4428 for non-emergencies). The earlier police hear about concerns, the better chance they have of keeping them from turning into real problems.

While an arguing couple may not seem like much of a problem, a timely report to police might bring a simmering domestic situation into the open. Similarly, closer looks by police may reveal that the sobbing student is suffering from undiagnosed mental illness or that the angry individual has a history of such flare-ups.

Early identification of a problem and response is crucial in getting help to individuals in trouble and, in some cases, preventing their problems from endangering the community at large, officers say.

Police, as much problem-solvers as law enforcers, often are the ones who make sure that people get to counseling, to the dean of students, to financial aid or to any of a number of other resources.

False alarms ... no worries

Reports that turn into false alarms don't bother police. A couple years ago, a caller reported a suspicious bomb-like item near the Hub that was later identified as Styrofoam-filled sock.

Many years before that, another caller reported a "drunk moaning in the bushes" who turned out to be student who'd fallen from the Memorial Union parking ramp and likely would have died without immediate assistance.

In both instances, good citizens, unsure just what was going on, called police.

Trust your instincts

What needs reporting? Police officers advise faculty, staff and students to be alert to disturbing or abnormal behavior. People who are highly agitated or angry often display this kind of behavior. They may raise their voices, make verbal threats, use bad language or knock things off desks. They also may do things that seem out of the ordinary or suspicious, like wearing heavy coats in warm weather.

People should listen to their instincts, officers say. If something doesn't seem right, report it.

Tailored training

ISU's police division provides a one- to two-hour training, "Recognizing and Reporting Disturbing Behavior," for campus units. The presentations, tailored to the hosting unit, spur a lot of discussion about how the unit can handle typical incidents. To schedule the training for a group, contact deputy chief Carrie Jacobs at 294-9848.

New year, new (and old) scams

Staying ahead of cybercriminals is a never-ending job. Iowa State's IT security professionals are always watchful for vulnerabilities or cyberattacks, but scammers know that the easiest way to score is to entice people to give up their own information or credentials voluntarily.

Criminals have begun calling people directly and impersonating government agents in an attempt to extract personal information. Recently, an ISU student received a call from someone claiming to be an FBI agent calling on behalf of the IRS. The caller said the student owed delinquent taxes.

To help bolster the appearance of legitimacy, the scammer recited publicly available information -- the student's class year, major and address -- and used a local phone number and area code to make the call. Fortunately, the student did not supply any information, and neither should you.

"Whether by phone or email, legitimate businesses should never contact you asking for personal information," said Andy Weisskopf, information technology services' information security officer. "Do not make criminals' jobs any easier by giving them any information."

Phishing: Going for low-hanging fruit

Phishing usually involves phony emails that appear legitimate. For example, you may be asked to log in to an official-looking site to retrieve your electronic W-2 form. Behind the scenes, your personal information, such as username and password, is forwarded to criminals.

What site are criminals most interested in at Iowa State? AccessPlus.

With this information, criminals can wreak all kinds of havoc, from redirecting your paychecks to stealing your Social Security number. While ISU gets phishing emails year-round, attacks tend to spike around critical times, like the beginning of the semester or tax season.

"Phishing emails are easy to send and require only that a few people comply in order to make it worthwhile," Weisskopf said. "They remain a very popular method to attempt to trick people into giving up their credentials."

On the trail of your tax refund

Another popular activity for criminals who've grabbed your personal information is tax-related identity theft, a crime that has grown in recent years. Most commonly, the thief will use your information to file a false tax return in your name and claim the refund.

Frequently, victims do not realize a false tax return has been filed until they attempt to legitimately file their taxes. In recent years, a relatively small number of ISU employees have been affected by this crime, but some organizations have seen hundreds or even thousands of employees fall victim.

Weisskopf offered some tips on how to stay cyber safe in the new semester:

  • Never give your personal information via phone or email to sources you cannot verify.
  • Try to beat tax thieves to the punch by filing your taxes as soon as you receive all the necessary documentation. Even if you owe taxes, you can file early and pay on or near the tax deadline. (As always, consult your tax adviser on tax issues.)
  • If you suspect you're the victim of tax fraud, report it immediately to ISU payroll at (515) 294-6556 or to launch an investigation.
  • If you've been a victim of tax fraud in the past, watch IRS communications closely. Identity theft victims are issued an identity protection personal identification number for their protection when filing taxes.

The IRS has an online guide with links and resources to help resolve instances of tax-related identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission's deals more broadly with issues of identity theft.

Related stories

Beware of AccessPlus trollers, Dec. 11, 2014


Cyclone Cinema spring series opens tonight

Cyclone Cinema's 14-film spring series opens this weekend with the October hit, The Martian, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. The novel-based sci-fi drama will be shown twice daily (7 and 10 p.m.) Thursday through Sunday evenings in 101 Carver.

Cyclone Cinema logo

Cyclone Cinema films typically are a few months past their big screen debut but not yet available on DVD. The Sunday screenings each weekend include open captions to assist patrons with a hearing loss or for whom English isn't their first language. Movies start on time, so arrive early enough to locate a seat.

Admission is free, treats are not

Admission is free to Cyclone Cinema, and the public is welcome. A concession stand offers popcorn, candy and bottled Coke products and water. In addition to cash and CyCash, the concession stand now accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard or Discover).

Cyclone Cinema is a program of the Student Union Board.

Cyclone Cinema spring lineup

  • Jan. 14-17: The Martian (rated PG-13), starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain
  • Jan. 21-24: Straight Outta Compton (R), O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Corey Hawkins
  • Jan. 28-31: The Peanuts Movie, animated (G), voices of Noah Schnapp and Bill Melendez
  • Feb. 4-7: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (PG-13), Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson
  • Feb. 11-14: Spectre (PG-13), Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz
  • Feb. 18-21: Spotlight (R), Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton
  • Feb. 25-28: The Good Dinosaur, animated (G), voices of Raymond Ochoa and Jack Bright
  • March 3-6: Creed (PG-13), Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone
  • *March 10-11: Joy (PG-13), Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro
  • March 17-20: Spring break; no film
  • March 24-27: The Big Short (R), Christian Bale and Steve Carell
  • March 31-April 3: Daddy's Home (PG-13), Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg
  • March 31-April 2, note: 11:59 p.m. daily: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13), Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill
  • April 7-10: The Revenant (R), Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy
  • April 14-17: Sisters (R), Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
  • April 21-24: Deadpool (R), Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin

        *Thursday-Friday shows only; spring break weekend