ISU, city team on Lincoln Way safety study

Pedestrians, cars mingle along Lincoln Way

Pedestrians perch on a Lincoln Way median near the intersection with Lynn Avenue. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Ames and university officials hope a joint study will point the way to a safer Lincoln Way. The study, conducted by SRF Consulting, Omaha, Neb., focuses on the "Iowa State" stretch of Lincoln Way that begins just west of the University Boulevard intersection and continues west to the Sheldon Avenue intersection.

Record university enrollment and Campustown revitalization have brought more pedestrians and vehicles to Lincoln Way and, subsequently, more safety concerns, said senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden. The study is intended to identify problems and potential solutions.

Counting cars, median hoppers

As part of the study, Ames city staff are using video cams to collect traffic and pedestrian counts for eight intersections along Lincoln Way and four mid-block crossings. Analysis of the recordings will yield a variety of Lincoln Way statistics, from the number of vehicles and pedestrians passing through intersections to the number of median hoppers who take more precarious routes across the four-lane road.

The cams also record pedestrian behavior at several informal mid-block crossing areas and at intersection lights. For example, they will reveal how many pedestrians typically:

  • Push the crosswalk button and wait for the "walk" sign
  • Push the "walk" button, but don't wait for the "walk" sign
  • Ignore the button altogether and cross when there's an opening

SRF consultants will analyze the Lincoln Way counts, historical data and other Lincoln Way features, such as street lighting, the physical design of intersections, traffic light time cycles and visual obstructions for pedestrians and drivers. The resulting report will document existing conditions and deficiencies along the roadway. Iowa State and Ames will share equally in the costs of the $31,842 study.

University and city officials may opt to enlist SRF Consulting for phase 2 work at a cost of approximately $69,045. In the follow-up study, consultants would help identify the best options for enhancing safety along Lincoln Way and develop cost estimates and plans to carry the projects forward.

Leath to reorganize business, financial operations

President Steven Leath will reorganize Iowa State's business and financial operations this summer, when longtime senior vice president for business and finance Warren Madden retires. Leath also is making several other changes in reporting structures and position titles.

In a letter to ISU faculty, staff and students today, Leath said he will split the senior VP for business and finance office, which "has become a very large, diverse and complex office," into two divisions -- the division of university services and the division of finance.

Leath said his decision aligns with preliminary recommendations from the Faculty Senate, which coincidentally is conducting its five-year review of the business and finance office, and is based on input from Iowa State's senior vice presidents, the Iowa Board of Regents, alumni and business leaders.

Miles Lackey will retain his current post as the president's chief of staff and, effective July 1, assume the new role of chief financial officer, leading the division of finance.

Division of finance

The division of finance will include these units:

  • Associate vice president for business and finance and university secretary
  • Financial planning and budgets
  • Treasurer

Chief of staff

The chief of staff will oversee these units:

  • University relations
  • Ombuds office
  • Internal audit

Division of university services

The search soon will begin for the senior vice president for university services. The new division will comprise these units:

  • Facilities planning and management
  • Business services
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Public safety
  • Reiman Gardens
  • University Museums
  • WOI radio group

The new division is slated to go into operation on July 1. If a new senior VP for university services hasn't been selected by then, Lackey will serve as interim senior vice president for business and finance.

Other changes

Leath also announced several units and positions that currently report to the chief of staff will be moved to other offices as a result of the additional responsibilities of the new chief of staff/chief financial officer position:

  • The director of equal opportunity will report to the vice president for diversity and inclusion, effective April 25
  • The office of university marketing will report to the office of university relations, effective July 1
  • The state relations officer will assume the role of government relations officer, overseeing both state and federal relations, effective July 1

In other changes:

  • The ISU Research Park will report to the office of economic development and industry relations, effective July 1
  • Jim Kurtenbach will become chief information officer (he's currently interim CIO) on July 1. Kurtenbach will report to the office of the president while the university implements the new enterprise resource planning and student information systems.

Madden completes his 32-year tenure as vice president for business and finance this summer. In his emeritus role, he will assist the university with real estate transactions.

Leath: Changes will yield more efficiency

"I am confident these changes will allow us to become even more efficient and transparent as we strive to capture and invest maximum resources in our core academic mission," Leath said. "I appreciate the university community’s flexibility, and I look forward to the ways in which this will enhance Iowa State’s business and financial operations and strengthen the university as a whole."

Student affairs review

Leath has commissioned a report on enhancing the overall student experience from former VP for student affairs Tom Hill, who is serving in a short-term role as senior policy adviser. Leath said after the report is received, he will work with new senior VP for student affairs Martino Harmon to determine if organizational changes are needed in student affairs.

Second HS dean finalist announced

The second finalist in the search for the next dean of the College of Human Sciences will visit campus March 29-30. Laura Jolly currently serves as professor of textiles, merchandising and interiors at the University of Georgia, Athens.

Jolly's public forum with the university community is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29 (4-5 p.m., 0210 Bessey).

The first finalist, Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, University of Wisconsin, Madison, visited March 21-22. A third finalist will be announced March 31 and visit campus April 5-6.

About Jolly

Since joining the faculty at the University of Georgia in 2007, Jolly has served as dean and associate director of cooperative extension and experiment station in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (2007-10), and as vice president for instruction (2010-15).

Previously, Jolly served for six years each as professor in the retail, hospitality and tourism management department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and as chair of the interior design, merchandising and textiles department at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. Her academic career also includes appointments at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; and Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

Jolly earned a bachelor's degree (1977) in vocational home economics education from the University of Mississippi, Oxford; and master's (1979) and doctoral (1983) degrees in clothing, textiles and merchandising from Oklahoma State.

More information

Vitae for the finalists, as well as a feedback form, are available on the provost office's position search website.

In September, Human Sciences dean Pam White announced her plans to retire this July.

Related stories:

Campus visits scheduled for three Human Sciences dean finalists, March 10, 2016
Committee named for Human Sciences dean search, Oct. 8, 2015
White announces retirement, Sept. 3, 2015

Strategic plan draft is ready for your review

A draft of Iowa State's next strategic plan is ready for the university community's review.

"The new plan lays out the framework for the university for the next six years," said Steve Freeman, chair of the strategic planning steering committee and University Professor of agriculture and biosystems engineering. "It's an important document, and I encourage faculty, staff and students to read it and tell us what they think."

Freeman noted that the four-page plan isn't intended to document everything Iowa State values or intends to accomplish over the next few years.

"It's all about priorities," he said. "It shows what we'll collectively focus on to become a better university."

Online comment form

Comments on the draft can be submitted through the online comment form. The deadline for submitting comments is May 10.

Public forums

Two public forums on the strategic plan draft are scheduled in the Memorial Union:

  • Thursday, March 31, 4:30-6 p.m., Gallery
  • Tuesday, April 5, noon-1:30 p.m., Oak Room

In both forums, the strategic planning steering committee will walk participants through the strategic plan, collecting input and answering questions related to each section in the draft plan.

"The focus of the forums will be on the public draft of the strategic plan," Freeman said. "We will not revisit general areas of concern and the broad-based feedback that was the focus of the fall open forums and web-based input provided to the subcommittees. We want participants to provide input that will help us improve the plan as we move from this draft towards a final version."

The strategic plan steering committee will collect input on the draft through May 10. The committee will make revisions and submit a final plan to President Steven Leath in June.

The plan needs final approval from Leath and the Iowa Board of Regents. It will go into effect July 1 and run through June 30, 2022.

Viewpoints: Cellphones in the classroom

Faculty and staff discuss educational technology daily on Iowa State's ComETS (Community of Educational Technology Support) group email list. Cellphones in classrooms have prompted some interesting discussions on the list over the past year. Following are some selected, edited comments on the topic, posted by ComETs participants

Larysa Nadolny


One focus at a time

My class has about 120 students in it.  What I have found to be effective is to talk about it in one of the first few classes, then provide a reminder about midsemester. I talk about how distracting the phone can be (and the research supports that), and how it is important to put it out of sight and somewhere you won't hear it or feel vibrations. When students work in groups and need to look something up, they are encouraged to use whatever device they have (laptop, cellphone, etc.). My emphasis is for them to focus on one thing at a time -- either me, their group members or technology through a related activity. We also use cellphones occasionally for polling or games. This has worked very well.

Larysa Nadolny
Assistant professor, School of Education

Jack Gallup


It is here, it is useful

A fish scale helps it to swim. Students' devices may help them to respond to their environment as well. In the present, we all must accept that we all co-exist with devices. Abe Lincoln and Rufus Dawes would have loved to have used a cell phone at Gettysburg. Turned out, hot air balloons helped out somewhat.

It's an uphill battle thinking that our future children won't always be device-reliant/capable at this point. Let us learn from how swimmingly they use them. One's ability to use the tools available to them during the time in which they live may be the carrot to chase and nurture here.

Better to put our guiding arm around this fledgling chimera than alienate it outright. It is here, it is useful, and it is very, very fast. The pace of problem-solving has reached a new level.

Jack Gallup
Assistant scientist, veterinary pathology

Tom Brumm


Ring in the treats

Each instructor has the right to decide what his or her policy is, but should discuss it with students.

I ask students to mute their cellphones in class and if a cellphone "goes off" during class, they have to bring "treats" (a bag of marshmallows counts). I'm usually the first one that has to bring treats. I have done this with a class of 120 and have "assisted" students if they have to bring treats. If someone doesn't bring treats, no penalty or harassment ... it's taken in the light-hearted spirit intended.

I find it a bit disingenuous to restrict cellphones if we as faculty use them in ways we don't want students to. How many meetings and seminars have we attended where we've been using our (smart) cellphones to check email, text, look things up or play Bejeweled? I'm guilty (although I don't play Bejeweled).

Smartphones can be valuable. Googling something being discussed in class is useful. OK, Facebook not so much.

Tom Brumm
Mary and Charles Sukup Global Professor in Food Security and associate professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering

Lesya Hassall


Special needs

As a faculty developer and the support person for audience response technology on campus, I see many special-needs students in our classrooms who rely on mobile technology to communicate with and navigate the world of academia. The challenges these students face might be invisible to the untrained eye and mobile technology can help them in organizing their thoughts or performing other academic functions.

I like the suggestion to have a mutual agreement early in the semester regarding acceptable classroom uses of technology. Doing so acknowledges that our students learn differently and have ways to deal with the challenges. We also want to make sure we teach them to use technology responsibly and effectively. In the long run, this feels like a more authentic way of talking to our students than simply banning their smart devices from the classroom.

Lesya Hassall
Program coordinator, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Join the discussion

ComETS is a local ed tech community which regularly shares local and national educational technology news, reviews and articles. Faculty who have ed tech questions, tips, advice and success stories are welcome to contact the site admin Jacob E. Larsen to share with the rest of the community. Faculty, staff and grad students also may join the ComETS discussion list for dialoguing, sharing news and publicizing events.

Playing with spring

Male and female student play Frisbee near the campanile

Iowa State junior Rachel Bates of Estherville leans in to catch a Frisbee from senior Niko Beauchamp of Eden Prairie, Minn., near the campanile Monday. Spring classes resumed this week, with just six weeks remaining until final exams week. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Collaboration yields computer cost savings

Faculty, staff and IT professionals will find it easier and cheaper to buy computers for ISU employees under a new agreement reached between Iowa's Regent universities and Dell.

Under the new plan, university employees will save an average of 5 percent on computers equipped with Dell's latest technologies.

The savings result from reducing the variety of models and configurations available for purchase. Employees will now choose from three options (two desktops and three laptops) rather than the 20 models and 90 custom configurations that have been available.

Few buyers will miss the extra choices. Traditionally, 80 percent of purchases were made among just a few options.

"In reality, this new purchasing plan simply formalizes what was already taking place," said Mike Lohrbach, IT director of infrastructure and shared services. "But because we were able to reduce the number of options offered, we're now able to get enterprise-quality computers at prices close to what consumers pay."

Further savings can be realized now that monitor purchases are no longer coupled with desktop computer purchases, Lohrbach said. Monitors tend to last longer than computers, and now buyers will have the option to replace only a computer, rather than both.

Custom configurations still available

Dorrance Smith, IT manager for the College of Human Sciences, led the ISU purchasing work group effort. He emphasized that custom configurations still will be available. "We realize that many faculty and staff have unique technology requirements in their jobs," he said. "Those options won't go away. But as with any IT purchase, we encourage everyone to work with their local IT professionals."

More vendor negotiations ahead

The agreement was the result of collaboration between IT and purchasing units at the state universities. Each of the groups evaluated historical purchases and worked with stakeholders at their respective campuses to identify standards and technical designs for future purchases. These options will be evaluated and revised periodically as user needs and Dell's product lines change.

Following negotiations with Dell, Regents IT staff have started negotiations with other vendors for products such as printers, tablets and other computer peripherals.

"This new level of collaboration is producing more efficiencies for each campus," Lohrbach said. "The goal is that campus users see no changes aside from lower pricing."

In-demand undergraduate degrees

Top three bachelor's degrees, by college, conferred at Iowa State last year*






Animal science (162)

Ag business (123)

Ag studies (122)


Marketing (207)

Finance (169)

Accounting (158)


Architecture (77)

Graphic design (72)

Interior design (60)


Mechanical engineering (316)

Civil engineering (141)

Electrical engineering (128)

Human Sciences

Kinesiology and health (236)

Elementary education (183)

Child and family services (132)


Psychology (109)

Interdisciplinary studies (94)

Biology (87)

*Total counts from August 2014, December 2014 and May 2015


Source: ISU Annual Statistical Report, Fall 2015

In the swing of things

Brittany Gomez at the plate.

The Cyclone softball team, led by senior and three-time all-conference pick Brittany Gomez (pictured), is slated to face North Dakota State in a Saturday double-header at noon. ISU, now 13-13 after spending its first five weeks on the road, was forced to cancel its March 23 home-opener against Nebraska due to inclement weather.

Iowa State continues its home stand with a March 30 double-header against Indiana State (2 p.m.) and a Big 12 Conference opener against Baylor, April 1-3 in Ames.

All games are played at the Cyclone Sports Complex. Admission is free. File photo courtesy of athletics communications.