Guests from Kosovo

Five men study a 3D printer

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Steve Mickelson (right) professor and chair of the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, demonstrates three-dimensional printing Tuesday to a visiting team from the Republic of Kosovo. Visible (from left) are: Marjan Dema, rector of the University of Prishtina; Arsim Bajrami, Kosovo Minister of Education, Science and Technology; and Zenun Halili, political adviser to the minister. In the background is Lt. Col. Michael Wunn, Iowa National Guard, who accompanied the Kosovo delegation to Ames from the consulate in Des Moines.

In addition to the ABE department, the visitors made stops at the animal science department and President Steven Leath's office. Kosovo has been a sister state to Iowa since 2013.

ISU leaders await FY18 state funding decisions

In Gov. Terry Branstad's revised state budget recommendations for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, Iowa State would receive $4.5 million less in state support. This is in addition to the $8.9 million in mid-year cuts made to the general university appropriation this winter, which permanently lowered Iowa State's base education appropriation.

The additional reduction includes:

  • $1.06 million less in the general university appropriation
  • Elimination of Iowa State's economic development appropriation ($2.4 million) in the state's broader Skilled Worker Job Creation Fund
  • Elimination of the $3 million Regent Innovation Fund; Iowa State's share is $1.05 million and used primarily for economic development programs

Education appropriations for eight specific Iowa State programs -- such as the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Ag Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension -- remain at July 1, 2016, levels in Branstad's budget recommendations. Only the general university appropriation is impacted.

Changes to ISU's general university appropriation

FY17 beginning

$184.4 million

FY17 revised

$175.4 million

Branstad FY18 revised

$174.4 million

Branstad's revised budget recommendations come in response to the March 14 state Revenue Estimating Conference, which lowered the state's general fund revenue estimate for the current fiscal year (FY17).

The Iowa House and Senate released their spending targets for FY18 on April 5, but detailed information has not yet been provided. The House and Senate continue to negotiate toward a final budget using the REC tax revenue estimates and the governor's revised budget recommendations. April 18 is the targeted final day of this session.

"The budget continues to be a fluid process," said chief financial officer Miles Lackey. "We will continue to track the budget as it progresses through the legislative session. As the legislature finalizes spending plans for the coming year, we will manage changes to the budget while serving the best interest of our students, faculty, staff and stakeholders."

Additional updates will be provided as they become available.

Editor's note: This story is an April 7 addition to this edition of Inside Iowa State.


Task force report sparks policy changes for 'specialized' faculty

A Faculty Senate task force that examined the status of nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty issued its report (PDF) in February and one of the recommendations already is on the docket. A motion to extend emeritus status to long-serving NTE faculty was introduced at the April 4 senate meeting for an April 18 vote.

Appointed jointly by the senate and provost's office last spring, the task force conducted an examination of NTE issues, using results from surveys, focus groups, discussions and a review of policies and procedures at ISU and elsewhere.

"We had a really hard-working task force and we took the charge seriously," said task force chair Rob Wallace. "We wanted to look at how we can redefine or modify and improve the language on the procedures and processes by which NTE faculty are evaluated, the review process and, ultimately, the hiring and retention of those individuals."

Specific recommended changes for the Faculty Handbook include:

  • Use the term "specialized" to describe faculty and appointments, instead of NTE
  • Add a principal lecturer title, for a total of three ranks: lecturer, senior lecturer and principal lecturer
  • Add a teaching professor track for NTE faculty with terminal degrees, with three ranks: teaching assistant professor, teaching associate professor and teaching professor
  • Add a professor of practice track for professionals from industry/government, with three ranks: assistant professor of practice, associate professor of practice and professor of practice
  • Revise the research professor track to improve the hiring and review of faculty
  • Amend the policy for adjunct appointments to clarify language and align with similar Faculty Handbook policies

The motion to allow emeritus status for NTE faculty stemmed from a list of general recommendations in the report. Professional development opportunities, recognition/awards and position responsibility statements also are among the issues emphasized in the list.

Other changes are in the works and feedback still is being accepted. Comments and questions can be sent to Wallace.

"We will work with the governance council to develop specific proposals and move those through this body," Wallace said. "We would like to keep on top of this."


Police chief Michael Newton

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Michael Newton became Iowa State's chief of police on April 3. The chief's post also is an assistant vice president role, reporting to senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory.

Newton oversees the public safety department, which includes police and parking divisions.

He comes to Iowa State from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, police department, where he rose to the rank of captain and led the department's 100-employee field services division.

Newton's office is in the north end of the Armory; he can be reached by phone at 294-6762 or email,

Emeritus status could expand to include all faculty

Nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty who have served 10 or more years at Iowa State could become eligible to receive emeritus status upon retirement. A motion to include NTE faculty in the Faculty Handbook policy was introduced at the April 4 Faculty Senate meeting. Senators will vote on the proposed change at their April 18 meeting.

The criteria would be identical to requirements for tenured assistant and associate professors, which includes a nomination and review process. To be eligible, faculty must have "distinguished him/herself through meritorious service to the university and the profession."

The motion, introduced by the governance council, originates from a set of recommendations in a report (PDF) issued in February by a task force charged with studying the status of NTE faculty.

Open access

Senators approved, with a 32-15 split vote, a resolution that "strongly encourages" faculty to adopt "the principles of open access of research."

The resolution was accompanied by a set of frequently asked questions that includes a definition of open ("immediate, online, free availability of research articles") and advantages of open access scholarship and research. Iowa State's digital repository is among the resources faculty can use for open access archiving.

"This resolution in no way requires faculty to publish in open access journals," said senate president Jonathan Sturm. "There is a groundswell that is growing across the nation and, in some cases, around the world ... against an old model that is becoming more and more outdated."

Concerns raised during discussion on the resolution included funding for publication costs/fees, "predatory" and "low quality" open access journals, and contract restrictions (such as copyrights and embargos).

Data science

Two proposed data science undergraduate programs were introduced -- a 15-credit minor (PDF) and a certificate (PDF). Departments across six colleges are involved in both programs, which will be housed in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The programs are open to students in any discipline and, according to the proposals, are "designed to provide students with the requisite background that would enable them to take jobs with significant data science components."

The proposals also state there is a "massive demand" for professionals with technical and communication skills related to data science. Senators will vote on the programs at the April 18 senate meeting.

Other business

  • A master's of professional practice in dietetics (PDF) was unanimously approved, providing an online program that will satisfy an upcoming requirement for registered dieticians. The program will be administered by the department of food science and human nutrition.
  • Senators voted to raise the undergraduate grade requirement for communication proficiency (PDF), from a C- to a C. The standard matches the minimum grade required in several colleges, but does not restrict colleges and programs from having higher requirements.
  • Three new council chairs were elected: Claire Andreasen, veterinary pathology (faculty development and administrative relations); Carol Faber, graphic design (judiciary and appeals); and Jamie Brown, finance (resource policies and allocations).

ThinkSpace facilitates better learning and teaching

Holly Bender needed help.

Earlier in her career as a veterinary clinical pathologist at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Bender was tasked with teaching about 100 veterinary medicine students how to accurately analyze data on sick animals to make correct diagnoses. She needed to teach her students -- who were used to only memorizing academic material up to this point -- to truly think.

"I couldn't clone myself to sit alongside 100 vet students and help them learn how to make a diagnosis, so my research team at Virginia Tech and I developed this tool," said Bender, who today is professor of veterinary pathology and associate director for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) here at Iowa State.

The tool, called Diagnostic Pathfinder, allowed Bender to break down the complexities of diagnosing an ailing animal into a six-stage process. Each stage built upon the previous step and, in the end, students were guided to a conclusion. Once students submitted their diagnoses, Bender's expert opinion popped up alongside their analyses so they could immediately compare notes.

"We like the students to be able to go out on a little bit of a limb, to be able to put their story together, but not so far that they get lost," Bender said. "We're just building expertise over time."

Fast forward to Iowa State

Bender came to Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002, and she brought Diagnostic Pathfinder and her research team with her. As faculty in other disciplines witnessed Bender's teaching successes with the tool, they wanted to explore options for their students. That's when ThinkSpace was born.

What is ThinkSpace

ThinkSpace is an active learning and problem-solving technology platform with a set of teaching tools designed to help students decipher complex problems they eventually will confront in the workplace. It's open-source software (not owned by Iowa State or any other entity), designed and developed by a small technology company, Sixth Edge, in a unique partnership with faculty. Development is largely funded by grants. Funding by CELT and the office of the senior vice president and provost for hosting and technical support from Sixth Edge makes ThinkSpace available for free to all ISU faculty and students.

Pete Boysen, now retired from information technology, and other faculty across campus helped Bender transform her original diagnostic application into a "Swiss army knife of instructional tools," as she puts it. Today, ThinkSpace offers tools for writing, editing, team-based learning, essay draft development with feedback from instructors and students, and a carry-forward function that allows students to develop concepts in multiple stages.

Ideas for new tools are tossed around almost daily. For example, Jay Newell, associate professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, devised a "mark-up" tool, which allows him to review and comment on his students' assignments without ever touching a piece of paper. The students, who also have access to the tool, can see Newell's feedback, make changes and submit revised drafts for further comment by him or their peers.

"The thing that all these tools have in common is this ability to take big, complex problems, give them to students in bite-size pieces, and have them work on those little pieces and, in turn, get focused, frequent feedback from faculty," Bender said.

Tool development

Kajal Madeka, CELT's ThinkSpace program coordinator and instructional designer, leads the ThinkSpace Teaching and Learning Community, a group of about 100 faculty members who use ThinkSpace tools in their classrooms. Madeka meets with the group each month to share applications of ThinkSpace tools in different disciplines, discuss tweaks for existing tools and ideas for new ones, though not every idea makes the cut.

"There has to be enough support for a tool and buy-in from other faculty who think it's necessary," Madeka said. "The tool has to be impactful for students across campus."

If an idea is approved, faculty members from the learning community work through the Grants Hub to secure funding for the new tool.

"It's very grassroots," Bender said.

Benefits for faculty, too

ThinkSpace helps students solve complex problems, but there are advantages for faculty, too. Some ThinkSpace tools require faculty to load assignment answers into databases in advance, requiring them to work through problems from the students' point of view.

"The fact that the faculty already have input the correct data ahead of time was intentional," Madeka said. "They already think like experts, but when they work through the data, they realize that they need to scaffold the information more for students. It's all about intensive, critical thinking, not only for the students but for the faculty members."

A change for the better

Bender is well acquainted with the difficulties of teaching complex subject matter to large classes. She came up with a fix years ago, and now instructors across campus are benefitting from her work.

"I want to break faculty out of grading jail," Bender said. "I feel like I've been totally set free. I see so many faculty who are dedicated and want to do the right thing, but they get totally burned out in the process. ThinkSpace takes all that away."

Give it a try

Anyone from Iowa State can access ThinkSpace online at Select "Join ThinkSpace" and complete the registration information. Faculty should indicate they are an instructor, which will give them access to the tools already available. Madeka encourages instructors to first explore what ThinkSpace has to offer, and then consider how the tools may apply to their classes. 

"If you really want to teach critical thinking, if you want to engage students in deeper, real learning, then you should try ThinkSpace," Madeka said.

Instructors who need assistance exploring ThinkSpace or help with developing a course or assignment should contact Madeka at 294-5299.

Halbur named interim dean of Veterinary Medicine

Patrick Halbur

Pat Halbur

Pat Halbur, professor and chair of the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, has been named interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Halbur will take over for dean Lisa Nolan, who in February was announced as the next dean of veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia, her alma mater. He will become acting dean on June 1, and interim dean July 1.

“Pat is an alumnus of the veterinary college, and has an excellent track record of serving Iowans through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory,” said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. “He will maintain our momentum, and work with the college’s leadership team to prepare for its upcoming accreditation review.”

Wickert said a national search for the next permanent dean will be launched in the coming months, and expressed thanks to Nolan for her contributions to the college and university.

Halbur holds a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State, as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees in veterinary pathology. He joined the faculty in 1990 after serving four years as a private veterinary practitioner in Williamsburg. Halbur also serves as executive director of the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. He will be inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in April 2017 in recognition of his contributions to biopharmaceuticals and animal health.

Karriker named interim VDPAM chair

Locke Karriker, Gustafson Professor of Teaching Excellence and professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, has been appointed interim chair of the department, effective June 1.

Karriker, who joined Iowa State in 2003, holds a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and a master of science in veterinary science from Mississippi State University. He was named the college's faculty member of the year in 2012, and received ISU's Outstanding Achievement in Teaching award in 2015. 

Vendors selected for learning management system demonstrations

Education technology companies Canvas and Desire2Learn (D2L) have been selected to give on-campus presentations for Iowa State's next learning management system (LMS).

A review of Iowa State's LMS, co-led by CELT and IT, has been ongoing since October. The Canvas and D2L proposals were among three received in response to a March request for proposals.

The proposals were reviewed by staff in the Center of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), information technology and procurement. Finalists were selected using a comprehensive rubric developed from input given to the LMS review committee from students, faculty and staff.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress the LMS review committee has made to date, and we appreciate the thoughtful input we have received from campus stakeholders," said CELT director Ann Marie VanDerZanden. "I am confident this process will result in a new system that best meets the needs of students, faculty and staff."

Next steps

CELT and IT developed a comprehensive product evaluation process that includes product overviews and on-campus vendor presentations. In the coming weeks, these events will provide faculty, staff and students another opportunity to provide input on the future of Iowa State's LMS and to compare the two.

Look for announcements on the CELT website and in this publication for dates, times and locations of the product demonstrations and vendor presentations. More information on the LMS review background, process and timeline is online.

Cyclone Market, spring football game are this Saturday

cyclone market

Patrons gather on central campus for the first Cyclone Market, held in 2014. This year's market is Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Iowa State Center parking lots. Contributed photo.

The weather forecast is promising sunshine and warmer temperatures for this Saturday's Cyclone Market, preceding the spring football game, so there's no excuse to stay home.

About 40 student groups will set up shop in tents in the Iowa State Center parking lots north of Jack Trice Stadium on April 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items for sale include jewelry, metal artwork and shirts, among other wares. Bring an appetite, too, because hot dogs, ethnic foods, snacks and baked goods also will be available.

Music will be provided by student radio station KURE and the bands Genre, Winter Guard and Motion Sickness.

This year marks the fourth anniversary of Cyclone Market, created in 2014 by Iowa State's student government to provide student clubs with additional fundraising opportunities. The inaugural event was held on central campus but shifted to the area north of the football stadium last year.

"The move from central campus to the Iowa State Center parking lots has been very positive," said Matthew Scott, one of the event's organizers. "The whole experience feels much more integrated with the spring game, and the crowds like to stop out before entering Jack Trice."

Spring football game

Following the Cyclone Market, the Cyclone football team will take the field at 1 p.m. for its annual intrasquad game. Admission is free.

Besides the game, several events are planned for Cyclone fans, including:

  • Cyclone Gridiron Club tailgate (11 a.m.-1 p.m., north of Jacobson Athletic Building). Cost is $10 for adults ($5 for students in high school and younger) and free for those who join the club (Pigskin level or higher) at the event. Head football coach Matt Campbell and former Cyclone players will address tailgaters at noon.
  • Cyclone Experience (12:30-2:30 p.m., Jacobson Plaza, east concourse inside Jack Trice Stadium). Free inflatables and games for young Cyclone fans.
  • Cy's Locker Room sale (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Snatch up Cyclone merchandise for as little as $5.

The 2017 football schedule posters also will be available for free at tables on the northeast concourse.

Fans may enter the stadium through gates 1 and 3, beginning at noon. Seating is limited to the east side. Parking is available in Iowa State Center lots A, B, C and D.