Live art

Man sitting for a portrait painting

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Director of ISU logistics and support services Norm Hill was a portrait sitter for Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen on the final day of her nine-day residency in the Christian Petersen Art Museum. Frantzen was about 80 percent finished with the Hill portrait at this moment. Hill was one of 13 "important and impactful" Iowa Staters selected by ISU colleges and University Museums for this art-in-the-making project. 

The Frantzen portraits -- including 19 painted during the 2016 Iowa State Fair -- will make up a "Faces of Iowa State" exhibition opening in August at the Brunnier Art Museum. Following its Brunnier showing, the exhibition will move to sites throughout the state. At the conclusion of the tour, the portraits will become part of the university's Art on Campus collection.

Holger retirement prompts internal searches

Head shot of David Holger

David Holger

David Holger, who serves as both associate provost for academic programs and dean of the Graduate College, has announced his retirement, effective June 30.

Parallel, internal searches for the two positions are underway.

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said the next associate provost will collaborate closely with the academic colleges and division of student affairs, and the fulltime dean of the Graduate College will focus on initiatives to enhance the graduate student experience and Iowa State's status within the American Association of Universities.

Library Services dean Beth McNeil will chair the associate provost search committee. College of Engineering dean Sarah Rajala will chair the Graduate College dean search committee. Additional information is available on the senior vice president and provost website. Nominations may be submitted to the respective search committee chairs ( or

43 years of service

Holger, an expert in noise control and co-holder of three U.S. patents, joined the department of engineering science and mechanics in 1974. He served as the first chair of a newly formed department of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, and later as associate dean for academic programs and budget in the College of Engineering before being named to his current position in 2004.

"Dave's passion for excellence, and his fostering of collaborations across colleges and divisions, has raised the bar for all of Iowa State's academic programs," Wickert said. "He leaves an outstanding legacy that has positioned the university well to serve the next generation of students."

Holger has served the university in numerous capacities during his career, including as president of the Faculty Senate (1989-90 academic year), chair of the ISU presidential search committee (1990-91) and chair of the strategic planning review committee (1993-94).

A reception for Holger is scheduled for Friday, June 30. Details will be announced soon. 

You're invited: Demos for next learning management system

Education technology companies Instructure and Desire2Learn (D2L) have been selected to give on-campus presentations for Iowa State's next learning management system (LMS) for would-be users. The visits are scheduled for next week. They include demonstrations by the vendors and shorter, scenario-based overviews presented by university staff. Registration is not needed for any of the sessions.

A review of Iowa State's LMS, co-led by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and information technology, has been ongoing since October. The Instructure and D2L proposals were among three received in response to a March request for proposals.

Vendor demonstrations, 206 Durham Center

At least 45 minutes of each session will be devoted to questions from participants.

Instructure's Canvas

  • April 17, 8-10 a.m., for instructional designers
  • April 17, 10 a.m.-noon, for faculty and students

Desire2Learn's Brightspace

  • April 18, 8-10 a.m., for instructional designers
  • April 18, 10 a.m.-noon, for faculty and students

Product overviews

CELT and IT staff will present a scenario-based, 50-minute overview of the two LMS products. This session is for faculty, staff and students, and will be presented seven times in four locations:

April 19, 3558 Memorial Union

  • 10-11 a.m.
  • 11 a.m.-noon

April 19, 198 Parks Library

  • 2-3 p.m.
  • 3-4 p.m.

April 20, 198 Parks Library

  • 8:45-9:45 a.m.
  • 9:45-10:45 a.m.

April 20, 2403-04 Vet Med

  • Noon-1 p.m.


Search is on for facilities director

A search committee has begun to review applications for the associate vice president post in facilities planning and management. Former associate VP David Miller retired from Iowa State in January.

Senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory appointed an eight-member search committee that is chaired by Paul Richmond, director of environmental health and safety, to conduct the search.

The committee has targeted the first week of May for on-campus interviews for a group of finalists. Those interviews will include sessions with stakeholder groups and an open forum with the campus community. Details about those visits will be provided in Inside Iowa State later this month.

Members of the search committee are:

  • Chair: Paul Richmond, director, environmental health and safety
  • Pam Cain, associate vice president, finance division
  • Bob Currie, director of facilities services, facilities planning and management
  • Kathleen Delate, professor of horticulture
  • Pete Englin, assistant vice president for student affairs and director, residence department
  • Arne Hallam, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • John Joiner, director of public works, City of Ames
  • Mary Wickham, associate dean, College of Engineering

Utilities services director Jeff Witt has been serving as interim associate vice president since Miller’s retirement.


Library project lets you be a part of history


Original hardcover copies of the "Bomb." Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Calling all Iowa State history buffs. University Library needs help transcribing 100 years and almost 50,000 pages of a digitized version of the university's yearbook, the "Bomb."

Planned events

University Library is planning several events to help spread the word about "Transcribe the 'Bomb.'" More may be scheduled in the future.

  • Hands-on demonstration, April 25 (9-11 a.m., come-and-go, Parks Library lobby). Learn how to access the project and transcribe pages.
  • Transcribe-a-thon, Oct. 25 (noon- 4 p.m., Parks Library). Details still are being worked out, but expect a speaker, snacks and prizes. An in-person and virtual event may take place simultaneously.
  • Transcribing stations, Oct. 27 (1-4 p.m., Parks Library, Special Collections). The stations will be part of the 2017 homecoming festivities.

A six-year effort to digitize the entire "Bomb" collection (1894 to 1994, minus 1902) concluded in 2016. Unfortunately, the digital versions are difficult to search, primarily because the software used to transcribe the yearbooks' pages into digital and searchable text had problems recognizing pre-1920s fonts. For example, a capital O is often seen as @, and a capital C is usually, but not always, listed as <t. Hand-drawn graphics, unique layouts and lists of students' names also posed issues for the transcription software. In addition to search difficulties, the digitized version's quirky typos and incomplete information hinder people who require accessible computing for visual, auditory, physical or other kinds of disabilities. But in the end, library staff still are pleased with the outcome.

"The 'Bomb' is a such a good record of university and Ames history, so while the transcription process had some problems, it was a worthwhile effort," said Kim Anderson, digital initiatives archivist.

The library staff confronted the transcription challenges by creating its inaugural "Unsolved Histories" project, called "Transcribe the 'Bomb.'" The project allows anyone with computer access -- Iowa State fans, alums, employees or people with no ISU affiliation at all -- an opportunity to transcribe as few or as many pages as they desire.

Get started

To get involved with the project, go to the "Transcribe the 'Bomb'" website and click on the "Start" button at the bottom of the page. From there, transcribers must decide if they want to be registered or anonymous users. The difference? Registered users will be recognized for their work (i.e., how many pages they transcribe) and anonymous users will not. ISU employees who wish to participate in this project should not register with their university email address, for security purposes. Instead, individuals may use their personal email or create a new email account for the project.

Once in the system, users choose a yearbook and the software automatically picks the pages from the book chosen. There is a skip button if the page selected is unsatisfactory to the transcriber -- too much text and too little time, for example.

Instructions on how to transcribe each page, including how to treat graphics, images and photo captions, are available once the user selects a page; a tutorial also is online. When they are finished, users submit their work and may continue to transcribe more pages or quit. Each page must be transcribed five times by five different users before it's considered complete.

"By that time, we figure that if the transcriptions are pretty consistent, everyone probably typed everything correctly," Anderson said.

So far, 83 registered users and about 40 anonymous individuals have participated in the project. Anderson said the average amount of time spent on each page is about 11 minutes.

"Interestingly, it seems most people work on pages rather late at night or early in the morning," she said.

The more, the merrier

Anderson hopes "Transcribe the "Bomb'" captures peoples' attention, not only because it's a project that likely will take several years to complete with the help of many nimble hands, but also because it's a unique opportunity.

"There are issues that need to be solved with the digitized 'Bomb,' like the search functions and adaptive technology. But opening this project up to anyone helps people engage in the history of the university on a personal level," Anderson said. "It's mutually beneficial."

Council receives IT projects update

Chief information officer Jim Kurtenbach gave a brief overview of several "enterprise" (university-wide) projects that information technology is involved in during the April 6 Professional and Scientific Council meeting.

"We have a lot of very large enterprise projects going on and we're very determined to do it better than any other campus ever has," he said.

"We have to improve our technologies and our business processes to move into the future and to be a successful university and stay state of the art," he said.

Enterprise project updates include:

  • Smartsheet (work management platform): Obtained a discounted price for individual users
  • Identity and access management: Signed contract with Okta to provide individuals with secure access (logins) to campus systems
  • Workday: Implementation under way for financial, human resources and student information systems
  • Learning management system: Vendor finalists selected to replace discontinued platform (Blackboard Learn)
  • Emergency alert system (ISU Alert): Researching products to replace or renew expiring license
  • Telephone communications: Standardizing campus phones with unified system

"What we're always looking at is what's best for our customers. Our whole existence in technology is to make everyone successful," Kurtenbach said.

"It's going to be a multiyear process and I keep asking for everyone's patience and everyone's ideas, because there are going to be fits and starts as we try to move from a 43-year-old system to state-of-the-art software and services."

Transportation and parking update

Randy Larabee, chair of the university's transportation advisory council, presented an update on his group's work.

He said the council received a charge from senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory to expand its role to get involved with "all matters pertaining to the movement of people and vehicles to, from and around campus."

Issues the transportation council is considering include:

  • Changes for free visitor permits (more than 7,600 issued since last April)
  • Repairs for the Iowa State Center parking lots (which need about $20 million of work)
  • Charging to park in the Iowa State Center lots
  • Restricting campus traffic with additional gated roads
  • Addressing mobility concerns
  • Addressing parking shortages (additional lots, parking ramps)

Larabee also announced that the council is recommending no increase in parking rates and fines for the next fiscal year.

"The bad news with that is it means we're deferring some stuff in the future," he said.

New committee

Council members voted unanimously in favor of creating a new standing committee for equity and inclusion. The committee, chaired by the council's vice president for equity and inclusion, will include council members (president, president-elect and past president) and appointed P&S staff.

The approved bylaws language (PDF) charges the committee with advising the university president and administration on diversity, inclusion and equity issues. It also states "planning, analysis and policy as it pertains to these issues will be addressed and shared." 

CEO discusses his life influences

Roger Ferguson and Pol Hermann

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Roger Ferguson (pictured, right), president and CEO of the TIAA asset management company, took part in an informal discussion prior to his April 11 lecture. The discussion, "My Personal Journal with Diversity," included questions from moderator Pol Hermann (pictured, left), who chairs the management and marketing departments, and audience members.

While reflecting on his childhood, Ferguson said his parents were influential figures in his life.

"My mother was gung-ho about education. She had this really strong belief that education is the one thing that no one can take away from you," he said.

"My father was a child of the Great Depression and he became fascinated with banks," Ferguson said. "He had me balancing the family checkbook in seventh or eighth grade and showed me his W-2 -- we had no secrets around money. A lot of parents keep their money secret from their kids. My father -- we had no money to speak of -- but he was happy to tell me what he did with it. It really influenced my love of, and interest in, markets and drove me to think a lot about this thing we call financial literacy."

Part of I-35 Ames interchange to close for summer

Aerial view of flyover ramp at I-35/30 interchange

An aerial sketch, looking northwest, of the new I-35/Highway 30 interchange. The yellow vehicle is on the flyover ramp that will begin to take shape this summer. Image courtesy of Iowa Department of Transportation.

Construction planned this summer at the Interstate 35-U.S. Highway 30 interchange east of Ames temporarily will impact how employees, students and visitors from the north arrive on campus.

Beginning Monday, May 8, and continuing through mid-August, southbound vehicles on I-35 won't be able to exit to westbound Highway 30. To arrive on campus, drivers should:

  • Exit at 13th Street (Exit 113) and drive west into Ames
  • Turn left (south) on Grand Avenue/U.S. Highway 69
  • Turn right (west) on Lincoln Way and continue to campus

Drivers from the north wanting to travel west of Ames on Highway 30 also should exit at 13th Street, turn left at Dayton Avenue and travel south to the westbound Highway 30 on-ramp.

The detour should be revoked before fall semester begins, said Iowa Department of Transportation engineer Jesse Tibodeau, who oversees the project. Campus hosts are asked to share this information with their guests as they make arrival plans.

New look for the interchange

The two-year interchange project will replace the northeast loop of the existing cloverleaf -- which carries northbound vehicles on I-35 to westbound Highway 30 -- with an elevated "flyover" ramp. When the new ramp is completed, Tibodeau said northbound vehicles will travel on a ramp that veers west over the top of I-35 and returns to ground level near the southbound I-35 to westbound Highway 30 exit ramp. Work this summer will install the pavement at both ends of the flyover ramp (southeast and northwest corners of the interchange) and begin to construct the bridge.

A few other project notes for this summer:

  • Drivers on I-35 arriving from south of Ames will continue to use the existing exit to get to westbound Highway 30
  • The exit ramp to Dayton Avenue from westbound Highway 30 also will be closed from May 8 to mid-August. Motorists wanting to reach South Dayton Avenue from westbound Highway 30 should exit at Duff Avenue, drive north for a block and turn right (east) on SE 16th Street, which will take them back to Dayton Avenue.
  • I-35 and Highway 30 occasionally will close overnight (1-5 a.m.) for bridge construction

Goal: Safety

Tibodeau said the new ramp project is intended to create a safer, more efficient interchange. Specifically, it will help reduce conflicts in a short merging zone between vehicles leaving and entering the northbound lanes of I-35.

The northbound I-35 exit ramp to eastbound Highway 30 (Nevada) will be reconfigured later in this project, which is expected to wrap up in late 2018.

The bells will go silent

Carillon bell in the chamber

The guide wires connecting the carillon to its bells will be replaced as part of the project. Photo by Dave Olson.

Step out onto central campus for the lunchtime carillon concerts now, because the bells will be silent this summer. Beginning Monday, May 22, parts of the Stanton Memorial Carillon will be dismantled for maintenance and construction work within the campanile.

Stanton Memorial Carillon

"This project will repair building components and prevent water damage in the structure," said Dave Blum, project manager for facilities planning and management.

The work, which will close the building for most of the summer, includes replacing the waterproof membrane within the bell chamber and installing new wire guides that connect the carillon to its 50 bells. The roof access hatch also will be replaced and the carillon's steel structural support will be repainted.

Blum said the work is scheduled for completion by Aug. 18, just in time for the start of the fall semester. The project budget is $240,000.