Clearing out

far view of a tree being removed next to Lagomarcino Hall

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

A campus services team spent the first day of the university's "summer" removing a past-its-prime Japanese zelkova tree from the Lagomarcino courtyard.

Allen speaks to campus leaders

Interim president Ben Allen spoke briefly to campus leaders at the May 4 President's Council. Below are his comments on a few topics.

On returning to Iowa State

I'm honored to come back and work as interim president. Iowa State is a great institution, and I see lots of change from when I last worked on campus. It's different, it's exciting, it's better and I appreciate all that you all have done to make that happen.

On his preparation for the interim presidency

I arrived on April 17. I'm trying to meet with as many people as possible, to get an understanding of where we are. It's an exciting time, and I've been very much impressed with what I've heard. As interim president, there's always an issue about what decisions you take, what decisions you make and what decisions you should pass on to the next president. I do know this: We cannot have a passive interim president for the time period I'm here. I need your support, we need to keep moving forward.

On funding public higher education

We need to manage state funds -- and we do. But we need more state funds. [The regent universities] didn't receive appropriate treatment this year, in my opinion. We also need to prepare for fiscal year 2019. We'll be making our case soon and meeting with then-governor [Kim] Reynolds this fall. We need to work together to make sure we have the most compelling arguments for state funding, and work with student leaders and others on affordable tuition that will help maintain the quality of this institution.

On the importance of private fundraising

In these times, private funding is extremely important, so we need to keep moving forward with our capital campaign. When the president leaves a university and donors have been attached to his vision and his work, it's very important that we maintain those relationships with donors. If you think I can help -- or, if you're afraid I'd kill the deal -- please talk with me. We can't lose any donors.

On community

I want you to know I understand and share one of your concerns, that we're at a perfect storm of uncertainty. The university president is leaving. The board of regents leadership is changing. And on campus, we have a lot of change going on -- the P&S classification study, Workday implementation, Chapter 20 changes [Iowa code governing collective bargaining]. We need to work together and in a careful manner so that all the good, hardworking people at Iowa State feel supported.

Regents take first look at $216 tuition increase

Iowa State will ask for an additional $216 in tuition this fall from each of its students, in response to $11.5 million less in state operating support on July 1 from a year ago. That's another 3 percent hike for resident undergraduates and between 0.4 percent (veterinary medicine nonresidents) and 2.5 percent (graduate residents) for all others.

If approved, the additional tuition revenue would raise an estimated $7.1 million for Iowa State, dependent on actual student enrollment this fall.

The state Board of Regents completed a first reading of the proposed tuition increase during a May 8 telephonic meeting and will vote on it during the board's June 8 meeting in Cedar Falls.

First increase

In December, the board approved Iowa State's request to raise 2017-18 tuition rates 2 percent ($142) for resident undergraduates and 3 percent for all other Iowa State students. The board also approved three-year differential tuition plans for juniors, seniors and graduate students in five more academic programs with higher instructional costs (animal science, biology, computer science, industrial design and natural resource ecology and management). Implementation on those five begins this fall. And 2017-18 is the second in a three-year plan in which all international students pay an additional $500 per year above nonresident tuition increases. When fully implemented, the differential will be $1,500.

If the board approves the tuition increase next month, Iowa State resident undergraduates would pay 5 percent more -- $358 -- this fall than in fall 2016. For nonresident undergraduates, the difference would be $830, a 4.1 percent increase.

ISU tuition rates for 2017-18

Student group

Approved: December

Proposed: May

Total increase from 2016-17

Resident undergraduate



$358 (5.0%)

Nonresident undergraduate



$830 (4.1%)

Resident graduate



$470 (5.5%)

Nonresident graduate



$870 (4.0%)

Resident vet medicine*



$862 (4.0%)

Nonresident vet medicine*



$1,646 (3.5%)

*Excludes 12-month fourth year

Comments from Iowa Staters

Interim president Ben Allen told board members that Iowa State's "short-term needs are outpacing our existing resources," which requires action yet this summer. He said there is strong support for the proposed $216 increase among student, staff and faculty leadership, and that the additional dollars would help the university hire and retain top faculty in order to lower its student-faculty ratio.

But Allen also noted that post-legislative session enrollment increases can't become routine.

"We believe it's time to take a fundamentally different approach, with respect to tuition," he said. "We must create a structure that more appropriately aligns tuition with the cost of providing an [Association of American Universities]-caliber education.

"We need a structure that is transparent, reasonable and predictable for our students and their families. We look forward to working with the regents' tuition task force to inform that process, and ultimately we intend to submit a tuition proposal this fall that includes a more substantial increase," Allen concluded.

Student government president Cody West also expressed his disappointment in another June tuition adjustment.

"The cost of a degree at Iowa State compared to the quality and reputation it holds with employers and other institutions is unmatched," West said. "Iowa State is an incredible institution and that is not in any way a product of our tuition rates."

But being in the position of having the lowest tuition among its peer universities shouldn't provide an excuse for repeatedly raising it, he said.

In tandem with some of the differential tuitions that take effect this fall, West called the proposed increase "unbearable for some." And while he said he is against this tuition increase in general, he said students support the idea of a flat, universal dollar amount that is blind to residency.

"It sends a powerful message to the Legislature that we are no longer going to give the break to resident students if our state government continues to show that higher education is not a priority," West said.

Change passwords to protect you and ISU

Change it now

How to change passwords for:

Need help? Contact the IT solution center (294-4000,

If you have any passwords that are more than six months old, you're putting your online security at risk. If any of those old passwords are connected to university accounts, it makes ISU more susceptible to a constant barrage of cyberattacks.

Chief information security officer David Cotton urges users to change their passwords for all accounts -- on and off campus -- at least every six months, and to make it a habit. It's the focus of IT's password change campaign that launched in April and will continue through the fall semester.

During an internal audit of password ages, information technology staff discovered that a large percentage of user passwords are well beyond the recommended six-month shelf life.

"The university is under constant attack from cybercriminals," Cotton said. "In one day, Iowa State’s network is attacked more than 130,000 times. Our first line of defense is our campus community. Users who change their passwords every six months invalidate the authentication credentials of their old password making it useless, even if a cybercriminal were to get ahold of it."

Build a better password

Short passwords are vulnerable, and using the same password for multiple accounts compounds the security threat. Cotton recommends long, complex and unique passwords for each account, with a mix of characters in each -- uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. He said it's best to avoid personal identifiers, such as a family member's name.

"Password generation can be tough, so consider using a passphrase, which is a simple combination of three words or more," Cotton said. "Using a passphrase instantly makes your authentication longer and, therefore, stronger."

The Okta identity and access platform will help alleviate some of the password overload once it's implemented, but that still is months down the road.

Password managers also are useful. The applications store and organize your passwords for easier (and more secure) logins, with just a single password to remember.

Summer projects happening near you

Bulldozer tears up Hoover lawn

A bulldozer tears up the turf earlier this week at the construction site for the future Student Innovation Center. Following demolition of the Nuclear Engineering Laboratory and the southeast portion of Sweeney Hall this month, construction will begin on the 140,000-square-foot facility, with completion scheduled for spring 2020. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

With spring commencement in the review mirror, work begins in earnest on lots of seasonal construction projects. There are dozens scheduled, but Inside offers a look at a few with the potential to impact the most people on campus.

More plaza area at the Hub

The pavers and built-in planter southeast of the Hub will be removed and the area redone to coordinate with the patio west of the Hub. The project will add outdoor tables and seating. Work will begin yet this month and wrap up in early July.

Green space links the stadium to Reiman Gardens

Beginning later this month and continuing through the fall, landscape work in the former S-3 parking lot south of Jack Trice Stadium will create a reflective pool and fountain, pathways and berms. New signage for Reiman Gardens at the entrance off of University Boulevard also will be installed. Next spring, the green space will be completed with perennial and grasses plantings. This is the final piece of the 2015 stadium expansion.

A larger Gentle Doctor Café

A rooftop addition, combined with a renovation of the College of Veterinary Medicine's current café, will create a café and commons/gathering area roughly twice the size of the existing space. Work is scheduled to begin in June and wrap up in August 2018. Beginning May 15, ISU Dining will provide coffee and food service from a temporary location down the hall, 2272 Vet Med.

Traffic control improvements at Stange/Pammel

A three-month project at the intersection will replace the traffic signals, sidewalk corners and road pavement. Work was set to begin this week and continue, in phases, to mid-August. The intersection will stay in use all summer, but traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction, so congestion is likely during peak hours.

Utility projects will close roads

Two utility projects to increase the capacity at the north chilled water plant (located on Kooser Drive, south of the railroad tracks) will disrupt traffic in the north part of campus in phases. The first, which will add two underground chilled water mains between the north plant and the Pammel Drive/WOI Road intersection, will affect the parking lots and roads in that area. WOI Road, Kooser Drive and sections of lots 27, 28 and 29 will close in phases; but buildings will remain accessible. The project begins this month and continues into October.

The second, which will extend an underground electrical duct and feeder line from the electrical substation north of the power plant to the north chilled water plant, will close University Boulevard (east of Wallace Road), two lanes at a time, for about a week each. In late July, it also will close all four lanes of Stange Road (between Frederiksen Court and Pammel Drive) for about two weeks. Dates for the lane and road closures aren't scheduled yet. A pedestrian walkway will remain open during the Stange Road closure.

Campanile repairs

Iowa State's carillon will go silent this summer while repair work is completed on the campanile structure. The work includes replacing the waterproof membrane within the bell chamber, replacing the roof access hatch and installing new wire guides that connect the 50 bells to the carillon keyboard. It is scheduled to begin May 22 and conclude in mid-August.

New look: New windows

Phased projects over two summers (2017 and 2018) will replace the windows in the Armory, Hamilton Hall and the Wallace and Wilson residence halls.

Wider, safer sidewalks

The multiphased project to widen the sidewalk on the north side of Osborn Drive continues this summer near Gilman Hall (from the west edge of the front steps west for about 200 feet). This project also will replace the CyRide bus stopon the north side of Osborn (a temporary bus stop will be east of the Gilman steps). The work begins May 11 and continues for about four weeks. The sidewalk between Physics and Gilman halls will be widened next summer.

Sidewalk repairs this summer (now through Aug. 5) will be focused on the east side of campus, in the neighborhood bordered by College Creek, Farm House Lane, Pammel Drive and Beach Road. Crews will replace broken sidewalk panels and fix uplifted panels that pose a tripping threat.

Parking lot replacement/closure

Work to redo lot 37 (between Science II and Lagomarcino halls) and lot 59C (south of Helser) began this week and will continue into mid-June. When those lots are completed, lot 59F (west of Helser) will be redone, finishing prior to Aug. 1.

And finally: Big projects heading toward completion

  • A renovation of the west end ground floor of the original Forker Building for the kinesiology department is in the home stretch. The contractor's work will wrap up this month, followed by furniture installation and west side landscaping in June.
  • Two renovation projects on Pearson Hall second floor will wrap up this summer. The first replaces 11 smaller classrooms with eight modern classrooms fitted with state-of-the-art teaching technologies, new mechanical/air handling systems, lighting and furnishings. The second renovates office spaces for the world languages and cultures department, which now includes the former anthropology department.
  • Work on two new general university classrooms in Hamilton Hall space formerly used by Iowa State Daily staff are nearly done and will be ready for use this fall. Furniture will be installed this summer.
  • The east addition to Bessey Hall is on schedule for a mid-August completion, with labs and two general university classrooms scheduled for use fall semester.
  • The contractor's work on Windows, the renovated dining center on the east side of Friley residence hall, is scheduled to wrap up in late July, with furnishings installed after and the space in operation when fall semester begins.


Council is considering salary increase recommendation

Members of the Professional and Scientific Council looked over a proposed FY18 salary recommendation (PDF) introduced at their May 4 meeting. They'll vote on the motion at the May 25 meeting.

Introduced by the compensation and benefits committee, the recommendation asks for "the greatest salary increase feasible within the FY18 budget" for employees with positive performance reviews. It states that "more is being expected of our employees than ever before," citing continued growth and an average salary increase of 2.6 percent annually over the past 10 years.

The recommendation also "encourages:"

  • Competitive compensation
  • Performance-based increases
  • Policy research (such as flexible work, maternal/family leave and childcare)
  • Additional institutional support (for example, professional development, wellness and communication)

Class/comp review update

Emma Mallarino Houghton, compensation and classification director in university human resources, provided an update on the P&S compensation and classification review, which launched last month. The three-phase project is targeted for implementation in fall 2018.

"We all have an interest in making it successful," Mallarino Houghton said. "This process is being led and driven by P&S staff."

Activities in the three phases include:

  • Phase one: plan project, develop compensation philosophy, document jobs
  • Phase two: review job documentation, conduct market assessment, develop salary structure
  • Phase three: benchmark and slot positions, plan for financial impact, implement new structure

Mallarino Houghton said an advisory committee of stakeholders, including P&S Council representatives, is being formed. An extended project team, with up to a dozen members, also is being created. That team would include individuals with broad knowledge of the current structure. Feedback from both groups will help in developing the new structure.

She said updates will be provided through UHR, Inside Iowa State and direct emails. In-person meetings and presentations also will be scheduled.

"Our communication strategy is transparency, consistency and timeliness," Mallarino Houghton said.

Other business

Other motions that will be voted on at the next meeting:

  • A proposal (PDF) to adopt a campus-wide definition for shared governance and establish a central website that includes information and resources about university groups that participate in shared governance
  • Proposed changes (PDF) to the council's bylaws that clarify the responsibility for regular reviews of its own rules and bylaws by the policies and procedures committee

Search is underway for business services leader

A search committee has been appointed and tasked with selecting the next assistant vice president for business services in the university services division.

Interim assistant vice president Nancy Brooks, who has served in the position since July 2015, will retire from Iowa State on May 19. Norm Hill, director of logistics and support services, will serve as the interim assistant VP beginning May 20 until the position is filled.

Senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory appointed the group's members. Mark Miller, director of parking in the public safety department, is serving as chair. The application period has closed, and the search committee has begun reviewing the candidate pool. The committee will share additional information, including invitations to stakeholder groups to participate in the interviews, as the search progresses.

Serving with Miller on the search committee are:

  • Cameron Campbell, associate dean, College of Design
  • Karen Cline, business manager, business services
  • Jody Danielson, assistant director, facilities planning and management
  • Danny Johnson, associate dean, College of Business
  • Joan Piscitello, treasurer, office of the treasurer
  • David Popelka, associate chief information officer, information technology
  • Aragula Rao, associate vice president, office of the vice president for research

Memorial Day ceremony is May 29

Iowa State employees, retirees and spouses who died during the past year will be remembered at the university's annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 29. It will begin at 9 a.m. in the Reiman Ballroom at the ISU Alumni Center, 420 Beach Ave. Parking is available on the east side of the building.

The ceremony will include:

  • An invocation by Rev. James DuBois, pastor at Northminster Presbyterian Church
  • Prelude by the Collegiate Brass, Collegiate United Methodist Church
  • A reading of names
  • Time for family, friends and colleagues to share memories of loved ones

Individuals who aren't available to speak that day can share comments about loved ones through an online form. Their comments will be printed and displayed the day of the event and included the following week with all obituaries on the ISU Retirees website.

Individuals on the Wall of Alumni and Friends at the alumni center who died in the past year also will be recognized during the ceremony.

The ceremony is hosted by the ISU Retirees Association. Questions may be directed to Angie Schaper, 294-5790.