Progress at Windows

Construction at Windows dining center

Mike Parsons (right), a construction manager in facilities planning and management, and a contractor look over new food service stations being installed in Friley Hall's Windows dining center. Kitchen and food serving appliances and consoles are arriving and being installed, while electrical, window, tile and duct work continue. Windows is scheduled to open with the fall semester. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Iowa Staters talk about their next president

Equipped with hours of suggestions and requests, the consulting team from AGB Search will soon begin the task of drafting a job advertisement for the next president of Iowa State. The ad is scheduled to be shared publicly on July 6.

An estimated 60 people attended the four public listening sessions June 12-13 to share ideas on the skill set the next president ought to have and the challenges he or she will face. They also talked about the university's strengths and why candidates would find the Iowa State presidency compelling. They were undergraduate and graduate students, staff members, faculty, retirees, alumni, business people and Ames community members.

The sessions were facilitated by Jim McCormick and Janice Fitzgerald, AGB Search, and attended also by an array of search committee members and Board of Regents members, who ultimately will select the next president. The process is expected to wrap up by late October.

Individuals who were unable to attend a listening session are invited to submit their responses to the discussion questions (below) to To be assured consideration as the search consultants draft the ISU president advertisement, the deadline is Monday, June 19.

McCormick invited responses to three questions:

  • What are the challenges this university faces?
  • What experiences, characteristics should the next president possess to address them?
  • Why should s/he come to Ames?

Following are some (not all) of the responses to those questions:

Challenges ahead for the university

  • State budget woes and diminishing appropriations for higher education
  • Threat of cuts to the federal budget
  • Enrollment growth: What is Iowa State's optimal size? Capacities of the institution (ex., space, teaching loads) and the town (ex., housing/land use, CyRide) are stretched
  • Maintaining quality education and a positive student experience in spite of uncontrolled enrollment, diminishing resources
  • Maintaining Iowa State's AAU (Association of American Universities) status
  • A campus community that understands and values diversity and inclusion
  • Polarized political situation (state and national)
  • A budget model that focuses on undergraduate reallocation but doesn't fit us in all ways
  • Repairing relationships with the Ames community, strengthening the city/university/business triangle
  • In the age of the internet and online learning, validating the need for a physical university campus
  • American society's frustration with the direction of higher education
  • A learning environment that better meets the needs of international students, especially those who have been marginalized

Experiences, characteristics sought in the next president

  • Expertise in working with state and federal lawmakers to ISU's benefit
  • Administrator with an academic background who will be a tenured faculty member; this should not be an experiment with corporate leadership
  • Strong communication skills (including working with the media), particularly in uncomfortable situations
  • An innovator who wants to identify ways Iowa State is different from other schools
  • Defender of academic freedom and academic tenure; without it, faculty self-censor
  • An understanding that the job is a position of responsibility and service, not privilege
  • Ability to relate to all kinds of Iowans (most of whom don't have a bachelor's degree) and convey the importance of a college education as a means to advance Iowa society and economy
  • Leader who is collaborative, can build an effective leadership team and delegate authority
  • Understanding of, appreciation for public-private sector partnerships, particularly for research and student scholarships
  • A person who loves students and enjoys spending time with, listening to students
  • A practicer of integrity and transparency (not just lip service). Integrity is defined differently in different parts of the country.
  • Recognition of ISU's commitment to hands-on, experiential learning and the focus on student outcomes -- and what our students can/will do when they leave here
  • Understanding of ISU's land-grant responsibility (in so many areas) to the state of Iowa and how that evolves as society changes
  • Experience working with diverse, multicultural and inclusive constituent groups and ability to create a culture of sensitivity
  • Appreciation for the role of humanities at a university of science and technology
  • Ability to raise money with integrity; how you get it is important
  • Desire to be here and stay here; this is not a stepping-stone job or a résumé builder

Strengths of the university and Ames

  • ISU is the state's school of innovators
  • People of Iowa are special: smart and compassionate
  • Students vote with their feet -- and they're coming to Iowa State
  • "We'll get that done" collaborative environment on campus
  • Connectivity between getting research done and sharing it with constituents who can benefit from it
  • Aesthetics; more than just a beautiful campus ... it's inspiring
  • Ames is the center of the universe for agriculture
  • ISU is a driver of economic vitality for central Iowa and the state
  • Quality of life: arts, entertainment, sports, sustainability, environment and more
  • Iowa State is positioned to solve the world's problems
  • ISU works well; we're good at what we do (don't have to fix us); there's nothing horrendously broken here
  • Opportunity to build on what past presidents have achieved

In addition to the public sessions, the AGB Search consultants sought input through 22 interviews with individuals at the vice president through dean level. Student leaders and the Professional and Scientific Council also requested their own listening sessions with the consultants.

Regents adjust tuition upward for second summer

Without discussion, the state Board of Regents approved a second fall tuition increase of $216 per Iowa State student at its June 8 meeting. That's an additional 3 percent for resident undergraduates and between 0.4 percent (veterinary medicine nonresidents) and 2.5 percent (graduate residents) for all others over the 2017-18 rates the board initially approved in December. Combined, the increases create a 5 percent hike ($358) for Iowa State resident undergraduates and a 4.1 percent hike ($830) for nonresident undergraduates over fall 2016. The combined increase is $470 (5.5 percent) for resident graduate students and $870 (4 percent) for nonresident graduate students above fall 2016 tuition rates.

Tuition task force

Following the tuition vote, the board's ad hoc tuition task force held its first meeting and received a presentation on national tuition trends from Robert Toutkoushian, professor of higher education at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on the economics of higher education and he consults with universities around the country. His observations about the state of Iowa included:

  • It's not typical to have similar or identical tuition among a state's public universities (research universities tend to have higher tuitions)
  • Even when state appropriations increase, they fail to keep pace with higher education costs. Appropriation declines lead to rising tuitions.
  • State appropriations to higher education fell from 11.1 percent of the state budget in FY99 to 6.8 percent in the year that ends June 30
  • Tuition prices at the regent universities are lower than most of their peer schools. That, coupled with a state demand for higher education (rising high school graduate numbers), diminishes the urgency (compared to other states) to increase financial aid to attract students.
  • Universities compete for students in different markets -- for example, state of residence, ability to pay, academic merit, graduate vs. undergrad
  • A university must know who its competitors are. Similarities among competitors might include: geographic (markets are mostly regional), mission and academic programs, selectivity/prestige

A peer comparison


2016-17 tuition

Penn State (highest in peer group)


Iowa State (lowest in peer group)


Peer group average (excluding ISU)


Board president Michael Richards said Thursday's presentation was the "beginning of an open dialogue" that will invite constituent groups and business leaders to talk about long-term funding strategies for the regent universities, including more predictable tuition for students and families. He said board members have no predetermined outcomes in mind, only that "what we're doing now has to be fixed" and that "everything will be on the table."

Richards said the task force's operational timeline isn't set, but that the group needs to complete its work before the 2018 Legislature convenes in January. Regents Larry McKibben (chair), Milt Dakovich (vice chair), Sherry Bates and Nancy Boettger comprise the task force.

Noting, for example, that 65 percent of the students in his home school district (Marshalltown) are non-white, as well as the diversity within the state's workforce, McKibben said it will be important for the regent universities to figure out "how to take care of first-generation college students."

FY18 salary policy

February changes to Iowa law governing collective bargaining rights transferred the task of setting annual step increases to the regents' annual salary policy discussion. In the fiscal year that begins July 1, no step increases will be awarded. The two-year collective bargaining agreement between the state of Iowa and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61, which covers Iowa State's merit employees, calls for 1 percent increases on July 1 this summer and next.

As announced earlier this month, there won't be an across-the-board salary increase on July 1 for faculty and professional and scientific employees. Increases will be allowed only to reward exceptional performers or to correct market or equity issues, and every increase will require approval from the appropriate senior vice president/chief financial officer.

First readings

The board gave a first (of the required two) reading to several proposals. The second reading for each is to occur at a yet-to-be-scheduled board meeting in late June. They include:

  • A new phased retirement proposal for regent university employees that offers a one- or two-year phased period with specific reductions in workload and salary for each (the program that sunsets on June 30 provides up to five years to fully retire). If approved later this month, the program would take effect July 1.
  • Iowa State's proposed bachelor's degree in nursing (RN to BSN) program was presented to the board's academic and student affairs committee. Clinical assistant professor Ginny Wangerin said it wouldn't replicate either the University of Iowa's online BSN program or the state's community college programs -- the most common way registered nurses in the state receive their education. The ISU program would give RNs another avenue for gaining their BSN, which most major hospitals are encouraging or requiring for their nurses. 
  • Elimination of two ISU centers: Center for Integrated Animal Genomics and Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research, which haven’t been active since 2012 and 2011, respectively.

In other business, the board:

  • Received an update on the presidential search process from search committee co-chair and College of Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez. He noted that in its nearly 160-year history, Iowa State has had just 15 presidents, so serving on a presidential search committee is "a very rare opportunity." He said the committee's goal is to attract a great pool of candidates, which will lead to identifying "the right person" for Iowa State. Those who didn't attend a public listening session (June 12-13) to share ideas on desired characteristics in the next president may send their ideas to by June 19.
  • Approved the sale of $25.17 million recreational system facilities revenue refunding bonds, to advance refund 2009 bonds sold to partially pay for recreation services' State Gym expansion and renovation. Lower interest rates will save recreation services an estimated $3 million over the life of the bonds, with annual cash flow savings of approximately $200,000.
  • Accepted the resignation of its executive director and chief executive officer Robert Donley, effective July 15. He has served in the post since 2008. Donley did not participate in the board meeting. After sharing a few prepared comments, he accepted a plaque from the board and departed. Richards said an interim executive director will be announced "soon" and that Donley's duties are being reassigned.

More tips for completing the P&S job profile tool

University human resources leaders remind professional and scientific employees of the June 30 deadline to complete their Job Profile Tool (JPT), an early piece of a review of the current classification and compensation system.

P&S employees and their supervisors should have received an email on June 1 that contained instructions and a link to the JPT. Employees who think they didn't receive the email are encouraged to check their email junk folders. The email and JPT also are available on the classification and compensation review website.

Following are a few reminders about the process and purpose of the JPT:

  • A JPT will not replace a current position description (PD)
  • The JPT should take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete
  • Employees who need help finding their PD in PeopleAdmin should follow this quick reference guide
  • Information from the JPTs is being used to create new classifications, so employees' input is very important
  • When employees send a completed JPT to their supervisors, they are asked to CC
  • If an employee is unable or chooses not to complete a JPT, UHR will use the required data from his or her current PD. UHR encourages employees to fill out their JPT because they can provide beneficial input that isn’t included in the current PD.
  • Employees have a June 30 deadline to submit their completed JPTs to their supervisors. Supervisors have until July 14 to submit their comments.
  • Supervisors are not able to edit the content of a JPT, merely add comments on the supervisor tab


Cyclones at the Des Moines Arts Festival

A College of Design graduate student and two recent alumni are among 11 Emerging Iowa Artists selected to exhibit their work June 23-25 at the Des Moines Arts Festival.

In its 15th year, the Emerging Iowa Artists program provides young visual artists an opportunity to showcase their talent at one of the nation’s top arts festivals, which annually attracts more than 200,000 visitors. Iowa residents currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a university, college or art school anywhere in the United States can participate in the program for up to two years.

Emerging artists

ISU integrated visual arts graduate student Xin Chen and 2016 alum Lauren Haylock will make their debut, and 2015 graduate Kayla Parker returns for the second consecutive year.

Chen, who holds a BFA with a focus on drawing, watercolor and photography from Shenyang Normal University, has devoted his efforts to handcrafted furniture and metal work. He derives inspiration from aspects of Chinese and American culture, including traditional Chinese musical instruments and Native American tattoos, and explores design motifs that reflect Eastern and Western cultural conflict and harmony.

Chen’s wood furniture is joined using rope and can be disassembled into individual pieces that represent other objects, such as a chair that can be transformed into the huqin, a traditional Chinese spike fiddle.

Haylock recently completed a yearlong apprenticeship as a bench jeweler for Jared the Galleria of Jewelry in West Des Moines and is now a self-employed artist in Winterset. She will exhibit a variety of metalwork from wearable silver filigree jewelry to functional brass art, she said.

Professional artists

Four more Design alumni -- Naomi Friend, Kristen Greteman, Jon Kamrath and Chris Vance -- are among the 180 professional visual artists chosen to participate in the Des Moines Arts Festival.

Greteman exhibited architectural and travel photography as an Emerging Iowa Artist in 2013 and won Best in Show in the category for her printmaking last year, which secured her a spot among the professional artists this year. She and Alex Braidwood, ISU assistant professor of graphic design, served on the five-member jury that selected both the professional and emerging artists for this year’s festival.

Artist demonstrations

Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 25. Several of the emerging and professional artists will share their work and techniques in demonstrations scheduled throughout the festival:

Friday, June 23

  • Jon Kamrath, booth LS37, 6-7 p.m.

Saturday, June 24

  • Lauren Haylock, booth 3, 2-3 p.m.
  • Xin Chen, booth 1, 5-6 p.m.

Sunday, June 25

  • Kayla Parker, booth 10, 2-3 p.m.