Delicatessen opens in Memorial Union

Installing signage at Lance and Ellie's deli

Jeff Newsom of SpeedPro Imaging installs signage at Lance and Ellie's Delicatessen. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

ISU Dining's new delicatessen opened Wednesday in the Memorial Union. Lance and Ellie's, named for the iconic swans found on and around Lake LaVerne, boasts Iowa-sourced and scratch-made items as part of its menu.


Lance and Ellie's

  • Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Sunday, closed

MU food court venues and hours

Diners can choose a chef-created "stack, roll or toss" (sandwich, wrap or salad), which range in price from $4.95 to $6.50. The venue uses Boar's Head premium cheeses and meats (leaner cuts with fewer additives), and tofu made in Iowa City using Iowa-grown soybeans. House-made dill pickles, desserts and fresh-baked bread also are featured.

The menu sports two hot sandwiches, including a vegetarian barbecue creation made with shredded jackfruit -- a versatile tropical fruit with a meaty texture. Any of the "stacks" can be toasted. Sides (potato salad, edamame salad, fruit, chips), desserts (marble cookies, mocha brownies) and fountain pop are available a la carte or with a combo meal.


Lance and Ellie's is located on the west side of the first-floor food court. ISU Dining reclaimed the space when a lease held by the Subway national sandwich chain expired last May. Kristi Patel, assistant director for ISU Dining's retail operations, said two full-time staff (a cook and a sous-chef) and up to 40 students will work at the new venue. 

Kitchen work in Lance and Ellie's deli

Workers prep the kitchen area for Wednesday's grand opening.


Meeting modern privacy needs is an ongoing focus in campus facilities


The east wing of the Memorial Union features some gender-inclusive restrooms. The single-user facilities, identified with this signage, are standard in newly constructed Iowa State buildings. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Nearly all campus buildings were built long before spaces such as lactation rooms and gender-inclusive restrooms were considered, but the university's aim is to add them when possible.  

"You put things in the infrastructure of buildings that make them accommodating to everyone," said Kerry Dixon, a project manager for facilities planning and management (FPM).

Iowa State's efforts to meet those modern expectations rely mostly on incorporating such facilities in newly constructed buildings and in renovations, though the space crunch on campus makes adding new private spaces a challenge in some remodeling projects.

"In our older buildings, it gets extremely difficult," Dixon said.

Privacy for anyone

The university's facility design manual has called for including a single-user, handicap-accessible restroom in new construction for about a decade, Dixon said. The addition to the university's design standards came after a single-user bathroom was created in the renovation of Morrill Hall, which opened in 2007, to accommodate a male student who used a wheelchair. Unable to find a restroom he could use with his female aide, the student was scheduling classes to allow him to return to his residence hall for bathroom breaks, she said.

"That's what triggered it," Dixon said.

Since then, single-user restrooms have been built in a dozen facilities, including Morrill, according to FPM data. Others that already existed have been identified, with a total of more than 50 across campus.

Single-user restrooms serve a variety of needs -- parents with small children and those in wheelchairs and motorized scooters who need more space than a typical handicapped stall, for example. But they're open for use by anyone, which can mean peace of mind to gender nonconforming individuals. Solo bathrooms' gender inclusivity spurred a group of students to map them, a volunteer effort coordinated by the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.

"It was a massive effort, a lot of clipboards," said Brad Freihoefer, the center's director.

The map, released in 2016 and set to be updated later this year, doesn't show every single-user bathroom on campus. Each of the 30 facilities identified is easily accessible, with a lock and a sign indicating it is open for use by any gender. While the signage could be more consistent, Freihoefer said, single-user restrooms are a relief for people who may feel unsafe in a gender-specific facility.  

"These are definitely daily realities for students, faculty and staff," he said.

A place to pump

An emphasis on lactation spaces picked up in the wake of new federal labor rules pertaining to nursing mothers included in the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The law set standards for spaces employers must offer workers who want to pump breast milk. It includes a prohibition on lactation areas in bathrooms, which required the university to eliminate many existing lactation areas.

On the recommendation of the Professional and Scientific Council, the child care and family resources program took on the coordination of lactation rooms, many which were remodeled in 2016. University buildings now feature 22 permanent lactation areas, a number which will grow over time.

"In all our new buildings, we're putting them in," Dixon said.

The goal is to have a lactation room available across campus within a five-minute walk, but that's been a struggle to meet in the southeast corner of campus, said Julie Graden, child care and family resources program coordinator. Building supervisors interested in setting up a lactation space can email Graden's office at Temporary spaces and personal offices also are options for nursing mothers.

"These rooms don't have to be very large," Graden said. "They just have to be clean and comfortable and lockable."

Pressure on projects

Adding a solo bathroom or lactation room can mean making choices in a renovation project, such as eliminating an office area, Dixon said.

"It puts extra pressure on these projects," she said.

That's especially true with unisex bathrooms, she said. Renovating restrooms, such as the upcoming project at Parks Library, requires bringing them up to current code, including accessibility requirements that often need additional space. Yet the minimum total number of toilets in a building is mandated by building codes, and only bathrooms designed for a specific gender count in that calculation.

"The state building codes and plumbing codes have not caught up with practice," Dixon said. 

An inside look at move-in day

Steel beams are layed in place to support a wrapped chiller cyli

A crew lines up the steel beams before the condenser cylinder, wrapped for transport and suspended on the crane, will be lowered onto them to help guide it into the building. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

On several of the most frigid days of winter, appropriately, two electric-powered chillers were delivered this week to the north chilled water plant from San Antonio, Texas.

With five other chillers, four of which are steam-driven, they'll assist with the process of cooling building air on central campus.

Each of the new chillers weighs about 55 tons empty, and includes two cylinders and a drive unit. The move-in process involved lifting each cylinder from a flatbed with a crane, fixing it to a temporary steel beam support system and "rolling" it to designated pads (on a reinforced floor) in the chilled water plant using inflated air floats, a cable and winch, and lots of human guidance. A 10-member team from Baker Group and Barnhardt Crane and Rigging did the work.

Once they're operational, sometime in April, assistant director for utility production Lindsey Wanderscheid said the two chillers will increase service capacity on central campus by 30 percent. They'll be performance-tested this summer, when outside temperatures heat up and demand is high on the chilled water system, she said.

Development on the west side of campus and opening the Advanced Teaching and Research Building later this spring are increasing the demand for chilled water service, which keeps building air temperature from getting too warm. On central campus, just over two million gallons of water recirculate in the closed chilled water system. At each building, chilled water flows through air handling units to provide cooling.

This week's delivery is part of a $22 million project to expand the campus' chilled water system. Besides the chiller installation, it involves adding underground chilled water piping and extending more electrical service to the north chilled water plant from the main power plant.

Wanderscheid said the main and north chiller plants now are full. Dependent on campus growth, plans recommend building a third chilled water plant in west campus around 2030.

Crane lowers cylinder onto the beam tracks

The crane operator lowers the condenser cylinder onto the beam tracks.

Crew members prepare to inflate the air floats beneath the cylin

Crew members prepare to inflate the air floats to guide the cylinder across the floor of the north chilled water plant.

A cable and wench help guide the condenser cylinder to its spot

A cable and lever winch help guide the condenser cylinder to its spot in the north chilled water plant.


Search opens for CALS dean

Iowa State has launched the search for the endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. The process will begin with the nomination of high-quality candidates, followed by a review of applications and interviews of semifinal and final candidates. The Buffkin/Baker search firm, Nashville, Tennessee, will assist the search committee throughout the process.

The next dean will succeed Wendy Wintersteen, who became the university's 16th president in November. Senior associate dean Joe Colletti is serving in both interim roles until the search process concludes.

"This important and high-profile appointment is critical not only for the success of the university, but also for Iowa's agriculture and biosciences economy," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "We expect to recruit a leader who will continue to grow the college and build upon the accomplishments of President Wintersteen during the last 11 years."

Committee members

Nominations of qualified candidates are encouraged. Names and information may be sent to search committee co-chairs, David Spalding, Raisbeck endowed dean of the Ivy College of Business, or Guru Rao, associate vice president for research, at any time. Joining them on the search committee are:

  • Gwyn Beattie, plant pathology and microbiology department
  • Jamie Benning, Extension water quality program
  • Steve Berger, Practical Farmers of Iowa
  • Theressa Cooper, agricultural education and studies department and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administration
  • Doug Gronau, Leopold Center Advisory Board
  • Virginia Hanson, agricultural education and studies department
  • Gregg Hora, Iowa Pork Producers Association
  • Steve Johnson, Extension, farm management field specialist for region 6
  • Cathy Kling, economics department and Center for Agricultural and Rural Development administration
  • Edan Lambert (undergraduate student), animal science department
  • Ajay Nair, horticulture department
  • Dan Nettleton, statistics department
  • Mark Recker, Iowa Corn Growers Association
  • Skyler Rinker (graduate student), agricultural education and studies department
  • Max Rothschild, animal science department
  • Beate Schmittmann, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administration
  • Suzanne Shirbroun, Iowa Soybean Association
  • Blair Van Zetten, Oskaloosa Food Products Corp.


Research office vision includes interdisciplinary collaboration

Meeting coverage

In a report to the Faculty Senate on Jan. 16, vice president for research Sarah Nusser said a team worked last spring on a vision and ideas for the arts and humanities on campus.

"The focus was really creating and increasing the engagement and vibrancy of the arts and humanities community, through continuing support of the core programs that help artists, humanists and designers pursue their research careers," Nusser said. "Also building more events to create engagement across the arts and humanities, and connecting the arts and humanities to other parts of campus."

An internal seed funding program, Bridging the Divide, has been established by the research office to encourage collaboration of arts, humanities and design researchers with STEM colleagues. Nusser said lunch-and-learn events (Jan. 23 and Feb. 2) have been scheduled for faculty interested in the program. This year's ISU Research Day also will focus on interdisciplinary collaborations. Gregory Petsko, a biochemist who holds appointments at three institutions, will deliver the keynote address at the March 27 event.

During her report, Nusser said her office is working to improve the pre-award processes, a common "pain point" for researchers. The quality and quantity of facilities -- especially greenhouses and animal facilities -- also are being examined.

Title IX update

Associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince spoke about Title IX issues, including discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment. She said all ISU employees are responsible for reporting misconduct -- with or without firsthand knowledge -- to the equal opportunity office.

"It's important to create a culture here at Iowa State where all of us can do our best work and be successful," she said. "We can do this by acting civilly and abiding by Title IX."

Other business

Senators unanimously approved two new academic programs:

  • A master's degree in real estate development -- an interdisciplinary program that draws from five departments in the colleges of Business and Design. The degree, aimed at working professionals, includes 33 hours of online and on-campus courses.
  • A doctoral degree in population sciences in animal health, offered by the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department. The degree is designed for individuals (not just veterinarians) who respond to issues in animal populations such as livestock and poultry.

Senators also approved three other motions:

  • Course catalog updates, giving instructors and departments an administrative option to drop students from courses if they don't meet the prerequisites
  • Revised eligibility requirements -- a minimum 2.0 grade point average after one semester, rather than one year -- for students returning after a minimum five-year absence
  • Change to the major sanction process, removing a state-level review that already is included in the Administrative Procedure Act from ISU's outline of internal and peer-review procedures

Jonathan Sturm, a professor of music who served as senate president in 2016-17, won a runoff in a three-person field to become the next president-elect. He will take office in May, when current president Tim Day (biomedical sciences) passes the gavel to Peter Martin (human development and family studies).

Leptien named learning communities director

Jennifer Leptien, interim director of learning communities, was named director, effective Jan. 12.

Leption was appointed interim when former director Doug Gruenwald retired in August 2016. Before her interim role, she was the program coordinator for learning communities and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. In both roles, she developed and coordinated much of the programming that has enhanced the university's learning communities initiative over the past 12 years.  

"We are so pleased that Jen is permanently taking on the role as director," said associate vice president for enrollment and student success Laura Doering. "Not only does she have a stellar reputation for her work here at Iowa State, but she is also recognized nationally for her dedication, persistence, knowledge of best practices and leadership in learning communities."

The position reports to the associate vice president for enrollment and student success and provides university-wide leadership and administration for learning communities initiatives. As director, Leptien is responsible for managing the learning communities strategic planning and priorities, program budget, staffing, assessment, marketing and promotion, and polices and process.

"Serving as director of a nationally ranked learning communities program is both a great honor and opportunity," Leptien said. "My predecessors established a highly successful program so now it is my charge to continue to build upon that success as we move forward."

Leptien earned both her master's degree in family and consumer sciences (gerontology) and her doctoral degree in human development and family studies from Iowa State.

Language inventor, entertainment engineer are included in spring lectures


Grant Imhara, formerly of "Mythbusters," will speak on campus Feb. 22. Contributed photo.

Faculty and staff who wish to learn about new and diverse topics will have no shortage of opportunities this spring. From creating new languages to understanding U.S. foreign policy, the spring lectures program offers an array of subject matter. A complete list is available online and updated regularly. All lectures are free and open to the public.

"The Art of Language Invention," David Peterson

Feb. 12 (8 p.m., Memorial Union, Great Hall)

A trained linguist, Peterson has been creating languages since 2000. He developed the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO's "Game of Thrones" and the Dark Elves' Shiväisith language for Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World." He was the alien language and culture consultant for the Syfy series "Defiance" and was a language creator for CW's "Star-Crossed" and Syfy's "Dominion." Peterson will give an overview of language creation, share stories about how he built these languages and discuss the tools necessary to invent new languages.

"Coal, Climate and Environmental Backlash," Nick Mullins

Feb. 19 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Mullins, an energy transition advocate and author of The Thoughtful Coal Miner blog, is a former fifth-generation coal miner from Appalachia who seeks to better educate people about the jobs vs. environment dichotomy in Appalachia. He hopes to inspire deeper conversations on the relationships between activists, corporate interests and rural working-class communities, helping to shed light on the political motivations of mining communities. Mullins' presentation will examine community reactions to both environmental activism against surface mining and the coal industry's response through public relations campaigns and the "War on Coal" rhetoric.

This is the University Symposium on Sustainability keynote address. A poster display and reception will be held prior to the lecture (7-8 p.m., MU South Ballroom).

"From 'Mythbusters' to 'White Rabbit Project:' Engineering Entertainment," Grant Imahara

Feb. 22 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Formerly on Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters," Imahara stars on the Netflix series "The White Rabbit," a show about weird science and unusual technology. He is a former animatronics engineer and model maker for George Lucas' special effects shop, where he worked on several movies, including "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace," and "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." Imahara earned an electrical engineering degree from the University of Southern California.

"Bad Feminist," Roxane Gay

April 5 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

An author and cultural critic, Gay's collection of essays -- "Bad Feminist" -- is considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. Her recent book, "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body," reflects her struggles with weight, trauma and self-image. She also has written a novel, "An Untamed State," and a collection of short stories, "Difficult Women." Gay is the first black woman to write for Marvel Comics.

"Damned Lies and Statistics," Joel Best

April 11 (6 p.m., MU Sun Room)

Best, professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, Newark, is the author of 20 books, including "Damned Lies and Statistics," "More Damned Lies and Statistics" and "Stat-Spotting," which taught readers to become critical consumers of quantitative information and debunked the use of statistical claims. His two most recent books, "The Stupidity Epidemic" and "Everyone's a Winner," examine warnings about education and school quality, and the proliferation of awards and honors in today's America.

"Where is U.S. Foreign Policy Headed?" Stephen Walt

April 19 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Walt is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and co-chair of the editorial board of MIT Press' International Security journal. He has authored several books, including "The Origins of Alliances," "Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy" and "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." Currently, he is writing a book about why U.S. foreign policy continues to fail.