Preparing to present

Male student pins large color printout to wall

Photo by Joseph Kastner.

Fifth-year architecture student Evan Giles (left) pins up his drawing prior to a review Monday in the College of Design. Giles participated in a four-day drawing masterclass (Feb. 9-12) with Neyran Turan, assistant professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Participants developed architectural solutions to cultural or political aspects of climate change in the future. Turan also gave a public lecture Friday evening as part of her campus visit.

Senate continues NTE discussion

Meeting coverage

With time set aside on the Feb. 13 Faculty Senate agenda, president Tim Day guided senators through a discussion to gather feedback about possible changes for nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty positions. The conversation focused on concepts the senate's executive board developed from recommendations in a 2017 senate task force report (PDF).

"These are things that have survived to the current thinking of the executive board -- working with the provost's office and the [department] chairs council -- to try to find a way to organize this in a way that makes more sense and, importantly, protects the interests and provides clarity to the appointments for our nontenure-eligible faculty," Day said.

The concepts include:

  • Establishing two faculty categories (tenure track and term)
  • Confirming the faculty status of term appointments (including academic freedom and shared governance)
  • Standardizing policies and procedures for appointments, contract renewals and advancement
  • Creating new titles for term faculty tracks

Day used a show of hands to gauge the general consensus on two proposed term titles (professor of practice and instructional or teaching professor), or a singular track that includes term assistant, term associate and term professor ranks. All three possibilities earned some support.

After more than 40 minutes of discussion, Day thanked senators and said the feedback would help the executive board "put something together that's a little bit better and a little bit more on point."

Innovation center update

Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez presented an overview of the Student Innovation Center, a 140,000-square-foot experiential learning building being constructed on the west side of campus. The $84 million facility is slated to open in spring 2020.

Rico-Gutierrez and Engineering dean Sara Rajala are co-chairing steering and agenda committees guiding the project -- for example, who will use the facility, what will happen there and how the building will be managed. Subcommittees are making decisions on academic programming, digital technology and fabrication technology.

Rico-Gutierrez also shared the project's vision for an inspiring and inclusive environment, and three guiding principles: collaboration, balance and sustainability.

"Innovation happens all over this campus," he said. "I like to think about the facility as a crossroads of innovation. Hopefully, people will find their way to the building, interact with others, come with new ideas and have the resources to get that done in the building."

Climate change commitment

A seven-member faculty group introduced a resolution on climate change (PDF), supporting a commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral university -- achieving a balance of carbon released into and sequestered/removed from the atmosphere. The task group, independently formed by faculty with a common interest in climate change and related issues, is chaired by James Tener, senior lecturer in music. Senators will vote on the resolution at their March 20 meeting.

The resolution acknowledges the work already being done on campus but outlines eight action items for the university to further pursue. Sarah Ryan, the Joseph Walkup Professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and member of the task group, said looming budget cuts should not put the recommended efforts on hold.

"We have some urgent issues, but I would urge us not to apply short-term thinking to long-term problems," she said.

Faculty, staff discuss steps to support inclusion

At a Feb. 5 symposium on closing Iowa State's racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps, groups of faculty and staff discussed how to improve support for underrepresented students. Some highlights of issues they touched upon:

Establishing scope

Inclusive classroom training

Faculty and teaching staff interested in making their classrooms more inclusive can check out the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching's (CELT) website on the topic. Since fall 2016, CELT has been holding monthly workshops and group dialogues on inclusive teaching. More than 900 people have taken the workshop, said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs and former CELT director.

Data can be key. In the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, for instance, graduating seniors take an exit survey that recently added questions about students' experiences. That information helped convince faculty in the department that inclusion was a priority concern, said Amy Kaleita-Forbes, the department's associate chair for teaching.

"That was a very powerful thing to personalize it in that way. It really improves the buy-in," said Kaleita-Forbes, an associate professor.

Denise Williams-Klotz, assistant director of multicultural student affairs, compared the importance of data in informing student success approaches to how her 18-month-old son answers questions he can't answer by saying "puppy."

"I think in higher ed we have a few too many 'puppy' moments," Williams-Klotz said.

Valuing voices

Listening is essential, too. Rosie Perez, assistant professor in the School of Education, said as a qualitative researcher she considers every student story to be data.

"What I've come to realize is we're not using what we know, what we hear. We rely really heavily on some formalized data that often allows us to ignore, dismiss other inputs we've been hearing," Perez said.

Howard Tyler, assistant dean for student services in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said feedback from students sometimes misses the boat because of who's solicited to speak.

"We need to ask the ones who have struggled the most. I think we tend to bring in student government leaders and club leaders and students that are rock stars in our current culture and ask them how to improve our programs when they really don't know because they've done outstanding in our programs as they are," Tyler said.

Voicing values

Instructors should stress the significance of diversity and inclusion not just in a syllabus but in all student interactions, said Cameron Campbell, senior associate Design dean.

"I don't know if you can over-message this -- how powerful and how valuable it is to bring absolutely contrary perspectives to the work you do," Campbell said.

When discriminatory patterns emerge in the classroom, they should be identified and discussed, Perez said. She gave an example of two students of color who were the only members of a class not selected for a team during a small-group exercise. She asked the white students to explain the situation.

"They had to name what happened," she said.

Seating arrangements and team selections often can end up self-segregating, so several faculty panelists described how they force more diverse groupings. Tyler said he rotates who sits by who every week, which students detest at first but come to appreciate.

A 'checked box?'

Though none suggested dropping Iowa State's requirement for undergraduates to complete a U.S. diversity course, faculty panelists were concerned about the signal it sends.

"I think there's a danger if we make it a single-class component that's just in one place," Campbell said. 

"Having those requirements at all detracts from the process because now we look at this as a checked box," Tyler said. "It makes us feel good to check that box."

The diversity curriculum is being studied for possible changes, an initiative that includes mini-grants for developing new courses. Perez said the criteria for what counts for diversity credit should be tightened, and the requirement -- which has been in place since 1996 -- should be framed as a starting point for deeper engagement.

Beyond the usual suspects

Referring to the climate underrepresented students face at Iowa State, Perez said: "I think the question is, 'When are we going to stop being surprised?'" She said changing that climate will take continual dialogue. "The idea that we can only do it in one space or periodically is where we tend to struggle because it becomes a patch fix for something that's a gaping hole."

But not everyone see inclusion as a priority, said Kabongwe Gwebu, international student support adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "That's a challenge," he said.

Kaleita-Forbes said the senior surveys in her department were troubling in part due to comments about diversity and inclusion made by some white students. "I mean, it was sickening," she said.

One strategy to try to reach those students is tapping the expertise of the department's external advisory council of industry leaders, she said.

"They had a lot of programming in place and a lot of insights already that we were able to leverage. That's been a great talking point to students: Look, this is a professional skill that you have to develop because there are expectations about your ability to work with other people in the workplace once you leave here," Kaleita-Forbes said.

Workday implementation schedule to be announced by March

It's been more than a year since the Workday team stepped on campus, and hundreds of employees have contributed during Iowa State's transition to the enterprise software system targeted for the latter half of 2018. By March, a go-live schedule will be determined for the new financial, human capital and payroll management software chosen to replace ISU's legacy systems.

"I have asked the implementation team to revisit the current go-live schedule and propose alternatives that will allow ISU to implement Workday to the highest quality standards in a timely, cost-effective and sustainable manner," President Wendy Wintersteen said at the Jan. 31 president's council meeting.

Building a solid base

Since the selection of Workday was announced in December 2016, WorkCyte teams have been gathering information and feedback to configure the cloud-based software system to Iowa State's needs. That work included:

  • Conducting more than 110 initial sessions with campus groups to collect input for the enterprise system's design
  • Conducting more than 90 sessions with hundreds of campus stakeholders to review and confirm the proposed system design
  • Creating a base design (foundational data model) to build upon, with outreach to top fiscal personnel for input
  • Collecting supervisory organization roles to determine reporting lines and update employee data
  • Compiling an inventory of more than 100 systems and programs to integrate with or connect to Workday software
  • Launching a campus-wide "change network" of employees to inform and prepare personnel for implementation

Wintersteen acknowledged the extra work many ISU employees have taken on during the design process. For some, that work will continue through the upcoming testing and implementation phases.

"Building on the work already being done, the change management team will continue to engage with faculty, staff and students with continuous communication, readiness and training activities," she said.

Kristen Constant, who stepped in as interim vice president and chief information officer on Dec. 1, 2017, also moved into the role of WorkCyte's executive program sponsor. She echoed Wintersteen's appreciation for the work being done.

"We are grateful for the work that ISU personnel have put into this project," Constant said. "They have performed above and beyond their daily job duties to ensure a successful implementation that will benefit their peers and those who follow in their footsteps. I am committed to full transparency through multiple avenues of communications."

Workday's student information software will be developed after the financial, human capital and payroll systems are in place. Wintersteen said budget challenges continue to be a concern, but the Workday team is keeping its eyes on the prize -- a more effective and efficient way for the university to work.

"We are confident that once fully implemented, Workday will enable employees to contribute more effectively to advancing Iowa State’s mission and, hopefully, make aspects of their professions easier and more enjoyable," Wintersteen said. "I want to thank everyone involved for the tremendous amount of time, energy and effort that already have been put into this project. Campus-wide support and engagement is critical to the success of this important endeavor."

Parking, student housing proposals are on regents agenda; tuition is not

Employee parking prices would increase about 3 percent on July 1 and fines for parking violations also would go up under a proposal going to the state Board of Regents next week when the group gathers in Ames. Committees will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and the full board will meet Thursday, all at the Alumni Center. The agenda is online, and an audio livestream of all open sessions will be available on the board's website.

Wednesday morning will begin with board members touring the biosciences Advanced Teaching and Research Building, which is set to open next month. About 57 percent of the combined $88 million budget for ATRB and Bessey Hall addition is covered by state appropriations over four years (2016-19).

Parking permits

As proposed, a general staff permit would go up $5 (to $175), a reserved permit would go up $17 (to $550) and a 24-hour reserved permit $28 (to $950). Departmental permits would go up a proposed $30 (18 percent), to $200, and vendor permits would go up $90 (43 percent), to $300. Employee motorcycle permits would increase $2, to $60.

Permit prices for the current year are unchanged from last year.

The regent universities are requesting changes to the Iowa Administrative Code to:

  • Require a valid state Department of Transportation disability permit in order to receive campus parking privileges in stalls designated for drivers with disabilities. The intent is to cut down on illegal parking in those designated spots.
  • Increase the fines universities may impose for five types of parking violations, including a $20 increase (to $50) for parking without a permit in a reserved space, $10 increase for illegal parking (to $50) and improper parking ($25), and a $5 increase for overtime meter parking or failure to purchase an hourly parking receipt (to $15 each).

Two proposed changes to campus parking rules would:

  • Allow students and graduate assistants living in Ames to purchase permits for lots designated for commuter students. Currently, they're not eligible for campus permits.
  • Allow campus visitors to return just one parking violation ticket in a lifetime (except for illegal parking or disability parking violation), without paying a fine. Currently, the "free" number is three.

Permits in the Memorial Union ramp, which is managed by the MU, not the parking division, would go up a proposed $5 for a summer permit (to $197) and $12 for an annual permit ($558). Fall, winter or spring permits would go up $6, to either $238 or $244.

The MU proposes to raise the illegal exit fine another $20, to $140.

The board is scheduled to approve parking rates in April.

Tuition discussion delayed again

Due to uncertainty about state funding levels, university tuition proposals for next year are not on the February agenda, as had been anticipated. The board will take a first look at tuition proposals at the April meeting, with approval scheduled for June.

Housing, dining increases

The residence department proposes to raise residence hall rates 2.9 percent and apartment rates 1.9 percent next year. The board will vote in April on the proposed increases.

In dollars, the increases vary from $119 to $254 for the year, depending on the hall and room style. Apartment increases would vary from $89 to $160 for the year.

The residence department's lease and management of off-campus apartments will be reduced to just the Legacy Towers (298 beds) in campustown this fall. It will not be managing apartments in southwest Ames. For the first time in eight years, demand for ISU-owned housing is projected to decrease slightly, yet remain near capacity (more than 99 percent).

ISU Dining proposes to raise student meal plan rates 1 to 2 percent next year, with no adjustments planned for Dining Dollars or Flex Meal options. The "door" rate at dining centers would go up 50 cents as proposed, to $10 for breakfast and $13 for lunch and dinner.

As a reference point, a double room in an unairconditioned hall with the gold meal plan (215 meals and 200 Dining Dollars) would cost $203 more next year than this year, or $8,720.

Athletics projects

The athletics department will seek permission to begin planning up to $80 million in new construction and improvements to facilities adjacent to the football stadium. The proposal features four main components:

  • Build a new academic performance and sports nutrition center, to more than double the student-athlete academic space at the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center (shared with the Dean of Students office).
  • Demolish the Olsen Building
  • Renovate parts of and build an addition to the Bergstrom football facility to house some functions currently in Olsen
  • Redevelop the north entrance to the football stadium, including gates, ramps and hillside and marching band seating

Poultry farm modernization

Iowa State will bring a project description and budget to the board's property and facilities committee for a replacement plan at the university's poultry farm on south State Avenue. The proposal is to demolish all nine buildings at the farm, which date back to the 1960s, and in a phased process, replace them with six state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research. In addition to addressing biosecurity and isolation needs, the new buildings will allow research teams to compete for federal funding and expand the egg and turkey industry contributions to the state economy. Private gifts would pay for the $5 million project. Construction could begin in August and last about a year.

MBA differentiation

The Ivy College of Business will seek board permission to differentiate three master of business administration degree options by name:

  • MBA (full-time, two years, on campus)
  • Professional MBA (online and downtown Des Moines evening courses, targets employed professionals)
  • Executive MBA (online and Friday-Saturday classroom courses, one-week immersion on campus, two U.S. and international study trips, some custom content in agriculture, food and biosciences, targets mid- and senior-career executives)

Employees honored

Iowa State recipients of the regents awards for faculty and staff excellence will be recognized at lunch Thursday.

Brunnier Art Museum may get a new look


Artist rendering of the proposed entrance to the Brunnier Art Museum. Contributed photo.

Aside from its growing art collection, little has changed about the Brunnier Art Museum's physical attributes since the doors first opened in 1975. But a proposal is in the works to remodel the museum entrance on the top floor of the Scheman Building, expand the exhibition space and retrofit the permanent collection storage area -- called the vault -- with space-saving mobile shelving for sculptures and paintings.

"The real reason we're doing this is to provide better access to the permanent collection -- both physically and intellectually -- for our students, faculty and visitors," said Lynette Pohlman, director of University Museums.

Pohlman said faculty regularly request works of art be pulled from the permanent collection for class instruction. The process is labor-intensive and requires several hours of staff time. The proposed remodel will provide quicker access to stored artwork.

"The storage area currently has 900 square feet, and that will not change," Pohlman said. "But by incorporating compact, mobile storage, we will increase our space efficiencies."

Visitors are not allowed into the vault, but they will appreciate the museum's proposed open, glass-paned entrance.

"It will be obvious where the museum is," Pohlman said.

If approved, the new entry will add approximately 1,400 square feet of exhibition space to the front of the museum. Pohlman estimates an additional 250 to 300 works of art from the permanent collection can be exhibited annually following the remodel.


The project still is in the design stage, which Pohlman said should wrap up in March. If approved by university administration, the design's construction phase would begin immediately with completion between September and January 2019. Timing depends on what workers find once walls start coming down, Pohlman said.


The remodel would be funded through private donations. Fundraising efforts have been underway for some time and will continue until expenses are covered. While numbers have yet to be finalized, Pohlman believes the total bill will exceed $1 million. Those who wish to contribute to the project may contact Pohlman, 294-6966, or the Iowa State University Foundation, 866-419-6768.

Visit other campus museums

The Brunnier Art Museum is closed now until the remodeling project is approved and/or completed. In the meantime, Pohlman urges faculty to continue to contact University Museums for help with their classes. Iowa State's other museums remain open.

"While the Brunnier is closed, I encourage everyone to visit other museums on campus and continue to explore the cultural legacy our campus offers," she said. 

Go green at 9th annual sustainability symposium

Nick Mullins, author of "The Thoughtful Coal Miner" blog, will headline this year's Symposium on Sustainability with a Feb. 19 lecture in the Memorial Union Great Hall (8 p.m.). His talk, "Coal, Climate and Environmental Backlash," and a poster session (6:30-8 p.m., MU South Ballroom) kick off a two-day showcase of sustainability initiatives. All events are free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, "Sustainapalooza: Let's be SustainABLE" takes over the MU Great Hall and ballrooms from 5 to 8 p.m. "Green it Yourself" learning exhibits, student organization displays, a clothing swap and local-sourced refreshments are part of the planned activities. The sustainability poster session will run concurrently in the MU Sun Room, followed by an awards presentation for excellence in sustainability. The Live Green awards recognize campus sustainability efforts through awareness and initiatives in teaching, research, outreach or operations. 

The Symposium on Sustainability also is showing a documentary film on Monday, Feb. 26 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall). "The Age of Consequences" explores how the results of climate change -- such as food and water shortages -- lead to global instability and conflict.