Cardinal and gold in the rotunda

Extension leaders visit with state senator in the capitol rotund

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Pictured, from left, assistant vice president for county services Bob Dodds and director of advancement Jacy Johnson, ISU Extension and Outreach, visit with Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink of Fort Dodge during the annual Iowa State University Day at the State Capitol Feb. 26. Twenty-nine university units -- colleges, departments, centers -- participated in this year's event, intended to familiarize legislators and their staff members with Iowa State contributions to the state and to ask for their help as they consider new legislation.

How will Workday change what you do?

Have you checked your vacation or sick leave balance? Purchased or ordered an item? Turned in travel expenses? Used a department/unit account number? How you do these tasks -- and many more -- is going to change with the implementation of the Workday platform.

Iowa State's WorkCyte team launched its "Ready, Set, Learn" initiative this month to help Iowa State employees and managers with the transition to Workday and other university-wide systems. All employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with Workday basics before formal training begins.

"Workday will modernize the way our processes work at ISU. This will impact everyone on campus in some way," said Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer.

Start learning now

Constant recommends starting sooner rather than later.

"The learning starts now -- what's different, what’s better, and how our new processes will benefit the ISU community and prepare them for hands-on training," Constant said.

The learning materials include recorded workshops and short, animated instructional videos (dubbed "CyBytes") developed exclusively for Iowa State employees. Some materials are tailored for all employees, some for managers.

Workshops kicked off last semester and continue with in-person and online options, becoming targeted for specific responsibilities and tasks. The CyByte videos, produced by the WorkCyte team, offer brief segments to familiarize employees with the functions, terminology and navigation of Workday. A series focused on the Okta identity and access security platform also is available in Ready, Set, Learn. More topics are planned.

"The WorkCyte team is committed to ensuring we offer various modes of learning," Constant said. "CyByte videos get right to the point and provide the ability to capture screenshots or recordings from Workday and Okta."

Stay up to date

Training opportunities will be offered continuously in the coming weeks and months. Employees can learn about the latest developments and submit questions and feedback through the WorkCyte website.

Announcements and updates also are available on WorkCyte's social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram). Or, employees can contact the change liaison in their area.


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Regents wait on legislative budget process

State Board of Regents president Michael Richards announced Feb. 22 that board members are "actively studying" tuition increases under 4 percent for resident undergraduates next year. He reiterated that the board wants to approve rates for the 2018-19 academic year just once. His comments came during the board's regular meeting at the ISU Alumni Center.

The plan is to discuss tuition increases during the board's April meeting in Council Bluffs and vote on them in early June when it meets in Cedar Falls. Student regent Rachel Johnson asked that the tuition discussion include background information about the broader cost of attendance.

Richards also said the board is working on a five-year plan that would give some predictability to future tuition increases for students and their families. He said the board will roll out a plan in the fall that begins with the 2018-19 year, includes an increase range for each of the next four and becomes more specific as each year evolves.

"The absence of predictability of future tuition increases is one concern we've heard from so many groups," he said. "We want to come up with a plan that allows students and their families to know what tuition rates will be and what's projected for the next several years."

State funding

Acknowledging the three-legged stool for funding public higher education -- tuition, state appropriations and internal reallocations -- Richards said Iowa's regent universities "are doing their part" in the last decade, with $55 million in reallocations and $70 million saved by refinancing bond debt.

He noted that the regents' request for additional state operating support for the year that begins July 1 is all for financial aid for resident undergraduate students.

"The state of Iowa ranks last in the nation in need-based financial aid to public university students. This money will help keep college affordable for Iowans," he said.

Regarding the possibility of a cut this spring to the current budget, Richards said, "We don't like any reduction; no one would. But when finalized, we will work to minimize any impact to the campuses, particularly to the students."

Regent and former state senator (1997-2008) Larry McKibben had another solution: use cash reserves to balance the state budget.

"There’s absolutely no reason for a midyear budget cut. The state has tens of millions of dollars in a rainy day fund, but they want to make a $35 million cut midyear," McKibben said.

"It’s all about priorities, he said, "not about the price of corn and beans, as leaders in the Legislature are telling us."

McKibben, a tax attorney, said changes to the federal tax law also will mean more revenue for the state.

The facts, he said, are that since 1998, the state general fund budget has grown 67 percent ($2.2 billion), student enrollment system-wide has grown 21 percent and state funding for the regent universities has dropped 11.2 percent ($71.9 million).

"There's been no new support for public higher education for an entire generation. My generation, the baby boomers, has failed," he lamented.

Parking proposal

The board took a first look at proposed campus parking rates for next year. It will vote on the universities' proposals in April. Iowa State is proposing increases to all its permits as well as a 25-cent per hour increase (to $1) for parking meters and metered lots. Student permits would go up $2-$3 each (increases between 1.4 percent and 3.4 percent).

ISU employee parking permits

Permit type



Increase (%)





24-hour reserved




General staff*




















Memorial Union ramp**








    MU employee




    Fall/spring semester












*Includes residence hall and Ames Lab staff
**Managed by the MU, not ISU parking division

MBA clarification

The board approved the Ivy College of Business' proposal to differentiate by name its three Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programs, all with 30 core credits and 18 elective credits:

  • MBA (full-time, 24 months, on campus)
  • Professional MBA (online and downtown Des Moines evening courses, 30 months, targets employed professionals)
  • Executive MBA (21-month program, begins with one-week immersion on campus, online and Friday-Saturday classroom courses, one U.S. and one international study trip, some custom content in agriculture, food and biosciences, targets mid- and senior-level executives)

The clarification took effect immediately.

Residence system update

Assistant vice president for student affairs and residence director Pete Englin told board members that demand for on-campus housing has leveled off, in part because Iowa State has added about 1,500 beds to its permanent inventory (Geoffroy Hall and additional buildings at Frederiksen Court) and because of the explosion in private housing development in Ames created by the 40 percent enrollment climb in the last decade. At its peak, the residence system leased and managed nearly 1,400 off-campus spots; that will diminish to approximately 300 beds in Legacy Tower in campustown this fall.

Historically, about one-third of students have lived on campus and, with about 12,000 hall and apartment spots available, that still is the case, Englin said.

Student data that tracks grade point averages and retention rates show "we're the place you can be the most successful," so that's the message the residence department uses in response to private-sector marketing campaigns around fitness centers and natural stone countertops, Englin said.

"How we determine whether we're meeting our mission is how well we're helping students persist and graduate from Iowa State and love being Cyclones," he said.

Other plans Englin shared include:

  • A multi-year effort to reinvest in 17 residence halls (between 50 and 100 years old), including: replace windows and flooring, convert lighting to LED, remodel restrooms to meet students' privacy and security expectations
  • Dedicating one hall at the Towers for graduate students only this fall
  • Creating staff positions to replace expensive contracts for services such as fire suppression and boiler system certification, maintenance and repairs

Welch, Stanton intersections with Lincoln Way targeted for changes

Male students cross a Lincoln Way median

Iowa State students cross Lincoln Way at Stanton Avenue in numbers that rival "any other intersection in the corridor," according to traffic safety consultants. The intersection is one targeted for improvements. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Consultants assisting the city and university with a Lincoln Way traffic safety study recommend some physical changes to the arterial's intersections with Welch and Stanton avenues and timing alterations to the traffic signals throughout the corridor (Sheldon Avenue to University Boulevard) to reduce wait times.

During Feb. 27 presentations both on campus and to the Ames City Council, Bill Troe, a transportation planner with SRF Consulting, Omaha, said time is the top consideration in this assessment. To have an impact, no solution can add time to anyone's travel, he said.

SRF's recommendations are:

  • Shorten the cycles in the traffic signals at all intersections (Sheldon Avenue to University Boulevard) to reduce wait times for everyone using or crossing Lincoln Way (by about 20 percent for drivers and 15-20 percent for pedestrians). Speed limits would not change. City traffic engineer Damion Pregitzer said average speeds through the corridor actually are below the posted limit.
  • Shave off 90 feet of Lincoln Way median on either side of Welch Avenue to eliminate places for pedestrians to "perch" when they're crossing against a light. Paint the left turn lanes on Lincoln Way for clarity. Introduce a lead crossing time (4-8 seconds) for pedestrians before vehicles are allowed into the intersection (successfully implemented at University Boulevard's intersections with Sixth Street and Stange Road and the South Duff Avenue/South Fifth Street intersection). Troe said the delay could reduce pedestrian-vehicle accidents by 60 percent.
  • Install an accessible pedestrian crosswalk across Lincoln Way on the west side of the Stanton Avenue intersection, but do not add a traffic signal. Slightly extend the curb corners on the south side of Lincoln Way to make pedestrians more visible to drivers. Street lighting improvements may be needed to illuminate the crossing. On-street parking on the south side of Lincoln Way limits visibility for drivers entering the intersection from Stanton, but campustown parking already is in short supply and eliminating stalls might be contested.

The two intersections were targeted for improvements following data collection and analysis in phase 1 of the safety study. The Welch intersection has an elevated number of pedestrian-vehicle accidents and the Stanton intersection an elevated number of vehicle-to-vehicle accidents. Troe also noted that despite the absence of a crosswalk now, the volume of pedestrian crossings at Stanton "rivals any other intersection in the corridor."

If it works, repeat it

Troe said the proposals for Welch and Stanton, if effective, could be implemented at other similar intersections in the corridor in the future. He acknowledged the Stanton proposal is a minor improvement, but could have an impact because drivers know to yield to people in a crosswalk. SRF's alternative proposal for that intersection is to prevent pedestrian crossings by building a continuous Lincoln Way median with a center fence from Welch to Lynn. This option also would prevent left turns at the Stanton intersection.

"The city could come back to this option if the first one isn't enough," he noted.

Councilwoman and adjunct associate professor of English Gloria Betcher, who represents the campustown area, expressed some concern for the Stanton proposal.

"I don't want to give people the illusion they're safe there (Stanton crosswalk) if the traffic doesn't know what to do with them," she said. "I don't think we should be encouraging people to cross there."

Councilwoman Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen said an official crosswalk with curb cuts would make the intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. "People are going to cross there. I cross there. Everyone does it," she said.

The council directed Pregitzer to develop a budget for the Welch and Stanton proposals. SRF documents estimated $10,000-$15,000 per intersection. Pregitzer said the consultants provided a timing plan for the traffic signals. That change would only require staff time and could be implemented within a month, he said.

Education will be ongoing

Pregitzer told council members that educating pedestrians and influencing their behavior will remain a necessary and important piece of safety efforts. He noted the work of city and ISU police officers in promoting pedestrian and cyclist safety along the cororidor. Phase 1 data indicated a 35 percent compliance rate -- pedestrians who activated a walk light and waited for a walk signal. Shorter cycles in the traffic signals could improve compliance -- but pedestrians also have to be aware that changes were made in their favor, he said. Ideally, pedestrians would see a countdown to a walk light, similar to the current countdown to the end of a walk signal.


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ISU faculty and staff increasingly diverse, most among regent schools

The percentage of faculty and staff of color has increased in the past decade at Iowa State, which has the most diverse workforce of any of the state's three public universities.

That's according to statistics the regent institutions annually submit to the state Board of Regents showing how many workers in specific job categories are women and how many are racial or ethnic minorities. At its meeting last week, the board accepted without comments the diversity report and the annual human resources report, which includes detailed information about salary and benefits at the universities.

Ten years ago, minorities accounted for 19 percent of Iowa State's 1,606 faculty members -- including tenured, tenure-track and nontenured positions. Of the 1,857 faculty members as of Oct. 31, 2017, 25 percent were minorities. Minority faculty rates this fall were 22 percent at the University of Iowa and 15 percent at the University of Northern Iowa.

Iowa State was the only regent university, based on fall 2016 numbers included in the report, to have a higher percentage of minority tenured and tenure-track faculty than its peer group -- 10 other land-grant institutions the Board of Regents uses for comparison. 

Nineteen percent of Iowa State's 2,778 professional and scientific staff were minority this fall, up from 11 percent in 2007. This fall, 9 percent of P&S staff at Iowa and 10 percent at UNI were minority.

Among all 6,846 employees, 17 percent of Iowa State's workforce this fall was minority, compared to 13 percent at Iowa and 11 percent at UNI. In 2007, 11 percent of all ISU workers were minorities, with 9 percent at UNI and 8 percent at Iowa.

During the same time frame, Iowa State's proportion of female faculty rose from 35 percent to 40 percent. Iowa's overall faculty was 41 percent female this fall, while UNI's was 48 percent.

Salaries still trail peers

The new data regents received Feb. 22 also showed Iowa State faculty salaries still lag behind those of peer institutions and are among the lowest of the high-level research universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. 

Among the 11 peer universities, Iowa State's estimated average 2017-18 faculty salary of $106,700 -- an average across all ranks – was next to last. Among AAU universities, Iowa State ranked 55th out of 62. How faculty salaries stack up against peer schools is a long-standing concern.

As of June 30, 2017, the average salary for Iowa State's P&S staff was $63,434, compared to $68,101 at UNI and $70,688 at Iowa. Among merit staff, the average salary was $43,117 at Iowa State, $42,035 at Iowa and $46,539 at UNI. The report didn't compare staff salaries to any out-of-state institutions.

Iowa State employees

Primary occupational activity

Total workers

% minority

% female















Tenured and tenure-track faculty







Nontenure-track faculty







Professional and scientific staff







Secretarial and clerical staff







Technical and paraprofessional staff







Skilled crafts staff







Service and maintenance staff







All workers







Note: 2007 numbers are as of Sept. 30; 2017 numbers are as of Oct. 31
Source: 2018 annual diversity report, state Board of Regents

New training: Preventing sexual misconduct, discrimination

The university purchased a new online training program on preventing sexual misconduct and Title IX discrimination. All employees -- full-time, part-time and student employees, regardless of previous training -- must complete it on Iowa State's training website, Learn@ISU, by April 30.

Since 1972, Title IX has prohibited sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX is short -- just one sentence -- but Supreme Court decisions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it a broad scope that includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Title IX

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

Iowa State leaders have mandated the training. In a letter last week to the university community, President Wendy Wintersteen wrote, "We must commit to a culture of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and discrimination, and I expect 100 percent completion for our new training."

Assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity Margo Foreman, who also serves as the university's Title IX coordinator, noted that campuswide training is not just a federal mandate, but also a best practice.

"Like all issues related to diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity, Title IX compliance is the responsibility of all campus citizens," she said. "We want every campus member to have the education needed to understand their rights and responsibilities to support campus safety and a welcoming environment."

Pick one course

Coordinated by the office of equal opportunity, the new training is designed to ensure everyone understands and follows Iowa State's discrimination policies and procedures. There are two options: a two-hour course for supervisors and a one-hour course for non-supervising employees. Both can be completed in sections.

EO contracted with Everfi, the same company that produces the "AlcoholEDU" mandatory training for Iowa State students. Students will complete their own Title IX course in AccessPlus.

The employee course includes an explanation of the law and tips for recognizing discrimination and harassment as well as maintaining an inclusive and safe work environment. It provides instructions for reporting misconduct and advice on safe options for bystander interventions. In addition, the supervisor course includes recommendations for addressing inappropriate or abusive behavior before it creates a hostile environment and for reducing potential legal risks. It contains information about unconscious bias and microaggressions and their impact on the workplace.

Both courses share information about Iowa State resources and units.

Foreman said a top goal in developing the training was a user experience that is "approachable and impactful." She said the courses take into account a variety of learning styles.

Get started

To find your training course:

  • Log in to Learn@ISU
  • From the "My Menu" dropdown menu, click on "My Requirements"
  • Locate the EO training section
  • Launch "Title IX Training"

Foreman said the plan is that employees will complete a refresher course every two years.

Questions or technical difficulties with completing the training should be directed to Everfi's 24-hour online support center, where you can get help by phone or live chat, or contact Iowa State's Solution Center, 294-4000.

Individuals who need an accommodation to complete the online training should make a request to the equal opportunity office, 294-7612.

Campus climate survey results to come in May

Save the date: A summary of results from last fall's campus climate survey will be presented during two town hall-style meetings Wednesday, May 9. The survey evaluated perceptions of the living, learning and working environment at Iowa State.

"We wanted to share the results of the survey sooner rather than later," said Reg Stewart, vice president for diversity and inclusion. "This was the best date that worked without having to wait until next fall."

Sue Rankin and Dan Merson from the Rankin and Associates consulting firm that conducted the survey will provide an overview of the survey results during afternoon (1-2:30 p.m.) and evening (5:30-7 p.m.) presentations in the Memorial Union Gallery room. Both presentations also will be livestreamed.

"We want to make sure the presentations are livestreamed for people to access from anywhere," Stewart said.

A week prior to the presentations, a results summary will be available on the campus climate website. Stewart said that provides a chance to read the summary and bring questions for the consultants. The full report and presentation will be available on the campus climate website following the town hall meetings, and a copy will be in the library reserve room.

Response rates

In all, 7,326 submissions -- 17.1 percent of faculty, staff and students -- were analyzed. At least 30 percent of faculty and staff participated, but less than 9 percent of undergraduate and graduate students responded.

"We'll have to be careful about generalizing the student populations based on those response rates," Merson said.

Survey results will be used to address goal four of the university's strategic plan -- "continue to enhance and cultivate the ISU Experience where faculty, staff, students and visitors are safe and feel welcomed, supported, included and valued by the university and each other."


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CELT, library promote increased use of open educational resources

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), university library and office of the senior vice president and provost have launched a grant program to help faculty take advantage of open educational resources -- or OERs.

OERs are high-quality teaching, learning and research materials -- such as textbooks, lab books, videos and course modules -- that are free for students and faculty to use and repurpose. The new Miller Open Education Mini-Grants Program is open to instructors (faculty, graduate student teaching assistants, etc.) in all disciplines who want to incorporate these materials in their courses.

CELT associate director Holly Bender said the grants are designed to encourage instructor innovation in assigning new, less expensive materials to students and ultimately, lower the cost of attendance.

"Open-source textbook and other materials aren't appropriate in every case, but even a modest adoption could save most students $100 or more each year," Bender said.

Abbey Elder, a university librarian specializing in OER adoption, said many faculty already are using OERs in their courses. A few examples:

  • Cliff Bergman, math, adopted an open-source textbook for his course; the text is free online or available in print for a nominal price
  • Kathy Hilliard, history, uses a free, online and collaboratively built American history textbook
  • Steve Kawaler, physics and astronomy, adopted OpenStax -- which offers open textbooks in major introductory topics
  • Kelly Reddy-Best, apparel, events and hospitality management, creates YouTube videos to demonstrate methods, as an alternative to textbooks
  • Graduate student Chase Mayers uses an open-source mycology textbook for a course he co-teaches with Leonor Leandro in plant pathology and microbiology

A number of groups on campus are collaborating on this issue, including Student Government, Faculty Senate and the ISU Book Store. Iowa State also is in the process of joining the Open Textbook Network, which provides access to textbooks on a wide variety of topics as well as reviews from faculty who have used the books in their courses.

Learn more

To assist those interested in applying for a grant, the library and CELT are hosting a workshop, Miller Open Education Mini-Grants Q&A, on Monday, March 5 (12:10-1 p.m., 2030 Morrill). Participants should register via Learn@ISU.

For more information about the mini-grant program, contact Bender or Elder.

'Movement' inspires gardens

Orchid display in Reiman Gardens conservatory.

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The new year ushered in a new theme for Reiman Gardens, with "Movement" central to the displays and exhibits featured in 2018.

Reiman Gardens' Hughes Conservatory kicked off the theme year in January with an "Orchids in the Air" exhibit, on display through April 22. Suspended topiaries and mobiles add to the colorful array of orchid varieties that fill the conservatory.

Beginning in late April, visitors will find 12 sculptures scattered throughout the garden's 17 acres. The stainless-steel kinetic sculptures, created by Massachusetts-based sculptor and engineer George Sherwood, respond to weather, light and more to reflect the movement theme. The sculpture exhibit, "Wind, Waves and Light," will be on display April 28 through Nov. 3.

Other planned exhibits include:

  • More than 50,000 tulips, highlighting the plant's migration from Asia to the Netherlands (watch for an announcement of extended hours during the peak blooming period)
  • Plant displays, inspired by art movements, in the children's garden (impressionism), south patio (American abstract impressionism) and herb garden (abstract)
  • Art in the Garden Room Gallery, currently featuring oil paintings by Des Moines artist Michele Baggenstoss (March 22-June 19)
  • An interactive installation in the northeast corner of the grounds, "Forces of Nature," developed by architecture students

Additional exhibits will be announced on the Reiman Gardens website.

Daily admission to the gardens is free for members, ISU students and children 3 years and younger. General admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $4 for youth. Reiman Gardens is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with extended summer hours (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) beginning May 1.