In case you hadn't noticed

Diggers sit on a dirt Welch Road

Welch Road currently is closed between Lincoln Way and the north driveway to the Friley loading dock (pictured at left). Also visible in the background are the Enrollment Services Center and Carver Hall. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

As promised, sections of both Welch Road (pictured) and Bissel Road closed during spring break. In increments this summer and next, three large projects involving chilled water pipe additions, storm sewer pipe additions and road replacement will be completed. Both roads will reopen to through traffic in time for back-to-school in August.

Wickert to senate: State cuts affect resident students

During his remarks at the March 20 Faculty Senate meeting, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert discussed the impact of an expected $11 million reversion of state appropriations for higher education. He said the Iowa Legislature seemed to be in agreement on the amount of the cut to the state Board of Regents for the current fiscal year.

"This is bad news," Wickert said. "Bad news is even worse because it's coming with only about three months left in the fiscal year to have to come up with this reversion amount.

"We don't have specific numbers yet on what this will mean for Iowa State University. It appears as though this may be a cut that would exempt the University of Northern Iowa."

Wickert said there is no word yet on funding for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"Certainly, our position and our conversations with elected officials -- a high priority of the president -- is to make the case that these cuts should not become permanent and should not be included in the FY19 budget," Wickert said.

"We have 19,800 Iowa resident students here at Iowa State University. That's about 1,700 more than the University of Iowa and about 9,000 more than the University of Northern Iowa," he said. "As we continue to talk about the impact of state budget decisions on the university, I think we need to keep making the case that we have more resident students here at Iowa State University, and cuts made to this university disproportionately affect resident Iowans who want to get an education at the regent universities."

Cyber security leader

In other senate business, a proposed bachelor's degree in cyber security engineering was introduced, one of the first nationally for a new area of study accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

"This is building on the strength that the electrical and computer engineering department already has in this area and is an exciting opportunity for us to have a degree program at the forefront and become a leader in this new degree program," said Tim Bigelow, chair of the academic affairs council.

The academic affairs council introduced two other proposed programs:

Senators will vote on all three at their April 3 meeting.

Progress on NTE proposals

The senate's work on policy revisions for nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty continued, with discussion set aside for the proposed changes. Calling for the submission of amendments and changes prior to the next meeting, Day said the process -- which started with a senate task force in 2016 and moved to the executive board in 2017 -- could soon result in a new policy.

"I know there's a chance we're going to kind of fatigue on this and we feel like we've heard this before, but we can see the finish line," Day said.

He said the proposed changes address what NTE faculty indicated was most important when surveyed by the task force. However, determining specific titles for NTE -- or "term" -- faculty was a challenge.

"We found it really hard to reconcile and get to this simplification of [NTE] titles that many of us desire," Day said. "This [proposal] unifies the processes for appointment, evaluation and advancement. In fact, all faculty are either in a tenure/tenure-stream bucket or in the term bucket. In those two worlds, there is a uniformity of appointment processes, evaluation processes and reappointment/advancement processes.

Student-athlete update

Day, who also serves as ISU's faculty athletics representative, presented his annual report to the senate. As has been the trend for several years, the grade point average for student-athletes and the general student body were equitable. The student-athlete GPA has exceeded the student body GPA in the last four semesters, including a 3.1-to-3.03 edge in spring 2017 and a 3.05-to-3.01 margin last fall.

Day also shared information on the economic impact athletics makes at ISU. In FY17, Iowa State received more than $24.8 million from the athletics department, including payment for campus services, fees and student-athlete tuition.

"It's a reminder that even though the athletics budget does seem to continue to grow, it's not without positive impact on us here at the university," Day said.

The athletics department also announced this week that it will contribute $1 million for degree completion grants. The funds, available through the financial aid office, are available to all students and intended to cover delinquent costs/fees that may keep upperclassmen from being able to enroll and complete a degree.

"The initiative was designed with input from the Faculty Senate, Student Government and the [financial] aid office," Day said. "We have students who are juniors or seniors and have a few thousand dollars on their U-bill that they can't pay. They can't enroll, and it ends up stopping their ability to complete their degree."

Other business

  • Senators unanimously approved a resolution on climate change, supporting a commitment toward carbon-neutrality
  • Proposed revisions of the Faculty Handbook were introduced: Adding parameters for interim actions needed before a formal faculty misconduct complaint is filed (section; and updating and moving the definition for working days to chapter two (currently section
  • Erin Wilgenbusch, senior lecturer in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, was elected to serve another term on the athletics council, running unopposed
  • Michael Belding, university relations legislative affairs chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, said the group planned its annual research conference and a series of wellness events as part of the national graduate student appreciation week, April 9-13

New P&S pay and classification system may wait for Workday

Revamped classification and pay structures for professional and scientific staff, the result of an in-depth review that began last summer, might not be implemented until Workday is active in mid-2019.

Though the rollout date isn't certain yet, the new market-based system for P&S staff may come online in concert with the Workday enterprise software system, Emma Mallarino Houghton, compensation and classification director, said last week. Workday's human capital management, financial and payroll platforms are expected to go live July 1, 2019, the implementation team announced earlier this month.

It's still possible that the new system created by the classification/compensation review will be introduced as early as October, as initially planned, Mallarino Houghton said at a seminar hosted by the P&S Council. But given the training requirements for the new structures and their potential integration with Workday, it makes sense to marry the rollouts, she said.

Learn more 

University human resources has a website devoted to the review project. There's a form on the site for submitting questions. The P&S Council seminars held on the review project in October and last week are available on Learn@ISU.

The review began in June when P&S employees were asked to describe their job duties as well as the experience and education their positions should require -- an assessment about 75 percent of workers completed. The project team, working with Aon Consulting, is using information from those surveys and follow-up inquiries to create job classifications organized in families of similar occupations. The goal is for the classification of a position to encompass at least 70 percent of the job's actual duties and requirements, Mallarino Houghton said.

There are more than 460 current classifications for P&S positions, and they haven't been systematically reviewed since 1993, Mallarino Houghton said in a previous update on the review process last fall. There were about 3,100 P&S workers at Iowa State as of the October 2017 payroll, according to university data, nearly equal to the combined number of faculty and merit staff.

Market pricing

The reclassification process won't cause major changes to organizational charts, but it will make promotion paths clearer and salaries more objective, she said. Position classifications will be tied to benchmark jobs, both in the private sector and at universities the size of Iowa State, to establish market-value salary ranges. Using that market pricing, classifications will be slotted into salary grades that track closely with what other companies and institutions actually pay employees.

Consider the program coordinator II classification, which can include jobs as varied as human resources, physical therapy and IT, Mallarino Houghton said. Those fields have widely different markets but are lumped together on the existing salary matrix.

"You should be able to look at the pay grade and trust that's your market," she said.

Here are a few other highlights from Mallarino Houghton's March 13 presentation:

Will my pay change?

If it does, it won't happen quickly. The new structure will be a valuable tool for supervisors in the future, but the money devoted to salaries is subject to budget considerations and administrative priorities. Likewise, Mallarino Houghton said she doesn't know if some workers could see cuts, though that is typically a rare outcome in a classification/compensation review.  

"Upon implementation of this project, it's not a windfall of cash. Where you are is where you are. If the pay grade moved, and now you're high or low, it is what it is. It's a rectification over time," Mallarino Houghton said.

It's possible that employees whose salaries fall below the minimum for their positions once the new pay grades are set could be brought up to the minimum immediately, but it depends on the budget, she said. When the University of Iowa moved to market-based P&S pay about eight years ago, it needed to spread out those increases over three years, she said.

How are you comparing me?

Some high-level jobs are being benchmarked on a national basis, but most of them will be compared to regional and local employers. Despite the "hodge-podge nature" of some P&S positions, the project team has been able to find benchmarks for all jobs so far, Mallarino Houghton said. In some instances, they have consulted with supervisors and colleagues at Iowa for additional input.

Specifics of the comparisons won't be released, she said, noting that benchmarking is "an art."

"It's a process where you can get too many cooks," she said. "We'd be evaluating benchmarks for years on end."

Why is market-based pay better?

One of the benefits is the equity it can deliver. Hiring managers working with a market pay system shouldn't have to ask a job candidate what they currently earn, Mallarino Houghton said. Especially for women and people of color, a history of lower salaries can be an impediment to fair pay, she said.

"What we should be evaluating is the years of experience, the education and what that person brings to the table," she said.

For the same reason, she said a market-based approach may mean eliminating the "first third" policy, which requires special approval for hiring a new employee at a salary that pays more than the lowest one-third of the pay range for their classification -- a policy Mallarino Houghton believes hurts recruitment and retention.

Benchmarking to the market also allows for regular and accurate updates to pay ranges, she said.

Budget oversight moves to finance division, builds in collaboration

Oversight for the university's operating budget has moved from the president's office, where it had been since 2012, to the office of the senior vice president for finance. In February, interim senior vice president Pam Cain appointed a six-member institutional budget management (IBM) team to lead the budget process. This spring, that assignment includes:

  • Adjusting the current year's budget in response to a state funding reduction of $10.9 million, to be shared by Iowa State and the University of Iowa
  • Developing the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1
  • Proposing changes to the 10-year-old resource management model

Institutional Budget Management team

  • Scott Holloway, finance
  • Tammy Michel, president's office
  • Ellen Rasmussen, finance
  • Ellen Reints, academic affairs
  • Pat Strah, university services
  • Bonnie Whalen, student affairs

IBM team members meet several times a week and represent all five divisions: academic affairs, student affairs, finance, university services and the president's office.

Cain said an open and collaborative budget-building process will rely on input from all corners of campus and routinely share information with a broad audience. She will use budget memos authored by her and senior vice presidents Martino Harmon (student affairs) and Jonathan Wickert (academic affairs) to communicate with campus leaders, including the Faculty Senate and Professional and Scientific Council.

More people involved

In addition to discussions with top-level leaders across campus, Cain said the IBM group will work regularly with the student affairs division's enrollment research team to better use enrollment projections to estimate tuition revenue. It also will turn to a group she calls operations and finance colleagues -- 29 professionals whose jobs include budget responsibility. They work in all the colleges and divisions, Ames Laboratory, athletics and extension. Cain said they'll be consulted on topics as varied as budgets, policies or Workday.

"We identified people in the right places to inform the process," Cain said. "Everyone is stepping up, which is just great."

Ultimately, anyone at the university can provide ideas or suggestions through an email address,, which goes to IBM members. Questions and ideas are welcome, Cain said.

"We really want input from all over campus. We're looking for a very collaborative process."

President's message

President Wendy Wintersteen's update to the university community on this week's FY18 state funding cut.

Simple, predictable

Cain said her top goals are to create a budget that reflects Iowa State's strategic goals and prioritizes productivity, innovation and excellence. She also wants to streamline what has become an unwieldy process and make it more understandable for all. For example, the IBM team would like to simplify the formula that allocates tuition dollars among the colleges and departments. With tuition now making up 70 percent of revenues in the general fund operating budget, it's important. It's also a complex but imperfect process, Cain said.

Bigger picture

Of Iowa State's $1.5 billion total budget this year, about 43 percent of it -- $653 million -- is set under the budget model, Cain said. The other $847 million is in restricted budgets, either due to directed state funding or because it's in an auxiliary unit such as residence, athletics, recreation services or the bookstore.

And Cain noted the $653 million operating budget has little flexibility, with 61 percent of it committed to salaries and benefits, 18 percent going to student financial aid and another 5 percent paying for utilities. That leaves 16 percent for "everything else," she said.

One of the ideas the IBM team is studying is an "all funds" approach to budgeting to better understand all revenue sources -- not just the general fund -- and whether efficiencies are possible. A decision on that option hasn't been reached yet.



Applying for scholarships to get easier for undergraduates

Iowa State undergraduate students soon will have a one-stop shop to seek university scholarships, starting with applications for the 2019-20 school year.

With the new OneApp system, students will submit a single simplified online application. The student financial aid office, colleges, departments and units can use those applications to select recipients for the thousands of scholarships they administer.

Centralized intake should streamline a process that previously required students to fill out multiple, redundant applications to seek all possible Iowa State scholarships, said Ann Wessman, program manager in the student financial aid office, which is overseeing the new application portal.

Navigating separate applications based on the unit, college or individual department has been difficult for students -- especially incoming freshman -- and confusing at times even for financial aid staff, Wessman said.

"For years, we've known this was a problem. We hear it from our students," she said. "We hear it from the colleges, too: 'Where do we point students?'"

Simpler process

OneApp makes filling out the lone application easier, too. Students aren't asked to provide relevant information Iowa State already has, such as grade point averages, demographics, hometowns and financial need. The software imports that data automatically.

"We need them to tell us about things we don't know," she said, including short answers to a variety of questions to determine eligibility for certain awards.

After submitting their basic information, students may receive suggestions to apply for scholarships that require additional follow-up, such as an essay. If new scholarships are added after the apply, students will be notified of additional opportunities.

Wessman said OneApp is more intuitive than the existing application software and, in another new feature, allows students to return to their applications to make corrections and edits. It also offers more options for notifying students about their awards and donor communications, she said.

Pilot project

In a trial run, current students and incoming transfers used OneApp this spring to apply for scholarships from the student financial aid office and the College of Engineering. The feedback has been positive. Staff previously were inundated by calls and emails from students who needed help with their applications, but those questions essentially disappeared, she said.

Engineering and student financial aid staff are reviewing applications now, which has presented some challenges they're working through, Wessman said. AcademicWorks, the software vendor providing OneApp in a three-year contract for about $240,000, offers ample help-desk support, she said.

"We're learning as we go. For the most part, we haven't had any major snafus. But it's definitely a change," she said.

Training soon

Colleges and other university units that administer scholarships aren't required to use the system, but Wessman hopes to have all colleges on board this fall. OneApp is expected to go live Sept. 1 for incoming 2019-20 freshmen, whose scholarship applications are due in December. Scholarship-granting units can set their own application deadlines, she said. There's no charge for campus partners to use the system, which is being jointly funded by the student financial aid office and the ISU Foundation.

Wessman plans to begin contacting college-level financial aid staff this week to set up training sessions that will start in May. Other units interested in using OneApp can contact Wessman at awessman@iastate or 294-0100.

Save the date: Wintersteen installation is set for Sept. 21

President Wendy Wintersteen will be formally installed as the 16th president of Iowa State University on Friday, Sept. 21. The installation ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. (tentative) in Stephens Auditorium, to be followed by a reception. The university community will be invited.

An installation planning committee has begun its work, led by Olivia Madison, professor emerita and dean emerita of library services. Other committee members include:

  • Carole Custer, director, university marketing
  • Laura Doering, associate vice president, student affairs
  • Michael Golemo, professor, music and theatre
  • Ingrid Lilligren, professor and chair, art and visual culture
  • John McCarroll, executive director, university relations
  • Student representatives to be identified

The committee will keep the campus informed as planning continues. Formal campus invitations, as well as specific requests for representatives and delegates for the installation’s academic procession, will be sent later this spring.

An installation website will be developed to share new information on the events. Suggestions or questions regarding the installation may be directed to Madison or assistant to the president Shirley Knipfel, 294-1781.


Listening sessions announced for CALS dean search

The search committee for the next dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will host two open forums next week to solicit feedback from the university community. Both forums will be livestreamed via Zoom so off-campus stakeholders may participate. The forum dates and locations are:

  • Monday, March 26 (noon-1 p.m., Memorial Union Gold Room), live webinar (join by phone: 669-900-6833, ID No. 295238679)
  • Friday, March 30 (4-5 p.m., 1951 Food Sciences), live webinar (join by phone: 669-900-6833, ID No. 298365885)

The sessions are an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn more about the search and provide input on characteristics they would like to see in the next dean. Questions may be submitted during each session using the webinar chat window or via email,

Nominations for the position may be submitted at any time to search committee co-chairs Guru Rao, associate vice president for research; or David Spalding, dean of the Ivy College of Business.

Additional information on the search, including the position description, is available on the provost's website.


Related story:

Search opens for CALS dean, Jan. 18, 2018


Student spring events evolve in post-Veishea years

At first glance, they might resemble large student spring events from a decade ago. Look closer and they're really not, confirms student activities center director George Micalone. The student organization Cyclone Carnival is planning a seven-hour event of the same name near Jack Trice Stadium in conjunction with the April 14 spring football game. And the Student Union Board (SUB) is organizing a Sunday afternoon/evening outdoor concert the following weekend on the north side of campus. The only link -- and that's by coincidence -- is that Micalone advises both student groups.

The events have evolved over the last four years in the void of the former Veishea celebration, which was discontinued in 2014. Their concepts received approval last fall from university leaders.

SUB outdoor concert

"Student Union Board plans concerts," Micalone said. "Student Government allocated the money for this concert to SUB in November because they're the concert-planning organization. Including the Maintenance Shop, they're organizing 45 concerts a year."

That number includes four to eight big concerts annually in larger venues such as the Memorial Union Great Hall, Hansen Center and Hilton Coliseum. For example, SUB booked musicians Dustin Lynch (October 2015 and 2017), Dan + Shay (April 2016), Sam Hunt (March 2015) and comedian Kevin Hart (October 2015).

"Last spring, SUB organized a show in Hilton (by pop band DNCE); this year, we're just moving it outside," he said, adding that most universities hold outdoor concerts.

The hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM) music genres featured April 22 are best enjoyed outdoors, Micalone explained.

"It's the preferred environment for a show like that," he said.

The concert will be held in parking lots 28 and 29 on Sunday, April 22. Gates open at 3 p.m., the first of four acts begins at 4 p.m. and the concert will conclude by 9 p.m. The lots, which will remain in service through business hours Friday, will be cleaned up Sunday night after the concert and back in use Monday morning. The stage will face south toward the Metals Development Building, selected because it's shorter and sound reverberation will be lessened.

Micalone said concert details were selected intentionally for the least impact on Ames neighborhoods regarding sound levels and the campus community regarding parking lot access.

The headliner is hip-hop artist Fetty Wap. He'll be preceded by opening act and R&B artist Andreas Moss, hip-hop artist Kyle and EDM band Cheat Codes.

Micalone said up to 12,000 tickets could be sold. Tickets are $49 for the public and $25 for ISU students if purchased prior by April 14 ($35 after that date). Burgers, brats and nonalcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

Cyclone Carnival

The former Cyclone Market, organized by Student Government to offer student clubs a fundraising opportunity, had its launch in fall 2014 at campustown's Dinkey Days, and followed with several spring versions since -- most recently in the Iowa State Center lots. It built on the community atmosphere of the spring football game, Micalone said.

The new Cyclone Carnival student organization stepped it up this spring, adding carnival rides for kids and adults, a bungee trampoline, student performance/activity stage, food trucks and free activities for kids.

Cyclone Carnival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14 in Iowa State Center lots B6 and C6. Admission is free, but most rides and food items will have a price.

All are welcome, whether or not you're attending the 1 p.m. football scrimmage at Jack Trice Stadium, Micalone said.