Making sense of the semester

student leads math study session at library table

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Gerardo Alvarez (right), a senior in math education, works through calculus equations during a finals week tutoring session Monday in Parks Library. With the new spring commencement schedule, final exams conclude Thursday evening -- with the exception of the online testing center.

Senate approves term faculty tracks

Meeting coverage

New titles, career tracks and terminology for nontenure-eligible (NTE) faculty positions are some of the changes approved May 1 by the Faculty Senate in its final meeting of the academic year.

The proposed changes were divided into three parts prior to the final discussion, requiring three individual votes. All were approved, with a round of applause after the final piece passed.

Among the approved changes:

  • Terminology, changing the description from NTE to term faculty
  • Consistent processes and policies for appointments, reviews and career advancement
  • New professor of practice track, with assistant, associate and full professor of practice titles
  • Revised titles for instructional faculty: lecturer, and assistant, associate and full teaching professor

The changes were two years in the making. A 2016 joint task force of senate and provost office representatives studied the status of term faculty, developing a set of recommendations in 2017. After collecting feedback across campus, the senate's executive board introduced the proposed changes at the March 20 meeting.

P&T details

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert provided some details about 85 promotion and tenure cases considered this year. Three promotions were denied -- one to associate professor with tenure and two tenured faculty to full professor. One candidate was granted a tenure-clock extension. Tenure was granted to 29 faculty (28 of whom also were promoted to associate professor). Among tenured faculty, 52 were promoted to professor.

P&T decisions by gender and ethnicity

  Reviewed Granted
Ethnic group M F M F
White/Caucasian 31 27 28 26
Black/African-American 2 2 2 2
Asian/Asian-American 15 5 15 5
Latinx/Hispanic 2 1 2 1
Total 50 35 47 34

"This was a year in which we had more cases move forward, which of course reflects hiring decisions that were made a number of years ago," Wickert said.

"The success rate here is something to be proud of," he said. "It represents an incredible amount of hard work on the part of our colleagues and hard work on the part of the faculty who served on promotion and tenure committees either at the department or college level."

Wickert said 80 faculty post-tenure reviews were conducted by colleges, the most since 87 evaluations were done in FY15. Five reviews received "below expectations" evaluations, requiring implementation of an action plan for improvement.

Business proposal

Senators voted in favor of allowing the Ivy College of Business to split its supply chain and information systems department into two -- the department of supply chain management, and the department of information systems and business analytics. The request cites "significant growth" in both programs, and that they are "distinct academic disciplines."

The proposal requires approval by President Wendy Wintersteen and the state Board of Regents. If approved, the changes will be effective as of July 1, 2019.

Policy cleanup

Proposed changes for the Faculty Handbook were introduced that simplify the discrimination and harassment policy (section Revisions would eliminate redundant information and align definitions with the university's policy library. The request also would move the "Harassing Behavior" subsection ( to its own section to address "bullying" behavior. The changes will be up for a vote when the senate reconvenes for the fall semester.

Other business

  • Now past-president Tim Day (biomedical sciences) passed the gavel to 2018-19 senate president Peter Martin (human development and family studies). Jonathan Sturm (music) assumes the office of president-elect and Annmarie Butler (philosophy and religious studies) will serve another term as secretary.
  • Proposed policy changes for classroom disruptions introduced at the April 17 meeting did not appear on Tuesday's agenda. The proposed changes were sent to the governance council for more work.

Simpson named registrar

Mark Simpson headshot

Mark Simpson

Mark Simpson, director of enterprise student systems at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, has been named university registrar, effective May 21.

Simpson has experience in modernizing degree, advising and class scheduling systems. His background includes more than 20 years of university registrar duties and enrollment and student affairs leadership. In addition, Simpson's core competencies include academic records and registration, enrollment management, recruitment and admissions, financial management, student success, retention and completion, student development and enterprise software solutions. 

"Mark brings with him a unique but critical blend of education administration experience and IT and data management expertise," said Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management and student success. "With his excellent track record of building partnerships across departments, I am confident he will provide the leadership and outreach needed to ensure our faculty, staff, students and external partners work together around strategic enrollment goals."

Simpson will provide strategic planning, direction and supervision for the registrar's office. He also will support the Veteran’s Center, serve as an NCAA certifying officer and oversee processes related to confidential student records.

"I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to join the Division of Student Affairs and Iowa State University as your newest university registrar," Simpson said. "The work that you do is truly transformative for our students. I can't wait to join you as we help each student achieve their educational dreams."

Simpson earned a bachelor's degree in social psychology from Park University, Parkville, Missouri, and a master's in education leadership from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Prior to working at Utah, he served as registrar at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, assistant registrar at BYU and admissions director at Snow College, Ephraim, Utah.

Second largest class is set to graduate this weekend

An estimated 5,047 students are completing degrees this semester and many of them will participate in graduation festivities May 3-5. The number of anticipated graduates is fewer than 50 off last spring's record-setting class and reflects a decade of high enrollments (2007-16).

President Wendy Wintersteen will provide opening remarks at all four ceremonies. Tickets are not required for any of the commencement events. All four ceremonies will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

Undergraduate students

An estimated 4,255 undergraduates are completing degrees this month. Following a two-year experiment outside in Jack Trice Stadium, undergraduate commencement will return to Hilton Coliseum and split into two Saturday events. A ceremony for students in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, and Liberal Arts and Sciences will begin at 10 a.m. A ceremony for undergraduates in the colleges of Design, Engineering and Human Sciences will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Graduate students

The Graduate College ceremony remains in its Thursday evening slot, when an estimated 132 doctoral and 516 master's students will be honored. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m., also in Hilton Coliseum.

Alicia Carriquiry, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and President's Chair in Statistics, will address the graduates. Carriquiry also serves as director of the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence, based at Iowa State; and the Midwest Forensics Resource Center. She joined the Iowa State faculty in 1990. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine for her work in measuring nutrient intake and a fellow of the American Statistical Association.

DVM students

An anticipated 144 students will receive their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees during the College of Veterinary Medicine’s ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Stephens Auditorium.

Dr. Cate Dewey, professor of swine health management and epidemiology at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, will be the featured speaker. Dewey was a faculty member at the University of Nebraska (1992-95) and has worked in private veterinary practice.

The DVM graduating class includes several dozen Nebraska residents who spend the last two years of their program at Iowa State.

Dwight Ink

Dwight Ink

Honorary degree recipients

The university will convey two honorary degrees Saturday to Iowa natives in recognition of their professional achievements. Alumnus Dwight Ink, Leesburg, Virginia, holder of the first government degree (1947) from Iowa State, federal civil servant and adviser to seven U.S. presidents -- Eisenhower to Reagan -- will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in absentia during the morning undergraduate ceremony.

According to nomination documents, Ink possesses an unusual combination of management savvy, determination and willingness to take risks, and successfully attacked government waste and corruption. His public papers are in the special collections department in Parks Library.

Faculty members from the political science department nominated Ink for the honorary degree. University Professor and department chair Mack Shelley will accept the award on his behalf and give brief remarks.

Jon Kinzenbaw

Jon Kinzenbaw

During the afternoon undergraduate ceremony, Jon Kinzenbaw of Williamsburg, inventor, entrepreneur and CEO of Kinze Manufacturing, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science and give brief remarks.

In 1965, with a $3,600 loan, Kinzenbaw purchased some tools and made the down payment on a small building in Ladora, where he opened Kinze welding. Over the next 50 years, the mechanic-welder-fabricator-business leader brought innovative technologies and mechanization to production agriculture, all while continuing to farm himself. Kinzenbaw holds 37 patents, the most recent issued last year. Kinze has facilities in Williamsburg and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Faculty members in the agricultural and biosystems engineering department nominated Kinzenbaw for the honorary degree.

Other graduation events

The Lavender Graduation ceremony, honoring graduating members of Iowa State's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and ally community, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the East State Gym.

Colleges will honor their graduates at convocations Friday and Saturday. Four colleges -- Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences -- will hold their events Friday in Hilton at three-hour intervals. The College of Design will use Stephens Auditorium Saturday morning (9-11 a.m.), and the College of Engineering, which prefers to recognize its students at department-level receptions, will continue this tradition Saturday morning.


Related story


Faculty and staff receive university awards

More than 60 Iowa State faculty and staff will be honored during the university's annual awards ceremony on Friday, Sept. 14, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Following is the list of those employees and the promotions or awards for which they will be recognized.

Distinguished Professor

The title of Distinguished Professor, first awarded in 1956, is the highest academic honor the university bestows. It recognizes a faculty member whose accomplishments in research or creative activities have had a significant impact on his or her discipline, and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served for at least five years prior to the current year on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Medicine

  • Qijing Zhang, Dr. Frank K. Ramsey Endowed Chair and professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine

Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Theresa Windus, professor of chemistry

Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering

  • Valery Levitas, Vance D. Coffman Faculty Chair and professor of aerospace engineering

University Professor

The title of University Professor is awarded to a faculty member who has acted as a change agent by having made significant contributions to improve the university, and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served for at least 10 years prior to the current year on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

  • Amy Andreotti, professor and Roy J. Carver Chair of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Morrill Professor

The title of Morrill Professor is conferred on a faculty member who has exhibited excellence in undergraduate or graduate teaching or extension and outreach programs, and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served for at least five years prior to the current year on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

  • Holly Bender, professor of veterinary pathology
  • Donald Sakaguchi, professor of genetics, development and cell biology
  • Susan Yager, professor of English

Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

The award is presented by the state Board of Regents to recognize tenured faculty members are outstanding university citizens and who have rendered significant service to the university or the state of Iowa.

  • Gwyn Beattie, professor of plant pathology and microbiology
  • Theodore Heindel, professor of mechanical engineering
  • Say Kee Ong, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • Thomas Peterson, professor of genetics, development and cell biology and of agronomy
  • Jacob Petrich, professor of chemistry
  • Pam Riney-Kehrberg, professor of history
  • Curtis Youngs, professor of animal science

Regents Award for Staff Excellence

The award is presented by the state Board of Regents to recognize members of either the professional and scientific or supervisory and confidential staffs who are outstanding university citizens and have rendered significant service to the university or the state of Iowa.

  • Philip Gassman, associate scientist, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
  • Raji Joseph, associate scientist, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Renee Knosby, director of operations, College of Veterinary Medicine administration

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching

The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding teaching performance over an extended period of time.

  • Julia Dominguez, associate professor of world languages and cultures
  • Stephanie Loveland, senior lecturer, chemical and biological engineering

James Huntington Ellis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching

Established by a 1928 Iowa State graduate, the award recognizes a faculty member for exceptional achievement in teaching introductory courses.

  • Jodi Sterle, associate professor of animal science and Harman Endowed Professor

Award for Early Achievement in Teaching

The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching performance unusually early in his or her career.

  • Christopher Currey, assistant professor of horticulture
  • Tejas Dhadphale, assistant professor of industrial design
  • Kristopher Lee, lecturer, mathematics

Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award

Established by a long-time staff member of the Graduate College, the award recognizes superior performance by a member of the graduate faculty in enriching the student-professor relationship and enabling students to finish their work in a timely and scholarly manner.

  • Halil Ceylan, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • Leslie Hogben, professor of mathematics and Dio Lewis Holl Chair in Applied Mathematics

Award for Departmental Leadership

The award recognizes outstanding departmental leadership that helps faculty members meet their complex obligations to undergraduate teaching, graduate mentoring, research and service.

  • Carolyn Cutrona, professor and chair, psychology
  • Kendall Lamkey, professor and chair, agronomy

Award for Early Achievement in Departmental Leadership

The award recognizes the exceptional impact of a department chair or school director within the first three years of his or her leadership role.

  • Don Beermann, professor and chair, animal science

Award for Inclusive Excellence

The award recognizes faculty and professional and scientific staff who have advanced the university’s mission of diversity, equity and inclusion beyond their usual job responsibilities.

  • Joel Hochstein, student conduct hearing officer, Dean of Students office
  • Daniel Spikes, assistant professor, School of Education

International Service Award

The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding international service in teaching, research or administration within the United States or abroad.

  • Manjit Misra, director, Seed Science Center, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Award for Academic Advising Impact

The award recognizes outstanding performance by an academic adviser over an extended period of time.

  • Amy Brandau, academic adviser, economics
  • Larry Cormicle, senior lecturer, civil, construction and environmental engineering

Award for Early Achievement in Academic Advising

The award recognizes outstanding performance by an academic adviser early in his or her career.

  • Kyle Holtman, academic adviser, kinesiology

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured faculty member who has a national or international reputation for contributions in research and has influenced the research activities of students.

  • Xinwei Wang, professor of mechanical engineering
  • Gregory Welk, professor of kinesiology

Award for Mid-Career Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary research performance or scholarship accomplishments as documented by peers or experts in the field.

  • Halil Ceylan, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • April Eisman, associate professor of art and visual culture
  • David Grewell, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering

Award for Early Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments unusually early in his or her professional career.

  • Adina Howe, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Aaron Rossini, assistant professor of chemistry

Professional and Scientific Research Award

The award recognizes a P&S staff member employed at Iowa State for at least five years for excellence in research.

  • Corrinne Grover, associate scientist, ecology, evolution and organismal biology

Award for Achievement in Intellectual Property

The award recognizes individuals or teams of faculty or professional and scientific staff for outstanding university-based achievements in producing intellectual property.

  • Eric Cochran, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering
  • Chris Williams, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering

Award for Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa

The award recognizes individuals or teams of faculty or professional and scientific staff for outstanding university-based achievements in advancing the state of Iowa's economic development.

  • Ron Cox, director, Center for Industrial Research and Service
  • Latino Business and Entrepreneurship Team (Lisa Bates, Himar Hernandez, Victor Oyervides, Jill Sokness, Scott Timm and Jon Wolseth), Extension Community and Economic Development

Professional and Scientific Excellence Award

The award recognizes contributions made by a professional and scientific  staff member within and beyond the university and career progress demonstrated by accomplishments at Iowa State.

  • Dileepkumar Guntuku, program manager, Seed Science Center
  • Sandra Norvell, program coordinator, Institute for Design Research and Outreach
  • Anita Rollins, program coordinator, School of Education

Carroll Ringgenberg Award

Named for a long-time staff member in purchasing and facilities, the award recognizes an extraordinary professional and scientific staff member who exhibits constant and contagious dedication to and goodwill for Iowa State.

  • Dan Rice, program coordinator, student academic services, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award

The award recognizes a professional and scientific  staff member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments unusually early in his or her professional career.

  • Sara Sprouse, field specialist, College of Human Sciences Extension
  • Roger Suski, program coordinator, Engineering-LAS Online Learning

Award for Distinguished Service in Extension

The highest award bestowed on an Extension professional, it recognizes sustained distinguished performance and educational contributions to Iowa State's clientele through Extension programs.

  • Beth Doran, beef field specialist, Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice

The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension or professional practice, and has achieved national recognition for outreach activities.

  • Alison Robertson, professor of plant pathology and microbiology and Extension field pathologist

Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice

The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in extension or professional practice unusually early in his or her career.

  • Lee Schulz, assistant professor of economics and Extension economist

R.K. Bliss Extension Award

Named for the director of Extension from 1912 to 1946, the award recognizes outstanding achievement of an Extension staff member for developing an overall or continuing extension education program.

  • Jerry Chizek, education director, Extension Region 7

Sixty ISU seniors receive first completion grants

Among Saturday's 4,000-plus graduating seniors will be a handful who made it to the finish line thanks to some very fortunate timing. In November, they were among the first 60 Iowa State students to receive completion grants that erased some debt on their university bill and allowed them to register for their final semester of classes.

The completion grants program is an initiative for the 11 public universities in the University Innovation Alliance, who share best practices for producing more university graduates from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the non-profit Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. totaling $4 million launched the grants program last fall; Iowa State's share of that seed money is about $168,000 over three years. The goal is to build up matching funds so each university can sustain its own program when the seed money runs out.

Director of student financial aid Roberta Johnson, who administers the program, said Iowa State awarded $31,794 to the 60 students, an average of $530 per student. In its initial semester, the grants did their job: 54 of the students enrolled for spring semester and three more graduated in December.

"We know what kind of a difference these grants make," Johnson said. "For students who've exhausted all other possibilities and are between a rock and a hard place, this is it -- $500 for them was huge."

During the 2016-17 academic year, Iowa State awarded about $104 million in institutional grants and scholarships, Johnson said. By comparison, completion grants are very small -- but the impact is immediate, she noted.

ISU completion grant recipients: The process of finding them (Fall 2017)



Senior status


Enrolled and within two semesters of graduation


GPA of at least 2.0


Federal Pell Grant recipient, accepted all financial aid offered this year


Past-due balance of $1,100 or less


*Standard across UIA universities

Once it had identified an eligible pool based on the alliance criteria, Johnson said Iowa State injected one more requirement: a financial counseling session with a staff member in the Student Loan Education Office. Of 98 students who were offered awards in November, 38 either paid their bill using other means or failed to complete the financial aid session.

Completion grants are a one-time offer. Johnson noted the semesters look similar in a student's annual financial aid package, so a funding gap in the fall likely will show up in the spring, too. "We want to educate them so they can make wise choices with their funds. We needed to have a conversation about how they'd cover a shortfall in the spring because they wouldn't get the grant again."

Round 2

Last week, the financial aid office completed the task of identifying seniors eligible for spring completion grants to help them return for fall semester. Ninety-six awards totaling $41,443 were offered, an average of about $432 per award. Students who complete a financial counseling session will receive their awards.

The process received a boost from a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences emergency fund provided by alumni wanting to directly help financially strapped students. Assistant dean Kent Kerby said he awarded a little less than half of his funds, or about $20,000, to an estimated 30 LAS students -- some of who are seniors. The awards ranged from $300 to $1,500, he said. All of the students are enrolled for fall.

Johnson said she completed the UIA awards once some LAS seniors on her list received at least part of what they needed from the college.

Matching gift

One source for local matching funds came from an unanticipated partner -- the athletics department, which will contribute $1 million to the program over five years, starting July 1. Johnson said Iowa State faculty athletics representative Tim Day asked her for suggestions on what could help ISU students. The athletics department wanted to give back to ISU students in gratitude for their tremendous fan support. Day took Johnson's suggestion for completion grant assistance to athletics director Jamie Pollard, who liked its high-impact potential.

"Jamie didn't put too many strings on how we structure this. He said 'Just keep kids in school,'" Johnson said. "With $1 million, we're looking at how, over time, we might be able to back this train up to help juniors and sophomores, too?"

"His timing couldn't have been more perfect, with this scale project from UIA underway," noted Gralon Johnson, UIA fellow assigned to Iowa State.

He said Iowa State will track data about who the completion grant recipients are, particularly if they are first-generation, low-income or students of color. A January campus symposium on closing the achievement gap between white and underrepresented students revealed that it wouldn't take large student numbers to make a difference.

Hilton gaining more parking, direct access to Lincoln Way


Construction crews poured cement this week for a new driveway connecting the parking lots on the north side of the Iowa State Center with Lincoln Way. The driveway, which will open only for events, is part of a $3.9 million project to renovate parking and sidewalks around Hilton Coliseum. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Visitors to Hilton Coliseum for commencement this weekend may notice the beginnings of a project to revamp the arena's parking and sidewalks, nearly doubling the vehicle capacity in its closest lots while adding measures to reduce congestion and increase pedestrian safety.

The $3.9 million project includes a new driveway north of Hilton connecting to Lincoln Way, which should help with postgame traffic gridlock. The driveway extends from the road between the Scheman Building and Hilton. The median on Lincoln Way will remain, limiting driveway access to vehicles entering from the west and exiting east. The driveway will be available only for games and other Iowa State Center events.

"We'll decide on a case-by-case basis whether it's open and how we staff it," said Chris Jorgensen, senior associate athletics director for operations. For the first year, at least, staff will be stationed at the driveway on game days, he said.

Expanded parking

The project will add 282 parking spots in lots C1 and C2, north and south of Hilton. They previously held 310 vehicles. The lot sizes will expand slightly, mostly to the north toward Lincoln Way, Jorgensen said. More efficient use of space allows increased capacity without significantly larger lots, he said.

Jorgensen said more parking is needed near Hilton because of the growing number of top-level donors. Parking close to the arena in the winter is highly valued, he said.

"We're just trying to be proactive. We're very fortunate to have a loyal fan base," he said.

Operations plans aren't set yet, including whether the new driveway will be restricted to vehicles parking in C1 or C2, Jorgensen said. "I'm sure it will be a work in progress as we see how traffic flows after the first few events," he said.

Other benefits

The project also will add pedestrian paths north and south of the arena, Jorgensen said. The new walkways are based in part on observations of how crowds navigate the area on foot and are meant to make walking to and from Hilton safer, he said. 

"That, to me, is going to be just as important a benefit from this project as the increase in parking stalls," Jorgensen said.

The two lots and surrounding access roads will be rebuilt as part of the project. It will also provide dedicated parking for a visiting team bus and television crews, and improve accessibility, stormwater drainage, lighting and landscaping. The state Board of Regents approved the project in January. It is funded by athletics department revenue.

Still accessible

Lots C1 and C2 will be open for commencement, but work will start shortly after on C1 north of the arena and the access road on the west side. Hilton will be accessible for events throughout the summer. The contractor is required to finish the work by the end of August, before the first home football game Sept. 1.   


A diagram showing the layout of the parking lots and other improvements being constructed this summer at Hilton Coliseum.