A welcoming place

Blue skies over the Fountain of the Four Seasons on the front la

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

June flowers, green grass, gurgling water, carillon bells and blue skies welcomed incoming Cyclone freshmen and their families to the Memorial Union fountain plaza this week. Orientation continues through June 29.

Workday moves to testing phase

Thousands of hours have gone into configuring the Workday software system that will be used for financial, human capital and payroll management processes at Iowa State. Now it's time for testing -- and lots of it.

"The work in the configure and prototype phase was building the Workday system to be specific for Iowa State," said Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer. "Now we're transitioning to the testing phase and preparing the whole Iowa State community for this change."

Building a foundation

Hundreds of Iowa State employees were involved in the initial architect phase, which gathered ISU's requirements for the system, and the configure and prototype phase.

"We listened to what the requirements were during the architect phase," Constant said. "We moved into configure and prototype, where we built what that should look like, based on the feedback from Iowa State."

Constant said the prototype was examined to make sure what was built in Workday matches Iowa State's needs. The scope of the system has been defined, including how it integrates with other campus systems and entities (such as Ames Lab and the ISU Foundation).

"The foundation has been laid and now we're refining it," Constant said. "This is a big step because now we know what it's going to look like. We now need to test it to make sure it's working right."

Fine tuning

Constant said the WorkCyte team will be taking the system through its paces, tackling business processes -- such as hiring a new employee or purchasing equipment -- from start to finish.

"The testing phase begins with very specific cases and moves to broader, cross-system, end-to-end cases," Constant said.

By starting small and building on the testing scenarios, Constant said the WorkCyte team will be able to tailor the information delivered later in workshops and demonstrations.

"That culminates 10 months from now with extensive training," Constant said. "The WorkCyte team is using this testing phase to prepare for going live with the new system in July 2019."

Awareness campaign

Expect to see more about Workday as the change management team ramps up its outreach efforts, offering employees a closer look at the system and how it will work. That includes more workshops, demonstrations and communication through multiple channels (website, videos, social media and more).

"Many more people on campus will become involved," Constant said. "We'll be preparing them for what's coming."

Up all night for 90 years, Memorial Union gets newfound bedtime


Without a hotel or student residents on site for the first time, staff at the Memorial Union recently rolled back the facility's hours. Open 24 hours a day for decades, the MU will now close at midnight during the summer and 1:30 a.m. during the school year. Photo by Dave Roepke.

After decades of staying up all hours, the Memorial Union is finally getting some sleep at night.

Throughout its history, the MU has had residential tenants of some sort. For most of that time, including when it opened in 1928, it's been home to a hotel. On occasion, including the past two academic years, MU guest rooms have been temporary student residences.

"That required a 24-hour operation," said Corey Williamson, MU associate director.

The residence department no longer needs the extra room. Under an $11 million renovation plan initally approved by a state Board of Regents committee last week, the hotel floors will become student services office space. The lack of guests prompted the MU staff to consider the facility's longstanding open-all-hours policy, which typically extended to holiday breaks.

"With the students moving out and knowing that we'll be out of the hotel business, we kind of revisited the purpose of being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We found there really isn't an operational need for that level of service," Williamson said.

So on June 1, the MU started a new nightly ritual of locking the doors and turning off the lights. For the summer, it'll shut down from midnight to 7 a.m. During the upcoming school year, closing time will be a little later, at 1:30 a.m.

"We consider it somewhat of a historic change, but I think it's a change for the better," Williamson said.

Closing overnight will generate some moderate cost savings in energy and staffing. It'll also give the custodial crew, who will continue to work 24 hours a day, a chance to do more maintenance and deep cleaning, Williamson said.

"It gives the building a little bit of time to breathe," he said. 

Ending overnight access will impact some night owls. On average, nightly foot traffic after midnight during the school year runs about 100 people, Williamson said. But most events are over by 1 a.m., and special arrangements will be made for the handful that run later, he said. Building access will be provided to workers who need to enter the building before 7 a.m.

"The culture has been 24/7, so we didn't want to go all the way to minimum hours. We wanted to keep the maximum hours that make sense," he said.

The change isn't set in stone. Williamson said MU staff will reconsider building hours next spring and would adjust sooner, if needed.

"Right now, we're very much evaluating," he said.

Regents approve ISU tuition package

Resident undergraduates will pay $284 more -- or $7,740 -- in tuition for the academic year that begins in August, following the state Board of Regents' approval of tuition rates June 7 in Cedar Falls. That 3.8 percent increase is slightly less than the 4 percent increase approved for all other Iowa State students -- resident graduate students, all non-Iowa students and veterinary medicine students.

Mandatory fees will go up $68.50, to $1,248.40. It includes $30 increases to both the technology fee (for cyber security and upgrades to the student information system) and building fee (for renovations to the Memorial Union's top three floors), and an $8.50 increase to the student services fee for additional support to CyRide. The baseline tuition and mandatory fees for a resident undergraduate in 2018-19 is $8,988.40.

Iowa State's approved tuition proposal includes two other components:

  • The final year of a three-phase, $542 annual tuition differential assessed all international students ($1,500 when implemented).
  • A three-year plan to align Iowa State's various differential tuitions in two levels: $1,600 (all students) and $2,612 ($3,026 for nonresidents, including international) annually when fully implemented. Because some of the programs already have differential tuitions, it will take one to three years to get all impacted programs to their new rate.

The tuition increases will provide an estimated $10.1 million in new revenue in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

New appropriation

The board approved an allocation plan among the three universities for a new $8.3 million appropriation on July 1. The plan stipulates that the funds be used for resident undergraduate financial aid:

  • Iowa State: $3.15 million
  • University of Iowa: $3.15 million
  • University of Northern Iowa: $2 million

The universities' request to the 2018 Iowa Legislature was $12 million for in-state undergraduate aid; $5 million each for ISU and Iowa, and $2 million for UNI.

Wintersteen to donate salary increase to Iowa State

The board also completed annual evaluations of the four institution heads and board executive director Mark Braun.

Commenting on the performance of the three university presidents, board president pro tem Patty Cownie said, " We think they're doing an excellent job. They are able to exchange ideas with each other, they are able to spend time together and make it productive for the universities and their relationships.

"We are very pleased, and proud of them for being able to be such good companions and to represent their universities as well as they do," she added.

President Wendy Wintersteen's five-year employment contract calls for a $25,000 increase to her current $525,000 salary on Nov. 20, her one-year anniversary as president. However, Wintersteen has elected to donate the increase to the ISU Foundation to support student completion grants, student entrepreneurship initiatives and international study abroad experiences.

"I know so many faculty and staff who donate to support ISU and other good causes, and I am pleased to continue my history of giving," she said.

Iowa State update

President Wintersteen's June 7 campus highlights for the state Board of Regents

Alternative index becomes the one

The alternative Regent Admission Index (RAI), used since 2015 for applicants whose high schools don't provide a class rank, will become the sole admissions index for the three regent universities, effective for students admitted for summer 2020.

The original RAI, which the board adopted in 2006, weighted four factors: class rank, grade point average, ACT composite score and high school core courses completed. But a growing number of high schools in Iowa and nationally have dropped the use of class rank, including the high schools attended by 27 percent of resident freshman applicants and 46 percent of all freshman applicants. The alternative index eliminates class rank as a consideration and adjusts the weighting.

The Legislature's administrative rules review committee also needs to approve this policy change.

New degree programs

The board also gave final approval to these new degree programs at Iowa State:

  • Ph.D. in population sciences in animal health, in the department of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, starting this fall.
  • Master of Real Estate Development, offered collaboratively by the colleges of Business and Design (coursework-only degree delivered over 21 months with online and in-person classes), starting fall 2019.
  • B.S. in actuarial science, offered by the finance department in the Ivy College of Business in partnership with the departments of math and statistics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, starting fall 2019.
  • B.S. in data science, offered this fall in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It will include existing courses in computer science and statistics, as well as new courses in data science.

The board approved terminating Iowa State's M.S. in landscape architecture due to low interest and enrollment in the research-based, thesis program. The department also offers a professional Master of Landscape Architecture.

In other Iowa State business, the full board gave final approval to the university's sale of 68 acres of farmland to the ISU Research Park for $2.1 million, in parcels as needed for phase 3 development at the park.

Future building projects

The board's property and facilities committee approved four Iowa State construction projects that will go before the full board in August. They are:

  • A request to begin planning an estimated $11 million renovation to the top three floors in the Memorial Union for student program offices. For many years, these floors were hotel guest rooms; for the last two academic years, they served temporarily as a student residence. Funding would come from a new $30 annual student fee.
  • A request to begin planning an estimated $21.2 million project at the Curtiss Farm in South Ames to construct a feed mill tower, grain storage buildings and education and outreach facilities. The new complex would replace three existing and outdated feed mills and meet the university's need for affordable yet customized livestock feed. The project would be covered by private gifts.
  • A budget ($2.3 million) and description for plans to renovate 11,000 square feet on Curtiss Hall's third floor for use by the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences. It would provide offices for CALS development and IT staff and English department lecturers and graduate students. College funds and private gifts would fund the project.
  • A schematic design and budget ($28 million) for a four-story, 40,000-square-foot east addition to the Gerdin Building that would include classrooms and collaboration space, faculty and graduate student offices, and spaces for curricular, co-curricular and special events. University funds and private gifts would cover the costs. The construction timeline is late 2018 through late 2020.

Vet Med dean nominations, applications are due Aug. 6

Nominations and applications for the dean's post in the College of Veterinary Medicine are being accepted through Aug. 6.

The search committee hopes to hold off-campus interviews with semifinalists in late August and bring finalists to campus later in the semester. The committee is led by College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean Beate Schmittmann and associate provost for academic programs Ann Marie VanDerZanden. The Parker Executive Search firm is assisting with the search. A position description is available on the firm's website.

The search for the college's next dean launched last September. In March, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, in consultation with the search committee, decided to continue the dean search after considering the feedback offered on three finalists who interviewed in February.

Pat Halbur, professor and chair of the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, will continue to serve as interim dean. He has led the college since last June. Former dean Lisa Nolan left Iowa State in May 2017 to become veterinary medicine dean at the University of Georgia, her alma mater.


Iowa State's two differential tuition rates

Differential tuition rate A:  $1,600 per year

Upon full implementation, the differential rate will be uniform across the colleges of Design, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Life Sciences (minus its two programs assessing differential tuition rate B).

Applies to:

1. All undergraduate and graduate studio-based majors in the College of Design (excludes the B.A. in art and design), assessed upon entry into the program, (not assessed to undergraduates in the college's first year core design program.

2. The following 30 undergraduate majors, assessed after 60 credits (typically the beginning of the third year):

  • Agricultural biochemistry
  • Agricultural business
  • Agronomy
  • Apparel, merchandising and design
  • Athletic training
  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology
  • Biophysics
  • Chemistry
  • Culinary food science
  • Data science
  • Diet and exercise
  • Dietetics
  • Earth science
  • Economics
  • Environmental science
  • Event management
  • Food science
  • Geology
  • Global resource systems
  • Horticulture
  • Hospitality management
  • Kinesiology and health
  • Mathematics
  • Meteorology
  • Nursing
  • Nutritional science
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

3. The following 19 graduate programs, assessed upon entry to the program:

  • Agronomy
  • Animal science
  • Apparel, events and hospitality management
  • Biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Entomology
  • Food science and human nutrition
  • Geological and atmospheric sciences
  • Horticulture
  • Industrial design
  • Kinesiology
  • Mathematics
  • Natural resources ecology and management
  • Physics and astronomy
  • Psychology
  • Statistics


Differential tuition rate B: $2,162 per year for resident students, $3,026 for non-residents, including international students

Upon full implementation, the differential rate will be uniform across the colleges of Business, Engineering and the two programs in Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Applies to (and assessed after 60 credits for undergraduates):

1. All majors in the Ivy College of Business

2. All majors in the College of Engineering

3. Two majors (agriculture systems technology and industrial technology) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences