Grass, at last

Crew lays sod on the east intramural field

Photo courtesy of facilities planning and management.

A large team from Iowa Athletic Field Construction Co., Webster City; and Con-Struct, Ames, installed 250,000 square feet of sod -- more than 5.5 acres -- last weekend on the western half of the new recreation fields adjacent to the Maple Willow Larch residence complex. Construction manager Mike Parsons, facilities planning and management, reports that work to extend electricity to the new lights and scoreboards also is wrapping up.

The east half of the field will be seeded in August, in time for the fall growing season. Recreation services' assistant manager for facilities and grounds Brent Cunningham said the hope is to use the east half in late spring or early summer 2019. If the sod grows in steadily over the next few months, he said student intramural teams should be able to play on the west half in September and October. The field design includes an irrigation system, which will make both sod and seed growth more reliable.

Workday teams will focus on unit-level impacts

Expect to hear more about WorkCyte -- and especially Workday -- from your colleagues. The WorkCyte team will dispatch newly formed "PIT crews" this week to help units prepare for the Workday software platform set to go live next year.

Unit-level PIT (project implementation team) crews will provide their colleagues with Workday information and how it will affect their day-to-day activities.

"We're at that pivotal point in the project where we need to have more focused conversations around direct unit impacts," said Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer. "We want to make sure the individuals serving on the PIT crews are getting the specific information they need -- to help them understand how Workday directly impacts them and the units they're representing."

First responders

Many PIT crew members already are involved in the WorkCyte initiative. Key communicators and technical experts also are being asked to join the teams, which will have from five to 25 members each. Led by a crew chief, the PIT crews will work closely with the WorkCyte change management team.

Five PIT crews are being formed at the divisional level -- finance, president, provost, student affairs and university services. More are being established within those broad groups, including college-specific crews.

With a focus on their own units, PIT crews will:

  • Review WorkCyte changes
  • Develop implementation plans
  • Identify Workday roles and relevant procedure/policy changes
  • Collaborate with WorkCyte change liaisons to communicate information to unit colleagues
  • Determine appropriate employee training needs

Bridging the gap

Constant said the PIT crews also will keep communication lines open from the unit level to university and WorkCyte project leaders.

"An important part of this effort is to keep leadership apprised of the status of project-related activities and decisions," she said.

"Workday implementation planning for the units is being done by the people who know the units best -- their own personnel. No one knows the unit better than the people who work there, and no one will care as much about the decisions being made as them," Constant said.

What drives ISU Dining's migration away from franchises

Assembling a sandwich at Lance and Ellie's in the Memorial Union

ISU Dining replaced the Subway sandwich counter in the Memorial Union food court last winter with its own Lance and Ellie's (pictured), one among recent decisions to go in-house to provide high quality options that still help the bottom line. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

ISU Dining director Mohamed Ali wouldn't reject every branded option for campus on principle. But he readily admits he prefers to do things in-house.

Yes, he bristles a bit at sending franchise commissions to out-of-state corporations, but who doesn't? For him, it's also about the freedom to be creative, to innovate and meet customer demands.

Dining director Mohamed Ali

Mohamed Ali

"When you work with franchises, you have to ride the bus. You're limited to what they want you to do, because they need to protect their brand," he noted.

He understands that. He's also convinced do-it-yourself results in better food.

"We have a very talented team in ISU Dining, and we can produce quality food," Ali said. "Why would you pay someone a commission to do something similar but of a lesser quality?"

His most recent case-in-point was replacing the Subway sandwich counter in the Memorial Union food court in January with Lance and Ellie's delicatessen. It features high-quality meats and cheeses and made-from-scratch breads and desserts.

Ali also didn't renew the Caribou coffee (Hub), and Froots smoothie (State Gym) contracts, which expired this summer. But there still are brand names on campus: Starbucks and Roasterie coffee, Godfather's pizza, Panda Express Asian cuisine and Coca-Cola.

Strong financial model

When done well, in-house menus and food preparation actually save money. Ali admits it's a challenge, but also rewarding.

Investing in the right equipment boosts labor efficiency while opening a window to homemade quality: a cookie dropper for made-from-scratch cookies instead of baking frozen packaged dough, a bagel maker that accomplishes the same, a pita oven for the new Mediterranean menu in the Hub lets employees bake pitas onsite from dough made daily in the campus commissary.

If you think fresh costs more, think again. Ali said ISU Dining lowered its labor costs $1 million across the last two years. It hires about 1,600 student employees over the course of a year who "do a great job," Ali said -- but also are a nonstop revolving employee pool. He credits a fulltime team of about 210, including 11 professional chefs, with "keeping the consistency in what we do."

Karen Rodekamp, business and support manager for ISU Dining, said it also lowered its food costs $1.6 million over that time by choosing fresher options. Examples include replacing:

  • Pre-cut fruit with fresh fruit and cutting it on-site. Annual savings: $100,000
  • Precooked and frozen pastas (blanched on-site) with uncooked pasta and boiling it on-site. Annual savings: $125,000
  • Prepared pizza crusts with in-house dough balls. Annual savings: $25,000

A significant factor in the cost savings has been a single primary food vendor for Iowa's three regent university dining services. Agreement among the three on a single brand -- for example, on a chicken breast or tortilla -- and buying it in volume can save tens of thousands of dollars a year at each school for each product.

As an auxiliary unit, ISU Dining has to pay its own way and meet its budget, Rodekamp noted. So dollars saved boost its ability to renovate aging facilities, maintain two dozen locations, repair or replace food service equipment and develop new menus.

Greater flexibility

Iowa State students -- ISU Dining's primary audience -- come from around the country and the globe, Ali said. Many of them travel more regularly than students did 10 or 15 years ago. Families today eat out more frequently. Cooking shows are tremendously popular and influential, he said. That all adds up to customers with higher expectations for quality, fresh and healthy food. As a self-supported unit, ISU Dining needs the flexibility to tweak -- or even swap out -- its menus, to both keep customers and gain new customers, Ali said.

"We need to stay relevant, current and fresh because our students always are looking for options," he said.

A franchise, or even a frozen food product, limits the options for creativity, he said, and typically adds to the cost of doing business. Plus, he's convinced brand familiarity is not as important as it used to be. Today's customer, he said, is simply looking for something special.

"Where a franchise adds value and makes sense for us and can meet our customer needs, we'll consider it," Ali said.

A name to embrace

When it reopens this fall, the renovated Hub on central campus will feature a Roasterie coffee anchor store. The direct-trade, Kansas City-based company is owned by Danny O'Neill, a Denison native and 1983 Iowa State alumnus. Some campus cafes have served Roasterie coffee since 2004.

Initially skeptical about the franchise, Ali said a trip to company headquarters converted him.

"Right away I realized this guy is different. He knows what he's doing, and he really cares about Iowa State," Ali said. "We're not doing this for that reason, but for the high quality of the coffee. He goes to Central America to select his beans. They're air roasted the day we order."

ISU Dining employees even have received additional training on calibrating the brew machines.

"We're going to make this coffee the way it's supposed to be," Ali said.

Kedrowski named Catt Center director

Karen Kedrowski headshot

Karen Kedrowski

After a national search, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has named Karen Kedrowski as its new director for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.

Kedrowski will succeed Dianne Bystrom, who will retire in August after serving 22 years as director.

A professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Kedrowski currently is the executive director for the university's Center for Civic Learning and co-director of its John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy.

"I am honored and humbled to be selected by Iowa State as the next director of the Catt Center, which has thrived under Dianne Bystrom’s leadership," Kedrowski said. "The next few years offer a great opportunity to further raise the Catt Center's profile, as a record number of women are running for public office nationwide and the country marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020."

Kedrowski's appointment begins Jan. 1, 2019. Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, will serve as interim director, effective Aug. 13.

About the Catt Center

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics was established by the state Board of Regents in 1992 and is the nation's second oldest university-based center for women and politics.

Over the last two decades, the Catt Center expanded its Legacy of Heroines scholarship program and added numerous programs. The center houses a one-of-its-kind online Archive of Women's Political Communication, hosts the national Ready to Run bipartisan campaign training workshop in Iowa, tracks the representation of women on city and county boards and commissions through its Gender Balance Project and the Women in Iowa Politics Database, among other initiatives.

"Under Dianne Bystrom's extraordinary leadership, vision and drive, the Catt Center has built a national reputation for its research on women's political communication, outreach and engagement efforts with students and citizens and media commentary," said LAS dean Beate Schmittmann. "We are thrilled to welcome a leader of Karen's caliber to Iowa State and look forward to how she will shape this next chapter in the Catt Center's legacy."

As director of Winthrop's Center for Civic Learning since 2017, Kedrowski has led the university's civic engagement and civic learning activities through philanthropic and grant writing efforts, hosting candidates and forums and spearheading student voter initiatives. As co-director of the John C. West Forum since 2008, Kedrowski coordinates campus and community civic engagement events. In these roles, she secured a voter-friendly campus designation, led efforts to host U.S. presidential candidates prior to the 2016 South Carolina primary and secured a major donor gift to permanently endow the West Forum.

While at Winthrop, Kedrowski also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, supervising 19 department chairs and professional staff and overseeing a $16 million annual budget. She is a former chair of the political science department and a Distinguished Professor, Winthrop's highest faculty award.

Kedrowski is the author of the book "Media Entrepreneurs and the Media Enterprise in the U.S. Congress" and the co-author of the books "Cancer Activism: Gender, Media and Public Policy" and "Breastfeeding Rights in the United States." She has authored or co-authored several book chapters and published numerous journal articles.

Kedrowski currently serves on the board of the Women's Rights Empowerment Network (WREN) and United Way of York County. She is a flutist in the Carolinas Wind Orchestra.

Kedrowski holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, where she majored in political science, French and history. She earned her master's degree and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Oklahoma.

New AccessPlus feature could help students vote

Students can now use their smartphones to prove where they live, which in some cases might be required to vote in upcoming elections.

The Iowa Election Integrity Law passed in the 2017 legislative session will be in effect, albeit incrementally, at the midterm election Nov. 6. As they have for all elections this year, voters will be asked to prove who they are. In 2018, voters who don't supply identification still will be allowed to sign an oath and cast a regular ballot. Starting next year, voters without ID can cast only a provisional ballot, which requires them to follow up with proof of their identity.

Voters who are preregistered at their current address need to show an Iowa driver's license or non-operator's ID, a U.S. military or veteran's ID, a U.S. passport or a tribal ID. Registrants without any of those forms of identification automatically receive a free state-issued voter ID card in the mail.

The law requires voters registering the day of the election or who are registered at a previous address to prove their identity and their residency, a situation bound to apply to many students. In addition to many being new voters, some students might remain registered in their hometown -- which is fine, if they'd rather vote as a resident from there.

To prove their identities, voters changing their registration or newly registering on Election Day must show a non-expired ID with both a photo and an expiration date. Accepted forms of ID include a driver's license or non-operator's ID from any state, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military or veterans card, an employer-issued ID or a student ID. ISUCards won't work as an ID at the polls because they don't have an expiration date.

If their ID doesn't show their current address, voters can prove where they live by showing a lease, paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or government document. Or, in the case of an Iowa State student, they can pull up AccessPlus on their phone. A feature added this summer placed a link on the left-hand side of the student section of AccessPlus called Voter Reg Address. Clicking on it pulls up an address verification that will be accepted at polling precincts as proof of residency.

Jennifer Suchan, senior associate registrar, said it was important to provide the convenience of verifying an address digitally. "It's meeting students where they are," she said. 

Though the address verification feature isn't available for ISU employees, faculty and staff can help students make sure their address is correct. Under the Faculty/Adviser tab in AccessPlus, Voter Reg Address is in the Dept Advising Srvs section.

The registrar's office worked with the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics to ensure the address verification is valid. The Catt Center plans to get the word out about voter ID requirements this fall and step up voter registration efforts, including offering registration during Destination Iowa State for the first time, said director Dianne Bystrom.