Design college lights up ISU fair exhibit

Students assembling the IM_RU2 pavilion

Architecture students Tuyen Le, left, and Tom Goetz assemble the IM_RU2 pavilion to be featured in the university's state fair exhibit. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The university's exhibit at the Iowa State Fair will be hard to miss.

University Marketing partnered with the College of Design this year for “Think Outside the Square: Design That’s Shaping Iowa’s Future.” The 1,800-square-foot Iowa State exhibit will include a 300-square-foot pavilion designed and built by design students, faculty and staff.

The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily in the Varied Industries Building at the state fair, which runs Aug. 9-19.

IM_RU2 is a redesign of a pavilion created in a 2017 interdisciplinary design-build and digital fabrication studio led by Shelby Doyle, assistant professor of architecture. The pavilion is constructed with low-cost 3D-printed joints, mirrors, wires and LED lights.

The most noticeable difference in this iteration is the lights will be -- you guessed it -- cardinal and gold. Both pavilions were produced in the architecture department’s Computation and Construction Lab.

It took 800 hours just to 3D-print the pavilion’s 3,200 joints from plant-based plastic, which will be recycled after the fair. That doesn’t include the hours spent building IM_RU2 this summer -- including attaching 400 LED lights and 400 mirrors to the 800 joint-wire boxes.

“In our increasingly digital world, people perceive and engage with the environment through a fabricated lens,” Doyle said. “Our perceptions of ourselves and the world are subjective, and can include counterfeit realities: convincingly realistic representations of things that never occurred or existed. By exploding and scattering what is seen, the IM_RU2 pavilion shows through architecture and public space that a person is simultaneously confronted with a wide range of individual and collective perceptions.”

The name, IM_RU, is a play on the phrase “I am [blank], are you?”, allowing the viewer to insert any word or phrase in the blank.

“The original IM_RU conveyed an Iowa City fashion festival’s message of inclusivity of all people, shapes and sizes by pixelating your self-image,” said Erin Hunt, Computation and Construction Lab associate. “This redesign focuses on diversity, civility and recognizing that we’re all connected. Seeing ourselves and others in fragments -- as you do in IM_RU2 -- provides us with different perspectives on our individual identities and our place in society.”

Due to the pavilion’s size, it was deconstructed on campus before being transported and rebuilt in the fair’s ISU exhibit. A GoPro will record a time-lapse video of the reconstruction, which will then play throughout the fair.

The ISU exhibit will also include four Dremel 3D printers to show visitors how structures like IM_RU2 and other printed models are made. Visitors will get to see firsthand the architecture department’s design-build tradition and advanced computation and digital fabrication capabilities.

“This is an opportunity for Iowa State to show industry that you can create larger 3D-printed models, and you can do it with recyclable materials at a much lower cost,” said Carole Custer, university marketing director. “This is research that impacts the building industry, architecture industry and design industry.”

More than 130 volunteers will help at the ISU exhibit throughout the fair, including College of Design representatives who can give insight into the IM_RU2 pavilion, the college and its seven departments.

Volunteers are also glad to help fairgoers with broader questions about Iowa State, or direct them to resources on campus. Coaches, athletes, deans and senior administrators will be at the ISU exhibit at times throughout the fair, as will President Wendy Wintersteen.

Cyclone swag and a chance to meet Cy

Iowa State’s fair exhibit includes not only IM_RU2 but the ISU Book Store. Fairgoers can expect a wide variety of Iowa State merchandise, gifts and apparel, including new, brightly colored T-shirts in sizes from newborn to adult.

Visitors can see athletic trophies from the past year and receive a temporary Iowa State tattoo, as well as football posters, magnets and key tags showing the football schedule. They can also enter ticket drawings for Iowa State Center productions, football and volleyball games and gift cards to the ISU Book Store. Five winners will be announced daily.

Cy will make special appearances at the Varied Industries Building on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Friday, Aug. 17, thanks to a partnership between Iowa State and the Iowa Farm Bureau. Cy will bounce between the two exhibits both days. He will be accompanied by members of the ISU Spirit Squad.

Fulfilling land-grant mission through 4-H, Extension and Outreach

During 4-H Day on the Concourse, Friday, Aug. 10, Cy will stomp grapes with ISU horticulturist Mike White, who oversees the fair’s daily grape stomp at Grandfather’s Barn. ISU Extension and Outreach will be outside the Administration Building on 4-H Day handing out sunscreen sticks and visiting with fairgoers.

The state fair would be incomplete without 4-H, headquartered at Iowa State and available in all 99 counties through ISU Extension and Outreach. 4-H’ers will have 4,500 contest entries on display in the 4-H Exhibits Building, as well as 5,000 livestock entries at various venues. Throughout the fair, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will award scholarships to selected 4-H’ers.

Animals and the Cyclones who care for them

The College of Veterinary Medicine will again play an important role at the state fair, with Dr. Troy Brick, assistant professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine; and Dr. Adam Copeland, food animal resident in veterinary field services, serving as the state fair veterinarians, overseeing the health of all animals at the fair.

Elizabeth Brehm, Dawson LaBorde, Parker Robison and Holly Salzbrenner, all fourth-year veterinary medicine students, will assist the veterinarians. Several other veterinary medicine students will assist with 4-H and the Future Farmers of America sheep check-in.

Dan Grooms named to Vet Med dean post

Dan Grooms

Dan Grooms

Dan Grooms, professor and chair of the department of large animal clinical sciences at Michigan State University, East Lansing, has been appointed the next Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. He will begin on Oct. 1.

"Dr. Grooms is an accomplished scientist, teacher and leader who will build on the college's reputation for excellence and the great achievements of our students, faculty and staff," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "I am confident he also will work effectively with veterinarians across the state, livestock and poultry producers and others who share our passion for animal and human health."

Grooms, an expert in bovine infectious diseases, joined the Michigan State faculty in 1997 and was promoted to his present position in 2014. He holds board certification from the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists with specialty in veterinary virology, is a former president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and has served on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Committee on Animal Health.


The university will host an informal reception for Grooms and his wife, Donna Grooms, on Thursday, Aug. 2 (11 a.m.-noon, Alumni Room, Vet Med). Members of the university community are welcome.

"The College of Veterinary Medicine plays a significant role in advancing animal well-being, from companion to production animals, as well as research that helps maintain the safety of our food supply and addresses society's most pressing human health challenges," Grooms said. "I am honored and excited for this opportunity to work alongside our talented team to deliver excellence in the teaching, research and service missions of the university and address important problems for our stakeholders globally."

Grooms visited campus in February to interview for the job. 

Grooms earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and two degrees from Ohio State University, Columbus -- a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Ph.D. in veterinary preventive medicine.

In making the announcement, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert thanked interim dean Pat Halbur for his leadership and members of the search committee for their thoughtful consideration of candidates.


Reallocations bolster new budget

Iowa State leaders will rely on just over $14 million in new revenue and approximately $4.5 million in internal reallocations to fund the university's top priorities this year, including $5 million for employee salary increases.

Meeting Aug. 1 in Urbandale, the state Board of Regents approved Iowa State's $731.9 million operating budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Tuition and fees ($466.8 million) and state appropriations ($225.5 million) make up 64 percent and 31 percent of the revenue, respectively. State support includes a $170.6 million general university appropriation and $54.9 million in directed appropriations for units such as the Agriculture Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension Service, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and the ISU Research Park.

State funding to Iowa State nearly mirrors what it was in FY 2011, when fall enrollment stood at 28,682 -- or about 7,300 fewer students than last fall.

Net state funding for Iowa State is about $2.15 million less than it was on July 1, 2017. That reflects a $5.4 million reduction in May made permanent for FY19, tempered by Iowa State's share ($3.15 million) of a new appropriation the regents designated for resident undergraduate financial aid. The 2018 Legislature also approved $100,000 in additional operating funds to the VDL, for total VDL support of $4.1 million.

"It's been a challenging year, both because of the late spring cut and the early June decision on tuition for this fall," said interim senior vice president for finance Pam Cain. "We had lots of input and discussion and, ultimately, cooperation in a short amount of time to finalize this budget."

In her remarks to the regents, President Wendy Wintersteen said the priorities for the additional revenue this year were salary increases, student financial aid, additional programming for international students and strategic hires to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

"Following last year's salary freeze, we saw our largest number of faculty resignations in a decade: 44 faculty left and 44 percent of faculty who responded to an exit interview said their next institution would pay 'significantly more' than Iowa State," Wintersteen said. "For these reasons, we made salary increases a top priority for FY19."

She said competitive salaries would "continue to be a high priority moving forward."

New revenue: FY19

Additional tuition

$10.18 million

State appropriations (2)

$3.25 million

Indirect cost revenue

$0.87 million

Miscellaneous revenue

$0.01 million


$14.31 million

Priority expenditures and cost increases: FY19

Salary, wage increases

$5.13 million

Student financial aid

$5.23 million

Student support*

$1.58 million

Faculty, P&S hires

$1.93 million

Biosciences facilities (operation, bond payments)

$1.6 million

Other facility improvements (library, Vet Med)

$2.35 million

Statewide outreach, campus climate initiatives

$0.50 million

Vet Diagnostic Lab: additional operating support

$0.1 million

Contract increases: Ames (fire, water)

$0.40 million


-$4.51 million


$14.31 million

*Scholarships, international student programming, financial literacy, student retention/success

As they are able financially, Cain said colleges will hire faculty to fill positions vacated by resignations and retirements or in response to enrollment shifts and discipline-specific needs in teaching and research. Two new half-time faculty appointments are the director for the Student Innovation Center and faculty fellow the to vice president for diversity and inclusion. Staff hires will fill vacancies or expand capacity in graduate student recruitment, academic advising, international student services, IT support and library acquisitions and digital scholarship.

Building projects at the library and College of Veterinary Medicine will:

  • Renovate the first-floor service area and all restrooms in Parks Library
  • Expand women's locker room and restroom facilities at Vet Med to reflect the gender makeup of faculty, staff and students
  • Renovate the main entrances to the Lloyd Teaching Hospital and the Vet Med college, for visitors' benefit

Making permanent the FY18 reduction

In April, university leaders relied mostly on one-time cuts to meet a $5.4 million reversion in state funding. By the end of the legislative session, it was clear the funding wouldn't be restored in the new fiscal year. Permanent reductions absorbed by the major divisions this year are:

  • Academic affairs, $2.44 million
  • Student affairs, $0.19 million
  • Finance/University services, $1.40 million
  • President, $1.37 million ($1 million held centrally while planning continues)

Big picture

The board approved the university's overall budget, which surpassed $1.5 billion and is about $1 million smaller than last year's budget. Restricted budgets, totaling $773.2 million, include sponsored research, endowment income, building projects, and auxiliary units such as athletics, residence, printing, parking, utilities, recreation services, bookstore, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State Center and the Memorial Union.

Capital appropriations

Iowa State will receive these state funds in FY19 for specific building projects:

  • Biosciences facilities (Bessey addition, Advanced Teaching and Research Building), $4 million in the final of four years
  • Student Innovation Center, $6 million in the third of six years
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, $1 million in the first of six years

Modifications to the budget model

As part of its charge to assess the functionality of Iowa State's 10-year-old budget model, the institutional budget management (IBM) team changed how some administrative costs will be paid for, starting this fiscal year. With declining state support for higher education, Cain said the intent is to lessen the burden on the general fund operating budget by allocating administration costs more broadly -- including more units in the "restricted" part of the budget.

Approximately $9 million to operate offices in the president's unit (such as offices of university counsel, marketing and relations; internal audit, ombuds) will be allocated across the university, including self-funded auxiliary units that receive no state dollars. Cain said the general fund units (for example, colleges, extension) received reallocated state funds to cover their allocations, which covers about 88 percent of the $9 million. Non-general fund units need to cover a total of about $1 million of these administrative costs from their own sources.

"Our general fund units historically have shouldered 100 percent of the burden of state funding cuts," Cain said, "but all units benefited from the growth in student enrollment and that additional revenue."

A second change to relieve a strained general fund budget will have a significant impact on service rates charged by facilities planning and management units, which in turn will be shared widely across campus. New rates took effect July 1. More information about this change will be provided in an upcoming edition of Inside Iowa State.

Cain said planning and analysis on the FY20 budget will begin earlier and expand further into the total budget, rather than focus just on the general fund budget. She said the IBM team also will begin to use a three-year planning structure for a stronger long-term vision.


Amanda Knief outside the Memorial Union

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Amanda Knief (pronounced kah-NEEF) returned to her alma mater Wednesday as director of the lectures program. Knief, a Waterloo native who earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from ISU and a law degree from Drake University, has been working in Washington, D.C., since 2010, most recently as a legislative analyst for the Library of Congress.

As lectures program director, Knief will work with the Student Government-funded Committee on Lectures and other campus units and organizations to provide a broad range of public events. On average, about 120 events -- speakers, performances, films, debates, panels and more -- are scheduled annually. Knief succeeds Pat Miller, who led the lectures program for 37 years.

The lectures program is a unit in the office of the senior vice president and provost. Knief's office is located in 2582 Memorial Union. She can be reached by phone (294-9935) and email (


Related stories

Stephens upgrades focus on accessibility

Two men pour concrete in Stephens to create a platform

Crew members from Marshalltown-based JDA Construction pour one of three concrete platforms on the first floor of Stephens Auditorium for theater guests who use wheelchairs. The project increases wheelchair seating capacity from six to 18 guests. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Summer projects inside Stephens Auditorium will triple the seating for theater guests who use wheelchairs and replace and expand guard rails in the upper levels of the building. All of the work should be complete when Ringo Starr and his band take the stage Sept. 5. Attendees at the College of Veterinary Medicine's white coat ceremony (Aug. 17) or President Wendy Wintersteen's installation (Sept. 21) also will notice the improvements.

Stephens Auditorium turns 50 next year, and its 1969 opening predates federal legislation on accessibility.

Tammy Koolbeck, executive director of the Iowa State Center, said accessibility and restrooms at Stephens have been constant meeting topics since she started in the post in 2015. A 2013 feasibility study addressed the issues, but the $30 million cost to renovate was prohibitive.

"These two areas were affecting the quality of our patrons' experiences at Stephens, even though our staff did everything they could to accommodate our wheelchair and limited mobility patrons in locations that were less than ideal," she said. "We knew we needed to move the needle somehow."

Koolbeck said planning for the upgrades goes back to spring 2016, with facilities planning and management coming on board last fall to assist with design drawings and bidding the project.

Wheelchair seating for 18

Seating modifications in Stephens targeted seat rows either at ground level or adjacent to an elevator. Iowa State's maintenance and improvement committee awarded $42,000 from the university services facilities overhead use fund to pay for the changes.

Near the back of the main floor, a total of 46 theater seats were removed at the ends of rows 30 and 31. In their place, poured concrete platforms each provide space for up to six wheelchairs and chairs for companions. Both of these areas are within 15 yards of an elevator.

Closer to the stage, 42 theater seats were removed from the west end of rows 10 and 11 for another two-row platform, also with a capacity for six wheelchairs and companion seating. Row 11 is on the same level as, and adjacent to, the ground-level accessible entrance at Stephens' southwest corner.

Still, it's not a perfect option -- yet. Koolbeck noted there are no restrooms on this level of Stephens, though there are plans to add them, pending private fundraising (see below). In the meantime, guests in wheelchairs seated in row 11 would have to exit Stephens at the southwest corner and re-enter the building at the northwest corner to use a restroom. She said Stephens ushers will assist with this move until ground-level restrooms are completed.

Mid-house aisle

While it's more about convenience than accessibility, crews also removed all 61 seats in row 12 last month to create a middle aisle across Stephens. Previously, patrons had to use the outer staircases to traverse the theater, Koolbeck said.


Beginning Aug. 6, crews will remove the guard rails at the front of Stephens' three balconies and loges and replace them with railing that sits a few inches higher. They also will install handrails on the end of each row and side wall in the balconies. A lead gift helped launch this project, which Koolbeck estimates at between $70,000 and $100,000, depending on fluctuations in steel prices.

Up next

Koolbeck said fundraising will begin soon for two more projects in Stephens.

  • Renovating the building's southwest entrance to make it fully accessible and reclaiming a section of the backstage area for an accessible, gender-neutral restroom with multiple individual stalls will cost up to $750,000.
  • Adding LED stair lighting and handrails at either end of each row on the main floor will cost an estimated $200,000.


Gerdin addition has final approval from regents

Meeting Aug. 1 in the board's Urbandale office, the state Board of Regents gave Iowa State permission to:

  • Build a $28 million, 40,000-square-foot east addition to Gerdin Building containing instruction, office and collaborative spaces for the Ivy College of Business. University funds and private gifts will pay for the addition.
  • Renovate Curtiss Hall third floor for administrative offices for staff in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and English department faculty and graduate students. The $2.3 million cost would be funded by college funds and private gifts.
  • Proceed with planning to convert the top three floors of the Memorial Union from hotel rooms to offices and collaborative spaces for existing student services, including the veterans center, student legal services, study abroad center, LGBTQIA+ student success, NCORE/ISCORE and international students and scholars. Estimated cost is $11 million, to be funded with student fees.
  • Proceed with planning to construct education and outreach facilities, feed mill tower (replacing three outdated ones) and feed storage buildings at the Curtiss Farm southwest of Ames. Privates gifts will cover the estimated $21.2 million price tag.
  • Replace windows and window blinds in Birch, Welch, Roberts, Helser, Oak and Elm residence halls -- a total of 2,244 windows -- for an estimated $12.7 million. Residence department funds will cover the cost.
  • Eliminate two centers, the Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI Design Center in the electrical and computer engineering department, and Asteroid Deflection Research Center, which will become the Asteroid Defense Research Consortium and collaborate with the international community on this issue.

The board also approved changes to its policy manual (chapter 1.4) to include a public comment period at all regular meetings (excluding telephonic or special meetings). Would-be commenters have to register with board office staff at least 48 hours before the start of a meeting. Board president Mike Richards began piloting the comment period in June 2017. It replaces a little-used practice started in 2013 that required members of the public to go to designated campus locations prior to meetings to video-record their comments for board members.

More regents coverage

Reallocations bolster new budget

Final approval expected in September

The board's property and facilities committee reviewed recreation services' $10 million proposal to renovate the intramural field east of Jack Trice Stadium. The plan reconfigures and renovates about 40 acres on the east side of University Boulevard and adds an irrigation system, lights and restrooms. Six softball fields, eight sand volleyball courts and about a dozen soccer/football fields would be distributed between north and south sections, separated by about 650 parking spots (grass and gravel) and a service building.

Recreation services director Mike Giles said the upgrades will help his staff meet student demand for more activities. The irrigation system and lights will allow them to schedule programs later in the day -- up to midnight -- instead of shutting down outdoor competitions at sundown.

Student fees will pay for the improvements. Giles said student fees won't be raised. Recreation services is a self-funded auxiliary unit and receives no state appropriations.

The committee also approved a proposal to replace the steam piping system beneath the Iowa State Center courtyard. The 45 years-plus system services the center's four buildings and is experiencing interruptions in service. Iowa State's utility repair fund would cover the estimated $4.2 million cost.

The proposals go to the full board for final approval Sept. 13.