Parents' dream team

Student teams in orange shirts move new students into residence

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Move-in crew members -- identifiable this year by their neon orange T-shirts, unload vehicles between Friley and Helser halls Wednesday morning. Nearly 550 returning students volunteered over two days to help new Cyclone students move in to campus residence halls, relieving delighted parents and siblings of much of that task.

Engineering dean Rajala announces her retirement

Sarah Rajala, the James and Katherine Melsa Dean of Engineering, has announced she will retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

Sarah Rajala

Sarah Rajala

Rajala, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, has served as dean since 2013. During her tenure, the college has enhanced the breadth and quality of its educational offerings, expanded its research portfolio, renovated and built new facilities, and raised more than $185 million in philanthropic support.

"I greatly appreciate the excellent job Sarah has done, and continues to do, to lead Iowa State's engineering college," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "Sarah is completing an outstanding 40-year career which includes positions of national prominence in engineering education and honors such as the National Engineering Award, and we are fortunate for her leadership."

Search committee leaders

A national search for Rajala's successor will begin immediately. The search committee will be co-chaired by Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design, and Gary Mirka, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and former associate dean and department chair. A search firm will assist the committee in its work.

Wickert is soliciting nominations for the search committee, which will include representation from students, faculty, staff and external stakeholders. Suggestions should be sent to Julie Johnston,, by Monday, Aug. 20.

The committee will begin soliciting candidate nominations and applications this fall, with a target of January-February 2019 for on-campus interviews with finalists.

A look back at summer headlines

Here's a rundown of some news you may have missed if you were away from campus for at least part of the summer. Follow the link to the full story.


  • Erin Baldwin, assistant VP for student health and wellness, effective Aug. 8
  • Steve Freeman, faculty adviser to the president, renewed July 1
  • Dan Grooms, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, effective Oct. 1
  • Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, effective Jan. 1, 2019
  • Amanda Knief, director of the lectures program, effective Aug. 1
  • Sandra Looft, director of the Margaret Sloss Women's Center, effective June 18
  • Sara Marcketti, director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, effective June 3
  • Ayodeji Oluwalana, first full-time recycling coordinator in facilities planning and management, effective June 11
  • Jose Rosa, fellow to the vice president for diversity and inclusion, effective July 1
  • Mark Simpson, university registrar, effective May 21
  • David Spalding, interim vice president for economic development and business engagement, effective July 1


  • Budget challenges: With another drop in state support, leaders will rely on internal reallocations to help fund FY19 priorities, including employee salary increases.
  • P&S classification and compensation: Implementation of changes to the P&S class/comp structure shifted to September 2019 to align with the revised implementation timeline for the Workday system.
  • Tuition rates: The FY19 increases, ranging from 3.8 to 4 percent, will provide about $10.1 million in revenue.
  • External funding: ISU's $509.2 million marks the fourth consecutive year of record growth.
  • CyRide 2.0: Many bus routes changed when the second phase of service improvements were implemented on Aug. 13.
  • WorkCyte progress: AccessPlus was added to the Okta dashboardWorkCyte pit crews were formed to deliver unit-specific Workday information to colleagues; and the testing phase for the Workday system is well underway.
Crews lay sod on the MWL recreation field

Rec field makeover

Construction projects

  • Advanced Teaching and Research Building: Occupants started moving in to offices and laboratories in the new $57.5 million biosciences facility.
  • Stadium plaza: Plans were revised for the green space south of Jack Trice Stadium, saving nearly $1.5 million.
  • Recreation fields: The playing surface east of Maple-Willow-Larch residence halls has new lights, scoreboards and irrigation. Crews laid sod on the west half and the east half is scheduled to be seeded this month.
  • Road construction: Portions of Union Drive, Bissell Road and Welch Road reopened after being closed since March to upgrade underground utilities and replace road and sidewalk pavement. Work will resume next spring for the final phase of the two-year project.
  • Stephens Auditorium: Summer upgrades tripled the seating for theater guests who use wheelchairs, and replaced and expanded guard rails in the upper levels of the building.
RAGBRAI riders stop for a photo at Jack Trice Field.

RAGBRAI stopover

Other stories

  • Memorial Union hours: Previously open 24/7, the MU now closes at midnight during the summer and 1:30 a.m. during the school year.
  • Campus climate survey: Consultants shared results of the fall 2017 survey during public presentations on May 9. President Wintersteen announced four implementation teams that will develop and prioritize action items.
  • Voter help in AccessPlus: Students can use their smartphones to prove where they live, which in some cases might be required to vote in upcoming elections.
  • RAGBRAI stopover: Thousands of cyclists spent a night in Ames on their weeklong trek across the state.
  • Facility dedicated in Uganda: The new rural training center will provide more service-learning opportunities for ISU and African students.
  • Passion Academy: Faculty and staff of color help Ames middle schoolers discover and pursue their passions.
  • Do-it-yourself dining: Replacing franchised venues with in-house alternatives helps ISU Dining meet customer demands with innovative, high-quality products at a lower cost.
  • Park smart: Steeper fines and the elimination of free visitor parking should help clear spaces paid for by permit holders.
Claudia Deleon, sophomore in animal science, greets a dairy calf

Food Animal Summer Experience

Student programs

  • Food Animal Summer Experience: The College of Veterinary Medicine's new program is designed to provide students of color an opportunity to care for food animals and job shadow veterinarians, a background that's needed for vet school admission but often difficult to acquire.
  • Partnership with Iowa Prison Industries: Student teams in an industrial design studio course developed commercial product ideas that use recycled road signs and repurposed wood. Two concepts were chosen for further development and possible production at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

Funding changes to FPM will be felt across campus

As part of the university plan to manage diminishing state appropriations and provide a salary increase for faculty and staff, the facilities planning and management (FPM) budget was cut $500,000 for the fiscal year that began July 1. The result will be fewer projects this year to repair classrooms, lighting and ventilation systems or sidewalks, and improve building access control.

In addition, as part of a broader university strategy to share some administrative costs -- rather than continue covering them with general funds -- interim vice president for finance and university services Pam Cain directed FPM leaders to allocate the unit's central administrative costs to all customers, regardless of their funding source, in the form of rate increases. This change created an additional $1 million reduction to FPM's general fund budget.

The total $1.5 million reduction represents a 4.5 percent cut to general fund support for FPM.

Facility services expense pool reduced

FPM's general fund support provides an affordable, basic service level for building and grounds maintenance and custodial and other services. These expenses are allocated annually to university resource units -- the colleges, ISU Extension, student affairs auxiliaries -- on a square-footage basis. Because FPM is now receiving less general fund support, that charge has been reduced 5 percent for FY19, resulting in savings for campus units.

"We have been allowed to retain and realign sufficient general funds to provide the same level of daily maintenance and services to the campus," said Paul Fuligni, associate vice president for facilities planning and management. "But the overall effect is a reduction of funds available for building repairs and other projects."

An assist from utility services

Utility services, which is a self-funded auxiliary unit within the FPM umbrella, will contribute more than $500,000 per year toward university-wide administrative costs. As a result, utility rates are about 2 percent higher than what was previously planned for FY19.

Utility services operates much like any public utility company. All the costs associated with the campus utility systems -- including commodities such as water, natural gas and coal -- are included in the rates billed to university units.

New rates will cover all administrative costs

Excluding the utilities enterprise, approximately 60 percent of FPM's budget comes from university general funds, with 40 percent provided by university units. In allocating costs, FPM charges the same labor rates and fees to all units, regardless of how those units are funded.

"In the past, those rates covered salaries, benefits and some, but not all, department administrative costs," Fuligni said. "The new rates will now cover all of our administrative costs."

Sampling of FPM rates: Average increases for FY19


Hourly rate average increase

Building maintenance

15 percent

Custodial services

6 percent

Engineers and architects

5 percent

Grounds maintenance

16 percent

Preventive maintenance

5 percent

FPM's project management fee will rise to 5.2 percent of project expenditures, up from the previous 5 percent.

Fuligni said the new rates weren't set yet when the fiscal year started. The university budget development timeline was impacted by the the state Board of Regents' decision to approve tuition rates after the Legislature adjourned, about five months later than usual. The new rates and fees are posted on the FPM website.

He said FPM will share more information about rate changes directly with campus units in the weeks ahead.


Related story

Renovated dining venues reopen

Several dining locations that closed for summer renovations will reopen as the fall semester gets underway. Here's a summary of what venues are open and when. Vegan and vegetarian selections are available at all locations.


Union Drive Community Center (operating hours)
The venue -- named for ISU Hall of Famer Clyde Williams and designed with the history of Cyclone athletics in mind -- will operate with limited hours during the opening weeks of the semester. Renovations addressed the dining area, serving stations and entrances. The menu also changed, offering grilled sandwiches, burgers, fries and gourmet ice cream desserts and shakes. Clyde's also will offer breakfast items and give the west side of campus its first espresso option by adding ISU's second Starbucks location.


Near The Hub (operating hours)
The food truck will continue to operate northeast of The Hub until weather forces its closure. Dinkey's offers made-to-order soft burritos (also available as a salad or walking taco) and sides, including chips and queso.

Gentle Doctor Café

College of Veterinary Medicine (operating hours)
The expanded venue near Vet Med's fish tank lobby offers daily hot entrée features, soup, grab-and-go items, bakery selections and Roasterie coffee drinks. The café is open for business. The Vet Med commons project to add gathering/study space, meeting rooms and a vending area is expected to be ready in early September.

The Hub

Work at The Hub is expected to continue late into the fall semester. The reconfigured space will feature a dining venue (Heaping Plato) with a Mediterranean-inspired menu and an expanded Roasterie coffee venue that includes specialty drinks.

MU food court

Memorial Union (operating hours)
A build-your-own salad bar and self-serve hot entrée station occupies the center of the remodeled space. Four venues flank the interior space, including Poco Picante (made-to-order burritos and bowls), Rowdy Rooster (chicken strips and fries), Yum! Burger (burgers and fries) and Zodiac Pizza (four personal pan varieties). Breakfast items are offered in the morning and a beverage station and a large selection of bakery and grab-and-go items also are available.


State Gym (operating hours)
A replacement for the Froots counter in State Gym, Whirlybird's is ISU Dining's own smoothie concept. The venue will offer made-to-order smoothies, shakes, drinks and a limited menu (for example, oatmeal). The State Gym location will open at the start of the fall semester, and a Whirlybird's drink menu is available now in the MU Market and Café.

Greeter in chief

President Wintersteen greets State Fair goers

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

President Wendy Wintersteen greeted visitors to the university's State Fair exhibit in the Varied Industries Building Tuesday during a quick outing to the fair. She also addressed the audiences during sheep and swine judging competitions and toured agriculture and extension exhibits.

Concrete rework required for garden project

Two of the four foundation walls for a new viewing deck in Reiman Gardens are being removed and repoured this month. The setback, in the under-construction Sycamore Falls area of the far southwest corner of the gardens, likely will push the planting phase of the project to next spring. December was the original completion target.

When the pouring forms were removed from the 10-feet-high concrete walls in late July, workers discovered two had bowed. This week, a crew from Des Moines-based Rochon Corp., the contractor for the work, began demolishing the two bowed walls.

"We were making great progress on the project," said university architect Dan Sloan. "Any project has its ups and downs, so this isn't unusual -- simply larger scale and certainly more visible."

Rochon leaders were in agreement that the two walls needed to be reinstalled, an indicator of their concern for a high-quality end product, he noted.

The walls will support a viewing deck overlooking cascading water. The concrete deck will be topped with an asymmetrical wood tower structure, to be built in part with repurposed wood from the university's TreeCycle program.

The Sycamore Falls garden is part of Reiman Gardens' 2015 master plan. Other pieces that can be completed this fall include a pergola shade, restroom building and paved pathway around the falls.


Related story

Sycamore Falls headed toward fall completion, June 7, 2018


Faculty invited to add library resources to Canvas course pages

Faculty who add the new "ISU Library Resources" tab to their Canvas sections give their students seamless access to library resources. The tab includes links to discipline-specific research guides, relevant databases and a librarian contact. Step-by-step instructions for enabling this function are in the Embed Library Guides website in Canvas. Or faculty may follow this breadcrumb: Canvas> Help> MyLibrary> Instructors for additional information about this and other instructional support available from the library.

Jeff Kushkowski, instruction and information services coordinator for University Library, said the library worked closely with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and IT services staff to create the platform for embedding library resources into Canvas. Work started during spring semester and succeeded because of close collaboration among the three units, he said.

Benefits to faculty

The library resources tab for each course page is customized for a department, relieving faculty members of the need to search for relevant library resources. Department codes in course titles from the registrar have been mapped to disciplinary research guides created by librarians who are subject experts. When faculty enable the tab for a course, it is populated with the appropriate research guides and library databases for that discipline. Faculty also may contact their liaison librarian to have a custom class page created for a specific course.

Benefits to students

Students can connect to the library directly from within Canvas. The embedded resources are customized, so students (and teachers) can be confident that the resources listed will be relevant for their class assignments. Students also can contact a librarian, for example to ask a question or set up a research appointment.

Technical questions about the library resources tab may be directed to librarian Rano Marupova. Questions about the library's instructional support for courses can be directed to Kushkowski.

Travel insurance for international trips gets simpler

Signing up for international insurance for university-related travel is easier under a new system that eventually offer automatic security alerts and other features.

For more information

Contact the risk management office at or 294-7711. 

Previously, most faculty and staff couldn't enroll themselves in international travel insurance. The AccessPlus requisition process required sign-off from designated personnel. With the new travel portal website, employees or a proxy can enroll directly, said Kurt Beyer, senior risk and systems analyst for the risk management office.

Signing up for international travel insurance is voluntary but strongly encouraged. The policy, provided through CISI, pays for emergency medical care and security evacuations in foreign countries. The cost is covered by central administration and available only for business travel.

Risk management had to phase out AccessPlus enrollment as part of the switch next summer to the new Workday enterprise software, said Susanne Johnson, risk management director.

Coverage can be booked through either system until Oct. 1. Submit enrollment requests at least two weeks in advance of departure.

Later this fall, enrolling in international travel insurance also will come with new safety features though the AlertTraveler software already used by Iowa State's study abroad programs. Faculty and staff will be able to set up optional alert notifications, and in the case of a natural disaster or political unrest overseas, ISU leaders will be able to easily determine if any employee or students might be affected.

"We'll have one place where we can look and say, 'Do we have anyone in Paris today?" Johnson said.

Welcome to a new year

Fall semester officially launches Monday, Aug. 20, but colleges will take several weeks to officially observe the start of a new academic year. Below is a list of college opening events for faculty and staff, as well as three university-wide events.

College opening events

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences, convocation, Tuesday, Sept. 4 (4:10 p.m.), MU Sun Room, reception follows
  • Business, welcome back picnic for faculty and staff families, Friday, Aug. 24 (5:30 p.m.), Big Bluestem Shelter, Moore Memorial Park
  • Design, welcome reception for faculty and staff, Monday, Aug. 20 (6-8 p.m., short program at 6:30 p.m.), Beckman Forum, College of Design
  • Engineering, convocation and awards presentation, Thursday, Sept. 13 (3 p.m.), Howe Hall auditorium
  • Human Sciences, welcome back event for faculty and staff, Thursday, Aug. 16 (8-11 a.m.), Reiman Ballroom, Alumni Center
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, fall convocation, awards presentation and reception, Wednesday, Sept. 12 (3:30-5:30 p.m.), MU Sun Room
  • Veterinary Medicine, convocation and awards presentation, Wednesday, Aug. 29 (8-9 a.m., breakfast served at 7:30 a.m.), 2226 Vet Med

All-university events

  • Fanfare concert, music faculty members, Sunday, Aug. 26 (3-4:30 p.m., free admission), Tye Hall, Music Hall
  • University awards ceremony, Friday, Sept. 14 (3:30 p.m.), MU Great Hall
  • Presidential installation, Friday, Sept. 21 (10:15 a.m.), Stephens Auditorium, reception follows