Cupid Cy

Cy presents a Valentine to a female diner in campustown

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Enjoying a Wednesday lunch with friends in campustown's Stomping Grounds as she has for 10-plus years, Deb Kline of Ames got a surprise this week: a Valentine delivery from the guy who wears red every day. Cy presented a flower bouquet and card from Deb's husband; spirit squad coordinator and driver Kelli Baker (not pictured) provided the portable love song to say what Cy simply couldn’t.

Cy was scheduled for 22 Valentine deliveries -- to homes, businesses, schools and a coffee shop -- Wednesday and Thursday. This annual day-brightening fundraiser supports the Cyclone spirit squad in the athletics department.

Training for 10,000: Learning how to use Workday begins in April

Really soon, Workday is going to get real.

The Professional and Scientific Council last week received a report on training plans for the enterprise software set to launch July 1, overhauling how business transactions are handled and impacting all of Iowa State's nearly 10,000 employees.

It's a sizable challenge to offer training methods and times that work across the university's varied workforce while still ensuring the appropriate amount of instruction based on job type, said Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer. Plans call for training 9,735 ISU employees, including about 1,700 student workers.

"What we have facing us is a very large number of people who need training," Constant said. "That's something our change management team has spent an enormous amount of time working through."

Training plans

Change management lead Pat Jones of Huron Consulting Group told the council the current plan includes 52 training courses, 36 of which are computer-based (three for general topics, 16 on human resources and 17 on finance). In-person instructors will teach 15 to 20 employees per session in an additional 16 courses, eight for finance and eight for HR. 

Jones said employees who aren't involved in finance or HR could need as few as two computer-based trainings: an introductory course and a session on employee self-service. Computer-based training is flexible, repeatable and accessible, she said. The courses will be available on Workday's Ready, Set, Learn! website and delivered via Learn@ISU, allowing project leaders to track training progress and adjust communications as needed.

The computer-based sessions will be interactive, simulating how Workday functions instead of merely showing it, Jones said.

"You're actually going to be seeing screens that look just like the Workday screens and act just like the Workday screens," she said.

The dozens of in-depth trainings on HR and finance will dovetail with the simultaneous reorganization shifting much of that work to centralized service teams, Jones said. PIT crews helping with local implementation of Workday and transition teams doing the same with improved service delivery will assist employees in identifying which training courses are recommended.

"What we are looking at for training is what are you going to be doing once we go live in the new system," she said. 

When it starts

The training sessions will be tested in March pilot runs with employees who haven't been involved in the Workday project, Jones said. Registration for training starts in early April, and sessions are expected to kick off mid-April and continue after Workday goes live.

Training won't be limited to courses. Starting in June and continuing after the July 1 launch, user labs at rotating locations across campus will give employees who need in-person help a chance to work one-on-one with trainers, Jones said. Written reference guides posted online will outline step-by-step instructions for specific tasks.

Showing employees how Workday works will be an ongoing, fluid process, Constant said. Training needs will be assessed continuously. Sessions could be added and will continue well after the platform goes live, she said. 

"It's not a one-shot, 'Oh you missed it,' kind of thing," she said.

Student survey in March

The council also received a report on Iowa State's participation in an upcoming nationwide student survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Margo Foreman, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity, said the Association of American Universities is conducting the survey as a follow-up to a similar effort in 2015. All students will receive an email with a personalized link to the survey, which will be open March 1-31.

Information provided in the survey, which will take about 20 minutes to complete, will be confidentially collected by a third party. Identities of respondents won't be shared with participating institutions. The survey will include trigger warnings about potentially traumatic questions. Foreman said staff could be helpful by supporting student participation.

"They're not required to take the survey, but we certainly want to encourage them," she said.

Foreman said Iowa State will use data from the survey to consider changes in policies and procedures, as it did in 2015.


Daniel Robison in his Curtiss Hall office

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Daniel Robison ("ROW-bih-son") began his ISU duties Jan. 21 and is on campus full time as of this week following his transition from West Virginia. He was named dean and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station in October.

Robison comes to Iowa State from West Virginia University, Morgantown, where he had served since 2012 as dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and director of the state's Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station. Before joining the West Virginia faculty, he spent 16 years at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, including three years as associate dean for research in the College of Natural Resources.

Robison is a forester and forest entomologist. He earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry (1982) and master’s degree in silviculture and forest influences (1986), both from the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse. He earned a doctorate in entomology (1993) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Robison's office is in 138 Curtiss. He can be reached by phone at 294-3830, and by email at

Service delivery team sizes announced

Leaders announced the estimated size and makeup of the service delivery teams that will provide finance and human resources support to campus units. Teams of specialists created for the finance and HR improved service delivery (ISD) models will be directed by associate vice president for finance and support services Heather Paris and associate vice president for human resources and strategy Dwaine Heppler, respectively.

ISD team names and assignments were revealed in December. The teams, named for tree species, are assigned to colleges, departments and offices within ISU's five divisions. The Sycamore team (finance and university services) will provide finance support for the Ames Laboratory (initially to be served by the Sequoia team). The U.S. Department of Energy, Ames Lab and university human resources are working collaboratively to address how HR services will be delivered.

The estimated number of specialists on each team is:

Team Finance specialist Procurement 
and expense
finance specialist
HR partner HR coordinator
Aspen 3 3 0 1 3
Birch 4 3 3 1 3
Dogwood 2 5 2 1 2
Hickory 9 4 1 2 5
Juniper 2 2 1 1 2
Magnolia 4 2 6 1 2
Pine 10 9 9 3 5
Redwood 5 5 6 1 3
Spruce 2 4 5 1 2
Sycamore 7 5 0 2 4
Total 48 42 33 14 31

Structure supervision

Paris, three finance managers and three yet-to-be-hired assistant finance managers are seven of the projected 130 positions in the finance ISD structure. The finance managers announced last week were assigned these service teams:

  • Kyle Briese -- Dogwood, magnolia, redwood
  • Karen Cline -- Aspen, hickory, juniper, sycamore
  • Jenni Winter -- Birch, spruce, pine

Heppler, the senior HR partners (up to four) and six staff recruiting specialists are among the estimated 56 positions in the HR structure. Four senior HR partner finalists interviewed this week. Their team assignments will be determined once they're on board.

Transition continues

Transition teams continue to work with employees impacted by ISD -- those interested in specialist positions and staff/supervisors who may be affected by the redistribution of work responsibilities in their unit. Employees offered ISD positions must make their decisions by March 1. Contact information for transition team members (by area) is available on the ISD website.

Finalists named for institutional research director post

The committee tasked with finding the next director of the office of institutional research (IR) has selected five finalists for the position. The candidates will interview on campus this month, and their schedules will include a 45-minute open forum with the campus community during which they'll discuss their vision for institutional research.

The five finalists are:

  • Amanda DeGraff, senior analyst and assistant director of institutional research, Iowa State
  • Chris Feit, director of institutional research, Loras College, Dubuque
  • Kathy Felts, associate director of research activities and myVITA coordinator, office of the provost, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Alicia Knoedler, consultant on research development and leadership; former executive associate vice president for research, University of Oklahoma, Norman
  • Dale Pietrzak, institutional effectiveness and accreditation officer, office of the vice president for academic affairs/provost, University of Idaho, Moscow

Their resumes and an online feedback form are available on the senior vice president and provost's website. Campus forums (2-2:45 p.m.) are scheduled on these days:

  • Feb. 15, 3150 Beardshear: Pietrzak
  • Feb. 18, 2030 Morrill: Feit
  • Feb. 20, 3150 Beardshear: DeGraff
  • Feb. 22, MU Cardinal Room: Felts
  • Feb. 25, MU Oak Room: Knoedler

Associate vice president for research Surya Mallapragada chairs the six-member search committee. Academic Career and Executive Search, Hartford, Connecticut, is assisting with the search.

Former IR director Gebre Tesfagiorgis retired in June 2016 and interim director Sandra Gahn retired in November. Since then, former associate vice president for student affairs and registrar Kathy Jones has been serving as interim director.


Related story

Institutional research director search has begun, Dec. 6, 2018

Project SEARCH continues to expand across campus

Project SEARCH internship at transportation services

Project SEARCH intern Maegan McColley punches key tags with car license numbers while transportation services shop manager Butch Hansen looks on. “I have really enjoyed meeting all of the people I have gotten to work with. Making the key tags is my favorite thing,” said McColley, who also has interned with the parking division and Iowa State Daily. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Project SEARCH expanded its reach across campus this fall, and that may just be the beginning for a program that provides valuable work experience to people with disabilities.

The program began in the fall of 2016 in the College of Human Sciences through a partnership with The Arc of Story County, a nonprofit organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Four interns were selected each of the first two years, increasing to 10 this fall in an expansion campuswide. Fourteen spots will be available to start next school year.

Get involved

If you have an internship idea for Project SEARCH, contact Linda Lind at 294-2657 or 230-5266.

This year's interns rotate through various jobs at 15 sites on campus, including transportation services, athletics department, Parks Library, Ivy College of Business, Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom and central stores.

The intent is to give each intern, who range in age from 18 to 30, a variety of skills that can be useful in gaining employment. The program runs from August through April with interns working at three sites during that time.

"The biggest thing that we are hearing is it has changed the environment and culture at each one of these units," said Linda Lind, senior lecturer in the School of Education and Project SEARCH faculty liaison. "These people are making such a big change, and it is heartwarming."

Growing Project SEARCH

Lind said support from the office of the president allowed Project SEARCH to grow beyond the College of Human Sciences. A limited number of people leading interns in just one college was putting too much strain on departments to keep up with each rotation.

"I told administration that we were running up against some obstacles, and the next day they called me back and told me to start contacting places across campus to expand the program," she said.

Lind received a "tremendous" response and followed up by going from department to department giving informational presentations.

"I told them what Project SEARCH was, what their expectations would be as an internship site and that I am here to provide support.

"These are skills that need instruction and each site provides support," Lind said. "The sites need to be willing to work hand-in-hand with the interns and not be afraid to give them complex tasks."

The internships also provide opportunities to develop social skills and improve the interns' everyday lives. The goal is to have 80 percent of interns employed after completing the program.

On-the-job experience

Transportation services is in its first year with Project SEARCH, with each of its three interns performing a variety of tasks.

"Everything from basic automotive needs like vacuuming and cleaning the interiors, checking oil and washing vehicles," said Butch Hansen, transportation services shop manager. "We are pretty much paperless now so we have a lot of data to enter into the computer, and I had one intern do a complete inventory of vehicles with me to determine which ones would go to sale at auction and which ones wouldn't."

Like any new employee, the interns are shown the system and taught the methods with follow up until they have a comfort level with their assignment. Along with physical tasks, Hansen said interns develop soft skills that can be put to use in any work environment.

The interns' willingness to take on any task is a lesson that everyone can learn from, and one of the biggest reasons Hansen wanted to get involved.

"It is something I truly believe in, and I try to do business with businesses that will hire people from Project SEARCH," Hansen said.  "Personally, I am not surprised with what they do, I just don't think they are often given much of a chance."

Business summit

Project SEARCH will host a business summit March 1 (8 a.m.-noon, Jacobson Athletic Building) to make the Ames community and surrounding areas aware of skills the interns have acquired, and how they align with jobs businesses are looking to fill.

"We are keeping it small this year with a goal of making it a two-day convention next year," Lind said. "I would like to have 40 employers this year."

Senate learns more about evolving research efforts

Meeting coverage

In a report to the Faculty Senate Feb. 12, vice president for research Sarah Nusser provided an update on efforts to improve and advance research on campus.

Talks with numerous groups that assist researchers in their work identified four challenges:

  • Adjust to the evolving world of scholarship
  • Address issues with research facilities like greenhouses, animal facilities and secure computing environments
  • Reduce administrative burden for researchers 
  • Provide better internal and external visibility

A major part of research visibility is focusing on open-access scholarship, an area where Iowa State has been aggressive in recent years.

"The whole idea of open scholarship is that when you are doing it, you are making it publicly available," said Nusser, who pointed to the publication repository and open educational resources at Iowa State.

Research could benefit from improved organization and training of grant coordinators, and a more collaborative network across colleges.

International research collaboration is valued at Iowa State, but going forward security will be key. 

"It is essential that we collaborate globally in scholarship, no matter what your discipline is. It doesn't stop at the U.S. border," Nusser said. "This has to do with how you collaborate, how you share materials across borders, how you work with other individuals."  

This year's ISU Research Day is March 28 and will feature an address by Margaret Hedstrom of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on the positives and negatives of public access to data and scholarship.

Term faculty and tenure

Faculty Senate president Peter Martin spoke about progress being made in implementing term faculty policies adopted last May. Discussion has raised issues such as the definition of continuous employment, faculty voting rights in a department and term faculty responsibilities.

"The general principle guiding the term faculty policy is, we are one faculty, we want to respect each other and we want to work together," Martin said.

Martin also addressed the recent bill introduced in the Iowa Legislature to end tenure at Iowa’s three public universities.

Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) has made previous attempts to end tenure -- most recently in 2017. The bill would allow faculty to be terminated on grounds that include but are not limited to "just cause, program discontinuance and financial exigency." 

Martin believes it is the faculty's duty to educate people on what tenure is and is not.

"Tenure is less so about job security and more about academic freedom," he said. "Although it may be disconcerting that this bill comes up again in the Iowa Legislature, I would argue it allows us to discuss and inform the public and each other about tenure."

AAU campus climate survey

Dean of students Vernon Hurte announced Iowa State will be one of 33 institutions participating in the Association of American Universities campus climate survey. The last survey -- which focuses on sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual misconduct -- was conducted in 2015. ISU students participate by completing an online survey between March 1 and March 31. 

"This provides critical information about our policies and procedures -- everything from reporting to how we support those impacted," Hurte said.

Other business

Senators approved a change to the Faculty Handbook proposed during the Dec. 11 meeting by the Academic Affairs Council. The language clarifies an expectation for consistent core learning outcomes through all sections of a course without limiting how faculty assess the course.

ISU Theatre presents adaptation of 'Sense and Sensibility'

Dress rehearsal for Sense and Sensibility

Marianne Dashwood (Erica Walling), seated, and her younger sister Margaret (Isabella Witte) react to a bold romantic advance by John Willoughby (Jonah Miller) during a dress rehearsal for ISU Theatre's production of "Sense and Sensibility." Photo by Britney Walters-Chester.

ISU Theatre is bringing Jane Austen's classic novel "Sense and Sensibility" to the stage this month. A quick-witted, romantic adaptation imbues the beloved novel with a fresh female voice, emotional depth and lots of humor when it opens Friday, Feb. 22, at Fisher Theater.

"Sense and Sensibility," based on Austen's 1811 novel, captures the story of the Dashwood sisters -- sensible Elinor and hypersensitive Marianne -- as they are plunged into financial and social uncertainty after the death of their father. The sisters must learn to weather the societal pressures of the time to secure love and happiness.

Penned by Iowa State alumna Kerry Skram, this adaptation is a whimsical, relevant and contemporary take on the protocols of love, said Cason Murphy, assistant professor of theatre and the show's director.

"Kerry's style as a playwright is everything a director could hope for," Murphy said. "She has expertly compressed nearly 400 pages of text into a fleet two-hour production that still feels full of that Jane Austen spirit."

"I love that this script was adapted by a local female playwright," said senior Olivia Griffith, who portrays Elinor Dashwood. "The way she's written this piece gives each of the women her own voice, and their different forms of strength are a big part of what keeps Jane Austen's work fresh today."

Moments of whimsy will lighten the production's formal social conventions, like when letters fall down upon a male lead after one of the sisters writes him love notes. All characters will be on stage during the entire production, Murphy said, creating a diorama-like view of the social circles surrounding the Dashwood family.

"It's a world without walls," Murphy said. "Since gossip is such a dominant force in the story, it was more important for the set to keep the characters present on stage to see and hear everything rather than mimic an authentic English estate."

While instrumental versions of pop music will give the show modern soul, the production retains the period costumes, language and setting of Regency-era England. It also includes a dance scene Skram wrote specifically for ISU Theatre's production.

Freshman Abbigail Markus, the show's assistant director, hopes audiences will enjoy this unique take on a classic.

"While this is a period piece, the actors and technical team are creating an illusion that allows the audience to be part of this surprising roller coaster," she said. "We can really connect as audience members because we are familiar with the music selected, the relatability of the characters and we can see all actors at all times. This is different and a great modern twist."

Die-hard Austen fans need not fear, however.

"Jane Austen fans will walk away satisfied with an authentic adaptation, while Austen newcomers will be inspired to read the original work and learn more," Murphy said.

"Sense and Sensibility" performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22-23 and March 1-2. Matinees are Feb. 24 and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets -- $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $11 for students -- are available through the Stephens ticket office and Ticketmaster, or at the Fisher box office prior to performances.

Astronaut lecture, retrospective panel highlight 10th sustainability symposium

Iowa State's 10th sustainability symposium next week (Feb. 18-19) offers two evenings to reflect on a decade of "living green."


Retired U.S. Navy Captain and astronaut Scott Kelly will present the keynote address, "The Sky is Not the Limit," Feb. 18 (7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium, doors open at 6 p.m.). All seats are general admission.

In addition to commanding three space flights -- in 1999, 2007 and 2010 -- Kelly lived for a year on the International Space Station (March 2015-March 2016), primarily to observe the effects of long-term space flight on the human body. His twin brother and fellow astronaut, Mark Kelly, served as a ground control subject for genetic assessments. His 2017 book, "Endurance," reflects on his year in space. Kelly also helped the world see the impact of climate change with photos of Earth covered in pollution, which he shot from the ISS.

Following his lecture, Kelly will sign copies of his book in Stephens' Celebrity Cafe.


A panel of Iowa State staff and recent alumni involved in sustainability will look back on 10 years of achievements and take a peek at what the next green decade could bring to campus. Their discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Memorial Union Sun Room.

Scheduled staff panelists are Kerry Dixon, sustainability coordinator for design and construction services, and Randy Larabee, assistant director for utilities, both in facilities planning and management; Roger Graden, associate director for facilities in the residence department; and assistant vice president for research Jerry Zamzow. They'll be joined by alumni Chandra Peterson ('12) and Casey Fangmann ('13), cofounders of Iowa State's Green Umbrella student organizations network. Fangmann, an environmental engineer working for Schneider Electric in suburban Chicago, also launched recycling in the residence halls as an undergraduate. Peterson, a trial attorney for the nonprofit Federal Defenders of San Diego Inc., was student government vice president and also helped launch the Campustown Student Association and Campustown Action Association. She earned her law degree at University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to the panel, recipients of this year's Live Green Award for Excellence in Sustainability will be announced. The nomination deadline for the award is 5 p.m. Feb. 14.

Tuesday's events begin at 5 p.m. with a green fair of sorts in the MU Great Hall and Oak Room. More than a dozen campus and local organizations will have information tables about their activities. Two others, ISU peer wellness educators and the state's Iowa Waste Exchange, will offer "green it yourself" projects attendees can complete in a short time.

The sustainability symposium's annual clothing swap also will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sustainability director Merry Rankin said more than 600 pieces of clothing were donated prior to the event, and visitors are invited to bring clothing to swap. Those without clothing to trade may participate by donating two nonperishable food items or $2 for one item (or three items for $5). All food and cash donations will go to the SHOP on-campus student food pantry.