Graduation weekend

Three female graduating students have their photo taken at the u

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Soon-to-be alumni (l-r) Becky Blaalid, finance and entrepreneurship; Erin Fulcher, finance; and Alyssa Diedrich, accounting and supply chain management, take advantage of fine weather and low demand at the university wall Tuesday afternoon to record some graduation memories. The Ivy College of Business students are part of what is shaping up to be Iowa State's largest graduating class ever.



Minimal Workday training required for many

Online training is available and registration is open for instructor-led classes as campus readies for the July 1 go-live date for the Workday software platform. For thousands of employees, that likely will require less than two hours of screen time.

Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer, said 49 courses were developed -- 31 interactive computer-based sessions and 18 led by instructors.

"We tried to model it like a type of inventory to make it more digestible," Constant said. "You can track your learning, and you'll get a certificate upon completion."

Online learning

For the best computer-based learning experience, use Google Chrome and a larger screen, rather than a mobile device.

Online courses do not require registration and can be accessed on demand. All faculty and staff should plan to take "Introduction to Workday for Employees" and "Employee Self Service." The 30-minute intro course provides basics for navigating and understanding Workday. The self-service course is a 30-minute tour of your personal and payroll data, such as payment and benefit elections, performance evaluations and contact information. Employees participating in ISU WellBeing's Adventure2 tracker can earn points for completing the training.

An additional 30-minute intro course is designed for supervisors, and a half-hour session on Workday's reporting features is recommended for employees who work with finance, payroll and human resources data.

Finance and human resources specialists on service teams have extensive training to complete (20 to 32 courses), including the instructor-led courses that go beyond the basics. More than 30 Iowa State staff are lined up to lead about 160 live classroom sessions. Registration and course descriptions are available in Learn@ISU.

"There's a deeper dive in the instructor-led sessions," Constant said. "You're in a classroom, and you're getting that hands-on experience."

Training maps to guide the way

"If/then" training maps outline the courses recommended for employees based on their position responsibilities. For example, the general employee map recommends three courses for individuals who handle work-related travel and expenses. There's also a course designed for employees who purchase goods and services through cyBUY.

Training maps are available for:

"Employees should work with their managers to understand what kind of training to do in conjunction with the training course map," Constant said. "The responsibilities you have will drive what is strongly recommended for you to take."

Cheat sheets

Step-by-step reference guides also are being developed for Workday users. Called "job aids," the printable documents serve as cheat sheets for specific Workday tasks. For example, a job aid is available to walk users through the process of logging in and using Learn@ISU training.

Constant said the job aids are associated with the training courses but serve as stand-alone instructions. About 100 will be available for go-live.

"The job aids specifically focus on certain roles or transactions in the system. They will supplement all of our training content," she said.

Library's 24/7 hours mean all-nighters for employees, too


It takes dedicated library staff working volunteer overnight shifts to keep Parks Library open 24 hours a day for Dead Week and Finals Week. Photo by Dave Roepke.

Students haven't been the only ones pulling all-nighters lately. Keeping the library open around-the-clock at the end of the semester requires some University Library faculty and staff to work volunteer overnight hours to ensure a safe spot for students to burn the many-hours-after-midnight oil.

The 11-night effort began early Monday during Dead Week, kicking off 280 hours of nonstop operation that ends at 2 a.m. May 10. It's a relatively new practice at Parks Library, instituted every fall and spring semester since spring 2016, after Beth McNeil, dean of library services, began in her role the previous summer. McNeil said the move to a semester-ending 24/7 schedule was prompted by student requests.

"Students want to have more library hours, always, and the idea of 24 hours a day is huge to them," she said. "We do have the occasional request for 'Couldn't you do this all year?' and the answer is 'No.' Traffic wouldn't be enough to justify it."

The number of students using the library after 2 a.m., the normal weeknight closing time, varies from 100 to 800, McNeil said. That's a fraction of the more than 11,000 patrons who use the library daily, but those who do take advantage of the extra hours appreciate it greatly.

"We always get lots of thank yous," said director of access services Dawn Mick, who is managing the all-night staffing this year.

Calling all night owls

The extended hours present obvious scheduling challenges, since multiple people are needed to staff overnight shifts. Volunteers also are needed for earlier shifts and as backups to cover unexpected absences. Depending on the availability of the library's regular night supervisors, staying open all night takes 10-20 volunteers per semester, Mick said -- 15 this semester. 

Picking up three 2 a.m.-7:30 a.m. shifts during Dead Week required Mick to make different plans for day-to-day duties such as getting her children to school.

"A lot of us have to make adjustments. It's not a huge deal, but it's important to realize we're not just doing this for kicks. We're doing it because we're devoted to the students, and we want to help," she said.

McNeil said she's grateful for the flexibility and dedication that library employees exhibit year after year. Though many have other obligations, she's never had to force anyone.

"We do, it turns out, have some night owl librarians who are happy to take it on," she said. "It does get harder the older you get, I can attest to that."

McNeil always volunteers for an overnight shift and not just to lead by example. She values the opportunity to have chance conversations with students.

"I like interacting with students, and I think that's true for lots of our employees who are willing to do this," she said. “During 24/7, we communicate with students who we may not encounter during typical hours at Parks Library.”

Don't forget food and sleep

Wee-hours activity peaks the weekend before finals, but it hardly get chaotic, Mick said in an interview during a Dead Week overnight shift.

"It's nice. It's really peaceful. Someone was playing soft music earlier, and we were enjoying listening to that. If this was a regular time of day, I'd say no. But since it's so quiet, it's not hurting anybody," she said.

Around 2 a.m., most private rooms are locked, which condenses the area to watch. Staff make regular building rounds throughout the evening.

"We just want to be sure everybody feels safe," Mick said. 

It takes food to fuel marathon study sessions, so the library provides free fruit during overnight hours, after Bookends Cafe closes at either 11 p.m. or 2 a.m., depending on the day. McNeil said pizza and sandwich deliveries are common, and other campus partners drop off food on occasion. Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost, sometimes swings by with doughnuts, she said.  

The first semester the library moved to a crunch-time 24/7 schedule, a group of students slept in a tent outside the dean's office every night. That's no longer allowed, and sleeping at the library isn't encouraged. McNeil said her well wishes for students often include a reminder to get some rest. But if need be, students can bring a blanket and pillow for snoozing.

"They're going to be awake somewhere, so why not in a well-lit building with resources they might need?" McNeil said.

Changes ahead for teaching assessments, grad assistantships administration

Recommendations from a task force that studied teaching assessments and evaluations were shared at the May 7 Faculty Senate meeting, which co-chair and senate president-elect Jonathan Sturm said will guide further discussions for changes that "meet the needs" of faculty and instructors.

The joint task force, formed by the senate and provost's office in August 2018, included faculty and student members. It was charged with reviewing ISU's current assessment procedures, researching best practices nationwide and providing recommendations for improvement.

"Teaching assessment is central to faculty recognition and reward structures," said Sara Marcketti, task force co-chair and director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. "Current research indicates that student end-of-semester evaluations are one important data point, however they should NOT be the exclusive data point for teaching evaluation and assessment."

The task force recommendations include phased implementation for improvements in three areas:

  • End-of-semester student feedback/evaluations
  • Faculty Handbook guidelines and procedures
  • Rubrics/criteria for assessments

"As we reviewed the current literature and met with scholars to study these issues, the task force believes that the holistic review of teaching should include many sources of input," Marcketti said. "We suggest a phased approach which would likely involve a two- to four-year process resulting in sequential steps in improving the model for evaluating teaching at Iowa State University."

Examples of early phase recommendations include:

  • Allowing students time to complete rating surveys during class
  • Providing faculty with survey results within two weeks of the semester's end
  • Defining a "holistic perspective" on teaching with multiple data points (for example, student ratings, peer and self evaluations, course materials, advising/mentorship and curriculum development)
  • Requiring all departments to develop a rubric by 2022 that considers their unique needs
  • Identifying and assisting early adopters with developing department rubrics

"This may become quite an evolved process, we'll have to see," Sturm said. "[Getting feedback] needs to happen next so this is not a series of recommendations from just a small task force, but becomes part of what branches out to the university."

Graduate student pay periods

Graduate College dean William Graves presented changes for administering graduate student assistantships, in part to take advantage of efficiencies provided by the Workday platform for payroll, human resources and finance work as of July 1. He also cited increased competitiveness for students with offers from multiple institutions as a factor in the changes.

"The Graduate College is very concerned about graduate recruiting and the welfare of graduate students. We want to make Iowa State as competitive as possible as a venue for graduate education," Graves said.

Workday's "period activity pay" divides the total stipend by the number of months assigned to the appointment, rather than the number of days. Graves said that provides graduate assistants with equal monthly payments.

"The students probably will find this a benefit for budgeting purposes," he said.

Graves said no policy changes were made and most things will stay the same, including the types of assistantships (research, teaching and administrative), appointment levels and period/term options. Common terms are full calendar year and full academic year.

Appointment start and end dates remain flexible, for example to accommodate late-semester grant funding. Information and an FAQ about graduate assistant appointments and stipends is available on the Graduate College website.

Graves said his office will closely monitor the changes over the next year -- especially exception requests -- for adjustments that may be needed in FY 2021.

"I think for most faculty members, there shouldn't be a great deal of change," he said. "We need to use this coming year, in my opinion, to assess how well this is working."

Rico-Gutierrez reappointed as Design dean

College of Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez

Luis Rico-Gutierrez

College of Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez has been appointed to a third five-year term, through 2024, senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert announced.

During his second term, Rico-Gutierrez continued to grow the college's national and international reputation; streamlined and integrated its existing degree and research programs; launched new collaborations across campus; and enhanced diversity, equity and inclusion.

"Luis is a tireless advocate for students, faculty and staff, and he continues to position the College of Design as one of the nation's top and most interdisciplinary programs," Wickert said. "I look forward to continued collaboration and success over the next five years."

Rico-Gutierrez, a professor of architecture who is professionally accredited in Mexico and Spain, served as associate dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts and associate head of its School of Architecture before coming to Iowa State in 2009.

"It is an honor to be reappointed as dean," Rico-Gutierrez said. "I look forward to continuing to work with students and colleagues to demonstrate the power of design through innovation and creativity, advance quality of life conditions for communities around the world, and serve as a resource for citizens and communities in Iowa and beyond."

Wickert expressed thanks to the 10 members of the college's Dean Administrative Review Committee, which managed the comprehensive process. The group's co-chairs were Jane Rongerude, associate professor of community and regional planning; and Bambi Yost, associate professor of landscape architecture. Additional members were:

  • Diane Al Shihabi, interior design
  • Jelena Bogdanovic, architecture
  • Paula Curran, graphic design
  • Tim Day, biomedical sciences
  • Lisa Fontaine, graphic design
  • Steve Herrnstadt, industrial design
  • April Katz, art and visual culture
  • Amy Logan, college administration

Wickert also noted his appreciation to faculty and staff in the college who participated in the review process by completing an electronic survey or contacting a member of the review committee.

Somani to serve in interim role during Engineering dean transition

Arun Somani

Arun Somani

Arun Somani, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Philip and Virginia Sproul Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and associate dean for research, has been appointed interim dean of the College of Engineering, effective July 1.

He will serve for the two-week transition between dean Sarah Rajala's retirement on June 30 and incoming dean W. Samuel Easterling's arrival on July 15.

"While the time period of Arun's appointment may be short, I appreciate his willingness to step up and help prepare the Engineering college for the new academic year," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert.

Somani, who joined the Iowa State faculty in 1997, served as department chair of electrical and computer engineering 2003-10. He earned a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from the Birla Institute of Science and Technology, Pilani, India; a master's in computer engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; and master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

His career also included positions at the University of Washington and the Indian government's Department of Electronics, as well as consulting appointments with Boeing and NASA's Institute for Computational Science and Engineering.

P&S Council delays vote on hiring and employment policy

The Professional and Scientific Council voted at its May 2 meeting to wait until June to decide whether to endorse a proposed new policy and guidelines outlining procedures for seeking, hiring and promoting employees.

The draft hiring and employment policy was published on the policy library website three days before the council's meeting, and some councilors were concerned that their constituents had limited time to review the proposal before the council's planned vote.

The proposed policy outlines general policies for all employee searches. Proposed hiring and employment guidelines offer more detailed information about the search and hiring process for all employees, including the role of the human resources service delivery teams that will launch July 1. The guidelines also cover specific procedures for promotions, transfers and demotions for P&S staff. The proposals would replace existing policies for P&S staff concerning open searches, recruitment and selection, changes in employee status, reclassification and reclassification salaries. The proposals are open for public comment through May 31.

The university's policy library advisory committee spent several months drafting the proposal and has been open to feedback, said Sara Parris, the council member who sits on the committee.

"We have really reviewed this exhaustively and tried to look at it from all angles," she said.

Because the open comment period on the policy and guidelines ends less than a week before the council's June 6 meeting, waiting to vote on the endorsement won't cause much delay, councilor Barb Wollan said.

The motion the council delayed would request a few changes to the guidelines, including the clarification of several terms. For example, the motion calls for further definition of the word "temporary" in a section noting that temporary backfill of other positions doesn't necessarily result in a promotion or higher pay.

The council's motion also asks that the guidelines include a way for employees to request reclassification without discussing it with their manager and spell out the documentation required for a promotion pay increase beyond the 55th percentile of the pay range.

Current policy requires the new salary of a promoted P&S staff member to land within the lowest third of the pay range, unless a senior vice president approves a larger raise. The new guidelines say a raise for a promotion that would set a salary above the 55th percentile of the range is "atypical" and requires documented justification to university human resources (UHR).

The proposed 55th percentile threshold may change before the guidelines are implemented, depending on feedback from senior leaders, and could be reevaluated over time if needed, said Emma Houghton, UHR director of classification and compensation.

The changes proposed do not impact the policy on starting salaries for P&S staff, which requires UHR approval for starting pay above the first one-third of a classification's range. Houghton said the starting rate of pay policy will be looked at as part of the ongoing P&S classification and compensation review.

Other business

The council approved motions endorsing three other policy proposals that didn't involve any substantial changes to university practices, including payroll policies on direct deposit and P&S staff who work less than 12 months.

Council also endorsed a proposal on providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants, a new policy that reflects established university practices. Public comment on the accommodations policy is open through May 20.

How to provide feedback

Employees with comments or questions about policy proposals can submit them by email at

Meet the next Emerging Leaders Academy cohort

Thirty faculty and staff have been chosen for the 2019-20 cohort of Iowa State's Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA). They are:

  • Monic Behnken, sociology
  • Eric Brown, apparel, events and hospitality management
  • Taren Crow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administration
  • Darin Dugan, IT services systems and operations
  • Carol Faber, graphic design
  • Michael Francom, College of Engineering administration
  • Mallory Hamilton, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administration
  • Harrison Inefuku, University Library
  • Christa Jackson, School of Education
  • Shaun Jamieson, risk management
  • Tera Jordan, human development and family studies
  • Aileen Keating, animal science
  • Jacek Koziel, agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Susan Lammers, residence
  • Sophia Magill, federal relations
  • Mark Mba Wright, mechanical engineering
  • Seda McKilligan, College of Design administration
  • Clay Miller, environmental health and safety
  • Andrea Nelson, ISU Extension and Outreach
  • Kristen Obbink, office of the vice president for research
  • Sara Parris, Thielen Student Health Center
  • Sekar Raju, marketing department
  • Erin Schwartz, student financial aid
  • Elijah Stines, mathematics
  • Lucia Suarez, world languages and cultures
  • Cory Walker, animal science
  • Corey Welch, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administration
  • Yanhai Yin, genetics, development and cell biology
  • Jianqiang Zhang, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
  • Lin Zhou, Ames Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy 

Established in 2009, ELA is an academic-year initiative to better prepare faculty and professional and scientific staff who serve in leadership roles or aspire to hold leadership positions. Participants attend monthly sessions on topics related to leadership theory and practice, communication, formal presentation, understanding environment and culture, budgeting and resource management, performance management and ethical leadership.

Participants also complete capstone projects that address university needs and support Iowa State’s strategic plans. For example, recent projects focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, creating sustainable models for student assistance initiatives, commemorating students who die during their time on campus and compiling an oral history of the university.

ELA is led by faculty director Rod Bagley, professor and chair of veterinary clinical sciences, and Katharine Hensley, faculty success coordinator in the office of the senior vice president and provost.

Save the date: University award recipients will be honored Sept. 23

More than 50 Iowa State faculty and staff will be honored during the university's annual awards ceremony Monday afternoon, Sept. 23, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Following is the list of those employees and the promotions or awards for which they will be recognized.

Distinguished Professor

The title of Distinguished Professor, first awarded in 1956, is Iowa State's highest academic honor. It recognizes a faculty member whose accomplishments in research or creative activities have had a significant impact on his or her discipline and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served at least five years on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

Distinguished Professorship in Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Michael Bugeja, professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Steven Kawaler, professor of astronomy
  • Debra Marquart, professor of English

Distinguished Professorship in Business

  • Joey George, John D. DeVries Endowed Chair in Business and professor of information systems

University Professor

The title of University Professor is awarded to a faculty member who has acted as a change agent by making significant contributions to improve the university and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served at least 10 years on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

  • James Andrews, professor of history
  • Tim Day, professor of biomedical sciences
  • Theodore Heindel, Bergles Professor of Thermal Science and professor of mechanical engineering

Morrill Professor

The title of Morrill Professor is conferred on a faculty member who has exhibited excellence in undergraduate or graduate teaching or extension and outreach programs and who has demonstrated outstanding performance in at least one other area of faculty responsibility. Nominees must hold the rank of professor and have served at least five years on the Iowa State faculty. The awardee retains the title for the remainder of his or her career at the university.

  • Charles Jahren, W.A. Klinger Teaching Professor and professor of construction engineering
  • Mary Wiedenhoeft, professor of agronomy

Regents Award for Faculty Excellence

The award is presented by the state Board of Regents to recognize tenured faculty members who are outstanding university citizens and have rendered significant service to the university or the state of Iowa.

  • Silvia Cianzio, professor of agronomy
  • James Dickson, professor of animal science
  • Shauna Hallmark, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • Robert Jernigan, professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Gary Munkvold, professor of plant pathology and microbiology

Regents Award for Staff Excellence

The award is presented by the state Board of Regents to recognize members of either the professional and scientific or supervisory and confidential staffs who are outstanding university citizens and have rendered significant service to the university or the state of Iowa.

  • Ginny Mitchell, program assistant, entomology
  • Malisa Rader, field specialist, Region 7, human sciences extension and outreach

Outstanding Achievement in Teaching

The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding teaching performance over an extended period of time.

  • Joseph Burnett, senior lecturer, chemistry
  • Amanda Fales-Williams, Tyrone D. Artz M.D. Chair for Teaching Excellence and professor of veterinary pathology
  • Cristina Pardo-Ballester, associate professor of world languages and cultures

James Huntington Ellis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching

Established by a 1928 Iowa State graduate, the award recognizes a faculty member for exceptional achievement in teaching introductory courses.

  • Denise Schmidt-Crawford, associate professor and director of the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching, School of Education

Early Achievement in Teaching

The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching performance unusually early in his or her career.

  • Jessica Ward, assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences
  • Ghinwa Alameen, lecturer, world languages and cultures

Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award

Established by a longtime staff member of the Graduate College, the award recognizes superior performance by a member of the graduate faculty in enriching the student-professor relationship and enabling students to finish their work in a timely and scholarly manner.

  • Kevin Schalinske, professor of food science and human nutrition

Departmental Leadership

The award recognizes outstanding departmental leadership that helps faculty members meet their complex obligations to undergraduate teaching, graduate mentoring, research and service.

  • Heimir Geirsson, professor and chair of philosophy and religious studies

Early Achievement in Departmental Leadership

The award recognizes the exceptional impact of a department chair or school director within the first three years of his or her leadership role.

  • Gul Kremer, professor and C.G. (Turk) and Joyce A. Therkildsen Department Chair in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering
  • Henry Schenck, professor and chair of mathematics

Inclusive Excellence

The award recognizes faculty and professional and scientific staff who have advanced the university’s mission of diversity, equity and inclusion beyond their usual job responsibilities.

  • Angela Shaw, associate professor of food science and human nutrition
  • Barbara Woods, special project manager, human sciences extension and outreach

International Service Award

The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding international service in teaching, research or administration within the United States or abroad.

  • Sergio Lence, Marlin Cole Professor of International Agriculture Economics

Academic Advising Impact

The award recognizes outstanding performance by an academic adviser over an extended period of time.

  • Autumn Cartagena, academic adviser, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences student services
  • Jodi Sterle, Eldred and Donna Harman Professor for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and associate professor of animal science

Early Achievement in Academic Advising

The award recognizes outstanding performance by an academic adviser early in his or her career.

  • Jennifer Bundy, assistant professor of animal science

Outstanding Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured faculty member who has a national or international reputation for contributions in research and has influenced the research activities of students.

  • Annette O'Connor, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
  • Sri Sritharan, Wilkinson Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering and professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering

Mid-Career Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary research performance or scholarship accomplishments as documented by peers or experts in the field.

  • Aileen Keating, associate professor of animal science
  • Namrata Vaswani, professor of electrical and computer engineering

Early Achievement in Research

The award recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments unusually early in his or her professional career.

  • Daniel Linhares, assistant professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
  • Austin Stewart, assistant professor of art and visual culture

Professional and Scientific Research Award

The award recognizes a professional and scientific staff member employed at Iowa State at least five years for excellence in research.

  • Andreas Kreyssig, associate scientist, U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory

Achievement in Intellectual Property

The award recognizes individuals or teams of faculty or professional and scientific staff for outstanding university-based achievements in producing intellectual property.

  • George Kraus, University Professor of chemistry

Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa

The award recognizes individuals or teams of faculty or professional and scientific staff for outstanding university-based achievements in advancing the state of Iowa's economic development.

  • Mark Edelman, professor of economics

Professional and Scientific Excellence Award

The award recognizes contributions made by a professional and scientific staff member within and beyond the university and career progress demonstrated by accomplishments at Iowa State.

  • Mark Coberley, associate athletics director for sports medicine, athletics 
  • Rano Marupova, librarian, University Library
  • Tammy Stegman, program coordinator, College of Human Sciences career services

Carroll Ringgenberg Award

Named for a longtime staff member in purchasing and facilities, the award recognizes an extraordinary professional and scientific staff member who exhibits constant and contagious dedication to and goodwill for Iowa State.

  • Laura Bestler, program coordinator, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
  • Mary Mayes, assistant scientist, animal science

Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award

The award recognizes a professional and scientific staff member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments unusually early in his or her professional career.

  • Joy Donald, industrial specialist, Center for Industrial Research and Service
  • Abbey Elder, librarian, University Library
  • MacKenzie Johnson, field specialist, Region 2, human sciences extension and outreach

Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach

The highest award bestowed on an extension professional, it recognizes sustained distinguished performance and educational contributions to Iowa State's clientele through extension programs.

  • Kim Brantner, field specialist, Region 18, human sciences extension and outreach

Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice

The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension or professional practice, and has achieved national recognition for outreach activities.

  • Anna Johnson, professor of animal science

Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice

The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in extension or professional practice unusually early in his or her career.

  • Shelley Oltmans, field specialist, Lee County, community and economic development extension and outreach

R.K. Bliss Extension Award

Named for the director of Extension from 1912 to 1946, the award recognizes outstanding achievement of an extension staff member for developing an overall or continuing extension education program.

  • Gene Mohling, regional education director, Region 15, ISU Extension and Outreach


The class of 2019 should be a record-breaker

Three female graduating students have their photo taken at the u

Soon-to-be alumni (l-r) Becky Blaalid, finance and entrepreneurship; Erin Fulcher, finance; and Alyssa Diedrich, accounting and supply chain management, take advantage of fine weather and low demand at the university wall Tuesday afternoon to record some graduation memories. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

An estimated 5,339 students are completing their Iowa State degrees this semester, and many of them will celebrate the milestone during commencement events this week. The class of 2019 should surpass last spring's record-setting 5,002 degree recipients and, in part, reflects fall enrollments from 2013 to 2015 that grew by 1,200 to 2,000 students annually.

President Wendy Wintersteen will provide opening remarks at the university's four commencement ceremonies, all of which will be livestreamed for those unable to attend. Tickets are not required for any graduation events.

As of this week, 4,524 students were on track to receive bachelor's degrees at one of two undergraduate ceremonies Saturday, May 11, in Hilton Coliseum.

Robert Easter


The first begins at 9:30 a.m. to honor students from the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Robert Easter, president emeritus and professor emeritus of animal science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is receiving an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Iowa State and will give the keynote address. Easter was an Illinois faculty member and administrator from 1976 to 2015. His expertise is in pig nutrition, and he worked with ISU leaders to elevate publicly funded research in food, agriculture and natural resources as a national priority. Faculty in the animal science department nominated Easter for the honorary degree.

Undergraduate commencement speaker Simon Estes


The second undergraduate ceremony begins at 3 p.m. Saturday to honor students from the colleges of Design, Engineering and Human Sciences. Bass-baritone vocalist Simon Estes, since 2000 the music and theatre department's F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, will address the graduates. A Centerville native and grandson of a former slave, Estes is one of the most accomplished opera singers in the world, with more than 100 lead operatic roles to his credit. He also is known for international fundraising efforts on behalf of children, for college scholarships, music instruction, and campaigns to combat malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Graduate, Veterinary Medicine ceremonies

The Graduate College ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in Hilton Coliseum. An estimated 533 master's candidates and 132 doctoral candidates will be honored.

Graduate commencement speaker Debra Stewart, NORC


Debra Stewart, a senior fellow at NORC (originally National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago and president emerita of the Council of Graduate Schools, will address the graduates. NORC is one of the country's largest independent social research organizations, and Stewart advises its Higher Education Analytics Center. She served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based council (2000-14) and Graduate School dean (1988-2000) at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, adding vice provost (1995-98) and vice chancellor (1998-2000) duties at NC State. With her leadership, the council launched a series of projects to strengthen universities' capacity to better prepare graduate students for the 21st century.

Vincent Meador


The ceremony for 150 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine candidates begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Stephens Auditorium. Alumnus and veterinary pathologist Vincent Meador will address the new veterinary doctors. An Ames High graduate, Meador earned four degrees at Iowa State: bachelor's in bacteriology (1977), DVM (1981), and master's (1986) and doctoral (1988) degrees in veterinary pathology. He operates a drug development and pathology consulting company and has a major role in establishing a drug development laboratory in Shanghai.

Full commencement program available via app

The university will print its traditional commencement program for graduating students and ceremony stage officials and share it with family members and guests through a new graduation tile on the ISU Alumni Association's app for mobile devices.

Registrar Mark Simpson said the change was made to be green, save money and reduce waste. He said the university printed about 10,000 fewer 140-page commencement programs this spring. A trifold abbreviated program that outlines the ceremony and includes a message from Wintersteen will be available for guests at all four ceremonies.

"A lot of institutions are looking to do an electronic version of their commencement program," Simpson said. "We think students are going to be excited about this option, which really meets them where they are."

The app is a free download in the iTunes and Google Play stores. The graduation tile does not require an alumni association membership to use its features (other features on the app do). The alumni association, which built the tile following a bid process, offers user instructions in a one-minute video. Users should download the app before they enter Hilton or Stephens; once they are indoors, the app uses offline capabilities to avoid connectivity issues.

Simpson said the full program (PDF) will be posted on the registrar's website, and his office will hold about 200 printed copies. Contact the registrar's office, 294-1840, to request one.

Other graduation events

The university's Lavender Graduation, which honors graduating members of the Iowa State lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and ally community, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the Memorial Union Sun Room.

Colleges also will honor their graduates during informal convocations or receptions Friday and Saturday.

College events for undergraduates


Day and time


Ag and Life Sciences

Friday, 10 a.m.

Hilton Coliseum

Human Sciences

Friday, 1 p.m.

Hilton Coliseum


Friday, 4 p.m.

Hilton Coliseum

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Friday, 7 p.m.

Hilton Coliseum


Saturday, 9 a.m.

Stephens Auditorium

Engineering (by department)

Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Multiple locations