Summer work at the center

Courtyard south of Fisher Theater is a construction zone

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The courtyards linking Stephens Auditorium and Fisher Theater (pictured) and south of the Scheman Building will be out of commission this summer for a $3.6 million project to replace the underground steam system that services all four buildings at the Iowa State Center. New piping and several large steam vaults are designed to better withstand flood conditions and will be more energy efficient and reliable than the 45-year-old system they replace.

Work began May 1 and, weather permitting, will continue through September. All buildings at the center will remain accessible throughout the project. The university's utility repair fund will cover the project cost.

Transition plans being finalized for staff staying in units

More information, including a transition timeline, is available on the WorkCyte website.

Transition teams are playing a virtual match game, helping align responsibilities and positions impacted by improved service delivery (ISD) structures for finance and human resources. The teams' focus is twofold: redistributing essential duties of the more than 150 staff moving into ISD positions and "filling the gaps" for staff whose finance and HR work will be done by ISD specialists as of July 1.

Leslie Ginder, employee and labor relations consultant in university human resources, and Stephen Simpson, director of emergency management and outreach for environmental health and safety, are coordinating 17 transition teams. The teams, formed in January, have been working closely with local supervisors and employees, providing unit leaders with recommended changes.

10% threshold

Approximately 600 employees filled out responsibility trackers that mapped their job duties by percentage. The transition teams are using the trackers and conversations with employees and supervisors in the unit to identify the potential ISD impact on positions and duties.

Simpson said transition teams are providing recommendations to their unit leaders and finalizing individual transition plans for employees with more than 10% of their duties moving into the ISD structure -- about 200 staff members. The individual transition plans are due May 31.

"Most of the transition plans are being created with the departmental duties that need to be backfilled. There's a good match for most of those," he said.

Employees who haven't heard from their transition teams likely don't exceed the 10% threshold that prompts the creation of an individual transition plan.

"The ones with greatest impact are being handled very closely. The ones with the least amount of impact may or may not be hearing from their team right now," Simpson said.

A good match

Ginder said the duties left behind are critical unit tasks -- for example, administrative duties and pre-award grant management. Transition teams are closely analyzing the duties to determine if they're appropriate for the employee identified to take them on. Central HR staff are providing guidance and expertise for specific situations.

"The teams are being very conscientious about looking at what everyone's capacity is, what departmental duties need to be done and if those are consistent with the person's classification," she said.

Ginder said anyone with questions or concerns can contact the co-chairs of their transition teams, or email

"Their transition team is there for them to have a conversation to answer their questions and hear their concerns," she said.

Library lobby remodel includes new view


A renovation that began last week will add seating and student space in the Parks Library first-floor lobby, moving the service desk and opening up a scenic public view to the south.

This summer, a renovation of Parks Library's lobby will open up the space along the rest of its first-floor windows facing south, making a bright spot for additional seating and small-group rooms.

Work began last week on the $750,000 project, which is expected to be complete before fall classes start. The renovation will add 100 seats and six student collaboration rooms with touchscreen presentation boards and video/audio conference capabilities, which helps address an acute shortage of collaborative space, said Beth McNeil, dean of library services.

"We're attempting to reimagine Parks Library," McNeil said. "We want to the library to meet the evolving needs of students, and this is a huge step in the right direction."

The project doesn't replace the library's plans for a $28 million learning hub, which would remodel two floors of stacks space to add 600 seats and technology-equipped classrooms and collaboration areas, McNeil said. A March 2017 space feasibility assessment estimated the library should have about 50 student meeting rooms, she said. After construction, the room count will rise to 14.

Some staff offices were moved to make room for the additional student space by the windows, which will provide a scenic view of the often-busy lawn and sidewalk as well as a boost of natural light.

"It's going to be a much more inviting space," McNeil said.

Staff front and center

Moving the circulation desk is necessary to open up the window area, but where the desk is going is as important as what it's making way for, she said. The desk handling checkouts and returns will move to south of the main stairwell, facing the main entrance, so visitors won't have to turn around to find someone to assist them.

"I've been thinking about ways to have a helpful human presence more in your line of sight," McNeil said. To reflect its expanded role as a service center, the area won't be called the circulation desk, she said. For the summer, the desk is temporarily stationed by the computer lab north of the lobby.

The project was funded by a $200,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, $125,000 from the university's maintenance and improvement committee, and private donations, McNeil said.

Though McNeil is leaving her position in the middle of the project, she said incoming interim dean Hilary Seo, associate dean of curation services, has been closely involved in the planning and "a big part of that momentum."

The library's project website will feature updates throughout the summer.

New student orientation begins May 24

An estimated 5,600 would-be Cyclones will participate in student orientation between May 24 and June 28. Most are incoming fall freshmen who will attend one of 20 day-and-a-half sessions between May 29 and June 28; about 200 are transfer students who have a designated day-long session May 24 or June 1. Joining their students will be an estimated 9,000-plus parents and other family.

And while new student programs director Sarah Merrill knows her staff, 45 peer Cyclone Aides, and academic advising and financial aid specialists do some of the heavy lifting during the month, she said orientation succeeds when everyone on campus sees their role: offering directions to a building or office, taking a family photo near the campanile, or explaining how to get a CyRide bus to stop, for example.

Some students at orientation haven't picked their school yet. Maybe they're looking for the right fit or are still uncertain about finances, Merrill said.

"Orientation success is the success of the entire campus community," Merrill said, "and we're so grateful to everyone who helps us create that welcoming Cyclone atmosphere, who demonstrates 'we're here to help you be successful.'"

What they'll get done

In preparation for fall semester, orientation students will:

  • Pick up their student ID (ground floor of Beardshear Hall)
  • Register for their ISU email account (Parks Library)
  • Learn more about their academic program during a college information session (campus auditoriums)
  • Meet their academic adviser to discuss course options
  • Register for fall classes (assisted by Cyclone Aides, campus computer labs)
  • Explore Iowa State, on their own or in a campus, library, residence or recreation services tour

First year for community connections

Merrill and her team added a series of sessions this summer to help new students connect with Iowa State. Examples include freshman honors, marching band, choir options, multicultural student affairs, student accessibility services and the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.

"They are new to orientation, but not new. These are programs or services Iowa State has been doing well for a long time," Merrill said. "We want to make sure all students know about them because they're important to students finding a community, finding their place at Iowa State."

Also new this year is a free app for mobile devices, Iowa State University Guides, to help students and families prepare for orientation before they arrive. It contains maps, parking instructions, schedules, a checklist, dining options and much more, tailored for transfer or first-year students. Apple and Android versions are available.


Students and family members staying overnight on campus will be housed in Willow Hall on the east side of campus. The Hixson-Lied Student Success Center across Beach Road is the check-in site where families will get materials and a schedule. They'll use Memorial Union or Maple-Willow-Larch dining facilities for breakfast, dining options across campus for lunch and the Union Drive Community Center for dinner.

Employees, retirees to be honored during Memorial Day ceremony

The ISU Retirees Association will host the university's annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 27. It begins at 9 a.m. in the Alumni Center's Reiman Ballroom and is open to the public.

The ceremony will honor the lives of 130 retired and current faculty and staff, their spouses or partners who recently passed away or whose deaths the retirees association learned of since last spring's ceremony.

The ceremony includes a musical prelude by Collegiate Brass from Ames' Collegiate United Methodist Church, invocation by a local minister and a photo slideshow of the honorees as their names are read. Family members and friends also have the option to speak briefly about their colleague or loved one, including their service to the university. The ceremony closes with a benediction and the playing of taps.

Angie Hinderaker, program coordinator for the retirees association, said the group relies on several sources to identify honorees, including campus departments, ISU Foundation, Faculty Senate memorial resolutions, news reports and obituaries. Biographies and written comments will be placed in a remembrance book and also posted on the retirees website after the event.

Refreshments will be available prior to the ceremony. Questions may be directed to Hinderaker, 294-5790.

Guests galore on campus this summer

Students, faculty and staff share campus in the summer with a variety of camps, conferences and competitions held at Iowa State facilities. Here's a list of summer events expected to draw 100 or more visitors to campus. Email to suggest any additions we've missed.





Midwest Big Data Summer School

May 20-23

Memorial Union


Special Olympics Iowa summer games

May 23-25



Transfer student orientation

May 24, July 1


200 students, 250 guests

Freshman orientation

May 29-June 28


5,400 students, 9,300 guests

Iowa Simmental Assoc. Jr. Field Day June 1-2 Hansen Ag Center 100
Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference June 4-6 Hilton Coliseum 600
League of Women Voters state convention June 7-8 Alumni Center 100

Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival

June 14-16

Hansen Ag Center


USA Track and Field Iowa state meet

June 15-16

Cyclone Sports Complex


USA Hockey 14U camp

June 16-21

Ice Arena*


Insuring Iowa's Agriculture conference

June 18

Scheman Building


Cyclone Gymnastics Cardinal camp

June 22-25

Beyer Hall*


National Cheer Association camp

June 23-26

Beyer and State Gym*


Iowa Reading Association conference

June 25-26

Scheman Building


Iowa 4-H Youth Conference

June 25-27



Cyclone Gymnastics Gold camp

June 26-29

Beyer Hall*


Iowa Swine Day June 27 Scheman Building 500

Universal Dance Association camp

July 6-9

State Gym*


Kevin Dresser Skills and Drills wrestling camp

July 7-10

Lied Rec Center*


National Dance Alliance camp

July 9-13

State Gym*


USA Track and Field Masters Outdoors Championships

July 11-14

Cyclone Sports Complex


Summer Iowa Games

July 13-14, 19-21, 26-28



Cyclone Volleyball All Skills Gold camp July 16-18 Lied Rec Center* 290

Custodian Maintenance School

July 22-26

Scheman Building


Kevin Dresser team wrestling camp July 24-27 Lied Rec Center* 450

Ag and Food HR Roundtable

July 29-Aug. 1



*Events also using residence halls.