College pitch contests run through Feb. 21


Freshman Anthony Oleinik pitches his app idea

Freshman Anthony Oleinik pitches his community-building app idea during the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' pitch off Monday afternoon in the Student Innovation Center. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

If it's February, it must be college pitch off season at Iowa State. In honor of the third annual entrepreneurial competition for all students -- freshman to doctoral -- the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship is christening a Student Innovation Center fourth-floor classroom for a few hours a day.

Within each college, students use their 90-second pitches to vie for a $500 top prize or $250 runner-up prize in each of two categories: New idea (no prototype or product yet) and existing business (achieved a prototype or even revenue).

The 28 students who emerge from their college events will go head-to-head Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Innovation Pitch competition, where the two top prizes are $5,000 and runners-up will receive $1,000. The contest will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop, and it's open to the public.

Computer science freshman Anthony Oleinik (pictured above) secured a runner-up prize Monday for his app idea that gathers local businesses into a digital directory and, through coupons and rewards, encourages people to shop locally.

In their comments to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences entrants, judges said they weighed an entrepreneur's conversations with would-be clients or customers as an important piece of learning about the market or the target audience.

College pitch off events yet to come are:

  • Human Sciences, Feb. 13
  • Design, Feb. 17
  • Agriculture and Life Sciences, Feb. 18
  • Engineering, Feb. 21


Related story

College-level pitch contest draws startup ideas from all corners, March 7, 2019


Wintersteen provides updates to Faculty Senate

Wendy Wintersteen

President Wendy Wintersteen speaks to the Faculty Senate in the Great Hall on Tuesday. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

President Wendy Wintersteen addressed the Faculty Senate on several key issues during its Feb. 11 meeting. During her remarks, Wintersteen focused on legislative requests for the upcoming year, enrollment, further implementation of Workday and improved service delivery, inclusive classroom training and the Innovate at Iowa State campaign. Below are a few of her comments. 


"We are hopeful we will get the full $7 million that Iowa State has requested from the Legislature. This is all about having the funds to support student success and our faculty and staff."

"We also are focusing on advancements for the state's bioeconomy to bring research funding to the university in three specific areas -- biobased chemicals and products, vaccines and immunotherapeutics, and precision and digital agriculture. Last year we got a little bit of funding, so this year we are hoping to go back and get the rest of the $3 million."


"In 2016, we had our all-time high of 36,660 students and since that time we have seen it drop down to 33,391. That, of course, leads to dropping revenue. We certainly anticipated a leveling off of numbers, even a slight drop. One of the surprises was the large number of international students we lost over a couple of years. It was related to the climate of the country, trade war and tariffs."

"We moved student recruitment and admissions from student affairs to the provost's office. The importance of that move was not just the alignment of best practices, but the clarity it brought to our colleges and departments that faculty and staff who are really engaged with our students are most responsible and understand the recruiting of those students."


"This has been a year of unprecedented change when we think about enterprise management system, finance and human resources. For our faculty, I recognize this has been not only a year of extraordinary cultural change, but a year of frustration, a year of stress. We want to continue to hear and improve."


"Thank you to all of you who have or will participate in the inclusive classroom training. By the end of the spring semester, every department will have completed the training."


"Innovate at Iowa State will be helpful in our efforts to recruit students to come and study here. It is one of those things that will differentiate us from other universities." 

Learning outcomes

Senators approved four universitywide student learning outcomes to bring Iowa State in line with Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation criteria. The four measures are:

  • Communication 
  • Information literacy
  • Critical thinking and problem solving 
  • Diversity and global citizenship

The data to measure the success of each outcome is already available to the registrar. Colleges and programs are able to asses outcomes that are separate from what is reported to the HLC.

Diversity plans

Michael Bugeja, professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, spoke about department-level diversity plans. Recommendations in 2004 to deans and the president's office were designed to bring all departments into alignment on diversity issues and deans to provide guidelines for inclusion of diversity in department mission statements, strategic plans and stand-alone policies. 

A 2016 survey found a decrease in mentions of diversity in mission statements, from 35% to 30%. Diversity mentions in strategic plans grew from 55% to 64%, and in stand-alone plans or policies it grew by two percentage points, to 17%.

He outlined six reasons diversity plans are important:

  • Respect
  • Purpose
  • Cooperation
  • Richness of diversity
  • Freedom from discrimination
  • Honest and respectful expression of ideas

Bugeja said diversity plans allow for a bottom-up approach and give departments a measure of accountability. Diversity plans also can help recruit and retain underrepresented groups.

"I would like to see every academic unit discuss the possibility of a diversity plan," Bugeja said. "We have had diversity training in every department, and that is a very important component, but I worry about what happens when the training is done because there might not be an assessment vehicle."

Name change

Senators will vote next month to change the name of the last full week of classes before finals from dead week to prep week in the Faculty Handbook. The Graduate and Professional Student Senate adopted a resolution to rename the week.

Other business

The senate will take action next month on four proposals:

  • An interdisciplinary minor in Middle Eastern studies offered by the world languages and cultures, history, philosophy and religious studies, and political science departments. The minor addresses a demand for employees with knowledge of the region's countries and cultures. It also will aid military officer training programs at the university. There is no Middle Eastern studies major or minor at Iowa's other public universities despite many other peer institutions offering it. 
  • Policy on the maximum allowable credits from prior learning that can be used to complete a student's undergraduate degree. The proposal would allow a maximum of 60 credits of prior learning, no more than 32 from exams.
  • An undergraduate certificate in soil science in the agronomy department. The 31-credit certificate qualifies graduates for federal employment and meets the education criteria to be licensed as a soil scientist.
  • Name change for the entrepreneurial studies minor to entrepreneurship minor. It is offered by the management department in the Ivy College of Business.

Task force is working on child care access

Citing a lack of high-quality, affordable child care available to employees and students as a "critical problem," President Wendy Wintersteen formed a task force last fall to study the issue. A report with recommendations is expected in March.

Kristi Darr, interim vice president for university human resources, said the report will include both short-term and long-term recommendations. Darr is serving as a task force co-chair with associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince and Graduate College associate dean Carolyn Cutrona.

"As the task force works through its recommendations, we have been focusing on creating strong community partnerships and talking about how to sustain the momentum from the group," Darr said. "Appropriately addressing the childcare needs is not a 'one-size-fits-all' solution. It will take a collaborative effort over a long period of time to address the needs that we have as a community."

The task force is reviewing recommendations from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, a report compiled by a faculty experience workgroup, and input from the university child care committee and ISU's child care and family resources (CCFR) office, including its 2015 feasibility study. Child care access also was a common issue identified in the 2017 campus climate survey.

Student survey

This month, CCFR is conducting a survey of undergraduate and graduate students. Darr asked faculty and staff to encourage students who are pregnant or parenting a child to complete the survey. The responses will provide the task force with data about the number of parents in the student population.

"With this survey, we hope to obtain direct information regarding the lives and experiences of student parents, determine the current status of and reveal gaps in institutional resources, guide development of additional supports and provide data for student-parent advocacy," said Cris Broshar, program assistant in CCFR.

Child care task force

Co-chair: Dawn Bratsch-Prince, associate provost for faculty
Co-chair: Carolyn Cutrona, associate dean, Graduate College
Co-chair: Kristi Darr, interim vice president, university human resources

  • Milly Agai, program assistant, student assistance
  • Chelsey Aisenbrey, human resources and diversity director, Ames Laboratory
  • Claire Andreasen, director, veterinary pathology, Faculty Senate representative
  • Tim Ashley, interim vice president, operations and finance
  • Cris Broshar, program assistant, child care and family resources
  • Norin Chaudhry Yasin, past-president, Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • Eleanor Field, president, Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • Austin Graber, president, Student Government
  • Julie Graden, program manager, child care and family resources
  • Susan Lammers, residence life coordinator, residence department
  • Christine Lippard, assistant professor, human development and family studies, Faculty Senate representative
  • Ruxandra Looft, director, Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity
  • Lindsay Moeller, staff recruiting specialist, university human resources, Professional and Scientific Council
  • Deb Schildroth, assistant city manager, City of Ames
  • Molly Seaboch, program coordinator, Ames Laboratory
  • Ashley St. Clair, graduate student, ecology, evolution and organismal biology department
  • Julia Sullivan, program manager, student financial aid, university child care committee member

ISCORE celebrates 20 years of inclusive conversations

Japannah Kellogg headshot

Japannah Kellogg

A lot has changed in 20 years, and that is something being celebrated during the March 6 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE). A professional development preconference designed for faculty and staff is planned for March 4. Registration is free for both, with events being held in the Memorial Union.

Since 2000, ISCORE has grown from an annual event presented by the student affairs division to a program with an office and two full-time staff dedicated to coordinating the local conference and Iowa State's delegation at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE). The NCORE-ISCORE project still centers on annual student cohorts that research ethnic groups they're not a part of, attend NCORE and develop presentations to continue race and ethnicity conversations on campus.

"This is not just for our multicultural students. Our white students need to embrace these opportunities as well. Encouraging all of our students, faculty and staff to interact and dialogue is critical," said Japannah Kellogg, director of the NCORE-ISCORE office. "Coming to hear our students helps our university. It helps us understand how these national issues are impacting our students and how they feel about the climate."


Registration is free. Participants can attend as their schedules allow. Volunteer opportunities are available on the registration form.

March 4 preconference
For faculty and staff

March 6 conference

Participation growth

The student-centered event has morphed into interactive discussions about race and ethnicity that attract hundreds of faculty, staff and students each year. Still mostly student-led, this year's programming includes 31 presentations offered March 6 and eight presentations to choose from during the March 4 half-day preconference.

"We've intentionally worked with the students to put thought and research behind what they're trying to communicate, so it's not just 'I don't feel comfortable.' Instead, it's 'These are the reasons I don't feel comfortable, and these are some solutions.' This allows us to have a conversation around a topic -- race and ethnicity -- that most people don't feel comfortable having a conversation about."

Alumni panel

To celebrate ISCORE's 20th anniversary, more than 380 NCORE-ISCORE alumni were invited to return. About 100 will be in attendance, including a panel of individuals who will talk about how the NCORE-ISCORE project helped shape their career paths.

"People come to Iowa State with different perspectives, different understandings and different experiences. I take great pride in cultivating a space that allows us to have these conversations every year," Kellogg said. "At the core, we've laid the foundation to raise expectations for the university to be more inclusive and be more accommodating for all our students."

Program expansion

A 20-year ISCORE participant, Kellogg said the ISCORE program has expanded in many ways. Some initiatives that broadened ISCORE's scope include:

"Most people thought this was just for students," Kellogg said. "The project has played a key role in how our students lead -- how we capstone their Iowa State experience -- but over time, there's been more of a lean on the project to impact the campus climate. Some of the expectations have shifted, and we're up for the challenge."

ISD advisory committee issues first report

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In its first report, the improved service delivery (ISD) advisory committee outlined the accomplishments, challenges and future goals for what it called "arguably the largest administrative endeavor ever at Iowa State."

The advisory committee was appointed to assess and support ISD, a reorganization of financial and human resources staff launched simultaneously last summer with the Workday enterprise platform. Under ISD, most finance and HR work shifted from employees stationed in individual units to finance and HR specialists hired internally for 10 centralized service teams.

The co-chairs of the 15-member committee are the leaders of the respective ISD organizations, finance manager Kyle Briese and associate vice president for human resources services and strategy Dwaine Heppler. Briese and Heppler spoke about the report during a presentation at the Professional and Scientific Council's Feb. 6 meeting.

Establishing ISD

Given the sweeping nature of the changes, the committee cited the creation and development of the 150-person operation as the chief success for ISD in its first six months. Specialists learned how to use Workday, which replaced more than 100 programs and systems and prompted improvements to nearly 50 business processes, and ServiceNow, a digital workflow management tool adopted last year by ISD and information technology services.

The specialists trained for their new roles while still fulfilling their existing ones and often continued to support their former departments for a period after go-live. In addition, finance specialists had to adapt to a more modern method of accounting.

"Take a second to think about all that was established," Briese said. "Getting to this point is really an accomplishment in itself."

Typical turnover

About 85% of the projected positions were filled when ISD went live, and hiring remained an ongoing need throughout the first six months, Heppler said. Two temporary recruitment coordinators were brought on to help speed the process. But between July 1 and Dec. 31, only 4% of HR specialists left Iowa State, while 10% took other jobs at the university, Heppler said. Four finance specialists left the institution, said Briese, who didn't have a turnover rate for specialists who left ISD for other ISU jobs.

The attrition and turnover rates aren't unusual, Heppler said.

"Those percentages aren't that vastly different than what we see across campus," he said.  


The report lists some of the challenges identified in the months following ISD's launch, many which leaders have acknowledged and are working to address, including difficulties with graduate assistant appointments, training needs and faculty impact. It aimed to focus on ISD-specific problems separate from Workday.

Several issues are related to the level of service local departments receive from ISD teams. Heppler said improving customer service interactions and strengthening relationships between service teams and local units is an emphasis.

"It takes a human touch," he said.


One of the advisory committee's roles is to set and monitor key performance indicators for ISD. The report outlines potential performance indicators in the areas of campus satisfaction, ISD employee engagement and operational efficiency, though it's too early to gauge the data. 

Improving customer satisfaction, as determined by surveys employees receive after they've completed a ServiceNow interaction, is one of the goals for the next six months. The committee also aims to analyze performance indicators, continue ISD staff training, and ensure faculty and supervisors are delegating administrative tasks. Soliciting feedback also is important, and Briese and Heppler urged employees with concerns to contact them directly.

"Every single piece of feedback we've received, positive or negative, has been appreciated," Heppler said.

Training begins next month on Workday Planning module

For more information

Check out the webpage for the Workday Planning. For questions or comments, email

The new embedded budgeting module in Workday is on track to go live in April.

A project team last fall began configuring the budget program for Workday, the platform that has handled Iowa State's financial and human capital management transactions since last summer. Financial officers will use Workday Planning for the first time in setting budgets for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020.

Legacy budget systems couldn't be coordinated with Workday, but building budgets in Workday Planning will take advantage of the platform's real-time financial data and allow a more collaborative and holistic development process, interim associate vice president for institutional finance strategy Ellen Rasmussen said at a program demonstration Feb. 4.

Training next month

Workday Planning will launch just as the budgeting cycle begins to intensify, essentially extending go-live for the duration of the FY21 budget-setting process, said Rasmussen, who is leading the project.

"I kind of see it as a three-month deployment," she said.

The project team has identified 20 job aids it will create to help navigate the new system, step-by-step tip sheets that will be on the WorkCyte website. In-person training classes are scheduled to run March 23-27. User acceptance training is expected to run March 23-April 3, with in-person learning labs beginning April 6.

Fifty ISU staff will have a "planner" role in the system, allowing them to create and edit budgets. Many others will have "viewer" access for seeing and commenting on sheets and reports. Rasmussen said direct invitations will be sent to planners who will need training to begin developing the FY21 budget.

"You don't have to worry about missing anything. We'll invite you," she said.

Training and access for viewers will come later in the first phase deployment, after the system has stabilized.

What's in and out

In its initial phase for FY21, Workday Planning will be limited to creating a single-year budget for the legislative of general fund revenue composed mostly of state and federal general and directed appropriations, tuition and indirect cost revenue -- about half of the university's $1.5 billion budget.

In future phases, the system will be expanded to support multiyear plans and most restricted funds budgets, including auxiliary and fee-for-service units. Capital planning and forecasts for enrollment and tuition could be included over time. The timeline and phasing for those elements isn't set yet.

"There will be a lot of things that could eventually be part of the system, but aren't right now," Rasmussen said.

Some aspects that initially were going to be included in phase one have been pushed back to future iterations, such as faculty startup funds. Rasmussen said that gives the project team more time to develop the features for employee compensation planning. External grant budgeting won't be incorporated at any point.

What's new

The decision-making hierarchy for budgeting won't change. The president and senior vice presidents will continue to set budget policies and priorities, with input from the institutional budget management team, that will drive unit-level decisions across the university's four divisions. Workday will provide planners with access to actual expense and revenue data, including current year information updated monthly, which will bring a deeper level of budget analysis.

"The reports you're using to support some of that decision-making will certainly change," Rasmussen said.

At the Feb. 4 demonstration, staff who will begin using Workday Planning this spring got a peek at how work is progressing. The planning module will appear on Workday's home screen as "Adaptive Insights," a company Workday acquired in 2018 to add a planning and budget development capacity to its platform.

The sheets that planners will use will include actual revenue and expense information from the current year as a starting point for the next year’s budget. Some information, such as revenue estimates, will be entered centrally. Workday financial data or centrally supplied allocation rates will feed some fields automatically. Planners can edit their budgets to reflect their unit’s needs. Reports are integrated and easier to access.

One difference highlighted in the demo is a change in budgeting nonlabor spending. Planners will separate expected expenses into just 10 general categories such as maintenance, supplies and equipment. That will avoid the detailed categories established in Workday, which classifies more than 600 types of nonlabor expenses.

Having a uniform manner for budgeting those expenses also makes it easier to view campuswide trends, said project team member Ben Phillips, a fiscal officer in the College of Human Sciences.

"You can look and see what are the maintenance needs across the entire university," he said.