Spring demo

Workers carve out the Insectary nameplate for safe-keeping

Photos by Christopher Gannon.

Vacant since the summer of 2018 when occupants moved next door or across the street, the 92-year-old Insectary was mostly demolished this week. Pictured above, workers removed the building's nameplate over the south entry April 13. It will be saved for a to-be-determined repurposing.

In addition to the main building, the demolition project includes adjacent greenhouses and two nearby storage garages from the same era. Below, an excavator operator peels brick from the Insectary's south facade on April 27. As much of the demolition debris as possible is being recycled.

The Insectary site on Pammel Drive will become a green space.


Scoop shovel pulls down exterior brick on the Insectary

Employees asked to log their COVID-19 efforts

Employee time spent on implementation of emergency protective measures during Iowa State's COVID-19 response may provide the university an avenue for recovering costs. Administrators developed an online form for employees to track related efforts.

Employees with questions about effort reporting or the Smartsheet form can contact Bonnie Whalen, whalen@iastate.edu.

"Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state and local funding sources, the university has the opportunity to apply for and request funds that could help mitigate the fiscal challenges caused by the COVID-19 response," said Bonnie Whalen, associate vice president for financial strategy in the operations and finance division.

In an April 10 memo to university leaders, Whalen outlined eligible work activities, including:

  • Meetings, projects and scheduling for the emergency operations center 
  • Emergency medical care, including services, supplies and transport
  • Specific training related to COVID-19 response, such as cleaning methods
  • Public facility maintenance, specifically disinfection and cleaning
  • Time logged to move supplies and personnel to alternate locations
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Communications and information related to public health and safety
  • Containment, for example recall of Study Abroad students
  • Online course conversion (but not instruction)

She said an "other" category is provided for activities that don't fall within the nine listed on the form. Employees who use this category should include a description of those activities.

Monthly reports

Effort tracking should be completed via an online report form -- one report per employee, per month -- for salaried and hourly employees who performed eligible work. Whalen said the form can be submitted monthly or completed once with total effort broken down by month. Supervisors who choose to submit reports on behalf of merit staff should collaborate with Workday timekeepers to provide system documentation.

"The online form is intended to be simple and take very little time to update. There are two to three simple boxes to complete after entering your name, email, appointment type and department," Whalen said.

Effort tracking is retroactive to Jan. 20, so some employees may need to report eligible activities that stretch back over previous months. Whalen said the effort tracking will continue throughout the pandemic emergency. Employees who submit reports will receive email reminders to complete the form for future months. 

Individual reports will be reviewed to determine eligibility of the activities. Salaried employees can report from 1% to 100% of their time. Hourly employees have a 10-minute reporting minimum and can log overtime and compensatory time in their reports. Links to effort reporting instructions in the memo and the online Smartsheet form are available on the operations and finance website.

"The COVID-19 financial team is casting a wide net in capturing as many related costs as possible, realizing that the institution may not be reimbursed or receive funding to mitigate all reported costs and effort," Whalen said. "It is important to centrally identify these impacts and work through all opportunities available to the institution."

Baldwin will serve in student affairs post

President Wendy Wintersteen has appointed Erin Baldwin to serve as interim senior vice president for student affairs, effective June 5.

Head shot of Erin Baldwin

Erin Baldwin

Baldwin serves as assistant vice president for student health and wellness and director of the Thielen Student Health Center. She also is leading the university's emergency operations for the COVID-19 pandemic as incident commander.

She succeeds Martino Harmon, who will become the vice president for student life at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, on July 1.

In her interim role, Baldwin will oversee a division that includes the dean of students unit, student health and wellness, residence, ISU Dining, learning communities and the NCORE-ISCORE office. The interim appointment awaits state Board of Regents approval.

"I am confident that Erin will thrive in this critically important position, particularly during this challenging time as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and ensure the ISU student experience remains strong, now and for the future," Wintersteen said. "I know Erin and Martino will work closely over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition for the division."

A national search is underway to fill the position permanently. The Spelman Johnson search firm will manage the search, and the position is posted on the firm's website. Tera Jordan, assistant provost for faculty development, and Charles Small, senior associate athletics director for student services, are co-chairing a 16-member search committee. Megan Peterson in the provost's office will provide administrative support to the committee. Other search committee members are:

  • Vanessa Baker-Latimer, housing department, city of Ames
  • Pete Englin, residence department/student affairs administration
  • Eleanor Field, Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • Morgan Fritz, Student Government
  • Bill Graves, Graduate College dean's office
  • Chris Hanes, student counseling services
  • Carrie Jacobs, public safety department
  • Kenyatta Shamburger, multicultural student affairs
  • Ann Smiley, kinesiology department
  • Toni Sleugh (undergraduate), dean of students office
  • Reg Stewart, office of diversity and inclusion
  • Jennifer Suchan, office of the registrar
  • Sriram Sundararajan, College of Engineering dean's office
  • Brian Vanderheyden, student wellness


Related news:

Harmon accepts leadership post at Michigan, March 26, 2020

Promotions approved for 60 term faculty

In the first year of a new classification system for Iowa State's term faculty, 60 individuals were approved for advancement this spring. They represent all seven academic colleges and four of the five professorial tracks in the new term faculty system: teaching, clinical, research and adjunct. The fifth, practice track, is for term faculty who come from nonacademic employers and work primarily in classroom instruction.

"We are excited to be able to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of our outstanding term faculty for the first time under this new policy," said associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince. "Their work is fundamental to the excellent education Iowa State offers.

"When we pledge to invest in our people, in terms of professional development and career advancement, it's important to include all of our faculty and respect the work of everyone," she noted, thanking the faculty team that labored for several years to develop the new titles and policies for the Faculty Handbook.

Approximately 600 part- and full-time Iowa State faculty have nontenure-eligible -- or term -- appointments.

Heavy lift by a task force

Following two years of information gathering, feedback and proposal writing by a Faculty Senate task force, senators approved the new system in spring 2018 and it took effect July 1, 2019. Each of the five tracks includes the ranks of assistant, associate and full professor, adding a third rank to the former two-step process. There also is a lecturer option for early-career teaching term faculty. The university-wide system replaced a network of college processes for appointments, evaluation and advancement that could be inconsistent.

When it was implemented last July, Bratsch-Prince said colleges submitted recommendations for moving their term faculty into the new titles based on both their experience and performance at Iowa State.

The 60 term faculty members who were promoted this spring are a big increase over recent years, when an average of 25 term faculty advanced, she said. Bratsch-Prince attributed the jump to the addition of a third rank and to clear, consistent guidelines for all Iowa State term faculty.

Term faculty advancement by college


To associate professor

To full


Agriculture/Life Sciences
















Human Sciences




Liberal Arts and Sciences




Veterinary Medicine








In addition to new titles that take effect Aug. 16, promoted term faculty receive an increase to their base salary and longer appointments.


Related story:

Term faculty have new titles, more consistent policies, Sept. 5, 2019


Planning a safe return to campus in the fall

No immediate changes in university operations are in store for May 1, when a relaxation of Iowa's coronavirus social distancing directives would allow campus dining centers, recreation centers, retail stores and libraries to reopen with restrictions. And all summer classes will be delivered virtually, including the second session that begins June 15. Those developments in the past week show limitations imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 remain necessary for now.

No changes May 1

Senior leaders shared these clarifications April 30:

  • Employees who have been working remotely should continue to do so.
  • Employees are still permitted to go to their office while practicing social distancing to perform necessary job functions they can't do at home.
  • Practice social distancing and other infection-mitigation strategies, including frequent handwashing.
  • Employees with questions should contact their HR delivery team or email hr_delivery@iastate.edu

Planning a return to on-campus activity this fall also is a necessity. As President Wendy Wintersteen emphasized in messages April 24 and April 28, fall plans must consider how to safely reinstate teaching, research and student support on a residential campus -- a complex situation that will require innovation, analysis and expertise.

An executive committee leading the fall planning effort will be chaired by vice president for extension and outreach John Lawrence. Other committee members are:

  • Erin Baldwin, assistant vice president for student health and wellness and Thielen Student Health Center director
  • Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer
  • Kristi Darr, interim vice president for university human resources
  • Sam Easterling, Melsa Dean, College of Engineering
  • Pete Englin, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of residence
  • Carol Faber, Faculty Senate president-elect and associate professor of graphic design
  • Surya Mallapragada, associate vice president for research and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering
  • Michael Newton, associate vice president for public safety and chief of police
  • Michael Norton, university counsel
  • Clayton Oliver, emergency manager, environmental health and safety
  • Jim Roth, Center for Food Security and Public Health director and Covault Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Medicine
  • Rob Schweers, communications director, office of the senior vice president and provost
  • Reginald Stewart, vice president for diversity and inclusion
  • Amy Ward, Professional and Scientific Council president
  • Bonnie Whalen, associate vice president for institutional financial strategy

University employees are invited to share any ideas or questions about the fall planning process with committee members by email, fall20plans@iastate.edu.

Guiding principles released in Wintersteen's April 28 message outline how the committee will approach preparations and what it will consider. The fall plan needs to be concrete enough to communicate by midsummer but nimble enough to adjust for changing circumstances. Protecting the health of the campus community while fulfilling the university's land-grant mission will be the primary goal. Planning will consider the health care capacity of the campus, community and state, as well as the direction and guidance of health experts.

The committee will develop strategies for students, student-athletes, faculty and staff resuming their physical roles on campus. It's not expected that all risk will be eliminated. Risk mitigation may include:

  • Testing and contact tracing
  • Social distancing
  • Adjusting academic calendars and schedules
  • Considering class, lab and studio sizes
  • Using personal protective equipment
  • Protecting vulnerable campus community members
  • How residence halls and dining centers are managed
  • How facilities are managed and cleaned
  • Establishing procedures and restrictions for approving events
  • Responses to infections and exposure, including quarantines and isolation
  • Limiting university-sponsored travel
  • Managing campus visitors

Plans will include ideas for continuing online options to support student retention, an effort that will consider international students who may not be allowed to travel to campus. It also will outline steps for reverting back to fully online courses, if required.

The committee will consider the budget impact of its plan, including short-term and long-term ramifications. The university's short-term COVID-19 response must not irreversibly impact the institution's long-term financial viability.

Admissions goes virtual to host incoming students

The pandemic has forced many at Iowa State to do their jobs a little differently, and the admissions office is no different. With prospective students unable to step foot onto campus, admissions is going virtual to host visits.

Virtual visits for prospective, admitted and transfer students have begun to allow them to learn more about the university, answer their questions answered and connect with representatives from their chosen academic field.

"We wanted to provide as much of an experience as we can," admissions assistant director for campus visits Kristin Chapman said. "Obviously, nothing beats being on Iowa State's campus and meeting all the wonderful people here, but we are doing the best we can to deliver that Iowa State feel to them."

The visit

Virtual visits occur every Monday and Wednesday for admitted and prospective students, with transfer student sessions on Fridays.

Each session begins with an admissions presentation, depending on the audience, followed by a panel of students who work in the admissions office. The virtual visitors can ask panelists questions through the Webex chat, with all full-time staff and students working from home.

The second hour offers virtual visits with representatives of an academic area of interest. The final hour is set aside for discussion with auxiliary partners like financial aid, study abroad or department of residence representatives. Visitors can decide how many sessions they wish to attend.

Dividing students into three groups -- prospective, admitted and transfer -- allows admissions to tailor the experience from those ready to come to campus with an academic plan to those still undecided on a major.

Each session requires four admissions staff. One presents, another hosts the panel, and two monitor and answer chat questions. 

"The early response has been positive, and people have been really appreciative," Chapman said. "It depends on the day, but we are having guests join for all of our visits."

From April 8-27, 507 students and 904 total guests -- students and guests -- attended the virtual visit programs. Currently, 103 students have registered for sessions through the end of May, with that number continuing to grow.

Quick turnaround

Not only did admissions have to put a virtual visit program together from scratch, but it needed to learn the software to successfully run the sessions. It was a process designed and implemented in the span of about three weeks that touched nearly every unit within admissions.

Students were contacted primarily through email about the visits, and admissions has worked with colleges and departments to have people available to answer visitor questions.

"It really has been a university effort, and the colleges and other units have been amazing partners," Chapman said. "They provide great sessions and customer service, and the Iowa State way is still permeating through this experience."

Students are able to give feedback after their visits to aid admissions as it continues to adjust the process.

"Every day it is evolving, and we are learning more," Chapman said. 

Making connections

The pandemic may force people to remain socially distant, but admissions is still finding ways to engage future Cyclones. 

The Cyclones Connect events allow incoming students to talk with other future students through a virtual chat held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Three to five students join in a virtual office with a current student or admissions counselor for a 30-minute chat session on topics of their choice. Students can choose to talk to others within their college or chat with a cross-section of future Cyclones.

Admissions also piloted a Cyclone Parents Connect event for families of incoming students to ask questions and get information from a panel of parents of current students. With the popularity of the first event, more are being considered.


Congratulations, recipients of 2020 university awards

More than 50 Iowa State faculty and staff will be honored during the university's annual awards ceremony in September; a date hasn't been finalized. 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 nationally or internationally 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 Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Matt DeLisi, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Professor and professor of sociology
  • Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor of history

Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering

  • Manimaran Govindarasu, Mehl Professor in Computer Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering

Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Robert Jernigan, professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • GianCarlo Moschini, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Science and Technology Policy and professor of economics

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.

  • Lisa Larson, professor of psychology
  • Gary Mirka, John Ryder Professor of Engineering and professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering
  • Javier Vela, professor of chemistry

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.

  • Lee Burras, professor of agronomy
  • Mark Hargrove, professor of biochemistry biophysics and molecular biology
  • Sara Marcketti, professor of apparel, events and hospitality management, and director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
  • Loreto Prieto, professor of psychology
  • Greg Tylka, professor of plant pathology and microbiology

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.

  • Monica Lamm, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering
  • Chris Rehmann, associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • Warren Franke, associate chair and professor of kinesiology

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.

  • Laura Iles, program manager, plant pathology and microbiology
  • Michelle Stotts, operations manager, chemical and biological engineering

Award for 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.

  • Monic Behnken, associate professor of sociology
  • Harrison Inefuku, librarian, university library

International Service Award

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

  • Karl Kraus, professor of veterinary clinical sciences

Outstanding Achievement in Teaching

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

  • Beth Martin, associate teaching professor of world languages and cultures
  • Rob Whitehead, associate professor of architecture
  • Louis Thompson Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching designation: Aili Mu, associate professor of world languages and cultures

Early Achievement in Teaching

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

  • Paola Pittoni, assistant teaching professor of mechanical engineering
  • Marna Yandeau-Nelson, assistant professor of genetics, development and cell biology

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.

  • Stephen Biggs, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies

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.

  • Cathy Miller, interim department chair and professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine
  • Denise Schmidt-Crawford, associate professor in the School of Education and director of the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching

Departmental Leadership

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

  • Jeff Iles, chair and professor of horticulture

Academic Advising Impact

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

  • Lisa Enloe, practicum placement coordinator, human development and family studies
  • Diann Burright, director of undergraduate programs, Ivy College of Business

Early Achievement in Academic Advising

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

  • Flor Romero de Slowing, academic adviser, world languages and cultures

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.

  • Basil Nikolau, Francis Craig Professor in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Kan Wang, Global Professor in Biotechnology and professor of agronomy

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.

  • Asheesh Singh, Monsanto Chair in Soybean Breeding and associate professor of agronomy
  • Jigang Wang, professor of physics and astronomy
  • Yue Wu, Herbert Stiles Professor in Chemical Engineering and associate professor of chemical and biological 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.

  • Soumik Sarkar, associate professor of mechanical engineering
  • Amie Zarling, assistant professor of human development and family studies

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.

  • Tracie Hennen-Bierwagen, associate scientist, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology

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.

  • Arthur Winter, 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.

  • Brenda Martin, account manager, Center for Industrial Research and Service

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.

  • Teresa Fernando, teaching laboratory senior coordinator, chemistry department
  • Richard Jauron, program specialist in horticulture, ISU Extension and Outreach
  • Jacob Larsen, director of the language study resource center, world languages and cultures

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.

  • Diane Meyer, pre-award project manager in the Grants Hub, office of the vice president for research

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.

  • Erika Lundy, beef field specialist, ISU Extension and Outreach
  • Christopher Myers, teaching laboratory coordinator, ecology, evolution and organismal biology
  • Svitlana Zbarska, undergraduate research program coordinator, university honors program

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.

  • Erin Hodgson, associate professor of entomology

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.

  • Catheryn Hockaday, program manager, human sciences extension and outreach
  • Rodger Main, director, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

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.

  • Adam Janke, assistant professor of natural resource ecology and management
  • Erika Lundy, beef field specialist, ISU 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.

  • Matthew Wenger, program coordinator in extension meat science, animal science

Library reaches deal with Elsevier to lower journal costs

An Iowa State negotiation team reached an agreement this spring to end a "big deal" with the largest publisher of scholarly journals, instead subscribing to hundreds of individual journals from Elsevier to lower costs significantly.

Selecting 428 journals to retain in a year-by-year contract also gives the university library more control over future journal spending, said Curtis Brundy, associate university librarian for scholarly communication and collections. It has become more common for university libraries to reject "big deal" contracts to avoid the rising costs of the all-inclusive subscription packages favored by major journal publishers. 

The new contract is both a departure and a standardization for the library, Brundy said. 

"We've already done this with the other major publisher agreements, as costs have become unsustainable," he said. Iowa State has already taken an individual-journal approach with Wiley and Springer Nature.

"Providing access to cutting-edge work across many disciplines -- including that of our own scholars --  is a critical responsibility of leading research universities like Iowa State," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "I applaud the library’s efforts to lower costs and to make sure we’re paying a fair price for the materials our students and faculty need to complete their work."

Deal's impact

The library selected which of Elsevier's roughly 2,000 journals to keep by considering criteria that included how frequently it publishes articles by Iowa State authors, article download and citation rates, open-access availability and subscription cost. In addition to the 428 subscribed journals, the campus community will continue to have access to past articles from several hundred other journals to which Iowa State has perpetual access rights, Brundy said.

In 2020, Elsevier will allow the library to swap some journals out of its subscription package if it wants to add new titles without raising its overall expenses, Brundy said. Faculty or staff who have questions about the agreement and the journals included can contact collections coordinator Ed Goedeken, goedeken@iastate.edu.

ISU students, faculty and staff can access Elsevier articles from journals not included in the new contract by requesting them through interlibrary loan, which aims to fulfill requests within one day. Libraries that step away from "big deal" arrangements don't typically see their interlibrary loan usage spike, Brundy said.

Comparing costs

The prior three-year agreement with Elsevier expired Dec. 31. The university library's three negotiating principles were to promote financial sustainability, transparency and open access, a movement supported by Iowa State to push more published research out from behind paywalls to be freely accessible online.

Reducing the cost of subscribing to Elsevier journals was important because it has been an uneven and growing share of the library's journal spending, Brundy said. In 2018, 22% of the citations of ISU research and, coincidentally, 22% of citations by Iowa State researchers were in Elsevier journals. Yet the Elsevier contract accounted for 41% of the library's journal costs.

"The trend line is scary," Brundy said at an open forum on the negotiations in January. "When we project this out, it really doesn't make sense and something has to give."

Changing market

In addition to being more financially viable, the new contract satisfies another negotiation goal by dropping nondisclosure requirements that were part of prior deals. The inability to disclose contract terms have made it difficult for libraries to compare their journal prices, allowing unfair differences to develop as publishers increased their "big deal" fees annually.

Many research libraries have taken firmer stands with large journal publishers in recent years in response to climbing costs. Some have walked away entirely, while other institutions have taken the same tack as Iowa State, subscribing to individual journals at a higher cost per title but spending less overall. Pushback from libraries has helped balance what in the past were one-sided negotiations, as publishers no longer can assume institutions will agree to pay more.

Faculty and student support

Last fall, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution supporting the library’s principles for journal publisher negotiations. Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate passed similar resolutions. The united effort was an important factor in the negotiation strategy with Elsevier.

The deal will not affect how or where ISU faculty publish research, said senate president Jonathan Sturm, a music professor. The negotiations were an important step in helping disrupt a publishing model at odds with the university's land-grant mission, he said.  

"How can we fulfill that mission if the research we access is locked behind a paywall that is exorbitantly expensive and unfairly priced relative to peers?" Sturm said. "Next steps may involve faculty discussion about academic publishing traditions. We need to adjust them so that progress happens in careers and research while faculty are increasingly encouraged to publish their research in respected journals or online sites that keep their discoveries open to the world.”

Pushing for open

Brundy said it’s still a challenge to find agreement on open access with the largest publishers. While ISU negotiators didn't secure any specific open-access concessions in its deal with Elsevier, both sides agreed to continue discussing the issue. Iowa State already has several open-access agreements with publishers:

  • This week, the university library announced a three-year agreement with the Public Library of Science that allows researchers to publish in its open-access journals without incurring article processing charges, the fees open journals charge to cover publishing costs. Beginning in July, Iowa State researchers can publish unlimited articles, and the library will pay a flat rate based on prior publication levels.
  • In a deal announced in January, the Iowa State, University of California system, Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology libraries reached a joint agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) that gives the universities' faculty, staff and students full access to all ACM journals and provides immediate open access status to all ACM articles by authors from those institutions. The three-year agreement is the first transformative open-access deal for ACM, the largest computing society.
  • The university library signed a unique "read-publish-join" agreement with the American Physiological Society (APS) earlier this year, Brundy said. In addition to covering content access and open-access publication for Iowa State faculty, staff and students -- often referred to as a "read and publish" deal -- the agreement with APS would grant a free one-year society membership to each publishing Iowa State author. It's a model that could be appealing to small scholarly societies with declining membership, Brundy said.
  • In December, the library reached an agreement with Oxford University Press, the publisher's first read and publish open-access deal with a U.S. institution.
  • In May, the library announced read and publish agreements with both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the journal publisher Frontiers.
  • At the start of 2019, Iowa State signed a three-year read and publish agreement with De Gruyter, which at the time was the publisher's first U.S. deal of its kind.

The front line

ISU police officer Cassie Edwards

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

ISU police officer Cassie Edwards exits her patrol vehicle to conduct a building check at Carver Hall. Edwards is one of hundreds of essential university employees working on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa State has your back(ground)

Wide angle view of a full house at an Iowa State basketball game

Picture yourself in Hilton Coliseum during your next Zoom meeting.

Looking to add a little Iowa State flavor to your web conferencing? Several campus units have produced Zoom backgrounds as options, and graduation-themed backdrops from university marketing are on the way.

Here are some collections and where to find them:

Information on how to use a virtual background is available in the Zoom help center.

University museums takes its programs online

Alumna Marcia Borel, who led an East Coast floral design team in January that created a sogestsu ikebana arrangement in the Brunnier Art Museum, was scheduled to return in mid-April for education events connected to the "Contemplate Japan" exhibition. But museum facilities closed to visitors March 16 and the COVID-19 pandemic extinguished that plan, so university museums staff made another. On Thursday afternoon (April 30), a new video will load on the museums' website: "Contemplate Japan from Home: Spring Sogetsu with Marcia Borel."

The Borel feature is among several dozen videos and Facebook Live broadcasts -- typically 10 to 30 minutes long -- museum staff members will create and host during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The offerings include Sunday and Thursday videos (4 p.m. post on university museums' website and YouTube channel) and Wednesday broadcasts (noon) on Facebook.

"We are experimenting with different formats to provide resources for students, faculty and the community," said Lilah Anderson, educator of visual literacy and learning for university museums. "We're trying to engage our audiences in different ways."

Anderson said one goal is to provide materials for faculty and students. In a typical spring semester, museums staff would fill lots of faculty requests for instruction, including outdoor art tours and access to indoor collections, she said. Another goal is to share specific exhibitions with the public and try to replace some of the in-person programming that was planned.

Upcoming programming includes:

  • Sunday, May 3: Family Sunday from Home: Paper Fans (video)
    Fans are visible across the "Contemplate Japan" exhibition in woodblock prints, the festival doll display and as a kimono textile pattern. Interpretive specialist Brooke Rogers explains the historical and cultural use of fans in Japan and demonstrates how to create a simple origami paper fan.
  • Thursday, May 7, Christian Petersen: The Early Years (video)
    Get to know Christian Petersen, the artist and teacher who made a lasting impact on our university and the art history of Iowa. In this first in a series, museum collections manager Allison Sheridan delves into Petersen’s early years on the East Coast before he came to Iowa.
  • Wednesday, May 13, Art Walk: Mythology (Facebook Live broadcast)
    With Rogers, tour public art on campus that channels fables, supernatural beings and super-human heroes.
  • Thursday, May 14, Christian Petersen: Process and Materials (video)
    In this installation, assistant curator Sydney Marshall explores Petersen’s art making process and takes a closer look at his techniques and materials.
  • Sunday, May 17, Family Sunday from Home: Kimono and Origami (video)
    Discover more about the culturally important kimono, ranging in style from extremely formal to casual and, with Rogers, participate in a fun at-home activity about them.

Digital map

The timing is coincidental, but in collaboration with the library's digital scholarship and initiatives department, university museums also is highlighting selections from its Art on Campus collection in a new digital map. Anderson said it features about 100 public works of art from the expansive 2,000-plus objects in the collection, both indoors and outside. It uses ArcGIS mapping software to navigate campus, and in addition to a photo of the work of art, each entry includes title, artist, year created and medium.

"It's our curators' choices for visitors and represents the variety in the collection, from sculpture to mosaics to textiles to paintings," she said.

By scrolling through side text adjacent to the map, users "navigate" around campus, courtesy of the map software, to explore pieces from the collection. It also highlights the various university museum sites, suggests a short central campus walking tour and -- for those intrigued enough to visit campus -- offers public parking suggestions.

For now, the map mirrors the art featured in the museums' printable map and the Art on Campus overlay option in the university's multipurpose online map.

Bringing the exhibition to you

Images from the 2020 BFA exhibition

Images of entries in "Ground Zero," the College of Design's 2020 senior show for bachelor's of fine arts students. Photo provided.

When the university moved to virtual instruction for the remainder of the semester, the College of Design no longer could host several exhibitions that were scheduled after spring break in Gallery 181 on the Design building's main level and at the Design on Main gallery in downtown Ames. To accommodate requests to share students' work in a virtual environment -- including both planned exhibitions and new coursework developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic -- the college adapted the Modula Image Gallery plugin for WordPress to create Gallery 181V.

The virtual gallery launched in mid-April with examples of work by students in an interdisciplinary studio expressing ideas about social distancing and the built environment. The site also includes "Ground Zero: 2020 BFA Senior Exhibition," work by graduating seniors in integrated studio arts; and "Shards & Scraps: A Reflection on Personal Connections to Glass Vessels and Food," the master's thesis exhibition by integrated visual arts (IVA) graduate student Sarah Godfrey.

The Fall 2019 Rome Show, Spring 2020 IVA graduate exhibit and MFA thesis exhibition by IVA graduate student Cameron Gray will be added soon.

Now that the virtual gallery format exists, the College of Design can easily share work by students and faculty from specific classes and projects as well as traditional curated exhibitions.