Final prep

Male student works long equation on whiteboard

Junior aerospace engineering major Sam Stadelman works on an astrodynamics equation while studying for his AER E 351 final exam Wednesday morning in a study room at the Student Innovation Center. Photo by Christopher Gannon.


Graduation events return to pre-pandemic formats

Following 20 months of several commencement configurations aimed at protecting graduates and guests' health, Iowa State returns to a fall semester celebration bearing some familiarity.

An estimated 1,941 students are completing degrees this semester, and the university community will honor them during two ceremonies Dec. 17-18, both in Hilton Coliseum.

For graduates or family members who need or prefer remote participation, the ceremonies will be livestreamed. For in-person guests, seating is unlimited and tickets aren't needed. Masks are encouraged for all attendees. Interim assistant registrar Abbie Suntken said the intent is to hold fall graduation ceremonies that are as close to the (pre-pandemic) 2019 events as possible.

Undergraduate ceremony

An estimated 1,638 students completing bachelor's degrees will be honored Saturday at a 1:30 p.m. event. Livestream link.

Cara Heiden head shot


Alumna Cara Heiden, retired co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Des Moines, will give the commencement address. A 1978 graduate in accounting, Heiden has served the university in many capacities, including the ISU Foundation's board of governors, dean's advisory council in the Ivy College of Business, presidential search committee (2015) and a state Board of Regents task force that studied performance-based funding models in higher education (2013-14). Multiple times during her career, U.S. Banker magazine listed her among its "25 most powerful women in banking."

Honorary degree

Al Myers head shot


During the undergraduate ceremony, university leaders will award an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Herbert Allen (Al) Myers, founder and president of Ames-based Ag Leader, for his achievements as an agricultural engineer, inventor, innovator, entrepreneur and global pioneer in precision agriculture. Ag Leader, which he started out of his home in 1992 and now employs nearly 300 worldwide, is the largest privately owned supplier of precision farming technology in the world. Its products and tools improve farm efficiency and farmers' decision making in the face of agronomic challenges.

Ag Leader produces more than two-thirds of the grain yield measuring sensors made in the world. Faculty members from the agricultural and biosystems engineering department who nominated Myers for the honorary degree noted, "He clearly is the father of yield monitoring, and his technology is credited with changing the face of world agriculture."

Graduate College ceremony

An estimated 107 doctoral and 196 master's students will be recognized during the graduate commencement ceremony Friday at 7 p.m. Livestream link.

Lisa Schulte Moore head shot

Schulte Moore

Lisa Schulte Moore, professor of natural resource ecology and management and associate director of Iowa State's Bioeconomy Institute, will address the graduates. This fall, she was one of 25 individuals to receive a MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation -- sometimes referred to as a "genius grant." Fellows have demonstrated exceptional creativity in their accomplishments and are selected for the fellowship's potential to facilitate future creative work.

Schulte Moore's research focuses on the intersection of agricultural systems that meet global food demands and strategies for protecting the environment. Due to her team's pioneering research, farmers in more than a dozen states have added prairie strips to their agricultural fields to reduce nutrient runoff to waterways and provide habitat for wildlife.

College convocations

Preceding the universitywide ceremonies, colleges will host special events Friday and Saturday to recognize their graduating students. Most of the college celebrations will be livestreamed as well.

Friday, Dec. 17

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences, 10 a.m., Hilton Coliseum and livestream, for undergraduates
  • Human Sciences, 2 p.m. Stephens Auditorium and livestream, for undergraduates
  • Design, 5 p.m. (3 p.m. reception), Design auditorium and livestream, for all graduating students
  • Business, 4 p.m., Hilton Coliseum and livestream, for all graduating students
  • Engineering, 4-6 p.m., 220 Scheman and livestream, for graduate students
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, 7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium and livestream, for undergraduates

Saturday, Dec. 18

  • Engineering, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. start times, various campus locations, by department, for undergraduates

Iowa State students who finish their studies during summer term may choose to participate in either the May or December graduation ceremony. An additional 84 students who finished their degree work last summer -- 54 doctoral or master's candidates and 30 bachelor's degree recipients -- will participate in this weekend's events.

Office custodial services being primed for spring semester

Custodial services provided by facilities planning and management (FPM) are returning to pre-pandemic levels with the start of the spring semester on Jan. 18.

As part of university-wide budget reductions for the last fiscal year (2021), the FPM custodial workforce and services on campus were reduced. The reductions would have taken effect in fall 2020. However, with the onset of the pandemic, additional temporary workers were hired to provide enhanced cleaning and disinfection of campus buildings. One-time federal funding that supported university operations during the COVID-19 response allowed FPM to maintain the additional staffing through spring semester 2021. 

This fall semester, without the temporary staff, the FPM custodial workforce prioritized high-traffic areas and common spaces, including classrooms, restrooms, library study areas and elevators.

"We have worked throughout the fall to find a workable approach to returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels and identified funding to start the process," said senior vice president for operations and finance Pam Cain. "We thank the university community for their understanding and patience, and our custodial employees for their hard work to meet the challenges of both the pandemic and our transition back to a more typical semester."

During winter break, Dec. 20 through Jan. 14, custodial staff will clean spaces that, by necessity, had a lower priority during fall semester, including offices and administrative areas. In the coming weeks, the FPM website will be updated with more information on spring semester cleaning services.

For more information, contact Michelle Lenkaitis, senior manager of custodial services, 294-0965.

Perry Fantini named vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion

Sharon Perry-Fantini head shot

Perry Fantini

Sharon Perry Fantini from Tiffin University, Ohio, has been named the next vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion following a national search. Perry Fantini, who serves as vice provost for equity, access and opportunity and Title IX coordinator at Tiffin University, will begin at Iowa State on Jan. 18, 2022.

Her appointment is pending approval by the state Board of Regents.

"Dr. Perry Fantini is a passionate and proven leader with a deep commitment to building collaborative partnerships," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "She brings an excellent set of skills and experience that will help us move Iowa State forward to become a leader in having a welcoming and inclusive environment for our increasingly diverse campus community to succeed and thrive."

Perry Fantini has been in her current position at Tiffin University since 2009 and also serves as an associate professor of management. She is a member of the Association of Title IX Administrators advisory board; the external advisory board for diversity and inclusion for Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York; and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Perry Fantini holds bachelor's degrees in organizational management and human resources management and an MBA from Tiffin University and a Ph.D. in human resources and organization management from Minneapolis-based Capella University.

"It is an honor to join a team that embodies the same purpose I do -- fostering an inclusive campus climate in which every member of the community can thrive in a safe and welcoming environment by embracing, supporting, including and valuing our unique diversity and cultural differences," said Perry Fantini. "The opportunity to join an institution with a dedicated focus on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within its organizational mission is one I am excited about."

In making the announcement, Wintersteen thanked interim vice president Charles Small for his leadership and members of the search committee and campus community for their thoughtful consideration of candidates.


Editor's note: This story was added to the Dec. 16 edition of Inside Iowa State on Dec. 20, the date of the announcement.

Catt review committee following up with requesters, others

The committee reviewing requests to remove the name of Carrie Chapman Catt from Catt Hall has sought follow-up information from those who requested the removal and will seek information from others with a special interest or expertise in the building name and Catt's life and career.

It's the next step in Iowa State procedures for considering the removal of names from university property, said Carol Faber, chair of the standing committee to review requests for name removal and associate professor of graphic design.

"We've given those who initially requested that Catt's name be removed from Catt Hall the opportunity to provide more information and answer additional questions from the committee," Faber said. "We're also seeking out other individuals who can help us better understand the history of Catt and Catt Hall and provide feedback on potential impacts of any name removal decision."

Broad review of draft report

Faber said there will be an opportunity for comments from a broad audience when the review committee releases its draft report in 2022 on the request to rename Catt Hall. The committee will invite feedback specifically from the requesters, university units and other stakeholders impacted by the decision. The committee also will establish a public written comment period of up to 60 days.

All comments will be considered when the review committee prepares its final report and recommendation, which will be submitted to President Wendy Wintersteen.

In the meantime, the review committee members continue to study some 200 files about Catt and the suffrage movement compiled by History Associates Inc., a Maryland-based research firm.

"We have a thoughtful committee," Faber said. "They're doing a deep dive into the research, listening to the input and following the guidance provided by our university policy in this initial effort to consider the removal of a name from university property."

What's open and closed during winter break

Winter break begins this weekend and lasts about a month, ending with the first day of the spring semester, Jan. 18, the Tuesday following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Many campus offices and services will reduce hours or close during break, especially during an 11-day partial campus shutdown Dec. 23-Jan. 2 -- a period that includes four university holidays (Dec. 23, 24, 27 and 31). 

Numerous services for students will remain available throughout winter break, as nearly 1,900 students will be enrolled in an online course during the four-week winter session. Coaching, tutoring, study sessions and consultations with the Academic Success Center and the Writing and Media Center will be offered online. Departmental student services also will remain open, though hours will vary and services may be offered online. Check department websites for details. 

Out-of-office energy checklist

Faculty and staff who will be out of the office for an extended time during the winter break should make sure their workspace is in energy-saving mode before they depart. Energy savings are one of the benefits of the optional partial shutdown period. Here are some tips:

  • Shut down all computers, printers and other accessories. Leave your office computer on if needed for remote access or critical operations, but turn off connected devices.

  • Turn off and unplug copiers, space heaters, coffee pots, microwaves, desk lamps, radios and chargers for electronic devices. 

  • Make sure faucets in restrooms and break rooms are turned off and not dripping. If you notice a dripping faucet, contact the FPM service center at 294-5100. 

  • Turn off office lights and public lighting, such as hallways, restrooms and conference rooms.

  • Check windows to make sure they're tightly closed.

  • If you can manually adjust the thermostat in your office, turn it down to 65 degrees. 

  • Shut down unnecessary climate-controlled plant growth chambers and close fume hood sashes completely, if possible. Otherwise, open them minimally. 

Buildings typically unlocked on weekdays in session often are locked during winter break. Consult the facilities planning and management building information listings to see building hours or to contact a building supervisor to arrange access. Units and departments should post winter break schedule and service adjustments publicly and in multiple places: websites, social media, phone messages and office doors, for instance.

Here’s a rundown of what else is open and closed -- and when -- during the winter break.

Ames/ISU Ice Arena 

Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. See online schedule for public skating hours. 

Chemistry Stores

Closed Dec. 23-31, except Dec. 29 when the store room is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for pick-up of in-stock items. No deliveries during winter break. 


No service Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Service ends at 6 p.m. Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. No Moonlight Express. Break schedule in effect Dec. 18-Jan. 16, eliminating some routes and reducing frequency on others. 

Health and wellness

Student Counseling Services and Thielen Student Health Center open weekdays 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., except Wednesdays when Thielen opens at 8:30 a.m.

ISU Book Store

Closed on university holidays (might be open Dec. 23) and on Sundays, except Dec. 19. Open weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 

ISU Dining

Closed Dec. 18-Jan. 2. Limited locations open beginning in the first week of January, gradually expanding until spring semester starts. See online schedule for hours and menus. 

IT Solution Center

Open weekdays 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., weekends noon-4 p.m. Closed Dec. 23-27, 31, Jan. 1 and Jan. 17.

Memorial Union

Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 19-Jan. 11, with 11 a.m. opening on Sundays. Closed Dec. 23-28 and 31. Closing at 6 p.m. Dec. 22 and 30. South atrium open Dec. 23 and 28.

Parks Library

Closed Dec. 19, 23-27, 31 and Jan. 1 and 17. See online schedule for reduced hours Dec. 18-Jan. 16 and library department hours.

Recreation Services

All facilities closed Dec. 23-27, 31 and Jan. 1. Lied Recreation Athletic Center closed Dec. 18-Jan. 15. Beyer Hall and State Gym open weekdays 6 a.m.-8 p.m., weekends noon-6 p.m. See online schedule for more details. 

Reiman Gardens

Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Open 5-8 p.m. for Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show Dec. 16-18, 23-24 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1.

Ticket offices

Athletics ticket office at Jacobson Building closed Dec. 23-27 and 30-31 and open Dec. 22, 28 and 29 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.). Hilton Coliseum ticket office opens an hour before games. Stephens Auditorium ticket office open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 22. Check online for updates.

Transportation Services

Closed Dec. 23-Jan. 2. Kiosk and fuel pumps available 24-7. Call after-hours line at 515-509-1686 for any emergencies. 

University Museums

All galleries closed Dec. 18-Jan. 17.

Online leadership workshops will start this spring

Faculty Senate president Andrea Wheeler announced a series of skills-based leadership workshops for faculty that will begin during the spring semester.

The online workshops will be 90 minutes long and focus on themes like asking good questions, listening, recognizing interests and influence, said Wheeler at the senate's Dec. 14 meeting.

"They will broadly focus on creating and leading inclusive meetings, and for those interested in being chairs or in other leadership," she said. "I do not want any member of our faculty to think or feel they can't be a senator."

The first workshop is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1 with more information to come.

Free speech training

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert spoke about annual free speech training the state Board of Regents approved earlier this year. Wickert said he anticipates a link for the training to be emailed to students and employees during the second week of January.

"It will be an online training covering various aspects of free expression and academic freedom," he said. 

Strategic plan

Vice president for research Peter Dorhout presented on the progress made on the next university strategic plan. The new strategic plan will be a nine-year plan instead of five years and developed as a "to be" list instead of a "to do" list. 


The senate will vote at its January meeting on an addition to the bylaws to clarify what should be included in the minutes. The proposal would establish that minutes are a concise record of what is done at a meeting, not a complete record of what is said during debate and discussion. It also would avoid attributions of statements made during debate or discussion.

Senators in favor of the change said identifying senators in the minutes may limit discussion on issues. Focusing on a vocal minority also may create a skewed historical record.

Those against the change said as a public university, detailed minutes are needed to accurately reflect why senate decisions are made. They provide a complete record as people look back years from now and give faculty who do not attend senate an opportunity to see what was discussed to ensure their concerns are voiced.

Other business

The senate approved:

  • A transdisciplinary undergraduate certificate in science communication. The 21-credit certificate focuses on science and society, and allows the practice of science and effective communication with the public around a variety of topics. An ag communications track in the agricultural and life sciences education major remains an option for students.
  • A change to the undergraduate certificate policy that allows students with an associate's degree to earn a certificate without completing a bachelor's degree. Students with an associate's degree apply as a non-degree seeking student. It remains the program's or department's decision whether an associate or bachelor's degree is needed for the certificate.
  • Amending chapter 8 of the Faculty Handbook "University Community Policies" to note the policies are in the ISU policy library, and moving the policy on educational material and intellectual property to chapter  10.
  • The October minutes, after quorum was lost during a previous discussion.