A good day for shadows

Students sketch a bighorn sheep sculpture

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Making use of a clear late summer day, Design Studies 131 students (l-r) Devon Core, Anh Le and Avir Basanez, sketch artist Gwynn Murrill's Bighorn sculpture in the Anderson Sculpture Garden south of Morrill Hall Monday.

Flu shot clinic is Oct. 3-14

ISU WellBeing and occupational medicine will offer a free flu shot clinic next month for university employees and some affiliated organizations. The clinic will run two weeks, Oct. 3-14 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.) at the south court of State Gymnasium.

No appointment or registration is needed, and participants will check in electronically when they arrive. More than 3,000 shots were given last year, said Keri Guy, university human resources (UHR) WorkLife specialist.

"Flu season is always a challenge, and the vaccine is one way for people to feel healthy and productive during that time," said ISU WellBeing coordinator Stephanie Downs. "This is highly valued by our employees, and it is something they can do to protect themselves throughout the year."

The vaccine is available for these employee groups:

  • Faculty, professional and scientific, merit and postdocs
  • University child care centers
  • Retirees on the university health plan who are not yet 65 years
  • ISU Foundation 
  • Iowa State Daily 

Employees' spouses and children are not eligible for the clinic, but family members covered by ISU health insurance can receive a flu shot from their medical provider or a retail pharmacy. Visiting scholars and ISU students should contact the Thielen Student Health Center, 294-5801, for vaccination information.

Employees are encouraged to walk to the clinic and enter State Gym through the southwest corner of the building. Parking will be available in the general staff lot (Lot 1) immediately south of the building that runs parallel to Sheldon Avenue. A limited number of free nonstaff permit spaces will be available close to the building, and CyRide also stops next to State Gym on Union Drive.

"We really encourage employees to come to the back of the building and enter using the south entrance to avoid walking through recreation services spaces," Downs said. "There will be signs to direct people."

A COVID-19 vaccine or booster is not available at this clinic. Those wanting one should contact their physician or primary health care provider.

If possible, employees are asked to wear a short-sleeve or loose-fitting shirt to give the nurse easier access to an upper arm. Face masks are not required.

Members of ISU WellBeing's Adventure2 wellness program will receive points for getting a flu shot.

The vaccine

Employees who get a shot will receive a four-component vaccine that protects against A and B flu virus strains. The vaccine contains the four viruses recommended this season by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019(H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021(H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

Alternative forms of the vaccine for the 2022-23 flu season are not available at the clinic. Those who prefer a spray or mist vaccine or a high-dose vaccine should check with their primary doctor.

It takes about two weeks for antibodies that protect against the flu to fully develop. It's not possible to get the flu by receiving a flu shot because it is not a live virus, Downs said.

"The clinic runs for two weeks, so if you are not feeling well, wait until you are, because if you're already fighting a bad cold or have a fever, it will be tough for your body to produce the antibodies from the vaccine," she said.

More information about the flu clinic is on the ISU Wellbeing website, and information on the 2022 flu vaccine is available through the CDC. Questions may be directed to the UHR service center, 294-4800.

Instructors think big in latest round of OER mini-grants

The Miller Open Education Mini-Grant program continues to make an impact across campus in its fifth year.

Instructors who received a mini-grant this year come from a range of disciplines and proposed a diverse mix of open educational resources (OER), the freely licensed and customizable course materials supported by the grant program sponsored by the University Library, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and the provost's office.

Interested in OER?

Instructors who would like to incorporate open educational resources in a course should contact Abbey Elder at aelder@iastate.edu or 294-5753 for a consultation. For examples of how and why ISU colleagues have used OER, read about the university's OER trailblazers.

But there is a common thread among the approved projects, said Abbey Elder, open access and scholarly communication librarian. Each is ambitious and geared toward improving the quality of instruction by addressing specific learning needs.

"They are all student-centered in their approach," she said. "There's a lot of reflection coming through in how they're putting their projects together."

In some cases, that involves expanding on prior work. Four of the seven projects include a faculty member who previously used the mini-grant program to incorporate OER in a course. The scope of this year's work also is why there are seven projects, the fewest in the five years of the program, said Elder, who leads OER efforts at ISU and oversees the mini-grants. Most of the projects, which totaled about $33,000, were at or near the $5,000 per-grant cap on funding. 

"Basically, everyone wanted to build something big and exciting," she said.

The mini-grant program has been a catalyst for the growing use of OER, accounting for about one-third of the $1.4 million in student savings on course materials since 2017, Elder said. Those savings will accelerate in the coming years, as OER and immediate-access course materials received $300,000 in jump-start funding as part of the university's recently approved 2022-31 strategic plan.

Elder said planning is underway for how to use the jump-start funds. Being highlighted as a major initiative in the strategic plan has value, too. It may encourage more instructors to consider using open materials, she said.  

"It shows the support that we have," she said. "Instructors who are learning about OER for the first time can see this isn't just a one-off new thing that a few people are working on. It's something that's going to continue to be an institutional priority, and if they participate, their work will be acknowledged."

An expanding support system, including the ISU Digital Press, also helps sustain and grow OER usage, Elder said. "People know they're not doing this on their own," she said.

Here are the recipients of this year's mini-grants:

Janci Bronson, teaching professor of music

Courses: Music 228 and 415B

Building on her experience developing piano instruction videos, Bronson is creating a set of intermediate-level videos for two higher-level courses, Class Study in Piano IV and Literature and Pedagogy in Applied Music: Piano.

Jeanne Dyches, associate professor, School of Education

Course: Education 395

Dyches is developing a new open textbook with the students taking her course, Teaching Disciplinary Literacy. The students, who are earning secondary education credentials, will learn equity-oriented literacy strategies in their particular disciplines, hear from expert in-service teachers and develop original content to support future students in the course.

Rachel Eike, assistant professor of apparel, events and hospitality management (AEHM), and Ellen McKinney, associate professor of AEHM

Courses: Apparel Merchandising and Design 426, 495 and 496

Eike and McKinney are creating instructional text, designer resources and lesson plans to support client-based adaptive apparel design. The material will be used by students who focus on adaptive apparel in their capstone projects.

Thea Gessler, graduate assistant and doctoral student in genetics and genomics, and Tracy Heath, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology

Course: In development

Gessler and Heath are developing an experiential course to give first- and second-year undergraduate students experience and insight into conducting biodiversity research. Using open-access course materials will allow the course to be repurposed at other institutions.

Cassie Rutherford and Beena Ajmera, assistant professors of civil, construction and environmental engineering

Course: Civil Engineering 360

Rutherford and Ajmera are developing a new inquiry-based module with an augmented reality sandbox and 3D printing for this course, Geotechnical Engineering. They're also developing an open curriculum module, laboratory workbook and inquiry-based lesson plans for use within the engineering education community.

Walter Suza, adjunct associate professor of agronomy

Course: Agronomy 320

Building on his open textbook Genetics, Agriculture and Biotechnology for a course of the same name, Suza is adding content on chromosomal mutations, animal cloning, transgenic animals, statistical analysis and population genetics. Interactive opportunities such as exercises, case studies, scenarios and experiential activities will help students apply what they learn.

Shenglan Zhang, associate professor of world languages and cultures

Course: Chinese 101

Zhang is creating online modules with accompanying booklets for teaching Chinese characters. The modules are based on the latest research on how students learn Chinese characters and the most effective methods for teaching them.

Senators learn more about recommendations on student ratings of teachers

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) director Sara Marcketti outlined improvements that have been made as a result of the 2019 Joint Task Force on Teaching Assessment and Evaluation during the Faculty Senate's first meeting of the academic year on Sept. 13. She highlighted several university-level changes that have been implemented and the local-level decisions that still need to be made.

The task force, convened by the senate and the senior vice president and provost's office, identified three key themes about student ratings:

  • They are necessary and best used as formative tools considered over time in aggregate.
  • Education on their use and interpretation is necessary for students, faculty and department chairs.
  • Additional evaluation tools are needed.

At the university level, the word "ratings" has replaced "evaluations" in all communication and resources at CELT and the provost's office.

"It is a small but important shift because it says student feedback is important, but it is not determinative of teaching quality or effectiveness," Marcketti said. "Changing the terminology shifts the culture of ratings from definitive evaluations to student feedback that needs interpretation and contemplation."

Marcketti said seven survey questions have been standardized for use campuswide. Instructors may add additional questions.

The task force recommends instructors get frequent feedback from students, which leads to more productive ratings and an ability to act on it. Instructors can use in-class time to have students complete a survey and tell them the purpose of the ratings. CELT has developed several strategies to improve ratings and has an optional syllabus statement.

The task force also suggests the senate update the Faculty Handbook to require all departments to develop a rubric for evaluating various aspects of teaching.

Marcketti shared two recommendations that could be completed at the college level:

  • Adjust college governance documents to use the term "student ratings," as in the Faculty Handbook.
  • Encourage departmental retreats to develop and discuss teaching effectiveness outside of student ratings.

Marcketti said numerous changes can occur at the department level, including an exit survey to identify the top two to four courses in a major, or reminding faculty that ratings are just one method used to document teaching.

Corrective action

Senators will vote at the October meeting on a proposed policy revision in the Faculty Handbook for nondisciplinary corrective action related to faculty misconduct. A department chair and/or dean's actions are seen as coaching, not disciplining, in four steps:

  • Identify conduct concerns in writing.
  • Indicate how the faculty member should address concerns.
  • Provide appropriate resources.
  • Advise the faculty member of consequences if conduct is not corrected.

Corrective action should include a meeting between the chair and faculty member where concerns are discussed and documented in a memo for both parties. If issues persist, the chair would issue a letter of expectation that may require the faculty member to review policies, attend trainings, participate in formal coaching or other actions. Continued issues would lead to a written warning that failure to improve may result in a formal conduct complaint.

Corrective actions do not include sanctions or disciplinary action against a faculty member, but lower levels of the process can be skipped if the severity of the conduct warrants it.

Constitutional rights

A proposed change to the Faculty Handbook section on who may file appeals would remove "constitutional rights" from grounds for an appeal. The action would remove redundant language from the section. Those serving on investigative committees have been reluctant to deal with constitutional rights violations because it is a legal question outside the senate's scope.

Policy change

Senators unanimously approved a policy change that eliminates the deficiency, such as academic probation, for transfer students entering Iowa State with grade point averages below 2.0. Transferring students still must meet admission requirements, but the change gives them a fresh start at their new institution.

Emerging leaders class begins its work

The 31 members of this year's Emerging Leaders Academy (ELA), who began their studies earlier this month, are working with a different leadership team. Assistant provost for faculty development Tera Jordan joins Katharine Hensley, faculty success coordinator on the provost's staff, as program co-director. Jordan, associate professor of human development and family studies, succeeds professor of veterinary clinical sciences Rod Bagley. Hensley and Bagley had co-directed the program since fall 2017.

ELA, sponsored by the office of the senior vice president and provost since 2009, is aimed at developing leadership skills among faculty and professional and scientific staff who serve in leadership roles -- or aspire to serve. For one academic year, the ELA cohort participates in monthly leadership activities led by university senior leaders and content experts, and work on team capstone projects that expand their knowledge of campus activities, opportunities and challenges.

Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince said the competitive program receives many more nominations than it can accept and is carefully curated to ensure representation across the university's divisions and units.

After two years of online and hybrid meetings due to the pandemic, this year's cohort is returning to in-person sessions that better promote the networking and team-building that are a hallmark of the program.   

Class roster

The members of the 2022-23 ELA class are:

  • Pavan Aduri, computer science
  • Diane Al Shihabi, interior design
  • Hanna Bates, Nanovaccine Institute
  • Bryan Bellaire, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine
  • Rachel Boenigk, office of the vice president for student affairs
  • Petrutza Caragea, statistics
  • Wesley Gee, facilities planning and management
  • Meghan Gillette, human development and family studies
  • Molly Granseth, Ames National Laboratory
  • Natallia Gray, management and entrepreneurship
  • Rachael Gross, finance service delivery
  • Mark Hargrove, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Kyle Holtman, learning communities program
  • Hui Hu, aerospace engineering
  • Connor Kuehl, information technology services
  • Sarah Kyle, art and visual culture
  • Daniel Linhares, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine
  • Andrea Little, university human resources
  • Rano Marupova, university library
  • Missy Nowell, veterinary pathology
  • Ben Pullen, 4-H youth development
  • Natalie Robinson, Graduate College student services
  • Rebecca Runyon, LAS College Start Something
  • Kelsey Sampson, athletics
  • Chris Strawhacker, facilities planning and management
  • Nathaniel Wade, psychology
  • Patrick Wall, extension and outreach
  • Eric Weber, math
  • Johna Wolfe, LAS College student academic services
  • Arnold Woods, LAS College multicultural student success
  • Hongwei Zhang, electrical and computer engineering

More student service units move to Hixson-Lied

Effective Sept. 1, the Academic Success Center (ASC) acquired all services previously offered in the Writing and Media Center (WMC). ASC student services and resources will remain the same, adding consultations and support for oral, written and visual communication. The merged unit is in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, and an updated website is being developed to help students navigate the changes.

Over the summer, the ASC and WMC director roles became vacant, which allowed Dean of Students office leaders to complete strategic visioning for those units. Adriana Gonzalez-Elliott, formerly the director of Student Accessibility Services (SAS), was named director of the Academic Success Center. All staff were retained and will be part of continued strategic planning necessary to offer top-notch, innovative support services to students.

SAS also moved this summer, from the Student Services Building to the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center, on the same floor as the Exam Accommodations Center. This places all SAS services in the same location. Jamie Niman, assistant director of SAS, was named director.

"The Dean of Students office leadership is excited about the opportunities ahead that will advance student success through more comprehensive student support services," said Sharron Evans, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "This collaborative framework will increase and enhance learning spaces provided within the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center."

An artful start to date night

University Museums staff are hosting a series of free Date Night events this fall to introduce more people, outside of the work day, to three of its facilities: Christian Petersen Art Museum in Morrill Hall, Brunnier Art Museum in the Scheman Building and the Farm House Museum on central campus. Date nights will be held on Fridays (5-7 p.m.) Sept. 23, Oct. 21 and Nov. 11. Staff have designed them as fun, casual, come-and-go events.

With a significant other or even a small group of friends, participants enjoy refreshments and planned activities at their own pace, surrounded by the art pieces in the current exhibition. Registration is encouraged but not required.

At the first date night next week in the Christian Petersen museum, couples or groups can try activity stations where they draw each other, form figures out of craft wire and take photos together posing like works of art.