Tastiest classroom on campus


Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Students (l-r) Hannah Thomas, Savanna Dixon and Jennifer Getowicz work together to make garlic bread from scratch in the teaching kitchen of the the Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom in MacKay Hall Tuesday morning. The students were part of a class preparing the tearoom's weekly lunch special of spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad, garlic bread and chocolate mousse.

Lunch at the tearoom, which features a weekly special, is served Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The cost is $8, and students in Hospitality Management 380L, Food Production and Management Experience, are the tearoom "staff." Those dining in are asked to make a reservation using the tearoom's online reservation system

To-go orders are available from the back of the tearoom (16 MacKay, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or until food is out). To-go meals can be preordered by emailing tearoom@iastate.edu by 9 a.m. that day. 

Next week's menu features chicken crepes, broccoli, coconut twists and a brownie with German chocolate frosting.

Historic club honors milestone anniversaries

The 25 Year Club celebrated 124 employees with milestone anniversaries at the annual banquet on Feb. 27, with new members joining approximately 3,500 faculty and staff in the historic club.

This year's honorees, a group representing 3,675 combined years of service, include 71 employees who reached 25 years, 49 with 35 years, three with 45 years and one with 50 years -- Richard Dorsch, a research scientist with the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology.

A list of this year's honorees can be found on the 25 Year Club website, along with member lists and milestones and memories from previous years.

An important tradition

Eligible members of the 25 Year Club must complete at least 25 years of consecutive service by Dec. 31 of the given year to qualify, meaning that those honored in 2023 achieved the milestone in 2022.

Tin-Shi Tam, professor of music and current president of the 25 Year Club, says her favorite parts of the annual banquet are sharing memories, meeting colleagues from around campus and hearing President Wendy Wintersteen's remarks on events at the university decades ago.

Informally founded in 1915, the 25 Year Club was formally recognized in 1934 under the direction of Harold Pride, former secretary of the Iowa State College Alumni Association.

"Staff members who have served the college as long as you have, come to personify the college to her alumni," Pride said to the charter members. "Buildings and land do not make a college, it is the men and women of the staff who make any college."

Tam echoed Pride's sentiment. "It is important to recognize and honor faculty and staff with continuous, dedicated service to the university -- a tradition we carry on and celebrate."

Five questions with an actor turned director

Cason Murphy

Music and theatre assistant professor Cason Murphy uses his experience as an actor to find innovative ways to help his students. Photo by Chris Gannon.

Cason Murphy wants to provide new opportunities for students in the music and theatre department. The assistant professor draws from his own experiences as an actor to use innovative ways to challenge and engage students. He was awarded the Prize for Innovative Teaching at the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The award recognizes faculty who "demonstrate innovation in regard to student success in the area of theatre arts." 

Name: Cason Murphy

Position: Music and theatre assistant professor

Education: Bachelor's degree in theater arts from the University of California, Los Angeles; master of fine arts from Baylor University

Years at ISU: 5

Inside caught up with Murphy for five questions about his theater experiences and how he innovates to help students.

What was your experience as an actor?

I worked in Los Angeles and went to New York for a couple of months with two original musicals to perform in the New York International Fringe Festival and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Then I had a reckoning and had to ask myself if I liked this level of rejection. When I got the opportunity to produce a cabaret event, I just liked being on that side of the table a little more. I got my master's in theater directing and spent two years teaching at Southern Arkansas University before coming to Iowa State.

What was your favorite role to play?

I originated a character from a then-new musical called "A Brain From Planet X." I was a tap-dancing alien that helped a gigantic brain in its quest to take over the world. It was very wild, but I got to play against some incredible performers, including Barry Pearl, who was Doody in the original "Grease" movie.

It was one of the reasons for the new musical we did last spring, "Baba." We had our students work with the writer and composer to develop it. [Originating a character] was so impactful in my career that I wanted to share it with our students. The writers gave me an eight-page outline with two songs, and our students turned it into a two-act musical featuring 24 songs with their fingerprints all over the show.

How do your experiences help you as an instructor?

It allows me to speak honestly and truthfully with my students. I rely on my network of people who still are performing and bring them into the classroom to talk to the students. Students want experiences, and there are ways we can deliver pedagogy through those experiences. For one of my classes, I had students pretend to visit a set to do background work on a television show. In another, I am talking with dancers in the kinesiology department about doing an experiential dance day, or having musicians come over and create some acapella songs. I want to take ideas and put them into action. Give students spaces where they can maybe succeed, maybe fail, but learn.

How was the theatre department impacted during the pandemic?

Theater has traditionally been an in-person art form and that was one of the big challenges during the pandemic, but it was exciting to see students engage with the technology for classroom purposes. We did a lot with Zoom and social media. I am interested in theater makers who moved into video gaming and tried to make theater happen in those spaces. One theater maker would go into online lobbies in the game "Grand Theft Auto" and recite Shakespearean poetry while trying not to get taken out by other players. Students were very curious about that and responsive in the moment because it was using technology in an interesting way. But at its core it felt very much like the theater I know.

How do you see artificial intelligence impacting theater?

Even as AI is rolling in, you think that it can't replace an actor in front of people. There is something interesting with the idea of content being created with AI as playwrights. I know there are theater makers collaborating with AI to write scripts for play festivals and there is interest in creating robotic performers. I feel theater is insulated from some of that, but there are so many ways it can change things around us that theater will have to respond. I think it will lead to more content but highlight the humanity at the center of theater.

Iowa State among top producers of Fulbright Scholars

Iowa State is a Top-Producing Institution in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for 2022-23, as announced Feb. 10 by the U.S. Department of State. The university's seven scholars placed it among the top 13 among doctoral institutions, tying for the eighth spot with four other universities. The list also appears annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As shared last summer, Iowa State's seven Fulbright Scholars this year are:

Are you interested?

- Virtual campus visitRegister
- Wednesday, March 8 (noon-1 p.m., via Zoom)
- Fulbright U.S. Scholar program staff member Jaclyn Assarian will discuss award opportunities and the application and selection processes, and answer questions.

  • Dean Adams, Distinguished Professor in ecology, evolution and organismal biology, to collaborate with researchers at the Institute of Biological Evolution, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain, January-April 2023
  • Tunde Adeleke, University Professor of history and director of the African and African American Studies program, as the Fulbright Laszlo Orszagh Distinguished Professor in American Studies, in the North American studies department at the University of Hungary, Debrecen.
  • Rodney Fox, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in chemical and biological engineering and Hershel B. Whitney Professor, Global Initiatives, as the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair, at Centrale Supélec, an engineering graduate school in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, fall semester
  • Joey George, Distinguished Professor in the information systems and business analytics department and John D. DeVries Endowed Chair in Business, to collaborate on research projects with faculty and doctoral students at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, September-November 2022
  • Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, associate professor of community and regional planning, to conduct research at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, Oslo, Norway, fall semester
  • Shaun Jamieson, international risk manager in the office of risk management, to meet with other American and German higher ed administrators for cross-cultural exchange and to promote innovation in both systems. He was hosted by the German-American Fulbright Commission, Berlin, and the Leibniz University, Hannover, October 2022
  • Shenglan Zhang, associate professor of Chinese studies, world languages and cultures, to conduct research at National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei

Iowa State also had two Fulbright specialists this year; David Acker, associate dean for global engagement in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and associate professor of marketing Samantha Cross. Specialists are highly qualified academics and professionals who visit host institutions abroad to share their expertise to build capacity at that school, strengthen institutional linkages, hone their skills and gain international experience. This program does not impact the 'top producer' rankings.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has been the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. It's funded through an annual federal appropriation to the state department, whose Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs directs the program.

Ten projects receive Miller teaching grants for 2023-24

During the 2023-24 academic year, 10 faculty teams will use Miller Faculty Fellowship grants for teaching-based research projects. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching administers the grant program. The members of its advisory board reviewed proposals in January and made funding recommendations to senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, who gave final approval to the grants.

The 10 projects will share a total of $186,824, with the intent to advance student-centric instruction at the university. Since 1996, and including 2023-24, there have been 232 Miller fellowship projects, totaling $4.2 million in grants to ISU faculty.

Projects for 2023-24 are to be completed by June 30, 2024. The 10 projects are: 


Pedagogy of Belonging for Inclusive Excellence: Interdisciplinary STEAM Challenges

Lead faculty: E.J. Bahng, School of Education; Simon Cordery, history; Erin Bergquist, food science and human nutrition

Collaborating faculty: J. Arbuckle, sociology; Mark Bryden, mechanical engineering and Ames Laboratory; Christina Campbell, food science and human nutrition; Rameshwar Kanwar and Kurt Rosentrater, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Frank Montabon, supply chain management; Kristin-Yvonne Rozier, aerospace engineering; Jonathan Sturm, music and theatre; Andrea Wheeler, architecture

Grant: $25,000

An interdisciplinary STEM and the Arts (STEAM) faculty team of 12, representing all six undergraduate colleges, developed a one-credit Honors seminar course, "The Art and Science of Peace," and have co-taught it annually since 2019. They will re-envision the course structure as a two-credit course using an inclusion lens to apply essential interdisciplinary practices and develop a pedagogy of belonging that can be a process model in classes across many disciplines.


Improving Undergraduate Student Engagement, Achievement and Motivation through Game Design-Based Learning

Lead faculty: Beena Ajmera and Cassandra Rutherford, civil, construction and environmental engineering; Alenka Poplin, community and regional planning; Alyssa Emery, School of Education

Grant: $24,998

This research addresses the need for new methods to engage students while enhancing their knowledge of technical concepts in engineering, professional skills (leadership, teamwork and communication) and attitudes toward learning. Students will create their own games based on technical concepts learned in the classroom. The research will evaluate three components of game development-based learning as an innovative pedagogy in engineering:

  • Impact on student learning outcomes and fundamental engineering knowledge
  • Increases in professional skills
  • Increases in student motivation, class participation and enjoyment of the learning process


Instructing Veterinary Students in the Acquisition of Diagnostic Radiographs Expected Day-One of Large Animal Veterinary Practice Using a Portable X-Ray System

Lead faculty: Jarrod Troy, veterinary clinical sciences

Collaborating faculty: Kevin Kersh, Joan Howard, Beatrice Sponseller, Christine Lopp-Schurter, Marc Kinsley, Jared Janke and Melissa Esser, veterinary clinical sciences; Vengai Mavangira, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine

Grant: $15,000

Diagnostic radiograph acquisition is an expected “Day One” skill for large animal veterinarians. Training veterinary students requires portable digital radiograph (DR) equipment on live animals or animal models, but these opportunities can be limited due to the availability of DR equipment. This grant will purchase portable DR equipment primarily designated for teaching veterinary students, providing learning opportunities in the veterinary clinical sciences/veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine curriculum that focus on small group learning with individualized student feedback. Students will be assessed pre-and post-course to demonstrate instruction efficacy and skill proficiency. They’ll also be given pre-and post-questionnaires regarding their confidence and ability in radiograph acquisition for large animal species.


Streamlining the Curriculum Mapping Process through Artificial Intelligence

Lead faculty: Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu, veterinary pathology

Collaborating faculty: Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen, English; Jared Danielson, College of Veterinary Medicine dean’s office and veterinary pathology

Grant: $24,955

Curriculum mapping is an analytical tool for organizing, managing and evaluating curricula, and a common approach to addressing accreditation requirements. The manual process is laborious, time consuming and resource-intensive, and not easily accessible to beneficiaries. This project will use artificial intelligence approaches, including machine learning and text mining, and real classroom data to develop a curriculum mapping tool that streamlines the mapping process. The expected outcome is a prototype that brings a four-year veterinary medicine curriculum to the fingertips of faculty members and students. The team will assess the usability and utility of the tool in identifying curricular gaps and overlaps to enhance the quality of instruction.


Visual Thinking Strategy to Help Engineering Students Acquire and Apply New Knowledge

Lead faculty: Monica Lamm, chemical and biological engineering

Collaborating faculty: Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness, industrial design; Ann Gansemer-Topf, School of Education

Grant: $22,097

Engineering students are exposed to diagrams in textbooks, lectures and lab manuals, and use them to communicate and make meaning of technical content. However, they don't receive instruction on how to construct such visualizations. In a chemical engineering course, the faculty team will instruct students on sketchnoting, a pedagogical method for visual thinking and notetaking, to increase students' ability to communicate complex processes via visuals. The faculty team will use the outcomes to generalize the approach to other engineering disciplines.


Gaseous Contaminant Measurement and Analysis: Carbon Dioxide as a Model

Lead faculty: Joe Charbonnet, civil, construction and environmental engineering

Grant: $5,000

This project will expand the curriculum by introducing gas-phase contaminants to a required sophomore environmental engineering laboratory class, providing practical training for professions that require measuring and modeling gases. Specifically, 25 carbon dioxide meters will be purchased to provide unique opportunities for students to act as citizen scientists by conducting inquiry-based research in their own homes. Carbon dioxide readily moves in and out of students' homes via engineered and natural processes and influences both macroscale and microscale processes, so its measurement will connect students with abstract topics. This curriculum will validate the interests of sophomore students, for whom this is an identity-forming course, and affirm that this program can prepare them to develop technologies to address greenhouse gas emissions.


Promoting Inclusive Teamwork Skills in First-Year Engineering Learning Community

Lead faculty: Kaoru Ikuma, civil, construction and environmental engineering; E.J. Bahng, School of Education

Collaborating faculty: Lauren Schwab, civil, construction and environmental engineering

Grant: $23,013

Students' ability to fully take advantage of the diversity on a project team is critical to achieving high-functioning teams throughout their careers. This project will enhance student learning and training in inclusive teamwork skills targeting first-year learning community courses. Through progressively difficult team activities and associated class discussions and reflections, first-year and transfer students will learn the principles of team science, the importance of diversity and inclusion in teamwork, and effective ways to be an inclusive team member. The module will be implemented in two learning communities during the 2023-24 academic year. Results are expected to highlight the need for more emphasis in inclusive teamwork throughout curricula in engineering and beyond.


Enhance Learning and Skill-Building by Using "The Systems' Hidden Half" Plug-Into-Lecture Lab

Lead faculty: Elnaz Ebrahimi, agronomy

Collaborating faculty: Robert Horton, Marshall McDaniel, Mary Wiedenhoeft and Thomas Kaspar, agronomy

Grant: $16,511

This project addresses the lack of immersive, hands-on, research-based, educational experiences in crop and soil science programs. "The Systems' Hidden Half," an innovative plug-into-lecture laboratory, will be established in Rhizoboxes to help participants learn about plant-soil interactions. The research-based experience can be plugged into any crop and soil course to improve teaching and learning outcomes. Rhizoboxes will help students observe whole-crop growth in response to chemical and biological agricultural products and practice the skills required for developing on-farm research or to refine their own farming practices to be more efficient and profitable.


Clinical Perspectives on Human Nutrition: An Interactive Pre‐Health Professional Seminar Course

Lead faculty: Wendy White, food science and human nutrition

Collaborator: Tracy Kangas, ophthalmologist, McFarland Eye Clinic

Grant: $5,250

The U.S. faces epidemics of diet‐related disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. This seminar course will educate future health care providers from various disciplines on the role of evidence‐based nutrition interventions in preventing, managing and treating disease. The course will feature interactive case scenarios presented by guest physicians and other health care providers via the videoconferencing technology in the Student Innovation Center. Students will learn from clinicians across the country with authoritative knowledge of the role of nutrition in their specialization.


Evaluation of Utilizing Personal Development Tools in Collegiate Science Curriculum to Enhance Soft Skill Development

Lead faculty: Laura Greiner, animal science

Collaborating faculty: Jodi Sterle, Jennifer Bundy, Cheryl Morris and Stephanie Hansen, animal science; graduate student Caitlyn Wileman, animal science

Grant: $25,000

Post-secondary education in animal science has focused primarily on technical knowledge in scientific disciplines such as genetics, nutrition, physiology and behavior. However, employers are demanding more "soft skills" such as communication and teamwork from recent graduates, skills students might pick up in their extracurricular or high-impact experiences. This team will strategically implement personal development skills throughout the department curriculum and evaluate the progression of soft skills development in animal science undergraduate students to meet the university's new strategic plan.