Summer enrollment holds steady

Two male chemistry students in white lab coats

Summer session students Alexander Schmidig (left) and William Bussey worked together in an organic chemistry lab in Hach Hall last week. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Following five summers of declining numbers, summer session enrollment is a strong 8,468 students this summer, up 65 from a year ago. According to data collected by the university registrar's office, it includes 5,718 undergraduates, 2,589 graduate students and the 161 members of the fourth-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine class in their 12-month finale.

Iowa State's summer enrollment peaked in 2017 at 12,060 students, two-thirds of whom studied on campus, and receded in subsequent summers as the university graduated record-setting numbers of students each spring and then transitioned to a largely online experience during and following the pandemic.

This summer's student body is earning credits in these learning environments:

  • 47%: Online only. Undergraduates make up nearly 90% of this group.
  • 13%: Face-to-face or hybrid (combination of face-to-face and online). Undergraduates make up nearly 70% of this group.
  • 40%: Arranged experiences -- popular summer options include internships, cooperatives, student teaching, independent study, research, study at affiliated universities and others. Graduate students make up nearly 60% of this group.

The distribution of students among online, arranged and in-person modes mirrors last summer's percentages.

Iowa State collects the student census on the 10th day (June 23) of the second summer session. The count reflects all registration through that day, so it includes classes that concluded prior to it as well as any that haven't begun yet.


Student enrollment: summer session 2023






Agriculture and Life Sciences




















Human Sciences





Liberal Arts and Sciences





Veterinary Medicine

















FY 2024 funding announced for strategic plan projects

Nineteen teams will share a $3.9 million investment this year in Iowa State's 2022-2031 strategic plan. Collectively, they will expand student academic services and internship opportunities, support for interdisciplinary research, testing capacity, student mental health support, assistance to Iowa communities, improvements to the university child care facilities, and more. The projects were submitted this spring in the inaugural call for proposals from faculty and staff to help the university achieve what it aspires "to be."

Teams that participated in the competitive process received notification last week about the funding decisions.

"We are very pleased with the quality and number of responses to the inaugural call for proposals," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "The 19 projects selected for investment strongly align with one or more of the strategic plan's five statements of aspiration. We look forward to seeing the impact of their work over the coming year to support our students, faculty, staff and stakeholders."

Wintersteen and her five-member senior leadership team reviewed the 70-plus project proposals and selected 19 for funding in fiscal year 2024, which began July 1 and runs through next June. Awards range from about $13,000 to $550,000. Total funding of $3,923,432 -- university funds set aside to support top priorities -- will be used over the next 12 months. Project leaders will provide regular updates on the progress of their projects and a final report detailing the impact of their work. Additional stories about the projects and their impact will be shared with the university community and its stakeholders throughout the year.

Senior advisor to the president Sophia Magill said proposals were received from units across all four university divisions. Ninety percent of the proposals aligned with two or more of the five aspirational goals that define what Iowa State aspires to become over the plan's duration, and more than 60% of the proposals included team members or partners from more than one department or unit, she said.

The nine-year strategic plan features an annual project proposal process to advance the plan's goals and assure flexibility to address evolving priorities. Magill said she anticipates the next call for proposals, for FY 2025 funds, to be issued in late fall.

Following is a summary of the 19 projects selected for funding this year:


Enhancing Student Academic Success in Gateway English Courses, $23,665
Project leader: Abram Anders, English

The English department will redesign two courses, ENGL 150 and ENGL 250, which together serve 5,200 students each year, to enhance students' communication skills and strengthen academic success and retention.


Expanding Online Learning Across Iowa State's 99-County Campus, $434,187
Project leader: Constance Beecher, ISU Extension and Outreach, Human Sciences

ISU Extension and Outreach's Lifelong Learning Online, in collaboration with Iowa State Online, will conduct research to better understand the virtual learning, technology and marketing preferences of Iowans seeking noncredit, non-formal educational programs.


Catalyzing Innovative Research Teams to Address Critical Opportunities, $300,000
Project leader: Peter Dorhout, Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR)

The VPR's office will support additional interdisciplinary research teams, including seed funding, to grow Iowa State's external funding portfolio.


Center for Student Educational Success, $253,088
Project leader: Sharron Evans, Dean of Students Office

This proposed center, led by the Dean of Students Office, will support students' academic and personal needs and enhance their educational success.


Enhancing Student Learning through Visual Literacy, $13,123
Project leader: Adrienne Gennett, University Museums

University Museums will partner with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching's faculty affiliate program to enhance critical thinking and communication skills by better integrating visual literacy into student learning.


Expanding Support for Individualized Student Success, $81,615
Project leader: Adriana Gonzalez-Elliott, Academic Success Center

This collaborative initiative will expand support for Iowa State's neurodivergent students -- those whose brains process information differently than others -- including one-on-one coaching and peer-led accountability groups.


Forging New Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence (AI), $78,476
Project leader: Volker Hegelheimer, English

Faculty across the humanities disciplines, including English, history, philosophy and religious studies, world languages and cultures, and music and theatre, will organize an effort on AI in the humanities to explore innovative directions in research and funding, and to offer students greater coursework and opportunities in the emerging discipline.


Student-focused Transformation of Testing Centers, $550,000
Project leader: Joel Hochstein, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

The testing centers conduct more than 100,000 computer-based exams each year. This initiative will transform the testing center in 0060 Carver to meet best practices for student academic success, and expand services for working professionals including entrance, professional, certification and licensure exams.


Maintaining High-quality Childcare Environments, $415,800
Project leader: Edward Holland, University Human Resources

This initiative will support maintenance projects in Iowa State's child care centers that enhance the physical environment for children of faculty, staff and students.


About the strategic plan

Iowa State University's 2022-31 Strategic Plan is the culmination of a collaborative development process that involved more than 500 faculty, staff, students, community members and stakeholders. The state Board of Regents approved the strategic plan in June 2022.

Supporting Student Internships at Reiman Gardens, $90,712
Project leader: Edward Lyon, Reiman Gardens

Funds will support student internships, an experience that will focus on student engagement and knowledge growth.


Launching the Next Generation of Manufacturing Research, $215,900
Project leader: Michael O'Donnell, Center for Industrial Research and Service

This collaboration will grow applied research in manufacturing by helping researchers manage their portfolios, linking faculty work to manufacturers' needs, and expanding the culture of industrial engagement.


Enabling Healthier Communities through Data-enriched Decision Making, $281,945
Project leader: Erin Olson Douglas, ISU Extension and Outreach, Community and Economic Development

This initiative will enhance rural vitality by helping communities better use data to address their most pressing and unique challenges.


Next-generation Battery Technology Research and Education, $400,000
Project leader: Cary Pint, Mechanical Engineering

In coordination with the VPR's office, this project will build on faculty expertise in engineering, chemistry and physics to advance battery fabrication and testing.


Project Management Support for Faculty Research, $155,750
Project leader: James Reecy, Office of the Vice President for Research

Funding will expand project management capabilities to serve faculty leading large research projects and develop best practices for all externally funded faculty.


Creating a Strategic Approach to Support Students' Mental Health, $47,418
Project leader: Melanie Reed, Student Wellness

This initiative will establish a strategic approach for mental health promotion and suicide prevention, including a partnership with a national nonprofit that assists colleges and universities.


Strengthening Agriculture's Role in Addressing Carbon Issues, $300,000
Project leader: Lisa Schulte Moore, Natural Resource Ecology and Management

In coordination with the VPR's office, the Carbon Value Initiative will enhance Iowa State's position as a leader in reducing greenhouse gases and increasing carbon dioxide removal through agricultural processes and products.


Delivering Individualized STEM Instruction at Scale, $80,291
Project leader: Ben Van Dusen, School of Education

This initiative builds on federally funded research to develop adaptive testing for introductory physics courses that provides real-time feedback on students' academic success, including students who could benefit from additional instruction.


Enhancing Infrastructure to Address Students' Basic Needs, $74,100
Project leader: Brian Vanderheyden, Student Wellness

Funds will help expand the 12-year-old SHOP food pantry, located in Beyer Hall, to address students' basic needs in a more continuous, coordinated and comprehensive way.


Supporting University Undergraduate Internships in the Ames National Laboratory, $127,362
Project leader: Theresa Windus, Chemistry

The ISU-AMES SCIENCES program will create student internships in both operations and research at Ames National Laboratory to expand the state and nation's critical energy sciences workforce and to recruit top students to Iowa State.


P&S, faculty salary increases shift to January, merit staff increases follow fiscal year

On July 1, faculty, P&S and contract staff and post-docs with satisfactory performance evaluations received a 1% salary increase -- one step in a transition year that will move performance-based salary increases to Jan. 1, beginning in 2024.

In September, parameters for additional salary increases will be announced, an additional step in the transition. Those increases will become effective Jan. 1, 2024, and each year after, performance-based salary increases for these employee groups will be implemented on Jan. 1.

The strategy, announced last November, provides some breathing room between the Legislature's state appropriation decisions, the regents' annual tuition-setting process and the subsequent task on campus of finalizing operating budgets, including employee salary increases.

Learn more

Q&A: Annual review, performance increase timeline shift for faculty, P&S, contract staff and post-docs

"Our new salary policy builds in the extra time needed to allow for more thoughtful, informed decisions, without feeling rushed," said Kristi Darr, vice president for university human resources.

At its June meeting, the state Board of Regents directed the universities to develop salary policies for faculty and staff and submit them to the board's executive director Mark Braun for approval. Iowa State’s process will follow the new timeline.

The shift also moves the window for performance evaluations to the fall. Most faculty evaluations will occur this fall and cover 18 months this one time.

The July 1 1% salary increase will be viewable in Workday on July 17.

Merit employee increases stick with fiscal calendar

The timing for merit employee and public safety merit employee salary increases will remain July 1, the start of the fiscal year as set by the collective bargaining agreement.

A new two-year contract (2023-25) between the state of Iowa and the union representing Iowa State's merit employees (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME) calls for across-the-board 3% increases for covered employees both years, on July 1 of 2023 and 2024. Eligible employees could earn an additional 1% increase for meritorious work on their review date in the coming year.

Employees of AFSCME's public safety bargaining unit, including ISU police officers, have their own contract with separately negotiated terms.

For Iowa State's merit employees, the new board-approved Regent Merit System Pay Plan on July 1 provides 3% adjustments to pay grade minimums and maximums. For public safety officers, the updated pay matrix features two expanded pay grades (formerly four) because there's now a single police officer classification.


Recent scam shows dangers that come with email phishing


Phishing email

The first email in this phishing scam claims your email account will be terminated if it's not verified. Screenshot provided by Rich Tener.


Dealing with phishing scams is an all-too-common part of the job for information technology services (ITS) staff, but a recent attack on faculty, staff and students was one of the most persistent and disruptive.

Chief information security officer Rich Tener said the multipronged attack occurred in June. Emails sent by scammers warned the recipient -- mostly students -- their email account would be deactivated if it was not verified. Once the scammers gained access to an email account, they used the address to send additional phishing emails. Finally, the scammers sent another email promising a job with the end goal of the recipient cashing a fake check and using their own money to purchase gift cards sent to the scammer. By the time the bank realizes the check is fake, the money is lost, Tener said.

Anatomy of a scam

Chief information security officer Rich Tener was among the Iowa State faculty, staff and students who received an email, part of a phishing scam during June. See some of the other pieces.

"This scam was a little more devious. They like to have a call to action that makes you feel uncomfortable," he said. "This one was that your account was going to be deleted if you didn't verify it."

From June 12 to 28, 99 ISU student accounts were compromised, but ITS staff was able to protect 50 accounts before they could be used to send additional phishing emails. During this attack, a compromised account sent out an average of 12,734 emails. Tener said ITS is alerted to about 400 potential scam emails a month.

The fake form recipients filled out not only asked for Iowa State email information, but also email information from accounts with different universities. Tener said numerous Des Moines Area Community College emails were likely impacted by the scam.

The scam

The phishing scam began with an email claiming to be from the "IT Helpdesk" asking the recipient to verify their ISU email account and accounts with other universities. It included a link to a web form hosted by a non-ISU website and the individual filled out name, email, password, email and password for other accounts, and phone number.

The scammers tested the password and texted each person directly asking them to verify the account by sending the next security code they received.

"The scammers are sitting at their computer, half logged-in to Okta with the email address, and have the person text them the security code to enter," said Tener, who advised never sending a code to anyone. "Then they are in."

The second half of the scam featured the fake job offer, in which the recipient would be emailed a check they could print off and cash.

"They send you a check for mobile deposit in your bank account and ask the person to screenshot a picture of the deposit," Tener said. "They then assign their first task: Buy gift cards, scratch off the number on the back and send them pictures of those numbers.

"The person thinks they just got paid so they should be able to do this, and the bank finally figures out the check isn't cashing and takes the money back. Anyone who fell for it is out all the cash they spent for the scammer."

Tener said the scammers mostly targeted new students because they tend to be less tech savvy and more willing to share their Net-ID. Job scams often seem too good to be true, and it's important never to forward them to others and compound the issue, he said.

Be skeptical

Tener said when someone receives an email they feel is phishing for information, users can highlight it in Outlook and click "Report Phishing" under the "Message" tab. Or, on a mobile device, select the message, tap the three dots at the top of the screen, choose "Report Junk" and select phishing to send it to ITS staff.

When ITS receives a phishing or job scam email, staff immediately scrambles the account password, revokes all active sessions logged into the account, deletes the email out of every ISU recipient's email account and contacts the individual on their mobile phone to explain what is happening and help restore access to the account.

"When it comes to your password, only ever enter it into and Eduroam for wireless internet access," Tener said. "No ISU employee will ever ask you for your password."

To combat the scammers and limit further issues, individuals from the identity services team, Solutions Center and IT security worked together and responded to suspicious emails.

Anatomy of an email phishing scam


Chief information security officer Rich Tener was one of numerous Iowa State faculty, staff and students who received an email as part of a phishing scam during the month of June. Shared on this page are four of the fake messages or websites used in the scam.


Phishing email

#1. The first phishing email claimed your email would be terminated if it's not verified.


Information site

#2. Scammers collected individuals' name, phone number, emails and passwords using a fake website.



#3. Scammers sent a text directly to people to get the Okta code and gain access to their email account.


Job scam

#4. A fake email offered a job to individuals who subsequently received a fake check and purchased gift cards they sent to the scammers.


Partnership powers domestic violence prevention program

ADMYRE relationship spectrum

A student places a character portrait along a relationship spectrum used by the ADMYRE program. After reading the stories, students consider the character's behaviors on a spectrum ranging from healthy to dangerous. Photos provided by Rhonda Evans.

"It's so important for students to feel like they can talk about domestic violence and to hear others talking about it," said Rhonda Evans, program specialist for the dating violence awareness program ADMYRE.

ADMYRE is an initiative of the College of Human Sciences' Child Welfare Research and Training Project, which has been funded by a grant from the state's Child Support office for more than three decades. Approximately 570 students have participated in the program since its launch in February 2022.


  • ADMYRE is an acronym for Advocating for My Relationships.
  • You can request an ADMYRE kit (includes instructions, story cards and debriefing materials) or the online version by selecting the In-Person Kit/Online Access button on the program's website. Both are free. Contact Rhonda Evans with questions.

Many age groups can benefit

An interactive simulation, ADMYRE uses stories based on real-life scenarios to illustrate the signs and impact of unhealthy relationships. Students experience the stories through the main character's point of view and see how different decisions influence the outcomes. At the end of the exercise, facilitators discuss healthy and dangerous behaviors in the stories and help students create a safety plan.

"Our goal is to hook them at the heart level," said Evans. "We want to share information that encourages them to make a change in their behaviors and thoughts about domestic violence."

ADMYRE is part of the Child Welfare Research and Training Project's Parenting: It's a Life program, a free curriculum exploring the financial realities of becoming a parent. Initially designed for middle and high schoolers, funding received by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services in 2020 expanded its outreach to the emerging adult population (ages 18-25).

When ADMYRE launched, staff partnered with faculty in Human Sciences to offer the program and other resources -- like a young parents resource guide created with help from a student employee who was also a parent -- that can be learning tools for students and instructors.

ADMYRE table discussion

ADMYRE facilitators and Iowa high school students discuss the stories and see how different decisions can impact the outcomes. The ADMYRE program is available by request for middle school, high school and college students.

"We've collaborated with faculty to present ADMYRE to their classes and developed a parenting simulation for college students," Evans said. "We also created an asynchronous online version of ADMYRE and a kit so instructors can present it on their own."

Evans said feedback, from instructors and students in the college and those in middle and high school, has been positive. ADMYRE participants overwhelmingly reported agreement or strong agreement that the program was useful to them, and many participants shared plans to apply what they learned in their own lives.

"Instructors have found it helpful to start discussions around this tough topic," she added. "The faculty in human development and family sciences are who we most often work with but we would be thrilled to connect with faculty anywhere on campus."

Collaborative creation

Staff created ADMYRE in collaboration with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a nonprofit that provides education and support to domestic violence service providers in the state.

While preparing stories for ADMYRE, ISU program staff reached out to the coalition's executive director Maria Corona, an ISU alum who, as a student, worked for the Child Welfare Research and Training Project. She connected them with the coalition's director of training, Kirsten Faisal, who provided detailed feedback on the stories and comes yearly to do professional development with facilitators.

"The coalition has provided great consultation and promotes ADMYRE among their advocates, who also attend in-person ADMYRE presentations," Evans said. "We're really trying to build the partnership with the coalition because we have the same goal."

A sweet opportunity for hands-on experience

Female student prepares ice cream cone

ISU Creamery employee Emily Tapken scoops an ice cream cone at the retail store in the Food Sciences Building. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

Donning hair nets, lab coats and other personal protective equipment, a half dozen student employees and their supervisor enter the brightly lit pilot production plant inside the Food Sciences Building.

The crew clusters around the soft serve ice cream machine, filling small paper cups and passing around spoons, unfazed by campus visitors peering through the windows. This isn't a snack break. Each bite is contemplative as they check the flavor, texture and color. On this particular day, it's a faint shade of purple.

"We're making Lunar Lavender, which is one of our eggless ice creams," said Jennessa Sharratt, a recent graduate in dietetics and a summer employee at the Creamery.

Earlier in the week, she explains, they mixed and pasteurized 400 pounds of whole milk, cream, sugar, whey protein, nonfat dried milk and a natural binding agent. After adding lavender extract, they "aged" their mixture for 24 hours in a freezer.

"The packing, which we're about to do, is my favorite part of the process," Sharratt said with a smile.

The students toss their empty paper cups, sanitize their gloves and form an assembly line to layer soft serve ice cream and honey into 8 oz. containers. Once a cart is full, the production supervisor, Danielle Christofferson, pushes it into the blast freezer. Here, the soft serve will transform into hard pack ice cream over the next 24 hours before it's sold to customers across campus and online.

A mission that's student-focused

Student employees hand-pack ice cream

ISU Creamery student employees (l-r) Daniel Brumm, Drew Taylor and Jennessa Sharratt pack a new batch of Lunar Lavender ice cream in the Food Sciences Building.

Business administrator Sarah Canova said the Creamery annually produces around 5,000 gallons of ice cream, along with 600 pounds of cheddar cheese and cheese curds. Most of it is sold in the Creamery's retail store in the Food Sciences Building. But customers also can buy 8 oz. cups in SPARKS cafe in the Student Innovation Center and Gentle Doctor Cafe in Veterinary Medicine. The Creamery also launched an online store in May to provide direct-door service.

"Only around 20 universities in the U.S., the majority of which are land-grant universities, have an on-campus creamery," Canova said. "We sell our products to gain back some money from the supplies and to pay the students, but the mission of the Creamery, first and foremost, is to educate students and give them hands-on experience."

Since the micro-creamery opened in August 2020, 49 undergraduates have worked in the pilot production plant, retail store or both. 

"A lot of the students come from food science, animal science and dietetics. They learn about pasteurization, the freezing process and cheesemaking in their classes, but when they're able to do that here at the Creamery, it really cements in. They also can learn how to manage finances, social media and inventory, and some students develop new products," she added.

Hannah Even, a junior majoring in culinary food science, said a love of baking and science early in life led her to Iowa State.

"I've always wanted to be a product developer chef, and thought I wanted to do that in the baking industry. But after learning more about dairy science through my classes and getting to work here, that shifted. My dream job is to work with ice cream and make new flavors for Wells Enterprises," Even said.

Experimenting with flavors

Learn more

Enjoy this 90-second video about student roles at the ISU Creamery.


Working in the Creamery over the last year has been "a good peek in the window," she explains. Along with gaining hands-on experience in food safety and pasteurization, Even is developing several new seasonal ice creams. They include a s'more flavor with fudge and graham cracker. She said the process is more complicated than adding toppings to a sundae.

"For example, we aren't using crushed up graham cracker, which could get soggy in the ice cream. We use a variegate, which is almost like a syrup that's premade for ice cream," Even explained.

Even and Canova say the s'more flavor is on track to be ready for the public by late summer. Like all of the Creamery's 20-plus ice creams, custards and frozen desserts, it will be named to celebrate a person or place at Iowa State.

Even also is developing the Creamery's first waffle cone. Since May, she has tested recipes for taste, crispness and shelf life while working to find the ideal size. Canova, who's enjoyed being part of the quality control team, expects the waffle cone will be available to customers in the Creamery's retail store this fall.

Not all students who work in the Creamery's pilot plant or retail stores envision careers related to ice cream, said Canova. Some are simply interested in learning more about where their food comes from and how it's made. But they're all tapping into a long tradition at Iowa State, starting with the first dairy lab on campus in 1880 and several iterations of a creamery. The latest version, reestablished by Canova and Stephanie Clark, a renowned dairy expert, professor and director of the Creamery, came after a 51-year hiatus.

"This unique opportunity that we're able to offer our students again is part of what makes ISU an excellent agricultural institution and hub of innovation," Canova said.

Airport naming honors aviator and former Iowa State student


James H Banning head shot


The city of Ames renamed its municipal airport last month for former resident and Iowa State student James Herman ("Herman") Banning, half of the first African American duo to fly cross-country.

"He has been called a trailblazer because of the challenges he faced on his journey to become a pilot," said mayor John Haila. "He persevered and paved the way for other Black aviators."

According to the city's records, the Oklahoma native moved to Ames in 1919 to attend Iowa State College. University records show he studied electrical engineering during the 1920-21 academic year but did not complete a degree. He also owned and operated an auto repair shop during his Ames years (1922-28).

Banning took flying lessons in Des Moines with World War I veteran Lt. Raymond Fisher, who agreed to train him after several flight schools rejected his application. Banning was the first African American to receive his pilot's license from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Learn more

James Herman Banning has a page in the University Library's Tracing Race at ISU Project.

Banning and Iowa State veterinary student Frederick Douglass Patterson lived at the same Ames boarding house for a time. Banning was the first Black aviator Patterson knew -- and part of the inspiration behind Patterson establishing a commercial aviation program at Tuskegee Institute (now University) when he served as president. This program produced the famed "Tuskegee Airmen" of World War II.

Banning left Ames for Los Angeles in 1929 when he was recruited to be the chief instructor for the Bessie Coleman Aero Club. Over three weeks in the fall of 1932, Banning and mechanic Thomas Cox Allen became the first African Americans to complete a transcontinental flight, Los Angeles to New York. They raised funds for the feat as they went.

Banning died in February 1933 in San Diego, the passenger in an air show plane that crashed. Because of his race, he wasn't allowed to pilot it. He was just 33 years old.


Wendy Wintersteen visits with Banning relative and two actors

President Wendy Wintersteen visits with Herman Banning's great nephew, Christopher Hart (right), following the airport dedication ceremony June 17. The two actors pictured presented a play about Banning as part of the dedication. Submitted photo.

Man removes cover from airport building sign

Special guest Christopher Hart removes the tarp from new building signage that names the Ames municipal airport for his great uncle, James Herman Banning. Submitted photo.