Shining up the stadium

suspended worker cleans press box windows in stadium

A lone window washer cleaned the glass exterior of the press tower at Jack Trice Stadium earlier this week. Saturday marks the season opener for both the Cyclone football team and Cyclone Marching Band. More information about prepping for game dayPhoto by Christopher Gannon.


Initial vote supports Catt's name on building

In its initial vote, a review committee has voted to keep the name of Carrie Chapman Catt on central campus' Catt Hall.

At the committee's Aug. 25 meeting, nine members voted to keep the name and six members voted to remove the name. As outlined in the university policy, two-thirds of the committee must agree to recommend a name removal.

The initial vote is not the end of the review process. The review committee will take a second and final vote following a public comment period.

Public comment welcome

That 60-day public comment period begins today, Aug. 31. The campus community and the public are invited to read the committee's draft report and submit comments on the public comment submission website. The draft report with its initial recommendation is available to download as a PDF document.

The public comment period ends Sunday, Oct. 29. The committee will then reconvene to review public input and take its final vote. Following the vote, the committee will finalize its report and present it to President Wendy Wintersteen.

The work to date

The review committee has met 27 times since it was named in 2021. The committee reviewed nearly 250 historical documents, compiled by an historical research firm from libraries, archives and databases around the country. It interviewed 12 persons with knowledge and expertise on Catt and events surrounding both the building's naming and the aftermath.

In her foreword to the draft report, committee chair Carol Faber, associate professor of graphic design, thanked the committee. "The work of the committee has been thorough and comprehensive," reviewing volumes of historical material to gain a better understanding of complex issues. Faber wrote that the committee "engaged in an earnest, well-informed discussion. It is serious business to develop a recommendation to keep or remove a name on university property, and the committee has given the task thoughtful consideration and careful analysis."

The committee's draft report examines the history of Carrie Chapman Catt, the building that was named in her honor in 1990 and the subsequent controversy centered on accusations that Catt used racist language and tactics in the push to ratify the 19th Amendment.

The draft addresses each of the principles outlined in the university policy on considering renaming requests, including evaluating legacy, weighing factual evidence and assessing potential impact on the university.

ISU's policy on considering removing names on university property was developed in 2020. Following its adoption, students, staff and alumni submitted 21 requests about Catt Hall.

Who was Catt?

Catt graduated from Iowa State in 1880 with a degree in general science. Soon after, she joined state and national efforts to advocate for woman suffrage and eventually succeeded Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In her second stint as president of the association, she led the effort that culminated in 1920 with ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving American women the right to vote.

Spalding appointed to lead economic development unit

President Wendy Wintersteen has permanently appointed David Spalding to vice president for economic development and industry relations (EDIR), effective Sept. 1 and pending approval by the state Board of Regents.

David Spalding head shot

David Spalding

Spalding, who recently was reappointed to a new five-year term as Raisbeck Endowed Dean of the Ivy College of Business, has held the interim VP role since May 2018. EDIR serves as a single point of contact to streamline connections between industry and Iowa State's economic development units: America's Small Business Development Centers Iowa (SBDC), Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), Office of Innovation Commercialization, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the ISU Research Park.

"David has done an extraordinary job helping position Iowa State University as the top source for talent, research and services that create value for Iowa businesses and strengthen the state's economy," Wintersteen said. "He's been integral in advancing my vision to make Iowa State a national and global leader in entrepreneurship and innovation."

Wintersteen noted Spalding's outstanding leadership and the exceptional efforts of the EDIR team have contributed to numerous awards and accomplishments for Iowa State University. A selected list includes the following:

  • Winning first place and the title of 2023 Entrepreneurial University of the Year for the Americas by the Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities.
  • Improving Iowa State's national ranking from #26 to #11 and maintaining it for three years in the Princeton Review's annual survey of undergraduate entrepreneurship programs.
  • Earning four Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Innovation & Economic Prosperity Awards.
  • Receiving the 2022 Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the highest honor from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.
  • Being named the 2021 Model Program from the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the organization's highest entrepreneurship education award.
  • Consistently ranking in the top 100 universities worldwide for number of U.S. patents.
  • Expanding the ISU Research Park to more than 550 acres, 130 tenant companies and more than 2,300 employees.
  • Growing CIRAS's five-year statewide impact to more than 4,400 clients served, more than $3 billion in increased sales, cost-savings and new investments; and nearly 36,000 jobs created or retained.
  • Increasing SBDC's statewide impact to support the creation of four new businesses every week, 164 new jobs per month, and more than $3 million in increased sales every week.

"I would like to thank everyone who works hard every day in EDIR," Spalding said. "Our team is committed to enhancing the economy in all 99 counties in the state of Iowa and supporting the mission of Iowa State University."

Spalding has been with Iowa State University since 2013.

A reminder: Guidelines for faculty and staff on political activity

Iowa has a unique role in our nation's presidential election process through the Iowa Caucuses. However, state Board of Regents and Iowa Code require Iowa State University to not participate in any activity that could be construed as favoring any party or candidate. Federal law requires that all candidates have equal and fair access to the university. Inviting a candidate or advocate to a class for example, requires that opposing candidates and speakers receive the same opportunities.

As a state institution, the university is politically neutral and is prohibited from endorsing any candidate for political office and using state property to campaign for candidates or ballot initiatives. Advocacy on behalf of the institution must be approved through the regents.

Free speech training is an annual requirement

All faculty, staff and students are required by Iowa law to annually complete free speech training. The 20-minute training provides an understanding of protected speech and how to exercise your First Amendment rights on campus without violating university policies.

  • Faculty and staff should complete the training in Workday Learning.
  • Students should complete the training in Canvas.

More information about university policies related to free speech is on the university's free speech website. 

Additionally, the university cannot host campaign events on university property except through existing options -- such as rented facilities, student organization functions or the university lectures campaign series -- that are available equally to all members of the campus community. Federal law also prohibits campaign fundraising on university grounds.

Guidance for faculty and staff

As noted on the president's website and provost's website, Iowa State faculty and staff may participate fully in political activities if they are acting on their own behalf and using their own personal time and personal resources. This includes not using university resources for political activities -- including your computer or Iowa State email account -- and making it clear that you are only speaking for yourself, and your opinions do not represent those of the university.

Political activities that use public resources are generally prohibited. These include:

  • Engaging in political activity during work time.
  • Sending out a campaign mailing using Iowa State stationery or postage purchased by the university.
  • Using a university provided telephone, computer, email account, or social media account to support of oppose a candidate or ballot initiative.
  • Using an official university email list or listserv to send political material.
  • Using university equipment to print or copy political material.
  • Holding a campaign or political fundraising event in a university office space or other facility.
  • Placing campaign signs on property owned by the university, including on or within university buildings.

Employees who speak on political issues should take care to note they are speaking as individual citizens, and their views are not the views of the university. This includes letters to the editor and opinion articles written by faculty and staff.

An additional area of concern is the use of classroom time for political discussions or activity. Faculty and instructors should take care to ensure political discussions are germane and appropriate to the curriculum of a course and avoid activities that may be perceived as partisan in nature without providing similar opportunities for members of the campus community with other viewpoints.

Faculty and staff with questions about legislative or matters may contact Iowa State's federal and state relations team. Questions regarding employee political activity may be directed to the office of university counsel.

Meet Patrick Wall, P&S Council president

Patrick Wall

Patrick Wall, P&S Council president and beef field specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The Professional and Scientific (P&S) Council is elected by and represents P&S employees in the four university divisions -- Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Operations and Finance and the President's. The council has seven executive officers and around 40+ members -- one representative is elected per 75 P&S employees -- and it serves as a resource and advocate for P&S employees. 

This is P&S Council president Patrick Wall's fifth year on council, an experience he said opened his eyes to the scope of the university.

"I've worked with people on council I never would've met otherwise and it's given me the opportunity to understand what they do for the university and share with them what I do," Wall said. "It's important to step out of our silos and meet people who see the same mission from a different perspective."

Position: Beef Field Specialist, ISU Extension & Outreach

Years at ISU: 10


Learn more about the council on the P&S Council website.

At the Aug. 3 council meeting, you shared the council's goals for the next year, which included maximizing the student experience. What inspired this goal?

Senior leaders were surprised and encouraged to see this goal because it's something the P&S Council has never had before. I work in Extension, which isn't student-facing, and I still felt this goal was important. P&S Council is sometimes labeled as a group that's only supposed to advocate and support other P&S employees -- and that is our main goal -- but we still need to consider the underlying goal of the university. There are things we can do to advocate for each other and for the students. We can be part of that.

What are the challenges and opportunities for council this year?

The overarching challenge is always the budget and where we fit. Salary and benefits are always the focus. We want to get as much out of our jobs and benefits at the university as we can while still advocating for P&S employees to be compensated fairly for their work.

As for opportunities, the university does a really good job of creating resources but it can be confusing to know how to use them and where to find them. In many cases, there's already a resource available for the questions we get -- employees just don't know how to find it. We want P&S Council to be able to demonstrate how we use the resources and serve as an additional resource for getting the word out about the resources available to P&S employees.

You start each council meeting with a quote. Why?

One of the things I want to accomplish as president is to lighten up the meetings so people don't feel intimidated to participate. Since I start the executive committee reports during the meetings, I try to engage people and make them laugh so we don't get bogged down. The communication on the council improves when you create an environment that's a little lighter.

What do you want P&S employees to understand about council?

We will advocate as much as we can, but we have limitations and the processes are sometimes slower than I would like. I've had to learn patience during my time on council. But on the flip side, I want employees to understand how easy it is to reach out to a council member to get something started. Other employees may be experiencing what you're experiencing so telling a council member and getting something on our agenda can make a big impact even if the issue isn't solved in one meeting.

How can P&S employees get involved with the council?

Reach out to someone who has been on the council or is a current member. The elections are within your division -- you're voted in among your peers. In my case, I connected with people in Extension who were on council years ago and even emailed John Lawrence, the former VP for Extension, to encourage people to participate in the elections so Extension wouldn't be underrepresented. You don’t have to run an extensive campaign in order to get elected --let people in your division know you are running and reach out to others for support.

Search commences for equal opportunity director

A national search for Iowa State's next director of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator is underway. President Wendy Wintersteen has appointed Heather Smith, associate general counsel in the office of general counsel, to chair a campus committee that will support the recruitment and selection process. The group convened this week. Serving with Smith are:

  • Shamaree Brown, student services, athletics department
  • Carrie Jacobs, police department
  • Tera Jordan, faculty success, office of the senior vice president and provost
  • Sara Kellogg, student conduct, dean of students office
  • Andrea Little, employee and labor relations, university human resources
  • Melanie Rogotzke, office of general counsel (administrative support for the committee)

The executive search firm Spelman Johnson will lead the search and help the committee develop a qualified and diverse pool of candidates.

Carl Wells, who served as Iowa State's director of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator for 15 months, left the university Aug. 1 to begin a new position as associate dean for campus life at Newberry College in South Carolina. Mary Howell Sirna, administrative advisor and attorney on staff for ISU police, is serving as interim director of the office.

The Office of Equal Opportunity oversees compliance across the university for equal opportunity, civil rights, Title IX and affirmative action laws, regulations and policies. The staff is charged with safeguarding a fair and respectful learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff. Because of its compliance function, this position vacancy is not subject to the yearlong hiring freeze for diversity, equity and inclusion positions at the three regent universities directed by the Iowa Legislature as part of the FY 2024 higher education appropriation.


Second command center adds to campus safety


Department of public safety emergency management director Nick Swanson inside the new command room inside the Communications Building. The room has an array of projectors, monitors, whiteboards and more. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Whether it's a major weather event -- like a derecho -- or a football Saturday, Iowa State is better equipped to handle emergencies and large events with the addition this summer of a secondary emergency operations center (EOC).

The primary EOC is in the Environmental Health and Services Building and run by its emergency management team, but the recently completed EOC in the Communications Building will serve as a second option and be the primary post for a couple of football games this fall. 

"I wanted to have a command post in case there is a major event on campus, and we were able to turn this space into that through a collaboration with information technology services (ITS) and the Iowa State Police Department," associate vice president and chief of police Michael Newton said. "During the derecho, the Communications Building was one of a handful of buildings on campus that still had power."

Newton said the university's ability to respond during major events has improved by adding a second EOC. It is the same reasoning behind having a significant ISU police presence at the football stadium during games in addition to the primary EOC and a mobile unit -- redundancies are an important part of safety.

Nick Swanson, department of public safety emergency management director, began planning to convert the conference room into a second EOC at the end of April. It got its training wheels removed when RAGBRAI came through campus at the end of July, and is ready when the football team kicks off its season at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 2.

Executing a plan

Swanson began examining the infrastructure of the conference room to ensure emergency power was available and it was capable of transmitting data.

"[Facilities planning and management] did a feasibility and electrical study and a business cost analysis," he said.

Color-coded outlets with dedicated circuits are available throughout the room. Orange provides data/phone access, green outlets allow ISU dispatch to direct units from inside the room and blue outlets connect to the technology hub. The hub controls what information is shared on screens and monitors in the room and facilitates communication with others outside of the EOC.

"We can do all of our police dispatch functions from this room without having to radio to another building," Swanson said.

Because it is a shared space, ITS has access to the room when the police department is not using it.

"We only need the room once in a great while -- hopefully we never need it -- so the space is not wasted when we are not using it," Newton said. 

The doors leading to the EOC have a lockdown function that requires a card to enter. Two other rooms adjacent to the EOC also are available.

"The other rooms are breakout spaces that have monitors, whiteboards and tables and you can push information on any of the screens into one of those rooms," Swanson said. "If you have a group, like a senior leadership group that wants to be a little more private, it allows for that."


All technology in the hub was built by ITS except for the computer, which was constructed by the department of public safety system analyst Josh Hale. The room features a camera, two laser projectors, four large monitors that can display different content simultaneously, glass magnetic whiteboards and numerous wheeled tables and chairs. Each table includes its own power outlet.

The closet holds numerous phones, data lines, a hygiene and office supply box, maps, a folder of federal forms required during emergencies and extra laptops.

"You can have the news on one monitor, the camera feed on another and incident status on another," Newton said. "We did a video call with the city's command center during RAGBRAI so we could see each other and talk."

Audiovisual experience team offers award-winning services

Creating a positive user experience across campus is the goal of IT Services' audiovisual experience team (AVXT), which recently was recognized as the 2023 Higher Ed AV Team of the Year. The first-ever winner of this new industry award, the AVXT is responsible for upgrading and maintaining more than 200 general university classrooms and offers fee-for-service support and consultation.

Team manager Mike Pedersen said receiving the award was a great honor for the team, which spent its summer updating 21 of the 209 general university classrooms.

Honoring AV superstars

The Higher Ed AV Awards are awarded by Higher Ed AV Media and the Higher Education Technology Managers Alliance, a nonprofit organization advocating for the needs of higher education in the professional audiovisual marketplace.

Here to help

When the semester starts, the team is on call to help faculty and staff troubleshoot and solve common AV issues.

"Our goal is to be in the classroom within 10 minutes of the IT Solution Center paging us," Pedersen said. "We want to go in person because we know the instructor might already be flustered, and it helps to get there and reassure them that we're there to help."

The AVXT resolved 949 support tickets in fiscal year 2023, a number that doesn't include issues identified by proactive classroom checks or automated alerts. In fiscal year 2022, it closed nearly 1,080 tickets. Pedersen said the decrease is a positive sign that the AV systems are becoming more reliable and easier to use.

Pedersen said faculty are encouraged to get into classrooms ahead of time if possible to test the technology and let the AVXT know about problems before classes begin. But even after a class or event starts, Pedersen said call the Solution Center immediately if there's an issue.

"The sooner you contact the Solution Center, the sooner our team can be there," Pedersen added. "It's not uncommon for us to arrive and the instructor has already figured it out, but that doesn't bother us at all. We'd rather be there than have someone wait too long to ask for help and try to troubleshoot it themselves."

Services and standards

The AVXT also upgrades technology and installs new equipment on a fee-for-service basis, providing needs analyses and estimates for hardware and installation.

"Almost half of what we do is fee-for-service work. We strive to serve as an AV integrator and contractor internally to help departments update conference rooms and learning spaces beyond general university classrooms," Pedersen said.

The AVXT also can provide support for live and virtual events. For live events -- like the College of Veterinary Medicine commencement the AVXT assisted with this spring -- the team has portable rigs for cameras and recording gear, and they ensure high-profile virtual meetings and events run smoothly.

Pedersen said the team also provides AV consulting and standards for the university community. The AVXT instituted new standards last year that help maintain consistency for the use and installation of AV systems in learning, work and public spaces on campus.

Contact the AV Experience team

All about AV

The AVXT is one of the Information Technology Services teams. Request an AV update or project and find tips for using AV equipment in classrooms and conference rooms in the ISU Service Portal.

Additional antennas improve cell service at stadium

Information Technology Services (ITS) worked with a cellular service integrator to improve cellphone service at Jack Trice Stadium before the 2023 football season kicks off Saturday. Additional antennas should lead to significant improvements for Verizon customers and others.

"They put up antennas and then brought in the internet service providers -- Verizon, US Cellular and T-Mobile -- and they get on to those antennas," said T.J. Wertz, ITS enterprise infrastructure senior manager. "The antennas integrate the newer technology, and it allows us to give more frequency to each of the carriers."

Wertz said crews installed more than 150 antennas, creating more frequency which allows more cellphone users to be on each antenna. Inside the stadium, a distributed antenna system gives cellphone customers more possibilities for a sight line to an antenna, leading to less fading and better speeds in their cellphone service. The newly installed antennas are designed to provide 5G cellular network capacity.

The RV lot east of the stadium now has three antennas providing cellular coverage. More are planned. 

"It can be hard to quantify how improved service will be," Wertz said. "For Verizon users, because many struggled to get any reception, it should be a lot better because it is going to work. Service should be noticeably better for everyone outside the stadium."

An ITS team ran 18 strands of fiber per antenna to IT rooms at Veterinary Medicine and Black Engineering as part of the project.

Jack Trice Stadium seats more than 60,000 fans, but game day includes thousands more tailgaters also using their cellphones. This is the latest project to improve cell service at the stadium, which included a US Cellular project last summer.

Travel safe, stay cool

The upgraded service will get its first test Saturday, when the Cyclones host Northern Iowa at 1 p.m. It will be a warm day, with temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s.

Road construction will impact fans' travel to the game. South 16th Street from Duff Avenue heading west toward Jack Trice Stadium will have one lane of traffic in each direction. Fans are encouraged to avoid this route from U.S. Highway 30. Alternate routes may include taking Interstate 35 or Dayton Avenue to 13th Street, or South Dakota Avenue from Highway 30 to Mortensen Road. Other potentially impactful construction projects are a closed Oakwood Road west of University Boulevard, and lane closures on Grand Avenue several blocks north of Lincoln Way.

By the Iowa game (Sept. 9), all four lanes of South 16th Street will be open, said Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer for the city of Ames.

All tailgating parking lots open six hours before kickoff and fans are asked to arrive no more than 30 minutes prior to opening. The C4-5 and D3-5 parking lots, impacted as part of the CYTown project, have been completed. Free parking also is available on campus.

To beat the heat, fans may bring one 20-ounce unopened or empty bottle of water into the stadium. There are several bottle filling stations located on the concourses, and the ground floor of the Jacobson Building is air conditioned and open to the public.

Two large cooling fans also will be available on the general concourse. The nine-foot fans circulate cooling mist that can lower the ambient air temperature 10-15 degrees, said director of emergency management in the department of public safety Nick Swanson. The fans are mounted on lawn mower trailers, hold 65 gallons of tap water and can run continuously for five to six hours.

New this year, stadium vendors will accept only cards and mobile payments at their concession and merchandise stands. More information is available online.

The ISU athletics department contributed to this article.

Conversations create community in English practice program

English Together, a conversational English practice program, brings together students, scholars and community members for informal chats on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons led by volunteer conversation leaders. Jenna Haffner, international student engagement coordinator for the international students and scholars office (ISSO), said the program strives to help participants feel more confident in their communication skills and forge connections with peers.

"Practicing conversational English is important because communication is one of the first steps to building community," said Haffner. "ISSO wants to make sure students, scholars, dependents and community members feel welcome in the U.S. and at Iowa State."

English Together

Volunteers needed

English Together sessions will begin in mid-September, and ISSO is looking for conversation leaders to host weekly drop-in sessions. Though many of the conversation leaders are students, Haffner said faculty and staff can be leaders as well. Experience working with students is not required.

"Interested conversation leaders participate in a training session before English Together sessions start so they can familiarize themselves with the program and receive guidance from ISSO," Haffner said. "Conversation leaders also can pair up and work together."

From talking about classes to answering questions about common English phrases -- think "break a leg" or "kill two birds with one stone" --  and playing games designed to help improve English vocabulary and comprehension, conversation leaders can be creative with their groups. Haffner said the leaders enjoy working with participants and learning about different cultures.

"One of our students said English Together is a good place to meet new people, interact and share," she said. "My favorite part of the program is seeing how leaders work with the groups. It's different every week so a participant can learn something new each time."

Learn more

The first meeting for employees interested in being conversation leaders is Thursday, Sept. 7 (4-5 p.m., 034 Parks Library). For those who can't volunteer to be a conversation leader, Haffner said promoting the program -- both to potential leaders as well as participants -- makes a difference.

"Sometimes students or community members think they need to register or sign up, but English Together is meant to be a drop-in time for anyone available," Haffner said. "We would love it if employees could share our program with anyone who might be interested."