Iowa State is home to 30,177 students this fall

Students fill a campus sidewalk on the first day of fall semeste

Students filled a campus sidewalk between classes in this image captured on the first day of the fall semester. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Sam McDaniel-Rold grew up just miles from Iowa State and fell in love with the campus during fall runs with her high school cross country team. The beautiful campus combined with encouragement from mom and dad -- both alums -- contributed to her decision to attend Iowa State, but neither was the deciding factor.

Similarly, Sean Pry was impressed by the beauty when he came for a campus visit as well as the recreation and undergraduate research opportunities Iowa State offers. His parents -- also both alums -- were influential in his decision, but like McDaniel-Rold it was a new major that sealed the deal.

"What really cemented it this spring was when Iowa State added the biomedical engineering program," said Pry, a first-year student from Cascade. "At first, I wasn't sure because it was only a minor. Once the major was offered that made the decision this is where I want to go for the next four years."

Fall enrollment

Pry and McDaniel-Rold join a class of 5,859 first-year students and an overall student body of 30,177. McDaniel-Rold said this is where she's meant to be.

"I wanted to go to Iowa State because of the amazing engineering program and when they added the biomedical engineering major I thought it was a sign that this was where I was supposed to be," said the first-year student from Ames. "Iowa State just felt like home."

The biomedical engineering major -- added this fall to meet the high-demand for employees in key STEM fields -- more than doubled its first-year enrollment projection with 53 students. The university also saw strong enrollment in food science, healthcare management, computer science and artificial intelligence -- all recognized strengths of Iowa State.

"This growth is a direct result of Iowa State University's commitment to provide innovative programs that meet student interest and workforce needs," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "Through our Degrees of the Future initiative, we are continuing to develop new programs and majors that will prepare students for high-demand careers and help Iowa businesses and industry thrive." 

Growth in first-year students

Iowa State's total fall enrollment of 30,177, up 208 from the previous year, includes 25,332 undergraduate, 4,210 graduate and 635 veterinary medicine students, and students from all 99 Iowa counties, all 50 states and 117 countries. In addition to an increase in overall enrollment, first-year students increased 2.3% over last year, and 8.8% over two years.

Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management, said 84% of first-year students for fall 2023 chose to participate in on-campus orientation during the summer.

"Our new students are excited to be Cyclones and to experience everything that Iowa State has to offer," Doering said. "Their engagement in on-campus orientation, learning communities, study abroad and other programs will help them succeed as they earn their degree."

Both Pry and McDaniel-Rold are involved with the biomedical engineering learning community -- one of the more than 85 learning communities Iowa State offers to help first-year students with the transition to college -- and are excited to be part of a new degree program.

"I've always been interested in science and math and knew I wanted to do something in engineering," Pry said. "With a biomedical engineering degree I can do work that directly helps other people and improves their quality of life."

McDaniel-Rold shares that motivation and hopes to one day use her degree to improve prosthetics.

"I want to use science, math and technology to help people," McDaniel-Rold said. "I want to help make their life easier."


Fall 2023 enrollment


All students

Agriculture and Life Sciences








Human Sciences


Liberal Arts and Science


Veterinary Medicine*


Interdepartmental units and graduate undeclared




*Professional and graduate students



Meet Sarah Bennett-George, Faculty Senate president

Sarah Bennett-George

Sarah Bennett-George, Faculty Senate president and apparel, events and hospitality management teaching professor. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

The Faculty Senate participates in shared governance of the university with the administration. It is made up of 82 representatives and divided into caucuses for each of the seven colleges.

Faculty Senate president Sarah Bennett-George is just the second term faculty member elected to the position. Teaching professor emeritus Denise Vrchota, psychology (1998-99), was the first. 

Position: Apparel, events and hospitality management teaching professor

Years at ISU: 12

What are the priorities for your presidency?

I want to have a productive year where we pass a good amount of legislation to positively impact the Iowa State community. We started a lot of great conversations over the last year, and I’m hoping we can take those conversations to action. As a teaching professor, I personally have my eyes on some proposals related to academic issues, including the reinstatement policy, the process for faculty representation in student academic appeals and consultation with academic advisors in potential catalog changes. 

Why did you choose to lead during this time?

Shared governance is an important part of faculty life at Iowa State, and it’s a strong tool to build and maintain connections between faculty and administration. I'm honored to represent the voice of the faculty in those relationships as we navigate the constantly changing landscape of higher education. We used to think about things getting "back to normal," but I think the past few years have shown us that adaptation is the new normal. Things change fast, and there’s no waiting for the perfect time to do anything.

What are the major challenges and issues for the senate this year?

I think there's a lot of concern about how the national political climate is going to impact our work here. It is our mission as a land-grant university to serve all people of the state of Iowa through teaching, research and extension. Faculty want to know they will be able to continue the good work they're doing toward that mission, and I hope the senate can play a positive role in communicating their value to the state and furthering their ability to do that work.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from serving on the senate?

The university is a gigantic enterprise. It's easy to lose sight of how big of a system Iowa State really is -- or the larger municipal, state and national systems we exist within -- when working day to day in a department. The senate has really helped me see that many things happening on campus are more nuanced and complex than I realized. 

What is your favorite spot on campus to relax or take in the view?

It's not a single, specific spot, but I love walking from building to building and enjoying the incredible landscaping on our campus. I can walk by the same place at different times throughout the year and it will offer new surprises. I love noticing new plants or flowers and using the plant identification tool on my phone to learn about them. I'm a beginning gardener at home and the campus offers so much inspiration.

McFarland Clinic will anchor CYTown development

Architect sketch of proposed buildings in CYTown

In an early CYTown rendering shared last fall by the athletics department, the first site (#1) north of the stadium is proposed as a medical clinic. Jack Trice Way is in the foreground.

McFarland Clinic, Iowa's largest physician-owned, multi-specialty clinic, has agreed to become the first tenant in CYTown, the university's multi-use district currently under construction between Jack Trice Stadium and the Iowa State Center.

"We are grateful to the leadership of the McFarland Clinic Board of Directors and Andrew Perry, CEO, for coming alongside Iowa State University to partner on this transformative project for Central Iowa," said director of athletics Jamie Pollard. "McFarland made history as one of Iowa's first multi-specialty clinics when it first opened its doors some 80 years ago, and we believe its support of CYTown will be equally impactful for the campus community, Ames and Central Iowa for future generations."

McFarland Clinic is expected to break ground on an anticipated 60,000-square foot, multi-level medical facility adjacent to the north entrance of Jack Trice Stadium in the summer of 2024. It will be the first building developed as part of the university's new 40-acre multi-use district, which was publicly announced in September 2022 and saw construction start in March 2023.

"This partnership is a win-win-win for ISU, McFarland and the communities we serve. This is a convenient location within the city of Ames and helps us fulfill several strategic priorities by improving access to care and opening up additional space for recruitment of new Story County physicians," Perry said. "We are proud to support CYTown, the university and the economic impact it will have with retail and entertainment offerings."

McFarland Clinic's plans

McFarland Clinic at CYTown will offer primary and specialty care as well as urgent care. CYTown is conveniently located on campus for ISU faculty, staff and students and accessible by major thoroughfares for patients in and outside of Ames.

When finalized, formal agreements between McFarland Clinic and Iowa State University are subject to approval from the state Board of Regents. 

"The clinic will provide our student-athletes convenient access to orthopedic services including imaging equipment not currently available on campus," Pollard added. "It will also complement our health center by providing after-hours and weekend services. We are thrilled to welcome McFarland Clinic to CYTown."

President Wendy Wintersteen added, "We are pleased to partner with McFarland Clinic as the first tenant in CYTown. The new medical facility will be a shining example of the innovative approach Iowa State University is taking to enhance our athletics, arts and conference complex."

Pollard said McFarland Clinic's outstanding reputation and the number of individuals receiving care and services in this area will help attract additional businesses to CYTown. It also helps jump-start ISU's plans to reimagine the Iowa State Center.

"Similar to Dr. (James H.) Hilton's vision for the Iowa State Center that has impacted the Iowa State and Ames communities for more than 50 years, we believe CYTown will have a similar impact for future generations," Pollard said.

Support for center facilities

The university plans to use the revenues generated from CYTown to fund long-needed refurbishments to C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, Fisher Theater, Scheman Building, James H. Hilton Coliseum and the surrounding parking lots. The university also anticipates adding a convention center and hotel accessible for use by the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau to attract additional conventions and trade shows that provide year-round benefits to local hotels, restaurants and the city of Ames.

"McFarland has a great history of leadership and selecting locations that play a pivotal role in our community" said Rick Sanders, president of the ISU Research Park. "Their physician owners invested in our research park at a crucial time in our development and likewise are taking a leadership position in CYTown. We look forward to working with them on integrating the McFarland experience into our Iowa State ecosystem."

Businesses that want more information about opportunities to secure space in CYTown may contact Christopher Stafford at Cushman & Wakefield, 515-309-4002.

Cybersecurity 101: Hacks against hackers

"The message we want to keep sharing with students and employees is that we will never ask for your password and we will never call or text you asking for your security code," said Rich Tener, director of information security for Information Technology Services (ITS). 

Like the email phishing attack this summer or job scams offering students $500 per week to be a personal assistant, hackers are constantly coming up with new schemes to steal personal information. Regularly updating your device's software, having a strong password and being skeptical when a message or call seems a little off can help keep your information safe on the web.

Prioritize protection

That software update your computer won't stop notifying you about? Turns out, it's pretty important for the security of your device.

"There are vulnerabilities in every piece of software. When the vendor fixes a problem or a security issue and an update becomes available, you should install it as soon as you can," Tener said. "It's a constant cycle of vulnerabilities being found and the vendor fixing them and providing updates for users to install."

Hackers sometimes find the vulnerability first and exploit it for financial gain. Tener said some groups will use ransomware to deny people access to their own data unless they pay for it.

"It's like someone comes into your house with a safe, puts your important stuff in it, locks it and leaves. They basically want you to pay for the code to the safe to get your data back, but also pay them not to leak it," Tener said. "We can't trust hackers, so in this situation, we would consider the data lost and notify affected individuals that they were part of a data breach."

Keeping your data safe starts with a password that's strong and not used for multiple sites. Tener said reusing passwords is a common practice because it's difficult to remember more than a few passwords, especially if the passwords are complex. He recommended using a password manager -- a highly encrypted online password storage tool -- to keep track. If you're not comfortable using an online password manager, writing them down can be just as effective -- just make sure not to lose your list or leave it out for the world to see.


  • Report email scams - Quick tips from ITS on how to report a suspicious email
  • Secure your devices - An ISU Service Portal guide to securing your devices
  • Wellmark IDX - ISU employees with Wellmark health insurance have access to IDX, Wellmark's identity protection services. Members need their Wellmark ID and enrollment code 4170999624 to sign up.
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - ISU's EAP includes identity theft resolution services where employees can receive assistance from a certified fraud resolution specialist or licensed attorney.

Passwords matter

Creating a strong password requires complexity and length, though you can trade one for the other -- a longer password may not need to be as complex and a complex password can be shorter. It all comes down to making your password hard to guess, Tener said.

"You're going to need to remember at least one password -- for instance, the password to your password manager or your primary email address. So what I would do is come up with something memorable like a phrase," he said. "Choose something from a poem or TV show you like and maybe even change some of the vowels to numbers to keep things interesting."

For those whose creative juices don't flow quite as freely, there's Diceware -- a password creation method based on using dice as a random number generator. Diceware tools can generate random words to create passwords and ensure that the words are unrelated and unlikely to be guessed in conjunction with each other.

"There have been statistical analyses done to make sure the words aren't related," Tener said. "I often use a Diceware tool to generate answers to security questions or create long phrases for passwords." 

Tener said the password associated with your Net-ID is primarily entered in two places -- the Sign On Dashboard and eduroam, the wireless network on campus. If you get an email with a link to a website asking for your password and it's not, don't put it in. If you enter your password and then realize the site or form might not be legitimate, don't respond to calls or texts asking for your security code.

In the age of major data breaches and routinely lost devices, phishing attacks like this might not seem like emergencies. But Tener said the same techniques could be used by hackers committing cyberattacks on behalf of a foreign government to target faculty and researchers in an attempt to steal intellectual property.

"If you receive a text asking for your security code, chances are they already have your password. You should contact the ITS security team to let us know and get assistance changing your password,” Tener said. "People are getting more savvy to scams and if at least one person reports it, we can let affected departments or students know it was fake."

Consider confidentiality 

A healthy dose of skepticism also is important in using chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT. Tener recommended looking closely at the privacy policy and terms of services of AI chatbots to see how they will be using your data.

"Whatever you put into an AI chatbot isn't really yours anymore. You're sharing it with the site and the company can use the information for whatever they want," he said.

Tener also cautioned employees from downloading confidential university information -- like student or employee data -- on their personal devices. ITS has no control over personal laptops or phones, and that means they can't protect them.

"It's OK to answer work emails on your personal device, but don't download a whole Excel file with student IDs, names, grades or information like that," he said. "We don't want a data breach because someone didn't update their software or secure their device." 

For assistance

If you received an email that looks phishy, click the Report Phishing button in Outlook. Tener said there's a misconception that the report button in Outlook only sends reports to Microsoft, but he confirmed that the ITS security team also receives the report.

For any other cybersecurity concerns or questions, send an email. Tener said this is the most direct line to the team, though reaching out to the IT Solution Center is another option.

OER mini-grants enhance access to education

Now in its sixth year, the Miller Open Education Mini-Grant program is energizing the creation of open educational resources (OER) for use at the university and beyond.

Access is a notable theme among this year's recipients, said Abbey Elder, open access and scholarly communication librarian.

"Many instructors are developing materials that aren't just for them," said Elder, who also serves as the statewide open education coordinator for Iowa OER. "The OER created here at Iowa State can have an external impact and I think that really embodies our land grant mission. It’s all about expanding access to education and helping people learn from our expertise."

Sponsored by the university library, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and office of the senior vice president and provost, the Miller Open Education Mini-Grant program provides funding and support for instructors developing free customizable and openly licensed course materials such as textbooks, lab manuals, guides and more. Elder said the use and development of OER at the university has grown significantly in recent years.

More on Open Education

"The minigrant program is another tool to help faculty overcome the hurdles of creating and adapting OER," she said. "When I came to Iowa State, we had a few faculty using open textbooks that were more plug-and-play. We now offer more programming and workshops and have additional support in place to help faculty engage with OER more intentionally." 

Elder said it's important that faculty know this program isn't like some grant programs where the money is awarded but direction and assistance can be sparse -- there's a robust support system in place that includes the ISU Digital Press, formatting guidance and a peer review process. The big takeaway, Elder emphasized, is that you don't have to figure it all out on your own.

"I offer consultations and we have a strong partnership with CELT so faculty have assistance figuring out what's available and how to use it," she said.

Eight grant recipients will share nearly $31,000 in awards, each receiving between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the scope of their project. The 2023 minigrant recipients include:

Amber Anderson, assistant teaching professor, agronomy

Course: Agronomy 182

Anderson is developing an open textbook for the Introduction to Soil Science course that will be accessible to students in upper-level agronomy courses and shared with community college soils instructors to strengthen their connections to Iowa State.


Doreen Chung, associate professor, apparel, events and hospitality management

Course: Apparel, merchandising and design 467

After adapting an existing open textbook on consumer relations with supplemental content for students in the Consumer Studies in Apparel and Fashion Products course, Chung will share the OER with educators nationwide through an academic association in apparel and fashion.


Sarah Dees, assistant professor, philosophy and religious studies

Course: Religion 361X

Dees is integrating an open pedagogy approach to the new Religion, Health and Medicine course that will support the Integrated Health Sciences program currently under development.


Karri Haen Whitmer, teaching professor, genetics, development and cell biology

Courses: Biology 257X and 499

Whitmer will create an OER targeted at supporting student success in a new Bionics course. The OER will introduce bionics projects teaching human anatomy and physiology concepts alongside basic manufacturing techniques critical for simple bionics prototype development.


Sarah Huffman, assistant director, Graduate College Center for Communication Excellence 

Course: Graduate studies 536

Huffman received a Miller mini-grant in 2021 to create an open textbook for graduate students in the Preparing Publishable Thesis Chapters course and will use this year's mini-grant to update the textbook with interactive features, enhance its design and accessibility, and add information about the publication submission process.


Carly Manz, associate teaching professor, genetics, development and cell biology

Course: Biology 255L 

Manz is compiling an open lab manual for the Fundamentals of Human Anatomy lab with materials adapted from existing OER, additional activities and updated content.


Erin Todey, peer review groups coordinator and English writing consultant, Center for Communication Excellence in the Graduate College

Courses: University studies 302, 401 and 402

Todey will create an evidence-based guide for the McNair Program Introduction to Research and Senior Seminar courses to help students develop their Statements of Purpose (SoPs) for graduate school applications. The guide will explore the expectations and writing process for SoPs and provide SoP samples from students accepted into graduate programs.


Zoe Zawadzki, graduate student, applied linguistics and technology; Agata Guskaroska, graduate student, applied linguistics and technology; Kate Challis, graduate student, applied linguistics and technology; John Levis, professor, English 

Course: English 525

The team will collect and organize accessible and easy-to-use English pronunciation teaching materials for the Research and Teaching of Second Language Pronunciation course, providing support for English as a second language (ESL) students at Iowa State and ESL teacher training around the world.

Faculty input drives Test Center updates

Iowa State's Test Center staff is hard at work improving student and faculty user experiences since its move earlier this year under the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) umbrella.

Efforts at the center, which administers medium- to high-stakes course exams to students at four sites across campus, include:

  • New website and exam administration system.
  • Faculty committee and subsequent launch of an advisory board.
  • $550,000 grant for upgrades.

Test Center supervisor Joel Hochstein credits the new structure within CELT.

"It definitely has been a collaborative venture between CELT leadership, the provost's office and the president's office," Hochstein said, "all to benefit the experience of our constituents, students and faculty."

Exam administration made easier

The introduction of RegisterBlast for streamlined exam scheduling and management aims to ease the administrative burden on students and faculty.

Test Center locations


  • 0060 Carver
  • 2552 Gilman

Opening Sept. 11

  • 0250 Carver
  • 0139 Durham Center

Professors access RegisterBlast through a professor portal in Canvas and can submit exam requests, see schedules, view who has registered for or taken an exam, and more. The new program also is more accurate at projecting numbers of students set to use the center at a given time.

The addition of RegisterBlast, which replaced a dashboard accessed from the Test Center website, came in response to input from a faculty committee convened to review the center's operations. CELT staff created a recommendation report based on that feedback, catalyzing this and other changes.

Ready to schedule an exam? Faculty should first visit the Test Center for Instructors page on the updated Test Center website. Click "Register Your Exam" to view an instructor guide to RegisterBlast. Instructors also should review the Instructor Use Policies link prior to using the Test Center.

New board will advise Test Center

The faculty committee's success sparked CELT's creation of the Test Center Advisory Board, which begins work this fall. Comprised of instructors from across campus, representatives from Information Technology Services and Student Accessibility Services, and a student, the board will review Test Center policies and proposed changes.

The advisory board still needs representatives from the colleges of Business, Design and Human Sciences. If you are interested in joining, contact Hochstein at

Grant covers student-centered upgrades

Physical transformations are coming as well, thanks to the $550,000 Student-focused Transformation of Testing Centers grant, one of 19 projects funded this year as part of ISU's 2022-31 strategic plan.

The test center in 0060 Carver will be renovated to provide a more student-centered, lower-distraction environment for testing and to meet criteria for third-party certifications and credentials for students and alumni. The test center at 139 Durham Center will move to the Hixon-Lied Student Success Center on the east side of campus.

The grant also provides technology upgrades including a pilot to offer written exams on tablets and laptop purchases for a mobile test center that allows faculty to proctor exams for smaller courses.

Looking to the future

The Test Center administers nearly 100,000 exams each year, reaching nearly a third of the student body. More than 60,500 exams are projected to take place this semester in the Test Center.

Looking ahead, the Test Center team sees ways to broaden its impact on preadmissions and alumni by offering placement testing and certifications.

"Not only are we focused on serving our current constituents, we're committed to serving the community as well," Hochstein said.

Iowa State named a Best Place for Working Parents

Iowa State was named a 2023 Best Place for Working Parents by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, a recognition of the university's support for its employees with family-friendly policies and practices.

"It's a testament to ISU's commitment to the personal and professional well-being and success of its parenting employees," said Cris Broshar, child care and family services coordinator.

System of care

Child care and family services, a unit of university human resources, provides assistance for working parents and parenting students as they navigate supporting their families and succeeding at ISU. Broshar recommended the resource library on the child care and family services website, which provides links to parenting resources, lactation support, adult and elder care, community assistance programs -- which will be updated this fall -- and more.

Learn more

Connect with child care and family services via email or find additional information on the website.

Broshar said employees enrolled in Adventure2 have access to the Parenting Success Solution, which features an extensive library of on-demand parenting videos, monthly parenting discussion groups and access to a one-on-one teleconsultation with board-certified behavior analysts. For employees looking for space to work with their children on campus, Broshar suggested the family-friendly room at the Parks Library -- it can be reserved for four hours at a time and has child-sized furniture, toys and computers with educational software.

Broshar said ISU Extension and Outreach also is a great resource for parents and families.

"ISU Extension and Outreach offer a variety of workshops, online and in-person, on topics across the lifespan, like ACT Raising Safe Kids and Powerful Tools for Caregivers," she said. "Their website includes a vast library of podcast episodes and blog articles from The Science of Parenting and more, and this fall they are offering two online workshops -- Understanding Research and Reality and Positive Discipline."

Important investment

This year marks the first time ISU has received the designation by Best Place for Working Parents Iowa, a local partner of the national Best Place for Working Parents initiative. Broshar said assessed criteria include flexible work arrangements, paid time off, onsite child care and parenting resources.

"Receiving this designation demonstrates the university's understanding of the challenges faced by working parents and its efforts to acknowledge and proactively address these challenges," she said.

Save the dates for Trice commemoration events

cars drive under Jack Trice lightpole banners on road

University marketing created banners for University Boulevard this fall as part of the university's centennial commemoration of former student athlete Jack Trice, for whom the football stadium is named. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

Oct. 8 will mark the 100th anniversary of the death of former Cyclone student athlete Jack Trice. He died from football injuries received several days earlier in Minneapolis during a game against the University of Minnesota.

Iowa State's year-long centennial commemoration of that tragedy and Trice's legacy opened during Homecoming weekend last fall, Nov. 4-6. It included dedicating artist Ivan Toth Depeña's Breaking Barriers sculpture north of the football stadium, launching a lecture series, sharing Trice's story at the university's Iowa State Fair exhibit and the city renaming a section of South Fourth Street in front of the stadium as Jack Trice Way.

Several more events are scheduled this fall:

  • Sept. 10, 1-2 p.m., Program, "Through the Photographic Lens: Interpreting Art on Campus and Jack Trice's Legacy," with artist King Au and university museums curators, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Morrill Hall 
  • Sept. 21, 4:30 p.m., Artist's talk, "Breaking Barriers," Ivan Depeña, second floor atrium, Scheman Building
  • Oct. 3, 6 p.m., Jack Trice Legacy Lecture, "Moments of Impact," Jaime Schultz, based on her book of the same name, Sun Room, Memorial Union
  • Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., Lecture, "Trice 100: The Name, The Legacy," George Trice, Trice Legacy Foundation; and Jill Wagner, 1975-76 ISU student body president, Parks Library
  • Oct. 7, 7 p.m. kickoff, Jack Trice Legacy Football Game, vs Texas Christian University, Cyclones will wear throwback uniforms to pay tribute to Trice, Jack Trice Stadium
  • Oct. 8 (100th anniversary of Trice's death), noon, closing ceremony, central campus

In addition, several exhibits about Trice may be viewed this fall. Special collections and university archives' "Once, Twice, Trice: Students Tackle Naming Jack Trice Stadium," highlighting 24 years of student activism to honor Jack Trice and his ideals, is on the first floor of Parks Library through Dec. 31. University museums' "Honoring Jack Trice" is at the Christian Petersen Art Museum's Neva Petersen Gallery in Morrill Hall through Oct. 8.

Ames History Museum's Jack Trice traveling exhibit will be in the Multicultural Center, 2260 Memorial Union, Sept. 25-Oct. 27.