Inside Iowa State for faculty and staff
April 1, 2021
Inside news
Three power plant supervisors with 116 combined years of service couldn't ignore the university's retirement incentive option. Pat Foley and Jim Oberender will retire next week and Rick Terrones the first week of June.

Those approved to participate in the 2020-21 retirement incentive option represent roughly 5% of Iowa State employees in the latest annual October count.

The budget-balancing strategy to shave 2 percentage points off the university's contribution to TIAA/VALIC retirement accounts was a 10-month proposal scheduled to end June 30. University leaders confirmed it will.

Using NCORE-ISCORE's professional development framework, Women in Science and Engineering created an officewide anti-racism plan. Teams looking for other ways to approach taking anti-racism action also might consider a new offering from NCORE-ISCORE called "Expert of My Experience."

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Iowa State moved all of its classes online when the pandemic halted in-person instruction. The change expanded the program's reach from regional to national and actually boosted class offerings.

Following building cleaning from a Feb. 22 closet fire, a restorative phase begins this month and should conclude by late June. July 1 is the target date to reopen Ross Hall.

The latest federal COVID-19 relief package includes another temporary change for the dependent care assistance program, more than doubling the amount employees can contribute.
The following announcements were added this week:
  • LAS College is launching two-year student innovation academy
  • Face masks and other safety items are newly covered by health flex
  • Renewal begins April 6 for library extended loan items
  • Requests due April 4 to teach in Student Innovation Center
  • Student club's Animal Learning Day is April 17
  • P&S well-being seminar series continues April 20
  • ISU Creamery is adding Saturday hours
  • Pop-up plant sale is April 1 at Reiman Gardens
  • Registrar shares spring graduation dates, times
Around campus
Iowa State's graduate program in agricultural and biosystems engineering is ranked second in the country, according to the latest rankings of graduate programs published by U.S. News and World Report magazine. The engineering and business colleges also ranked within the top 26 of public universities and another eight engineering departments ranked among the top 25 public programs.

In an "Insight Into Diversity" feature, police chief Michael Newton says a strong relationship with the office of the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion has been critical to building trust with the campus community.

Selected in a competitive process, seven proposals will share $93,000 in grants next year to improve undergraduate courses and strengthen student learning.

Juniors Benjamin Litterer and Paiton McDonald have been named 2021 Goldwater Scholars. The scholarship is the premier U.S. undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, covering up to $7,500 per year for tuition, fees, books and living expenses.

Ames Laboratory scientists have discovered a green, low-energy process to break down polystyrene, a type of plastic widely used in foam packaging materials, disposable food containers and cutlery. The discovery could improve technologies for recycling plastics. 

A $250,000 gift from Farm Credit Services of America will support technology and innovation programming for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the Student Innovation Center, including exhibits that highlight career paths available in the college.
Retirements and farewells
This week
  • Retirement, Doug Bull, ISU testing center, Engineering-LAS online learning, March 29
  • Retirement, Colleen Johnson, finance service delivery, March 31
  • Retirement, Norio Nakagawa, Center for Nondestructive Evaluation, March 31
  • Retirement, Charlene Shaw, Graduate College office, March 31
  • Retirement, Dr. Kent Schwartz, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, April 1
  • Retirement, Jeff Mattson, central stores, April 2
  • Retirement, Dr. Gregory Stevenson, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, April 2
  • Farewell, Diana Wright, Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, April 2 (1-2:30 p.m., ISU Research Park Core Facility atrium), send best wishes to her Kudoboard

Next week
  • Retirement, Jim Oberender, power plant, facilities planning and management, April 5
  • Retirement, Pat Foley, power plant, facilities planning and management, April 9

Employees, their colleagues or supervisors are invited to submit retirements and departures to University human resources doesn't provide them for publication.
Seminars and conferences
  • Conversations about Carbon, first and third Wednesdays each month, April 7 (noon-12:45 p.m., via Zoom), with Bill Gutowski, geology and atmospheric sciences and university sustainability committee, registration
Open forums
Forums will be held 3-4 p.m. via Webex. Candidates will be announced one day prior.
  • April 1, Stephanie Walker, University of North Dakota
  • April 5
  • April 8
Arts and events
Iowa State alumnus and former faculty member Michael Crow has turned Arizona State into a top innovator in higher education since he became president in 2002. President Wendy Wintersteen will host an innovators forum with Crow on April 2 (2-3 p.m.)
Learning opportunities
Provost office programming

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) programming

Center for Communication Excellence programming
Workshop series, Writing the Literature Review, 1:30-3 p.m.
  • Conducting a Lit Review: A Citation Here, a Citation There… Pretty Soon You'll Have a Lit Review, April 5
  • Lit Review Without Tears: Tangible Strategies for Writing a Pain-Free Literature Review, April 12
Previous Inside coverage
About us
Inside Update is published Thursday mornings by Strategic Relations and Communications. Questions may be directed to 515-294-7065.