Messages and updates, 2023-24

April 25, 2024

Dear Iowa State Community,

Today, Iowa State presented a report to the Iowa Board of Regents on implementation of the 10 diversity, equity and inclusion directives the board adopted last November. We want to inform you of actions the university has taken to comply with the board’s directives.

Response to Directive 1

Directive 1 requires the regents universities to “restructure the central, university-wide DEI offices to eliminate any DEI functions that are not necessary for compliance or accreditation. Support services in these offices must be broadly available to all students and/or employees, subject to applicable state or federal eligibility requirements.”

At Iowa State University, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was established in 2015 to serve as a central resource, provide advice and collaborate across campus, the community and higher education organizations. In response to the board’s directive, we will be closing the office in July.

We appreciate the dedication of the employees that worked in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the contributions the office made to the university. University Human Resources is providing assistance to the employees affected by these changes in line with the university’s reorganization policy.

Response to Directives 2 and 3

Iowa State University is maintaining a strong set of programs and services in the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs and in every college that are critically important to the accreditation standards that support student educational success. To comply with Directives 2 and 3, Iowa State completed reviews of positions, programs and services in these areas to ensure they are necessary for accreditation, compliance or employee or student support and they are available to all students. Where necessary, changes are being made to job duties and business titles to accurately reflect position responsibilities, and promotional materials and websites have been updated to clarify availability to all students.

Response to Directives 4-10

For Directive 4b, before the start of the spring semester, the university issued a campus directive that no employee, student, applicant or campus visitor should be compelled to disclose their pronouns.

The Faculty Senate also approved an addition to Iowa State’s required syllabus statement. Beginning with the summer 2024 term, every syllabus in every course will include the statement: “No employee, student, applicant, or campus visitor is compelled to disclose their pronouns. Anyone may voluntarily disclose their own pronouns.” 

For Directive 6, the Faculty Senate approved renaming the DEI-related general education category to accurately reflect the array of options available to students. The new name, U.S. Cultures and Communities, will take effect with Iowa State’s 2024-2025 University Catalog. 

For Directive 8, the university has developed recruitment strategies for advancing the diversity of intellectual and philosophical perspectives in faculty and staff applicant pools by advertising some positions in publications that attract intellectually and philosophically diverse audiences.

For Directive 9, the senior vice president and provost has discussed ideas for a widespread initiative on civic education and free speech with certain faculty and campus leaders. A working group has been formed to develop a formal proposal for an initiative centered in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For Directives 4a, 4b, 5, 7 and 10, the university is complying with the Board of Regents policy changes approved in February. 

Commitment to land-grant mission

Since Iowa State first opened its doors in 1869, we have welcomed everyone regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status as part of our land-grant mission. Iowa State remains deeply committed to this mission – supporting the educational success of all students and cultivating a welcoming environment for all members of the ISU community.


Wendy Wintersteen, President

Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost

Toyia Younger, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Heather Paris, Interim Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance

Kristi Darr, Vice President for University Human Resources

Michael Norton, General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer

January 17, 2024

Dear Iowa State faculty and staff,

Changes Ahead

In the coming weeks, many changes will occur as Iowa State University continues implementation of Workday Student. This is part of a historic effort to modernize Iowa State’s software systems that began with the successful launch of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), Payroll and Finance in 2019. Workday Student will replace legacy programs including ADIN and Access Plus and integrate student information and student-focused functions into the current Workday system. As a result, some current Workday processes will change (e.g., hiring students) and will be communicated to impacted groups.

Key Dates and Impacts

  • Jan. 26 – March 4: preparation for the third rollout period will be underway. During this time, more than 32 million records and decades’ worth of data from legacy systems will be moved into Workday.
  • Feb. 10 – 18: Faculty and staff using Workday may experience system delays due to the massive data transition. 
    • Other transition periods are scheduled and impacted groups will be contacted separately.
  • March 4: Continuing students will begin using Workday Student to register for fall 2024 classes.
  • July-August: Rollout Period 4.

Learn More

Many resources are available on the WorkCyte website to help faculty and staff stay informed to support a successful transition:

  • Training opportunities
  • Newsletters and communications
  • FAQs

In addition, the WorkCyte team will continue to provide updates and presentations to campus leaders and organizations.

Historic Transformation, Massive Team Effort

This once-in-a-generation transformation is made possible by a massive team effort. We want to share our deep thanks and appreciation to:

  • The project team for their ongoing dedication, diligence and collaboration with campus partners to make each rollout period as smooth as possible and address issues as they arise.
  • The faculty for supporting a year-long pause in edits to the university catalog. This provided stability that allowed the project team to do their work without interruption.
  • The staff who have taken on additional responsibilities to support colleagues assigned to the project team.

While change of this magnitude is challenging, we know that modernizing our systems and processes is essential for the continued success of our students, faculty and staff. We appreciate your patience and support of this critically important project.


Wendy Wintersteen


Jonathan Wickert

Senior Vice President and Provost

Toyia Younger

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Heather Paris

Interim Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance

Kristi Darr

Vice President for University Human Resources

Kristen Constant

Vice President and Chief Information Officer and WorkCyte Phase II Co-Lead

Steve Mickelson

Senior Policy Advisor and WorkCyte Phase II Co-Lead

November 9, 2023

Dear Iowa State Community,

This week, Carol Faber, chair of the university committee for Consideration of Removing Names from University Property, delivered to me the committee’s final report to address requests to remove the name of Carrie Chapman Catt from Catt Hall.

The report includes the final vote taken by the committee after a 60-day public comment period. Eleven members voted to keep the name on the building and four members voted to remove the name. As outlined in the university policy and procedures, two-thirds of the committee members must agree to recommend a name removal. As they did not, the committee’s final recommendation is to retain the name of Carrie Chapman Catt on Catt Hall.

I have accepted the committee’s recommendation, and have informed the executive director of the Iowa Board of Regents of my acceptance of the recommendation.

During the past two years, the committee has methodically dealt with an extremely complicated task. The committee members had to come to grips with history that is told and understood from differing perspectives across a century. Theirs was an extraordinary commitment of time and effort. With thoughtful consideration of factual and historical materials, the committee deeply examined an important and complex historical figure. Extensive efforts were undertaken to seek out and consider every piece of pertinent information, including entries from Catt’s travel diaries. 

A story on the committee’s actions and a link to its final report appears in today’s edition of Inside Iowa State. The committee’s report serves as an important source to understand more about the life of Carrie Chapman Catt. The report’s footnotes and appendix provide numerous other resources for education and reflection on her life and history.

I extend my thanks to the committee for their service to the university and to Carol Faber for chairing the committee. Also, my thanks goes to all who provided input, support and feedback to the committee’s work.


 Wendy Wintersteen, President

November 7, 2023

Dear Iowa State Community,

Today, the Iowa Board of Regents released the docket for its Nov. 15-16 meeting, which includes the report and recommendations from the Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Study Group. On Nov. 16, the full Board will review and discuss the recommendations of the study group and then adopt a final version of the report and recommendations.  

Over the past few months, senior leaders have worked diligently with the study group to provide information, answer questions and advocate for the important work being done by our faculty and staff to support all of our students.

Once the final version of the report is approved by the full Board of Regents, senior leaders will form and work with an internal advisory group to gather input on how best to respond to the recommendations while focusing on the educational success of all students and providing a welcoming environment for all members of the ISU community. We will share our plans with the Board in April.

Iowa State University was founded on the ideal that higher education should be open to all regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. As we work to address the Board’s recommendations, our university remains committed to this ideal and to supporting the success of all students, faculty and staff.

Wendy Wintersteen, President

Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost

Toyia Younger, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

November 2, 2023

Dear Iowa State faculty and staff,

Governor Reynolds has announced two additional paid holidays as a show of appreciation for state employees’ service.

Iowa State University will implement the paid holidays on Wednesday, November 22 and Wednesday, December 27. Normal holiday procedures will be followed on these days. Supervisors should begin to review and make decisions on necessary operations and work schedules for the additional paid holidays. Units should communicate these changes to their employees, customers and constituents.

We deeply appreciate your hard work and dedication to the university. Thank you for all that you do for Iowa State.


Wendy Wintersteen, President

Kristi Darr, Vice President for University Human Resources

September 18, 2023

Dear Iowa State University faculty and staff, 

Iowa State University feels deeply grateful for the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff. While the university continues to face financial pressures, performance-based salary increases and competitive benefits remain a priority to support our employees.

Performance-based salary increases. Employees with a satisfactory performance review (faculty, professional and scientific staff, contract staff and post-doctoral researchers) will be eligible for a discretionary salary increase of up to 3%, effective January 1, 2024. It is expected that these increases will be differential. This follows the 1% increase that was implemented July 1 as part of a previously announced transition to shift the annual salary policy timeline.

Merit staff received a 3% across-the-board increase on July 1, consistent with the state’s collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Iowa Council (AFSCME) and Regents Merit System rules. Merit employees may also be eligible for an additional 1% performance-based increase on their review date.

Benefits changes. Senior leaders have accepted recommendations from the Employee Benefits Advisory Committee to implement targeted changes to certain health care plan features and premiums beginning January 1, 2024, and pending Board of Regents’ approval at their Sept. 27-28 meeting.

Why these changes? Health care costs continue to rise significantly. Iowa State has a self-funded benefits program, which means the university is responsible for paying the full cost of health care claims generated when employees and dependents receive care. Both the university and employees contribute monthly premiums; however, in recent years this hasn’t been enough to cover claims costs. Annual incremental changes are needed to help close the gap. More information about the gap between rising health care claims and the amount collected from premiums can be found here.

Premium Changes. While employee premium costs will be slightly higher, the university will continue to bear the vast majority of the expense, approximately 88% in 2024, and overall health care coverage will not change. The chart below shows what employees and the university will pay monthly for the HMO and PPO plans, with the increase over prior year noted in parenthesis.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024 BlueHMO BlueHMO BluePPO BluePPO
  Employee Monthly Premium University Monthly Premium Employee Monthly Premium University Monthly Premium
Employee Only

$33 (up $4)

$635 (up $64)

$55 (up $6)

$636 (up $65)

Employee + Spouse

$184 (up $32)

$1,351 (up $125)

$332 (up $34)

$1,247 (up $128)

Employee + Child(ren)

$120 (up $20)

$1,080 (up $103)

$246 (up $25)

$986 (up $101)

Employee + Family

$234 (up $41)

$1,719 (up $159)

$425 (up $43)

$1,599 (up $164)

Double Spouse

$154 (up $25)

$1,799 (up $175)

$302 (up $32)

$1,722 (up $175)

Even with the incremental increases, ISU employee monthly premiums remain well below the national median for colleges and universities.

  • For HMO plans, the national median employee premium for single coverage is $128/month compared to $33/month for Iowa State’s plan, and family coverage is $449/month compared to $234/month for Iowa State’s plan.

Comparison data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for all coverage options is available here.

Changes to Health Care Plan Features. To further address rising health care costs, the university is making key changes to certain plan features as outlined below. While these changes will impact out-of-pocket costs, ISU employee costs will remain significantly lower than plans offered by other colleges and universities. Please carefully review the chart below and the comparison data from CUPA-HR available here.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024


BluePPO (in-network)

  Employee Cost Employee Cost

Preventive Care

Free (Decrease from $15 to $0)

Free (Decrease from $25 to $0)

Office Visit Copay

$15 (No change)

$25 (No change)

Annual Deductible

Increase from $0 to $250 (Employee only)

Increase from $0 to $500 (All other coverage options)

Increase from $0 to $400 (Employee only)

Increase from $0 to $800 (All other coverage options)


Increase from 0% to 10%

Increase from 10% to 20%

Annual Out-of-Pocket Maximum

Increase from $0 to $1500 (Employee only)

Increase from $0 to $3000 (All other coverage options)

$2,000 (No change, employee only)

$4,000 (No change, all other coverage options)

Dental and Prescription Plans. Moderate increase will be made to employee monthly premiums for Dental Plans. No changes are being made to out-of-pocket maximums for the Prescription Drug Plan.

Resources and Town Hall. Beginning Oct. 2, University Human Resources will provide additional information and resources to help employees fully understand the changes and how to get the most value from their benefits.

  • Oct. 4 at 9:00 a.m., employees are invited to attend a virtual town hall. More information about how to join the town hall will be shared in the coming days in Inside Iowa State and on the UHR website.

Open Enrollment. All employees will have the opportunity to review, compare and make changes to their benefits during the annual open enrollment period, beginning November 1, 2023, for the 2024 plan year. Please contact UHR’s Benefits Team,, with your benefits-related questions.


Wendy Wintersteen, President

Jonathan Wickert, Senior Vice President and Provost

Shawn Norman, Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance

Toyia Younger, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Kristi Darr, Vice President for Human Resources

August 21, 2023

Dear Iowa State Community,

I am delighted to welcome all of you to a new academic year at Iowa State University!   

This past week, I met some of you moving into the residence halls or enjoying the festivities of Destination Iowa State and Cyclone Welcome Weekend. I hope you all had a chance to see ISU’s incredible exhibit at the Iowa State Fair, featuring “Breaking Barriers: The Story of Jack Trice.” A very special thanks to everyone who supported and attended these wonderful events.

Iowa State starts the semester with a set of major achievements made possible by our outstanding faculty and staff. A selected few include the following:

We’re excited to continue this important progress by investing in ISU’s new strategic plan. Following the inaugural call for proposals last spring, 19 strategic initiatives projects have been selected for funding and implementation this year.

Iowa State continues to build a stronger future with these new facilities.

We’ll also take time to honor our past.

As Iowa State moves forward, our central focus remains on our land-grant mission to provide all students with access and opportunity to an education that can transform their lives. I feel deeply proud of our faculty and staff for their dedication to our students. Every member of the Iowa State community contributes to our tradition of excellence, and I appreciate your energies in making this a year of innovation and new accomplishments!


Wendy Wintersteen, President