Iowa State University Employee Reviews

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As a grad student, you're pretty much slave labor. Poor pay, benefits, management
Graduate Research Assistant (Current Employee) –  Ames, IAJuly 26, 2012
I can't even begin to describe my dissatisfaction with this university. We had to fight tooth and nail just to get pay raises to keep up with rising housing costs in town. The health benefits are good if you get the sniffles, but heaven help you if you have a serious illness. The university aims to keep all complaints off the books through informal discussions, so no one is ever held accountable for poor management decisions. The physics department is run as an old-boy's club (no domestic female graduate students have entered in the past 4 years). They simply don't take their students' concerns seriously, and their interest is entirely in maintaining the faculty.

Also, it's grad school. You may be paid for "half-time" (ie, 20 hour work week) but if you don't put in at least 60 hours a week, apparently you're doing it wrong.
Pros
no tuition
Cons
awful healthcare, no management accountability, poor pay, poor working conditions.
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Comment – January 16, 2013

As a grad student, I can't agree with this more. This university just don't take students concern seriously. A couple tenured professors have really bad morality.

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Great colleagues, awful management
Instructor (Former Employee) –  IowaApril 26, 2015
A typical day at work involved multiple tasks= phone and email communications, meetings, instructional development and delivery, and in general, putting in long hours: evenings and weekends are common. Learned a lot about operations in higher education, curricula development, interacting with diverse populations.

Co-workers were great, supportive and positive, felt like a family. Management on the other hand, was abysmal. Poor-to-no communication skills, little respect given to anyone without a doctorate degree, tends to assign more responsibilities than stated in contract and be dismissive when brought to their attention.

Hardest part of job= insecurity of the position. Non-tenure track instructors are at high risk of having hours and pay reduced or of losing entire position on very short notice. Most enjoyable part of job= working in a field of interest with multiple opportunities for research and practical application, with enjoyable coworkers and students.
Pros
Great benefits, coworkers, subject matter
Cons
Bureaucratic red tape, dysfunctional management, long hours for low pay
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ME 170 TA
ME 170 Teaching Assistant (Current Employee) –  Ames, IASeptember 25, 2013
I was not a computer man before I learned ME 170 which is a basic CAD course at Iowa State University. I tried really hard on the course since I love that course even thought I could not sleep due to the homework problem.
The following year, since I used Solidworks tool a lot than other students, my 3D drawing skill is better than the rest of the class. On my senior year I applied for TA for ME 170, and Iowa State University gave me a opportunity to be a TA for me 170. I have 10 hours a week teaching Solidworks with freshman, and tried to be patient, let them understood the meaning for different tools in Solidworks.
One of the hardest thing for this job was the understanding of the student. Because different student had different background, so their level for computer tools were different, some student asked very simple problem, I explained to them carefully, and other students probably had different problem; therefore, I tried my best to teach them step by step, which spent long time period.
I really enjoy this work since it is my first professional work in my life. I felt very happy helped students learning new software. When students got A on the course, I was proud of my patient and skill.
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Intense Work Place
Assistant Recruiting Coordinator - Football (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJanuary 21, 2015
100-120+ hours/week

A typical day entailed answering phone calls and emails. These emails/phone calls typically came from recruits, the parents and coaches of recruits, and a number of university employees. On a daily basis, I also managed a group of 20-25 students, including graphic designers. I delegated tasks for the students to perform and organized their use for the events that I planned.

I worked under 2 supervisors. One was my primary supervisor and in charge of the recruiting department; the other was a supervisor of the entire staff, with the exception of coaches.

I worked closely with another recruiting coordinator along with the students I managed.

The most difficult part of this job were the hours. Working upwards of 120 hours a week is daunting. There was little time left for anything else in life.

The part I enjoyed the most about this job - working with people. Plain and simple. Every week I met a multitude of people from varying backgrounds. It was such a joy to introduce them to Iowa State University and show them our facilities. Making sure they were happy, made me happy.
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Working for Iowa State University offers many opportunities
Design Shops Manager (Current Employee) –  College of Design and the ArmoryDecember 16, 2013
While working with Iowa State University a typical day would be focused between three prototyping spaces. The first being for Industrial Design in their prototyping lab, the second with the Arch/Landscape Arch Model shop, and the last with the CNC router/Milling machine. Working in these areas have developed in me patience, management of others one on one and in group settings, special project management for the college, and many opportunities to learn about different prototyping and building processes. Co-workers are kind here. The hardest part of my job would be juggling time commitments to the three spaces during high volume usage by students. I teach students how to run the tools, help them with their design problems, and maintain the spaces' tools and equipment. Over all I enjoy my job and the best part of being a part of the university is there is always something new and interesting to work on or learn about.
Pros
contacts, great advice, opportunities to learn new processes, very kind people
Cons
high stress, low pay, needed in multiple places at once
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Nice School
Teaching Assistant (TA), Food Analysis (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJune 24, 2013
Product development is my passion as it allows me to be creative and solve problems. I've spent most of my after class time in developing products in the past two years; I’ve explored many interesting ingredients and technologies along the way. I participated in three product development competitions and two of my products were the winner in national competitions. I give credit of the two successes to project management skill and teamwork which I spent a lot of time building and yet have more to learn about. In addition to the opportunity to be creative and solve problems, participating in product development competitions also gave me a chance to interact with people outside of my circle; I had to reach out to my peers or even graduate students to form a team, call sponsors and suppliers to get ingredients, talk to departments to get approval on human subject testing (sensory evaluation), poster printing, trip to conferences etc. It expanded my circle, which was a valuable and joyful bonus for joining the competition.
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Enjoyed my time there.
Custodial Supervisor for Residence Hall (Former Employee) –  Ames, IASeptember 16, 2015
Wonderful University, Worked with Brilliant People in my dept. Supervised 86 Union Custodians. Hardest part was supervising 86 Union employees. Best part hands down... The Students, Miss them. Left after 5 years, Mgmt. change.

Employed in the Optical field for 18 plus years.. all aspects ( Optician, Contact Lens Tech, Mgmt., inventory control, Hiring/Terminations etc.Purchasing Frames, Contact Lens, Equipment ( Dr.s Lane, Pre-exam,Visual Fields etc) Very much enjoyed resolving patient visual difficulties, be it glasses or contact lens. Eye care business always evolving. Something new every month. Still receive several Trade magazines.
Pros
Students, Staff, Superiors.
Cons
Very few. Like most careers, have speed bumps sometimes.
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Strong work ethics
Professsor of Mechanical Engineering (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAFebruary 20, 2014
I am a dedicated teacher and innovative researcher in the area of advanced manufacturing that includes lasers, 3D printing etc. I am quite interested in teaching mechanical engineering courses, work in the industry on projects that deal with manufacturing. Both conventional and advanced manufacturing topics are of great interest. I am interested in both academia and industry and like to work for a minimum of 5 years on both part-time and full time basis. I can also work as a consultant.

A typical day at work consists of teaching one or two classes and remaining time spent on research, committee work etc. I managed large number of students. I learned how to work with people, compassion in teaching, and read/reviewed a lot of research papers. Overall I am god at industrial applied research and teaching.

I am looking for a warm place and 60 years of age. I am dynamic and enthuastic about work.
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Exciting role mentoring youth
Head Men's Golf Coach (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJuly 30, 2015
Was able to enter the world of college athletics as a golf coach. had spent my life as a player and given the opportunity to pass along knowledge to others.

Responsible for all activities and management of golf team. Recruiting, staffing, budget, travel, scheduling. I learned how to run an entire operation from top to bottom.

Was given freedom to work on my own, with direct reports to senior staff, however constant staff changes throughout my tenure.

Hardest part of job is basing your living on the actions and decisions of 18-22 year old kids. Most enjoyable was the travel and seeing young men develop into adults.
Pros
Travel, benefits
Cons
restrictions and rules with NCAA
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Working environment
Food Service Worker and Exam Proctor (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJune 1, 2015
Prepare meals for the morning shift and set up the dining area. If in the afternoon, typically during lunch time is one of the harder as it gets busy and required to stay on top with orders so the food line doesn't get backed up. Depending on the the time of day and if it's opening or closing, co-wokers are usually on point in their assigned task. The hardest part was lifting heavy objects (taking out the trash in huge bins, carrying bottles, boxes of milk cartons) in the grocery store and putting them into shelves.
Pros
Free meals
Cons
Lifting heavy things
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Great place to work for busy college students
ISU Dining Employee (Current Employee) –  Ames, IADecember 2, 2013
One of the great aspects of this job was that each day I had a different job which kept everything interesting. Some days it was my job to keep of all the drink machines full and operational. Other days I would make subs or work in the dish room. I didn't learn a lot from this job since I had worked many jobs like it, but I enjoy this type of work.

The most difficult part of work was staying busy. The busier I could stay, the faster time went by. I really enjoyed working different venues each day.
Pros
free lunch
Cons
few hours
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A valuable research internship
Lab Assistant Internship (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJanuary 14, 2015
This particular job experience was a summer internship at Iowa State University. I was chosen to intern in the Chemistry Dept. conducting research on nano-particles my junior and senior year in high school. A normal day consisted of me reviewing data from the previous days experiments. After that I primed my station for the days experiments, conducted them, and recorded the data until the end of the work day. I worked with current undergraduate and graduate students in the lab. They assisted me in in conducting my experiments and at the end of the internship our data was presented to various professors at Iowa State University. This was a valuable experience and learning opportunity. At the end of program I was offered to return the following summer.
Pros
first internship, exposure to lab setting
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great place to work, friendly co-workers and we worked together well, friendly faculty
Secretary II (Former Employee) –  Department of Mathematics, 396 Carver HallDecember 19, 2012
I answered the telephone and greeted people at the door, typed, copied, helped faculty and student use and fix equipment as needed, used the computer for many tasks, did database work - entering and correcting data, making reports, importing and exporting data as necessary. I learned more about who did what on campus and where to direct all inquiries. Management was very accommodating of personal needs, family first. The most enjoyable part of the job was the people. The hardest part of the job was saying 'goodbye' when I moved away.
Pros
the people, people working together
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Creative and inspiring place with a lot of interesting people
Post-Doctoral Research Associate (Current Employee) –  Ames, IAJune 8, 2012
I think this is one of the best places I have ever work during my life. One thing that makes it particularly attractive is people that work here. They come here with different background, bringing new knowledge and experience, not to mention culture. Environment is friendly and collaborative, which allows anyone to grow up professionally and personally. You can learn a lot and very diverse things.
Pros
amazing campus
Cons
environment is a bit more relaxed than in industry, which can be both good and bad
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My Job Duties
Office Assistant (Current Employee) –  Ames, IAJuly 9, 2012
My typical day at work is taking pictures of students in the process of doing their research project. I also assist in daily activities. I work with assisting students in the Latin Center at Iowa State University. I have learned to make videos using IMovie. My co-workers are from all different parts of the world and we all bring something different to the job. The most enjoyable part of my job is that I am able to meet new people and work in various environments. The hardest part of my job is being able to communicate with co-workers and the supervisor.
Pros
field trips to different parts of the states.
Cons
set hours of work
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Excellent student job.
Student Employment & Scholarships (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJuly 31, 2014
The Financial Aid Office was always trying to speed up processes as the University was tracking more and more information pertaining to students; management was accepting of suggestions for process improvements and time saving procedures. Co-workers were easy to get along with even if they were not studying the same material. I learned how to use a scanner with specialized software for the volumes of documents that are kept for administrative use.
Pros
occasional free lunches; ability to show initiative
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Typical Day
System Support Specialist II (Former Employee) –  Ames, IAJune 24, 2013
This job was 80 percent of me answering helpdesk phones and going out on all the calls to fix computer /software issues. Worked on three budgets for department also. The hardest part of the job was keeping up and trying to get everything done in a day. The most enjoyable part of the job was working with the users. Co-workers were a great team of staff. Management was also good.
Pros
lots of running around and getting exercise. great healthcare/benefits.
Cons
not enough staff to do the work.
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Undergraduate Research Experience is a Must!
Plant Pathology Undergraduate Research Assistant (Current Employee) –  Ames, IANovember 1, 2015
Working in a research laboratory on campus made for a great experience. I learned to balance work, classes, and other campus involvement. Getting involved on campus and getting a work experience helped me do better in school. A typical day includes working with PhD candidates and Post Docs on research projects. I learned what it would be like to continue my education after my undergraduate career. I worked with great people and had knowledgeable supervisors and university faculty that were always helpful and want me to really learn and succeed.
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Supportive work environment with fun co workers
Office Assistant (Current Employee) –  Ames, IASeptember 5, 2014
I keep up the calendar for the office and do many small tasks for the office on a daily basis. I also do a lot of large projects to help students throughout the year. I am able to talk to my co workers about anything and they are very supportive of anything I have to do to get a new career. The hardest part of the job is balancing many tasks at once but it can be done. The thing I like the best is being organized and meeting new friends.
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Good place to hone by skills as a student-employee
Student Athlete Tutor (Current Employee) –  Ames, IANovember 12, 2015
I really enjoyed working for these odd and end jobs to help build my character and life skills. They constantly helped me understand that I could go a little further with what I knew or with how I could improve the skills I had. They also were always teaching me new skills and abilities to help make me successful.
Pros
Great experience, fun people, just wanted me to learn
Cons
Not enough hours
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Overall rating

4.4
Based on 141 reviews
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