News Release Archive

August 7, 2019 - 9:41pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art will present an exhibition in the Mary Haskell-Hansen Room of the Gallery, a UNI Permanent Art Collection exhibition titled "The Many Voices of Art," which will be open to the public on the following dates: Aug. 19 – Oct. 5; Oct. 16 – Nov. 16; and Dec. 5 – 19. Please note, the gallery will be closed Monday, Sept. 2 for Labor Day.

According to Charles M. Adelman, "In examining art carefully, one realizes that even without vocal cords, art is capable of speaking and singing. One can hear through it the vox humana (the human voice)—that of the artist, the culture, the issues, the frustrations and the emotions of the period in which it was made as well as our own responses to it. Sometimes the voices are harmonious, sometimes discordant, sometimes polyphonous, sometimes monophonic. The exhibition challenges the viewer to study the works to hear their voices and to listen to one’s own response."

This collection exhibition was supplemented by objects on loan to the gallery and, as mentioned, was co-curated by Adelman as well as gallery director Darrell Taylor. Featured artworks include the following: prints from Bronislaw Bak’s "One-Hundred Views of Chicago" series, which was donated by UNI alumna Lois E. Iseminger of Chicago; "Flower" by the late Ralph Haskell, professor emeritus of the UNI Department of Art; "Inspiration" by Käthe Kollwitz, which was donated by Kurt and Cynthia Kruse of Cedar Falls; "Seated Model with Mirror" by Steven Bigler of St. Paul, which was donated by the artist himself; and an untitled still-life by Jean Lurçat, which was donated by Ray and Sandy Benter of Des Moines. Also, on view will be a newly conserved 18th century portrait in an antique gilded frame donated by Hart M. Nelsen and Anne Kusener Nelsen of Seattle.

All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the main floor of the KAB and its hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and by appointment.

For additional information, visit or contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or

July 23, 2019 - 8:51am


UNI NEWS SERVICES –In a recently released study, the University of Northern Iowa has for the first time estimated the amount of lawn pesticides applied in four Eastern Iowa communities as part of a larger effort to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides applied to urban landscapes.

UNI Prairie

The study estimated that about 37,000 pounds of weed-killing products were applied to residential lawns in Cedar Falls and Waterloo in 2018, a troubling figure due to the link between pesticides and a number of adverse health outcomes, particularly in children, such as prenatal and childhood cancers, chronic illnesses, neurodevelopmental delays and behavioral disorders.

“The study revealed that we’re bringing highly hazardous chemicals into our community,” said Kamyar Enshayan, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) at UNI. “The evidence is overwhelming that weed killers harm child development.”

The chemicals have also been shown to pollute local water supplies, pose a danger to pets and undermine bees and other pollinators by reducing biodiversity.

Moreover, the study highlighted the fact that most pesticides are applied for purely cosmetic reasons, making it a both unnecessary and preventable issue.

The study did not include golf courses, parks, schools, businesses and industrial parks, but Enshayan hopes that it will bring attention to the issue and point public and private institutions with larger swaths of lawn towards the programs UNI offers to alleviate pesticide application.   

One new program the center is offering is called Turf to Prairie, which targets institutions that have to manage large tracts of turf, such as schools and parks. The idea is to replace parts of these areas with native prairie.

“There are so many ecological benefits to prairie,” said Audrey Tran Lam, environmental health program manager for the CEEE. “It can enhance the aesthetics of parks and schools, provide habitat, improve water quality and requires less maintenance than turf.”

The center has put together information, with the help of UNI students and research from the Tallgrass Prairie Center, to help landowners understand how replacing turf with prairie can provide environmental and economic benefits. The center can then help connect the landowner with the resources needed to establish native prairie.

Mowing and managing turf costs an estimated $350 per acre every year, according to the Tallgrass Prairie Center. After the initial cost of installing the prairie, annual maintenance on those lands shrinks to around $50 or less. And while turf’s benefits don’t extend much beyond recreation, the prairie is increasing storm water infiltration, creating habitat to support pollinators and wildlife, and improving soil retention and health, all while storing more carbon than turf and reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

The CEEE also estimated pesticide use in Dubuque (18,500 pounds applied) and Iowa City (22,500 pounds applied).

For more information about the CEEE and the Turf to Prairie program, visit

July 23, 2019 - 8:49am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa's Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC), located at the TechWorks building in Waterloo, just completed hosting a three-day camp for Cedar Valley students interested in STEM. Panther Park 3-D was one of many camps offered by the STEM program at UNI. Focusing on a "Jurassic Park" dinosaur theme, the camp granted students the opportunity to broaden and develop their STEM interests and skills with an immersive 3-D printing and design experience involving dinosaurs. For many of the students, it was their first inside look into the world of 3-D printing.

After receiving a tour and gaining a basic understanding of the center's main 3-D printers, kids at the camp engaged in activities throughout the metal casting process. With help from staff members, students began by customizing and designing their own dinosaur fossil molds using 3-D design computer software. Once finished, designs were saved and each was sent to the facility’s ExOne S-Max Sand Printer, where the students could watch their virtual creations come to life. When printing was complete, the kids were shown how to properly excavate the printer to extract their 3-D molds. Students began to notice similarities between excavating the printer and actual fossil excavation as they dug up and cleaned their parts with brushes. Concluding the process, campers poured metal into their printed molds to take home when finished.

Students also received first-hand experience with several other 3-D printers and equipment in the AMC and were able to compare and contrast each of them. Students gained knowledge in robotic sand milling, fused filament fabrication (FFF), digital light processing (DLP/SLA) and wax printing. In addition, they were exposed to virtual reality applications and scanning objects with a Romer absolute arm laser scanner.      

To end the week, students prepared PowerPoint presentations to show their parents their favorite parts of the camp and what they had learned.

"My favorite part was pouring the metal,'' said camp participant Levi Schwestka. His twin brother, Jack, said his favorite part was working with the SLA Resin printer because of how smooth it printed.

Altogether, the camp was a great learning experience. When asked what she hopes students took away from the camp, UNI STEM camp director, Teena Coats, answered, "A fun experience and to have gained some knowledge about the additive manufacturing process… and maybe even learn a little bit about dinosaurs along the way."

For more information about the Additive Manufacturing Center, visit, and for more information about STEM camps at UNI this summer, visit


UNI NEWS SERVICES – This summer, the University of Northern Iowa's Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP) is partnering with Waterloo West High School for a one-of-a-kind program that will incorporate English instruction with career and educational opportunities for high school students.

The English Language Learners College Preparatory Summer Program is available to students who are learning English as a foreign language. In addition to 16 hours of English instruction per week, students will participate in a variety of activities that will expose them to academic college life as well as explore future career opportunities. Upon completion, students will receive a UNI and CIEP College Preparatory Certificate of Completion, one English elective credit toward high school graduation, a waiver for the UNI application fee and a $320 deferred admittance fee to UNI.

"English Language Learners are the fastest growing segment of the K through 12 student population in the United States, yet they encounter substantial problems entering higher education," said Carolina Coronado-Park, director of CIEP. "The overall goal of the program is to see the successful graduation of more ELL students from university in the future."

The UNI Culture and Intensive English Program provides international students with quality, intensive academic English language instruction and a cultural orientation to the United States in preparation for study at UNI or other institutions of higher learning.

For more information about this program or the CIEP, visit

June 25, 2019 - 3:09pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – A University of Northern Iowa professor has been offering free online courses for teachers to learn "Scratch," a graphical programming language that runs completely in a web browser. Students can use Scratch to create interactive artwork, tell digital stories and create games. Ben Schafer, an associate professor in the computer science department, developed this free course geared toward elementary and middle school teachers who are interested in learning how to integrate computer science into their curriculum.

"In the six years we’ve offered this course, we’ve reached a wide variety of teachers,” said Schafer. “They range from brand-new programmers who want to introduce programming into their classrooms, all the way to experienced programmers who want to learn more about how to work with Scratch.” This year, teachers are enrolled in the course from 35 different U.S. states and 23 different world countries (including the U.S.).

The online course was initially developed through a grant from Google in 2014 meant to spread computer science to new audiences. It has been active since that time, and it has recently been rebuilt to reflect the upgrade to Scratch 3.0.

"I’m most proud of the continued demand and reach of the course," said Schafer. “In 2014, the course reached mostly teachers in Iowa, but by the second year, we were nationwide. Now, we are global, and I think that’s incredible.”

Other contributors to the course include Philip East, a faculty emeritus in the computer science department.

For more information about Scratch, visit


June 11, 2019 - 4:36pm


UNI’s Alan Heisterkamp would tell you he’s not providing training to be a good father, but he will argue he has a hand in it on campus and statewide.

Heisterkamp is the director of the Center for Violence Prevention, a program housed on the UNI campus created to support schools and organizations with implementing violence prevention and evaluation strategies.

Heisterkamp and Wm. Michael Fleming, an associate professor at UNI, are aiming to change the culture in male-dominated circles by reaching out to leaders in fraternities, athletics and military organizations like ROTC.

“Historically, we as a nation, see this as something women are fighting for, so one of the intentions is to have men challenge the behaviors,” Heisterkamp said. “Men don’t admit weakness. You never ask for directions. You never admit you’re sick. We learn that and model that and teach it to our boys and pass it along.”

The center’s programming impacts about 40,000 high school students each year and has been added to UNI’s orientation sessions to help break a cycle.

“When we start to remove those pressures, men are freer to be who they are and show a nurturing side,” Fleming said. “Oftentimes men haven’t been given that permission or have these types of conversations. Men are not trained to talk or given the platform to talk.”

He admits it’s a slow shift, but Fleming said the program Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is creating that platform for discussions for young men.

Alan Heisterkamp
UNI's Alan Heisterkamp leads a group of students in Mentors in Violence Prevention training.

Heisterkamp started working with the model nearly 20 years ago as a school administrator. He noticed prevention had lost priority in secondary education.  

“We saw the value of this and decreased incidents of physical aggression in our buildings and students were wanting to do this,” Heisterkamp said. “After 18 years of doing this, one of the things I feel most proud of is sticking with this knowing this can be a very positive component to the social and emotional development, particularly in secondary.”

He said most teachers are focused on teaching the subjects they are trained to instruct, not the emotional and social aspects of their students.

“They were just supposed to learn the math I was teaching them, right?” he said. “Then we kind of departmentalize ‘You’re the school counselor or you’re the school nurse. You’re supposed to have these conversations. Not me.’”

Heisterkamp emphasizes everyone has a responsibility in violence prevention by paying attention to early warning signs.

“Even kids watching out for each other in terms of mental health. Think about all the times kids disclose to other kids, their friends, their peers, teammates about serious situations,” he said. “We try to demystify and create some pathways and structures and really address the culture by getting kids to challenge and confront behaviors that are sexist, homophobic, disrespectful, misogynist, racist, any of those behaviors that are the beginning stages of a continuum or spectrum of abuse. It can really elevate and ramp up if it’s not confronted at the very beginning.”

The center partners with several majors on campus like social work, family services, human services and education to increase students’ understanding of how it can manifest itself in work settings and how to facilitate the conversation to correct the issues.

Presentations are done in classroom settings and with UNI athletic teams to encourage others to speak out. Trainings are done in the fall and spring with community members and UNI staff and faculty.

“The trainer-to-trainer type of training brings different people together from different sectors of the campus or community,” Fleming said. “So you have a sophomore student sitting next to a community person sitting next to an administrator sitting next to a faculty member having a conversation as equals, and each brings a different perspective.”

The center has been a catalyst in eight community colleges and at least 18 private colleges in Iowa by identifying leaders to be spokesperson and facilitators with younger peers.

“We approach it from the aspect of leadership values and connecting the dots that this is what it means to be leader,” Heisterkamp said. “If you see yourself or want to see yourself as a leader, these are the types of things that leaders say and do. You take on some responsibility.”

This message spoke to a student active in UNI’s Greek system. Now a graduate, he recognized the need for the MVP program in his former high school and was instrumental in its implementation in Waukee, Iowa.

Waukee’s first session trained 30 teachers who went on to teach more than 100 mentors, and the MVP program has been working with more since its inception there about five years ago.

“And you think of those mentors and how many young people they reached,” Fleming said. “Bringing in a program that has a core component of leadership, that’s more palatable than other types of programs and opens the door for discussion with men. I think that opens the door to have men reflect on what resources they have to help be part of a conversation for healthy environments whether it’s school, community, workplace or home.”

UNI’s CVP is currently working with 30 schools to offer free programming that includes bullying and hazing prevention. Recent grants are expected to push that number to 72 schools in the Midwest.

“My work through the Center for Violence Prevention includes working with men and boys to redefine what it means to be a man - particularly in our relationships with others,” said Heisterkamp. “While I work and train a lot of men who are fathers, uncles and grandparents, I do not focus specifically on fatherhood. I'd like to think I help develop and support future fathers.”

Fleming and Heisterkamp see the programming seeping into all areas of students’ development.

“After training them in high school, we are finding them on campus and looking for ways to use them,” said Heisterkamp. “That’s an untapped resource for any college in Iowa that is the beneficiary of those students. I’ve always thought that these campuses we work in are only as safe as the kids who show up.”

June 5, 2019 - 2:30pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The North American Review, housed at the University of Northern Iowa, is celebrating American poet Walt Whitman's 200th birthday with "Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200."

Over the next 200 days, 200 prominent poets, writers, scholars, historians, artists, public figures and citizens will offer commentary on different passages of Whitman's most famous poem, "Song of Myself." In addition to celebrating the poet's 200th birthday, the project will present a range of contemporary responses that, like the poem itself, "contains multitudes," from critical analysis to personal reflection.

"Whitman wrote with deep compassion and sympathy," said North American Review editor Jeremy Schraffenberger. "He was our country’s great poet of democracy, equality and justice. Our goal with this project was to initiate an ongoing conversation not only about art and poetry but also centered on these national ideals."

The 200 responses will be published daily in the North American Review's online venue, Open Space, which began with an introduction by the project curator Brian Clements, professor of writing, linguistics and creative writing at Western Connecticut State University. The project began on May 31 and will continue through the end of 2019. Contributors to the project include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams; singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash; American poets laureate Robert Hass and Billy Collins; environmentalist Bill McKibbens; Whitman scholars Ed Folsom and Kenneth Price; and writers Michael Cunningham, Erica Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston and Terry Tempest Williams. 

For more information about "Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200," visit the North American Review website at

May 22, 2019 - 4:21pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law last Friday a bill that will provide $400,000 in economic development funding to the University of Northern Iowa, increasing the college’s capacity to work with manufacturing technologies that will both benefit crucial industries in the state and provide additional training and opportunity for students to become employees in high-demand fields.

Additive Manufacturing Center
UNI's Additive Manufacturing Center is the best equipped applied research center of its kind, with equipment like the ExOne S-Max Sand Printer (image), with a national reputation as the go-to place for additive manufacturing assistance throughout Iowa and the U.S.

Specifically, the funds will be used to bolster equipment, space and staffing at the Additive Manufacturing Center, a core component of UNI’s Metal Casting Center and the hub of the university’s work with the emerging technology of additive manufacturing for investment castings.

The center plans to hire three to four new staff members and bring on 20 additional student employees, who will receive valuable hands-on experience in an emerging technology.

“The students’ training in technology at the Additive Manufacturing Center vastly exceeds and complements the instruction they receive in the traditional classroom environment,” said Randy Pilkington, director of Business and Community Services at UNI. “This is demonstrated by the number of students who receive multiple job offers and very competitive salaries after graduation.”  

Additive manufacturing for investment castings is changing the way parts are manufactured. Using additive manufacturing to create patterns for investment casting with integrated automation has the potential to further advance the castings industry dramatically in the next five years.  

Investment casting technology is poised to benefit high-technology companies such as Deere, Collins Aviation and Emerson Process Management by improving their supply chain. Some key industry sectors benefiting from 3D investment casting technologies include aerospace, defense, agricultural manufacturing and medical technologies, such as joint replacement technologies in collaboration with the University of Iowa.

The center is planning for the funds to be an ongoing revenue stream from the state, which will help the Additive Manufacturing Center stay on the leading edge of innovation.

“A stable funding stream will allow the AMC to concentrate on activities that benefit Iowa companies to the fullest,” Pilkington said. “The funds will support new employee salaries to engage in higher levels of technology training and allow current staff members to concentrate more time on applied research and industry adoption.” 

May 21, 2019 - 11:13am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa is now accepting enrollments in two music education workshops this summer. Each workshop is designed for teachers to enhance learning and instruction in their music classrooms. One hour of undergraduate credit is available for each.

In the RockShop! Modern Band Workshop, teachers will learn to play a variety of instruments and discover the tools and resources necessary to bring student-centered, culturally-responsive and inclusive music education to students. This workshop is designed to teach the skills, curriculum and network to successfully run a modern band program at any grade level or classroom.

Audio Engineering for Educators Workshop participants will learn the skills that audio engineers use for capturing the best performances from their students. This course allows educators to learn how to use different forms of audio equipment, including reinforcement gear to computerized digital recording. Teachers will gain knowledge in microphones, microphone techniques, mixing boards and digital audio. 

RockShop! Modern Band Workshop will be held June 24-26 and Audio Engineering for Educators Workshop will be held June 27-28. Both will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the UNI campus. To learn more about each workshop and how to enroll, visit

For information about additional offerings available through UNI Continuing and Distance Education, visit or call 319-273-2121 or 800-648-3864.

May 7, 2019 - 11:11am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Educational Talent Search, a program of the University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE), is sponsoring the second annual Men of Change conference on Friday, May 17, at UNI-CUE, 800 Sycamore Street, Waterloo, Iowa.Quinn Early

The conference will host 50 minority young men in grades 7 through 10 from the Waterloo middle and high schools who participate in the Educational Talent Search program. These young men will be given the opportunity to engage with minority community leaders on the following topics

  • How to conduct yourself during a traffic stop with Lawrence Daniel, juvenile court officer
  • Social media and life skills with Rep. Ras Smith
  • "Perseverance Before Glory" with Anthony James, former UNI basketball player
  • Academics and sports with Darius Hart, Anthony Thomas and Byron Phillips from the Waterloo school district

Quinn Early is the featured speaker and will discuss life lessons with the young men. Early is a former professional football player, Iowa Hawkeyes receiver, Hollywood stuntman for Will Smith and Laurence Fishburne, and advocate for Alzheimer's research. He travels the nation discussing his late mother's book, "Bryant Acres," which is a biography of Early's relative Sherrod Bryant, one of the richest free black men in the colonial South.

Facilitators and additional guest speakers will include: Mark Nook, UNI president; Quentin Hart, mayor of Waterloo; Lance Dunn, Waterloo human resource director; Robert Smith Jr., UNI-CUE director; Darron Greer, Waterloo postmaster; and Jon Cox, former UNI basketball player.

For more information about the Men of Change conference, contact Carlos Frazier, recruiter and advisor for UNI-CUE's Educational Talent Search, at 319-273-4795 or

May 3, 2019 - 11:07am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009), will speak at the University of Northern Iowa at 7:05 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, as part of the Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series.Laura Bush

Mrs. Bush is an advocate for literacy, education and women's rights. As First Lady, she advanced literacy education to support America's young people. Today, as the chair of the Woman's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas, she continues her work on global health care innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America's military.

The Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series was established in 2001 by UNI alumna and former Iowa Lt. Gov. Joy Cole Corning. The series' purpose is to bring to campus nationally and internationally renowned leaders in such areas as the arts, business, education, government and the judiciary. It provides students with an understanding of what constitutes leadership across disciplines and helps them discover how people become leaders in their fields.

Joy Corning graduated from UNI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education in 1954. She taught school in Greenfield and Waterloo before leaving the profession to raise her family in Cedar Falls. Corning was elected to the Cedar Falls school board in 1973, serving 11 years, nine of them as president. After six years in the Iowa Senate, she was elected lieutenant governor, serving for eight years. Corning passed away in May 2017.

Tickets will be required for admission to the lecture. More information about Mrs. Bush's visit, including when and where tickets will be available, will be announced shortly.


May 2, 2019 - 3:39pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa's Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center (GBPAC) has opened up ticket orders for the 2019-2020 season of the Kaleidoscope Series beginning Oct. 17.

Kaleidoscope Series

The first day of orders broke program records with 44,000 students scheduled to attend a live performance through the Kaleidoscope program this coming year.

"Art has the capacity to unite people," said Amy Hunzelman, education and special projects director at Gallagher Bluedorn. "An experience at the theatre can heighten our awareness of others and fosters lifelong learning by leading into the true purpose of meaningful art by provoking thought and inspiration."

The Kaleidoscope Series for Youth reached a significant milestone in 2017 bringing the 500,000th child to experience the arts through the program. This year, the Kaleidoscope Series expands its reach with Kaleidoscope On the Road, taking performances outside of Gallagher Bluedorn to surrounding areas. Through new and existing partnerships, On the Road will reach 8,100 additional students in Oelwein, New Hampton, Algona and Marion. 

The daytime performances incorporate live performances through drama, music and dance, which supports classroom content such as literature, history, drama and social studies.  

The Gallagher Bluedorn views Kaleidoscope days as more than a day of theatre. "Live performance has a unique way of bringing literature and classroom subjects to life and making challenging subjects accessible and real," said Hunzelman. 

Gallagher Bluedorn offers tickets to the Kaleidoscope Series for just one dollar. The full schedule of shows for the 2019-2020 Kaleidoscope Series for Youth is listed on the GBPAC website.

May 2, 2019 - 3:25pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Two University of Northern Iowa community engagement projects will be awarded with Engaged Campus Awards this month in recognition of their civic contributions to students and communities.

The awards will be presented at the Iowa Campus Compact’s annual Awards and Summit on Monday, April 29 at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens. The organization selected UNI's partnership with EMBARC as the Community Partnership Award winner and #PanthersVote as the Emerging Innovation Award winner.

In addition, Associate Professor Julianne Gassman was a finalist for the Civic Mission Leadership award.

“On our campus, our work is about much more than preparing students for their professions,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “We are also responsible for preparing students as active and engaged citizens who understand their responsibility in making their communities better places to live, to work, and to learn. We do this through service learning projects, community engagement, experiential learning and student organizations. We do it working closely with community partners. As a result of these efforts, students become engaged in the adaptive challenges of their communities and work with others to build understanding and bridge differences.”

EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center) aims to help refugees expand their world of possibilities through advocacy, education and community development. 

Linguistic and culturally appropriate services are scarce for the approximately 3,000 minority refugees of Burma in Waterloo, and EMBARC’s goal is to shape effective student leaders in the community.

The campus-community partnership developed through two required professional development courses in the Department of Philosophy and World Religions taught by Cara Burnidge, assistant professor of religion and Yasemin Sari, assistant professor of philosophy. 

#Panthersvote is an initiative to promote student voting that, preliminary turnout figures suggest,  helped UNI more than double its turnout for the 2018 midterm elections when compared to the midterm elections of 2014.

The group has a multiprong strategy, including coordinating a variety of organizations under the #panthersvote brand, and using this common brand to get students registered to vote. The effort was driven by voter drives, community presentations, social media campaigns and classroom visits.

Julianne Gassman is the director of Community Engagement at the University of Northern Iowa, an associate professor in the Department of Health, Recreation and Community Services, and the Campus Executive Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She teaches in the area of nonprofit management and is the author/co-author of numerous books and publications. Her research interests include service-learning, community engagement, nonprofit management and student debt.

April 15, 2019 - 3:41pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art will present a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) group exhibition along with a Master of Arts (M.A.) group exhibition from Monday, April 29, through Saturday, May 11. An opening reception will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, April 29, in the south lobby of the Kamerick Art Building (KAB).

Anastasia Chloe of Charles City will present an exhibition titled "Interior." Chloe is a multidisciplinary artist focusing on themes of home and domesticity. In her work, she explores notions of interior and exterior personal spaces "dancing between the tangible physical world and that of memory and emotion."

Deo Rai of Des Moines will present an exhibition of paintings titled "It’s Not About Me." Rai states, "Hey! Some people think that I am an immigrant. But I love to say I am a Human, and I am from the Earth. I am working with emojis, a new and very popular trend associated with social media."

Emily Michelle Schroeder of Cedar Falls will present an exhibition of paintings titled "(Re)Formed." Upon graduation, she will also be receiving a Museum Studies Certificate. In her work, Schroeder explores the intersection of art, faith and identity. She draws parallels between the transfigurative Christian faith and the transformative nature of painting.

Hanna Seggerman will graduate with both a B.F.A. in sculpture and B.A. in art education. Seggerman’s exhibition titled "Fragment" explores an assortment of forms that represent the fraction of former times, beings and memories.

Concurrently, the gallery will present "M.A. Art Education Candidates’ Visual Timelines" in the Showcases and ZigZag Cases in the KAB South lobby. These visual timelines document classwork and applied research completed by the Art Education cohort of 2019. The M.A. program provides a comprehensive and contemporary orientation to art education study and practice, and the curriculum aligns with student activities in classroom experiences. It includes courses addressing models of inquiry and practice that help students establish strong links between theory and practice in art education. 

All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the main floor of KAB and its hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and by appointment.

For additional information, visit or contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or

April 12, 2019 - 2:54pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa presented three graduating students with the Lux Service Award for their exemplary service to the university during the Student Leadership Awards ceremony on April 9.

Lux Service Award
Lux Service Award winners Clare Flattery and Yakira Sanders. Not pictured is Dominique Jefferson.

The winners include:

Yakira Sanders is a senior majoring in social work. She has been involved in several organizations during her time on campus and has held various leadership positions and executive roles through Dancer Hall Senate, Black Student Union, Ethnic Student Promoters, Peer Multicultural Mentoring Program and Jump Start Pathfinder. She led collaborations between the Department of Residence and Student Success and Retention to create the first Jump Start Living Learning Community, a community that will create a network of support for minoritized students.

Clare Flattery is a senior communication major with a minor in marketing. As a transfer student, she wanted to make the best of her experience at UNI and became involved in a number of organizations, including Cat Crew, Student Admissions Ambassador, Connecting Alumni to Students, UNI Dance Marathon, UNI Theatre, UNI Colleges Against Cancer, Transfer Advocacy and Involvement Group, and Live Purple Give Gold. She has encouraged countless first-year and transfer students to find their place at UNI. "It’s about showing hard work outside of meeting, the little things one does every day in an organization builds on the foundation of their leadership skills."

Dominique Jefferson is a senior marketing major with an economics minor. He quickly got involved on campus by joining UNI's Black Student Union, Maucker Union Advisory Board and American Marketing Association. When the opportunity arose to be a founding member of an organization on campus, he saw through the hours of commitment to bring the first National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) chapter to UNI. When one of life's biggest challenges was put in front of him, he could have given up on his education, but strong will, determination and perseverance pushed him through. After taking some time away from UNI, he returned wanting to keep Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. at UNI thriving as he worked diligently to cross a new line of chapter members.

April 11, 2019 - 8:55am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa will host a U.S. Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, in Maucker Union Ballroom on the UNI campus.

This is the eighth ceremony hosted by UNI, and more than 100 people from over 30 countries of origin will participate in this year's ceremony. This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Marshals Services, UNI Maucker Union and the UNI Police. The ceremony is free and open to the public; refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact Mark Grey, professor of anthropology, at 319-269-7905 or

April 9, 2019 - 3:20pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The North American Review (NAR), the oldest and one of the most well-regarded literary magazines in the United States, will host a writing conference April 19-21 to celebrate the magazine's 50 years on the University of Northern Iowa campus and a redesign of the magazine’s format.

Terry Tempest Williams
American author Terry Tempest Williams will give a keynote reading during the North American Review writing conference.

Writers, teachers and scholars from around the country will share their work and participate in generative writing workshops led by prominent featured writers. The conference will be launched with a keynote reading by NAR contributing editor Terry Tempest Williams at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 19, in Lang Hall Auditorium. A reception and book signing will follow.

Williams is an American author, conservationist and activist. Her writing is influenced by Mormon culture and the beautiful landscape of her home state, Utah. Her work explores ecology, wilderness preservation, women's health, and human relationships between culture and nature. Williams has received the highest honor given to an American citizen, the Robert Marshall Award. She has also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association, the Wallace Stegner Award and the Community of Christ International Peace Award.

The North American Review's summer issue will also be launched at the writing conference. A new, recently discovered poem by Allen Ginsberg, one of the most important 20th-century American poets, will be published and featured in the magazine along with an original portrait by artist Gary Kelley.

Featured writers, including award-winning essayist and poet Taylor Brorby, American writer of fantasy Kij Johnson and poet Martín Espada, will host workshops, readings and lectures throughout the day on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21.

This conference is free and open to the public. For more information about the North American Review's writing conference, including a full schedule and how to register, visit

April 8, 2019 - 1:26pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – As the snows of winter thaw and grass begins to emerge, the Good Neighbor Iowa program is renewing its efforts to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides applied to urban landscapes.

Wakema Park
Wakema Park in Center Point, Iowa

The Center Point Parks and Recreation is the latest landowner to join the University of Northern Iowa project. Wakema Park, a five-acre park in Center Point, Iowa, will now be managed without the use of weed killers, adding to a growing list of more than 188 parks across Iowa where mowed turf is managed without pesticides in order to protect child health, water quality and pollinators.

“We are looking forward to this adventure, and are always interested in ways to increase safety,” said Center Point Parks and Recreation Coordinator, Molly Stuelke.

Common lawn pesticides, which includes herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, are linked to a number of adverse health outcomes, particularly in children, such as prenatal and childhood cancers, chronic illnesses, neurodevelopmental delays and behavioral disorders.

The chemicals have also been shown to pollute local water supplies, pose a danger to pets and undermine bees and other pollinators by reducing biodiversity.

Moreover, many pesticides are unnecessary, said Audrey Tran Lam, environmental health program manager for UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

“This paradigm that lawns must be treated with chemicals to grow or look beautiful is not true,” Tran Lam said. “Committing to managing lawns without the use of chemicals is something individuals and institutions can do to improve the environmental health of our neighborhoods.”

Almost 350 institutions across the state have joined Good Neighbor Iowa, including 56 child care centers, 188 parks and 35 schools. The program has protected an estimated 20,000 children from pesticide exposure and prevented the application of about 62,000 pounds of the active ingredients in pesticides to Iowa watersheds.

For more information, visit

March 21, 2019 - 9:49am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa will host its annual day of giving, #LivePurpleGiveGold, on Wednesday, April 3. The day of giving will begin at midnight and conclude at 11:59 p.m. UNI has set a goal of reaching 1,200 donors supporting the university during the 24-hour event.

The day aims to bring UNI students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends together to support and impact UNI. Similar to past years, donations made during #LivePurpleGiveGold will help unlock challenge grants that impact areas across campus. If the 1,200-donor goal is reached, the university will receive a challenge grant of $12,000. Other challenges can be unlocked to benefit individual colleges, alumni clubs, athletics, students, faculty and staff. 

#LivePurpleGiveGold hopes to build on last year’s effort. During the 2018 day of giving:

  •  1,050 donors participated, setting a new single-day record for gifts to UNI for the second year in a row
  • Gifts were made from 45 different states
  • 100+ funds were supported
  • 667 alumni made a gift
  • 319 faculty and staff members made a gift

For more information, visit, and follow the UNI Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

March 19, 2019 - 9:52am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – UNI Museum will be exhibiting a conserved archaeological tusk from its collection. A mastodon tusk, unearthed near Hampton, Iowa, in 1933, is an important piece of Iowa's natural history and has been an opportunity for scientific study, conservation and interpretation. Presentation of the exhibit will be from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, on the first floor of Rod Library.

Unveiling the Tusk exhibit

The tusk exhibit serves as a benchmark for UNI Museum to engage with campus and the community. By incorporating material culture research within local schools, UNI classrooms and Iowa exhibits, the UNI Museum seeks to educate students in modern museum methods. In the future, its aim is to continue building campus partnerships and serve as a reference for small museums across the state.

Participating partners for the exhibit include the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, BioTech X-ray, Inc., the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, South Dakota School of Mines, Rod Library, UNI's Industrial Technology Center and UNI Media Services.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about this exhibit or the UNI Museum, visit or contact Nathan Arndt, UNI Museum assistant director and chief curator, at 319-273-2188 or



March 18, 2019 - 1:50pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – About 170 middle schoolers will gather at the University of Northern Iowa campus this month to participate in the college’s first-ever GeoChallenge, a competition sponsored by National Geographic that asks students to create real-world solutions to tackle real-world environmental challenges.

2017 Nat Geo Bee

UNI is one of 16 sites in the country that will host the challenge. It will take place on March 29 and will join the GeoBee, which UNI has hosted for several years, to create a full day of educational activities called GeoFest.

“The GeoChallenge is fun, and it is also ‘college and career ready’ fun,” said Alex Oberle, interim department head for the Department of Geography. “What the students learn and develop through the GeoChallenge are the skills, abilities and habits of mind that are both needed for college and valued by employers.”

This year, the theme of the GeoChallenge is Tackling Plastic, which invites students to investigate the urgent issue of plastic pollution in waterways and the ocean. Teams of students will use skills such as teamwork, research, innovation, critical thinking and persuasive communication to address the challenge. The students will create maps, models and videos as they develop their solutions to the issue.

“This is the middle school version of the same process undergraduates in our UNI Department of Geography undertake to complete class projects and undergraduate research,” Oberle, a 2018 National Geographic Society Education Fellow said.   

The GeoChallenge provides a direct pathway for these students to continue their motivation and inspiration as future UNI students, Oberle said. The finalists in both competitions will receive $200 scholarships if they choose to attend UNI.

“Sustainability is one of the values in our strategic plan, and Iowa students ‘tackling plastic’ embodies UNI’s commitment to achieving sustainability,” Oberle said.

March 12, 2019 - 2:55pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – A night of hip hop music, art, dance and performance is planned from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, March 14, in Seerley Hall, Room 115, on the University of Northern Iowa campus. The UNI community and general public are welcome to attend.

Hip Hop Travel Showcase
UNI students participate in cultural festivals in China and Thailand.

The evening is an outgrowth of community collaborations that led to students from UNI and the Waterloo Community School District performing at cultural festivals in Thailand in January and in China last fall. The travel showcase will feature video of the trips as well as live performances by the students along with guest performers from Des Moines and the Waterloo area. 

The full line-up of events includes: 

  • Video of the China trip, including performances by the Waterloo Hip Hop Literacy students at the Hangzhou Citizens Leisure Festival.
  • Video of the Thailand trip, part of the Thailand International Folklore Festival, which included the UNI hip hop dance group, The Movement.
  • Live performances by both student groups. 
  • Additional hip hop performances by Des Moines-based Hip Hope, and King Tez and Marcus Jackson, local performers. 
  • Written works and art projects by Waterloo students who are part of the Waterloo Writing Project and Youth Art Forum. 

The Waterloo students who participated in the China trip are part of the Hip Hop Literacy group in Waterloo, a summer camp co-founded by Shuaib Meacham, Ph.D., associate professor of literacy education at the UNI College of Education, and Lamont Muhammed, a teacher with the Waterloo school district. Meacham sees both trips as reflective of partnerships in place. “They really grew out of community connections that have been made. Waterloo has so many resources and talent, so it’s been one of my purposes to connect with talented artists here and bring them into connection with the hip hop program.”

The trip to China grew from a connection UNI doctoral student Dongyub Back in leisure studies had with the World Leisure Organization. This led to an application to perform at the Hangzhou festival. While in China, representatives of the Thailand festival extended an invitation to perform in January. This time, UNI undergraduate students who are part of a campus hip hop dance group called The Movement joined other local artists and performers on the trip. 

The performers in both China and Thailand were treated like celebrities, Meacham said. “In China, the global demand of U.S. hip hop was a real source of fascination. We had the youngest group there, yet had teenagers looking for our kids in hallways and wanting to know them better. Thailand was more of the same, but on a larger level, because we went to rural cities there.” 

Though the trips were not coordinated by UNI, the McElroy Trust provided support to help make the China trip possible, while the UNI College of Education, Center for Multicultural Education, Provost Office and Academic Affairs helped support the UNI students’ trip to Thailand. 

Meacham and Muhammed accompanied the Waterloo students along with independent music producer “Lyrikal TMG” Marc Anthony Nalls; Sheryl Jones, a teaching assistant in the Waterloo schools; Dacia Carter, videographer and UNI digital and communications alum; and Back. Lyrikal TMG and Back accompanied Meacham and the UNI students to Thailand.

March 11, 2019 - 1:56pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Mary E. Losch, director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) and professor of psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, has been named the 2019 recipient of the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award given by the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO) for her service and leadership in academic survey research.

Mary Losch
Mary Losch

Losch's distinguished career includes 20 years of service in the roles as director and as assistant director of UNI's Center for Social and Behavioral Research and 10 years as program director at the University of Iowa Social Science Institute. She has also served as a leader of the Institutional Review Boards, charged with the protection of research subjects, at both the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

"Mary has been instrumental in establishing CSBR's national reputation," said Brenda Bass, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "She is highly regarded for her dedication to research ethics and data quality and commended by colleagues for her ability to foster a positive work environment and strong, collaborative team. Her expertise as a researcher, scholar and leader are a tremendous asset to our college and university."

As a founding member of AASRO, Losch has been involved since its first meeting, serving the organization in many capacities, including as conference chair, Collaboration Work Group chair, Steering Committee member and now as incoming president. Losch’s professional service extends to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), where she has served as standards chair, secretary-treasurer and chair of AAPOR’s Code of Professional Ethics Review Committee. She also served on the committee that developed and implemented AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative.

Losch is also an accomplished scholar, having published more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters. As of 2018, her total grant and contract funding exceeded $23 million. She has additionally mentored countless students and research staff at both UNI and the University of Iowa.

AASRO, the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations, is dedicated to supporting and promoting excellence in survey research conducted in academic settings. The membership is made up of over 60 academic survey research organizations from across the country. For more information, visit

March 11, 2019 - 2:10pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa will host the Student Leadership Awards at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, in the Old Central Ballroom in Maucker Union. The ceremony recognizes outstanding student leadership through a series of awards presented to students and student organizations.

Several awards are presented in various categories, including three awards from the Office of the Dean of Students: the Lux Service Award, Outstanding Student Leader Award and Servant Leadership Award.

- The Lux Service Award is the most prestigious award given to graduating senior students to acknowledge their outstanding involvement and lasting legacy.

- The Outstanding Student Leader Award recognizes students that have demonstrated dedications and leadership in one or more campus activities.

- The Servant Leadership Award is presented to students who strive to serve others before themselves and promote the common good.

Other awards include the UNI CARE (Creating a Responsible Environment) Award, Northern Iowa Student Government Above and Beyond Awards, Student Organization Awards, Drake Martin Gold Star Awards, Dr. Sue Follon Scholarship for Women in Leadership and Dr. Charlotte West Scholar-Athlete Award.

Recipients of Student Leadership Awards were chosen from nominated students or student organizations throughout January and February. For more information, visit or contact Steffoni Schmidt, associate director of Student Life and Event Services, at 319-273-7422 or

March 11, 2019 - 10:34am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art and the UNI Department of Art will present the "Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition" in Kamerick Art Building (KAB) South from Monday, March 25 through Saturday, April 20.

An awards ceremony will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, March 25, in the KAB Auditorium, Room 111. The Friends of the UNI Permanent Art Collection & Gallery are co-sponsoring the opening reception, which follows the ceremony.

This competitive exhibition showcases outstanding recent artworks by students enrolled in classes in the UNI Department of Art. The juror for this year's competition is T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, assistant professor of art from the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa. Dedeaux-Norris will make a selection from approximately 300 student entries and choose a number of merit awards and honorable mentions. She will also give a lecture about her work as well as her perspective on jurying at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 13 in KAB 111.

Dedeaux-Norris (fka, Tameka Jenean Norris) was born in Guam and received her B.A. in African-American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010 and her M.F.A. in painting and printmaking from Yale University in 2012. She has completed artist residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Fountainhead, the Grant Wood Colony, the MacDowell Colony and Open Kitchen in Milwaukee. She is the 2017 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Her most recent solo exhibitions have been at the following venues: Catich Gallery, St. Ambrose University, Davenport; Ronchini Gallery, London; and Savannah College School of Art and Design, Atlanta.

All events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and by appointment. The gallery is located on the main floor of KAB South. 

For additional information, visit or contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or

March 8, 2019 - 11:15am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa will welcome about 100 English-language learners from Waterloo West High School in an effort to both develop leadership skills in current students and showcase the benefits of higher education to potential first-generation college students.

Cara Burnidge and Yasemin Sari
Cara Burnidge and Yasemin Sari

The English Language Learners Youth Conference will take place this Friday and was organized by Philosophy and Study of Religion students, and UNI’s Panther Promise Program, in partnership with Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resources Center (EMBARC), a nonprofit founded by and for refugees of Burma living in Iowa.

The conference – the first of its kind at UNI – is the culmination of a semester of work in the fall by students of Cara Burnidge, assistant professor of religion, and Yasemin Sari, assistant professor of philosophy. Their students planned and organized the conference to help participants in EMBARC’s Youth Navigators program build their leadership skills and consider college as an avenue for further leadership to help their communities, Burnidge said.

The conference will include campus tours, leadership workshops and presentations from a variety of campus organizations and entities to help the high school students understand what it takes to be successful in college and outside of it.

“The program connects UNI to the surrounding community as an important reminder and statement that we care about the region the university is in,” Burnidge said. “We are empowering a community that, with a little support, can impact the Cedar Valley in new ways.”

Minorities of Burma (also known as Myanmar) fled from the longest running civil war in the world, Burnidge said. As a refugee relocation city, Waterloo is home to an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 minorities of Burma. Since 2008, refugees of Burma make up the largest refugee population in the United States.

March 7, 2019 - 11:24am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa Women's and Gender Studies Program will host multiple events this March in honor of Women's History Month.

Highlighted events include:

- "Surviving R. Kelly & Beyond: Women and Girls of Color in the #MeToo Era" panel from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, March 11, at the Center for Multicultural Education.

- Women's and Gender Studies keynote address and book signing with Cynthia Bond, American author and former actress. Bond is author of the best-selling novel "Ruby," which was featured on Oprah's Book Club 2.0. This event is at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 26, in Sabin Hall, Room 002.

The full list of Women's History Month events can be found at

For more information, contact the Women's and Gender Studies Program at 319-273-7102 or

March 6, 2019 - 11:27am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – This spring break, two groups of exceptionally talented UNI School of Music students will travel internationally to perform around the world.

Panther Marching Band
UNI's Panther Marching Band

One hundred forty members of the UNI Panther Marching Band will travel to Ireland from March 15-22. The group has been invited to perform on March 17 in Dublin and March 18 in Limerick at parades, which are part of the St. Patrick’s Festival that sweeps across Ireland every year. In addition to the parade performances, the group will explore Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Cobh as part of its tour around the country. 

Marching band director Justin Mertz said, "The PMB has a long-standing tradition of high-profile, international parade performances and this trip continues that! Over 500,000 people will come out to watch the parade. St. Patrick’s Day is a major Irish cultural event, and it is an honor to be invited to participate in it."

The UNI Concert Chorale, under the direction of John Wiles, will also be traveling over spring break and will perform a series of concerts in Wisconsin before their international departure to Spain. The group will perform at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Badger High School and in collaboration with the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra from March 14-16. They will then head for Spain with performances scheduled at the Andalucia Music Festival in Granada, Parroquia de Santa Maria la Mayor in Ecija and the Auditorio de Tomares outside of Seville. Walking tours and visits to historical sites will pepper the group’s itinerary between performances. 

Jeffrey Funderburk, director of the UNI School of Music, stated, "In our ongoing efforts to help students to have an international experience as part of their college training, the UNI School of Music is pleased to support two ensembles traveling and performing in the coming weeks. Students consistently report that such international experiences are life altering and have tremendous impact on their view of the world. Cooperating with friends and colleagues while sharing the gift of music in an international setting is an amazing experience and one that we are very pleased to offer to students at the University of Northern Iowa."

For more information on these upcoming tours or the UNI School of Music, contact Caroline Francis, UNI School of Music communications and operations coordinator, at 319-273-2028 or

February 26, 2019 - 8:45am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa College of Education will host its bi-annual Teacher Education Induction Convocation at 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 27, in the Great Hall of the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Two hundred and seventy-five students have satisfied requirements for admissions into the UNI Teacher Education Program and are invited to participate in the formal ceremony, the official induction of students into that field of study. Jane Lindaman, superintendent of the Waterloo Community School District, will deliver the Convocation address.

This will be the 57th group of candidates inducted into the Teacher Education Program since formal ceremonies began in 1991. Parents and friends of the candidates are invited, along with UNI faculty and administrators. A reception will follow in the Gallagher Bluedorn lobby.

For more information, contact J.D. Cryer, Convocation committee chair, at 319-273-2294 or

February 21, 2019 - 11:24am


UNI NEWS SERVICES—University of Northern Iowa student Sharla Brunsvold will be brushing elbows with big-name celebrities this weekend, thanks to her internship with the exclusive Night Before Oscars event in Los Angeles.

Sharla Brunsvold
UNI senior Sharla Brunsvold


The event is a fundraiser for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, an organization that aims to provide support to workers in the entertainment industry. Brunsvold, a senior liberal studies major at UNI, is the first out-of-state student to be selected for the internship.


Brunsvold will help prepare for the event leading up to the big night, during which she’ll help facilitate the festivities. During the semester, Brunsvold works as an event coordinator for Maucker Union on campus, so she has experience doing the logistical work event planning calls for, although this is on a much bigger scale.


“The event itself will be an entirely different experience,” Brunsvold said. “The talent I will be able to meet at the event is unreal. The biggest names in Hollywood will attend, and I don’t believe I will truly understand how monumental this is until the event takes place.”


Brunsvold also interned with a Minneapolis event management company, where she had the opportunity to work as event staff for the 2018 Super Bowl.


“The opportunities [UNI has] given me are second to none,” she said. “They have allowed me to grow as an event coordinator and as a person.”

February 14, 2019 - 9:04am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa will host UNI Day at the Statehouse from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18, at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines. The event is an educational opportunity to highlight UNI's impact across the state of Iowa by showcasing programs, services, students and alumni.


UNI is committed to ensuring a reasonable, predictable cost of education for Iowa families while providing the state with the qualified applicants it needs to fill positions in high-demand fields. UNI is asking the state legislature for an additional $4 million in state appropriations for financial aid to resident undergraduates and a three-year, $38 million investment for the renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center, home of the Department of Technology. An additional $400,000 is also being asked for additive manufacturing expansion through UNI’s Metal Casting Center.

Although UNI students already graduate with less debt than the average college student, the university is striving to make education even more affordable. The additional $4 million in state funding would allow UNI to maintain tuition costs essentially at current levels and become more competitive with peer institutions, while growing enrollment in line with its facilities.

“UNI is committed to educating Iowans for Iowa,” Nook said. “That means we must continue building support for educational opportunities that are within reach for Iowa students and their families. We must also do our part to build a vibrant workforce and economy for years and generations to come.”  

Alumni are encouraged to attend UNI Day at the Statehouse to reconnect with their university and speak with their elected officials about the value of UNI.

For more information, contact the UNI Office of Governmental Relations at 319-273-6144.

February 12, 2019 - 12:07pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – For students looking to work in the nonprofit sector, a University of Northern Iowa student association is providing a head start for success in the field.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
UNI's Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at the Alliance Management Institute's national conference in Florida.

In early January, UNI’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) chapter brought home two awards from the Alliance Management Institute’s national conference in Florida, including honors for “Campus Program Excellence for Outstanding Student Association Fundraising” and first place in “Best Practices in a Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association.”

Five UNI students—sophomore Katelyn Brockmeyer and juniors Madison Gaffney, Mikaela Heikens, Jenna Hoover and Josie Riedell—were awarded first place for their presentation titled “NLA Annual Campaign: A Study in Fundraising and Student Development Best Practices.”

For the best campus fundraising awards, the Alliance Management Institute (AMI) considered the efforts of all 36 campus student associations across the country. The UNI NLA students raised a total of $22,040, which goes directly to students to attend professional development opportunities and the AMI event with no out-of-pocket expenses.

"The awards for our association validate that our students are gaining great experience in fundraising that they may not otherwise get,” said NLA advisor, Kristina Kofoot.  “We have several alumni who are now working in fundraising in the nonprofit sector. We are proud of the work that our students are doing and the impact that is going on to have in their futures."

Students who participate in NLA and earn their credential are proven to be seven times more likely to rise to the level of director or higher in a nonprofit organization, twice as likely to stay in the nonprofit sector and two years ahead of their peers when they enter the workforce,” Kofoot said.

Students in NLA are interested in working in nonprofits sectors after graduation. Through the association, as well as required courses, students earn their Certified Nonprofit Professional credential.

For more information on the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, contact Kofoot at or 319-273-4507.

February 8, 2019 - 11:36am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa's Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE) will host the S.H.I.N.E. Young Women's Conference for Educational Talent Search middle and high school students in the Waterloo Community School District Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6. Middle school students will attend March 5, and high school students will attend March 6.

Diana Patton
Inspirational speaker, Diana Patton, is the keynote for the conference.

The S.H.I.N.E. Conference, which stands for Strong, Healthy, Independent, Natural and Empowered, gives participants the opportunity to celebrate the power they hold for today and for their future. Students will join other young women from UNI-CUE's Educational Talent Search Program and outstanding female presenters who will give insight on how to be the best person they are meant to be.

Diana Patton, a dynamic and inspirational speaker who travels the world, will be the morning keynote speaker. Patton presents to organizations and women's groups on identity, improving self-image and leading personal change. An attorney and former business executive, she consults with companies on their diversity efforts and improving employee engagement. Patton believes that each student has physical, emotional, social and character development needs that are educational priorities. During her presentation, she will share her monumental journey through abuse, racism and heartache to prove no barrier is too high and no obstacle is too great.

"I want schools to really care about people," said Patton in one of her YouTube videos. "So if a young person is struggling, there are actually teams of people who will dive in and help that young person get to a state of understanding his or her self-worth."

The conference will also feature interactive breakout sessions discussing personal wellness and self-care, a lunch discussion with guest of honor Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean of UNI's College of Education, and additional breakout sessions with UNI's College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, Allen College, Dupaco Credit Union, Amani Community Services and Black Hawk County Extension.

In addition to the S.H.I.N.E. Young Women's Conference, UNI will host Patton for a free presentation to UNI students, faculty, staff and guests at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 5, in the Maucker Union Ballroom.

For more information about the S.H.I.N.E. Young Women's Conference, contact Sunni Kegebein, director of Educational Talent Search, at or 319-273-4784 or Janet Priemer, recruiter and advisor for Educational Talent Search, at or 319-273-4791.

February 7, 2019 - 11:58am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Hundreds of first graders from the Cedar Valley will participate in the 13th annual African-American Read-In, which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, in Maucker Union on the University of Northern Iowa campus. This year's featured guest is author and illustrator Janet Spivey-Gilchrist.

African-American Read-In
2018 African-American Read-In.

"The Great Migration: Journey to the North," written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Gilchrist, is her most recent picture book. It won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Honor Award. It is also a Junior Library Guild Best Book, a NAACP Nomination, a Cooperative Children's Book Center Best Books for 2012 and Georgia State Nominee.

Gilchrist’s first children’s book, "Children of Long Ago," written by Lessie Jones Little (1988) won the Parents’ Choice Award. She has illustrated over 73 award-winning books for children since then. 

For more information, visit or contact Gloria Holmes, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, at 319-273-2007 or

February 7, 2019 - 11:34am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – The University of Northern Iowa College of Education will host the eighth annual African-American Children and Families Conference from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Friday, Feb. 22, in the Schindler Education Center. A pre-conference will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, in Maucker Union. The theme for this year's conference is "The Power of Our People, Strength Through History, Culture, Hope, Experience and Collective Stories."

African-American Children and Families Conference

This conference is designed for educators, administrators, childcare providers, law enforcers, policy makers, health care professionals, social workers, business leaders and students of all ages. The goal of the conference is to promote a better understanding of culture, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status and the needs of African-American families. Participants will engage in networking, sharing ideas and meeting new colleagues to improve the quality of life for African-American children and families.

Keynote speakers for this event are Jamila Lyiscott, social justice education scholar, nationally renowned speaker, spoken-word artist and educational consultant, and Louis Hilton, former professor of history of African-American education and currently an educational consultant. Mickye Wilfred Johnson, director of UNI's Classic Upward Bound, is the keynote speaker for the pre-conference.

Both conferences are open to the public; registration is free for UNI students and faculty as well as middle and high school students. For more information or to register, visit or contact Gloria Kirkland-Holmes, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, at 319-273-2007 or


February 1, 2019 - 3:10pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES—Documentary filmmaker S. Leo Chiang will visit the University of Northern Iowa from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6 to speak and screen two of his works.

Chiang will screen and discuss the following films:

S. Leo Chiang
S. Leo Chiang

- 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, "Out Run" (Runtime: 75 minutes), Lang Hall Auditorium.

- 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5, "A Village Called Versailles" (Runtime: 67 minutes), Curris Business Building—John Deere Auditorium, Room 109.

He will also speak in a public lecture at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Rod Library Scholar Space, Room 301.

S. Leo Chiang is an independent documentarian. His Emmy® Award-nominated film, "A Village Called Versailles," about the rebuilding and transformation of the Vietnamese American community in post-Katrina New Orleans, picked up eight film festival awards, aired on PBS Independent Lens series and has been acquired by more than 200 libraries.

His most recent documentary, "Out Run," which profiles the only LGBT political party in the world, premiered at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and won Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. 

His other films include "Mr. Cao Goes to Washington" (Inspiration Award 2012, PBS broadcast 2013), "To You Sweetheart, Aloha" (PBS broadcast 2006), "One + One" (CINE Golden Eagle Award 2002) and "Safe Journey" ( Short Movie Award 2002).His most recent documentary, "Out Run," which profiles the only LGBT political party in the world, premiered at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and won Best Cinematography at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. 

 Born in Taiwan and based in San Francisco, Chiang holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering and received his MFA in film production from the University of Southern California. His work has received support from funders such as Sundance, Tribeca, Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). He has taught documentary production at the University of California at Santa Cruz, University of California at Berkeley, Northwestern University and the Communication University of China. He is a co-founder of the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc) and previously the co-chair of New Day Films, the social-issue documentary distribution co-operative. Chiang is a consulting producer for CNEX, the Chinese documentary foundation and a Documentary branch member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, also see and

January 31, 2019 - 3:49pm


Although the government shutdown is over, one thing that has remained the same is that when national media are looking for political expertise, they are turning to the University of Northern Iowa.

Donna Hoffman

Political Science Professor Donna Hoffman was quoted in a CNN story last week, offering her perspective on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to cancel President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address until the government reopens.

Hoffman this week was also a guest on the NPR show 1A, broadcast on American University Radio, discussing whether the State of the Union address is still necessary.Political science professor Donna Hoffman was quoted in a CNN story last week, offering her perspective on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to cancel President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address until the government reopens.

Hoffman, a nationally known scholar in the areas of the United States presidency and elections, is the co-author of the book “Addressing the State of the Union: The Evolution and Impact of the President’s Big Speech.”

“I am extremely proud of our faculty and the work they do, and it is wonderful to see it recognized at a national level,” said Brenda Bass, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science. “The quality of Hoffman’s work is a good example of the excellence found in our faculty within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and UNI overall.  And critical to the mission of UNI, this faculty expertise gets shared with students in the classroom.”

CNN link:

NPR link:

January 31, 2019 - 12:00am


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Accounting students at the University of Northern Iowa are providing free income tax assistance again this year through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Assistance in the preparation of tax returns will be available on Monday and Wednesday nights from Feb. 11 through April 10 (excluding March 18 and 20 of spring break week). Returns for foreign students and scholars will be prepared beginning Monday, March 4.

Returns are being prepared from 6 to 8 p.m., with registration taking place in Room 223 of the Curris Business Building on the UNI campus. No appointment is necessary; Room 223 will open at 5:30 p.m. You are encouraged to arrive early to allow students sufficient time to complete your return. Only a limited number of returns will be completed each night. 

VITA was established by the Internal Revenue Service to help low income taxpayers who may find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. The program also provides accounting students an experiential learning opportunity as they work with taxpayers.

Students will be available to electronically prepare and e-file federal and Iowa tax returns for eligible taxpayers. Accounting students have completed a one-semester comprehensive tax course, plus additional training for IRS certification, and have access to a variety of federal and state reference materials.

Taxpayers seeking assistance should bring: social security cards for the taxpayer, spouse and dependents; valid photo identification; a copy of last year’s Federal and Iowa tax returns; Form W-2, "Wage and Tax Statement," from each employer; Forms 1099, for such things as interest, dividends or retirement payments; a list of other income and expenses; Form 1098-E, student loan interest statement; Form 1098-T, tuition payment statement (also bring institution billing statement); banking information (account and routing numbers) for automatic deposit of refund; and all other information pertinent to your 2018 tax return. Clients will also be asked about health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents. If you received a Form 1095-A (Health Insurance Marketplace), Form 1095-B or 1095-C statement, please bring it with you to indicate your health insurance coverage.

For more information, call the UNI Department of Accounting at 319-273-2394.

January 25, 2019 - 11:52am


The University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE) will be honored with a Heritage Legacy Award for outstanding organization Friday to recognize its commitment and impact to the African-American community.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith is the executive director of the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE).

The UNI Center for Urban Education’s mission is to provide a positive environment for lifetime learning in which underserved populations may pursue and continue their educational goals and prepare for careers. Annually, they serve over 17,000 participants via services such as tutoring, ACT Prep and assistance for adults seeking post-secondary education. Historically, they have housed such powerhouse programs as Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and the Educational Opportunity Center.  

“It’s an honor to receive this award,” said Robert Smith, the center’s executive director. “We live by this statement at UNI-CUE: ‘Earned, not given.’”

Recently, the center started the Panther Promise Program (3P) to introduce more minority students to higher education. 3P provides preventative measures, financial and personal advising, access to special workshops related to academics and financial literacy, and advising on student goals. It offers personalized attention to students as they transition from high school into a university.

Joy Briscoe, whose children utilized the center’s services while attending West High School in Waterloo, nominated UNI-CUE for the award.

“(The center) has long been a leader in our community, striving to provide equitable opportunities in education for all,” Briscoe said. “It wasn’t until I became a parent, watching my own children participate in their services, that the impact they have made in the Cedar Valley and beyond truly registered with me. Their assistance with my daughter, preparing her for college and her ACTs, was priceless. As a result, she received a full scholarship to New York University, graduated with the second-highest GPA in her class and is now in her junior year.”

The Heritage Legacy Awards are given out by I'll Make Me a World in Iowa, a diverse collection of Iowans who highlight African-American arts, culture and contributions through education, awareness and preservation. The Heritage Legacy Award recognizes Iowans whose creative and civic activities in African-American life and culture in Iowa have contributed to making the world and the state a better place for all.

The awards gala will be Friday evening at the Hilton Downtown in Des Moines.

January 18, 2019 - 10:26am


UNI NEWS SERVICES—A University of Northern Iowa student group has been recognized as outstanding for the third time by a national organization.

The UNI Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society received an outstanding award from the society – the highest of three distinctions awarded to student groups – for the 2017-18 academic year.

Halloween House
UNI chemistry students perform Halloween-themed science demonstrations for students and community members at the annual Halloween House event.

“The Outstanding award they have received from the ACS is a recognition that they are conducting a large number of well-run activities that are excelling in assisting students to prepare for careers as chemists and other related scientific careers, while helping them enjoy their time as students at UNI,” said Colin Weeks, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The student chapter is perhaps best known for hosting its annual Halloween House, an event where UNI students perform Halloween-themed science demonstrations for all ages. Last year, the event was attended by about 1,200 students and community members.

The purpose of the student chapters is to foster the professional development of students and carry out service activities related to chemistry and education. The chapter organized group travel to the national meeting of the American Chemical Society to make presentations on the research they have done at UNI, as well as arrange visits to chemical-related companies and graduate schools in the region.

“The outstanding award from the ACS shows that the student chapter at UNI makes a large contribution to creating an environment that is an excellent place for students to prepare for careers in chemistry, biochemistry and related fields,” Weeks said. “The award is also evidence that the student chapter's activities are making substantial contributions to engaging K-12 students and developing their interest in and understanding of science.”

The student chapter also received outstanding awards in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

January 17, 2019 - 1:39pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES—The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art will present an exhibition titled "An Art Collection Travelogue" from Monday, Jan. 14, through Saturday, March 2. Please note, the gallery will be closed Monday, Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

At 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Kamerick Art Building, Room 111, artist Paul Valadez will present a lecture titled "The Potlatch Project, the Artwork of Paul Valadez." An opening reception will follow.

An Art Collection Travelogue

"An Art Collection Travelogue" is a UNI Permanent Art Collection exhibition curated by Gallery Director Darrell Taylor that features the installation "Paper Border" by Paul Valadez, eleven large-scale drawings from Mary Frisbee Johnson’s "Navigating" series, newly acquired ceramics by Dean and Gunnar Schwarz and a remarkably pristine tapa bark cloth from the Polynesian island of Tonga. Most of these artworks are being displayed for the first time.

The UNI Permanent Art Collection is a rich resource for the Cedar Falls, Waterloo and university communities in that it provides the viewer an opportunity to view significant artworks by world-renowned artists and a wide range of representation from the past few centuries of art movements, styles and genres.

The most important aspect of the collection, however, is its versatility. For instance, countless topics may be addressed in Valadez’s "Paper Border," such as the seasons, emotions, time and cultural boundaries; and Johnson’s "Navigating" series is a witty look at tourism, geography and even land use. The contemporary ceramics of Decorah-area artists Dean and Gunnar Schwarz are invested in the landscape and lifeways of eastern Iowa via influences from the pottery traditions of South Korea, Japan, Panama, Israel and the European Bauhaus movement.

Additionally, the exhibition will include a pairing of objects by ceramist Edwin Scheier and printmaker Charles Barth, both of whom were influenced by the art and culture of Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as 19th century lithographs by Louis Haghe that depict the city of Benares, the most visited Hindu pilgrimage site in India.

All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the main floor of the Kamerick Art Building, and its hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and by appointment.

For additional information, visit or contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or


January 17, 2019 - 1:42pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES—The University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art will present an exhibition in the Mary Haskell-Hansen Room of the gallery, a UNI Permanent Art Collection exhibition titled "In and After the Anthropocene." It will be open to the public on the following dates: Jan. 14 - March 2; March 25 - April 20; and April 29 - May 11. Please note, the gallery will be closed Monday, Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

In and After the Anthropocene

In and After the Anthropocene" was co-curated by Elizabeth Sutton and Gallery Director Darrell Taylor. Sutton states, "In order to mark humans’ profound impact to the Earth and its organisms, Dutch chemist Paul Crutzen popularized the term "Anthropocene" to denote a new geological epoch. The art selected for this exhibition suggests varieties of life from a human perspective, and it provides views into spaces, pre- and post-human. Thus art, as ever, can serve as a reflection of our narcissism as a species."

The exhibition includes artworks by British printmaker Elisabeth Frink, Chicago artist Phyllis Bramson, San Diego artist Suda House and a large-scale woodcut by Hannah March Sanders who is printmaking area head at Southeast Missouri State University. Other artworks include a stone carving by Zimbabwean artist Fanizani Akuda and screenprints by Korean ceramist Sunkoo Yuh and American artist Mark Dion, which were completed in the UNI Printmaking Labs under the direction of professors Tim Dooley and Aaron Wilson.

Finally, Texas artist Paul Valadez’s screenprint, "Abuela," will be displayed for the first time. Incidentally, Valadez’s remarkable installation, "Paper Border," will also be on view in the Gallery exhibition titled "An Art Collection Travelogue," which runs from Jan. 14 through March 2, 2019.

All events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the main floor of the Kamerick Art Building, and its hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and by appointment.

For additional information, visit or contact Darrell Taylor, director of the UNI Gallery of Art, at 319-273-6134 or

January 17, 2019 - 1:44pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES—The University of Northern Iowa's newly formed Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice will host an open house Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Center for Multicultural Education on the UNI campus. Information sessions will begin at 9 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.

DIS Open House

The Center for Multicultural Education, Military & Veteran Student Services, and Gender & Sexuality Services have merged into a cohesive unit that will advance inclusion and social justice through advocacy and support of underrepresented and marginalized students, provide diversity education for all of its community members, and promote a safe and welcoming environment that fosters academic success, a sense of belonging, and respect for all people and cultures.

"UNI is embarking on exciting times as it relates to diversity and inclusion," said Jamie Butler Chidozie, director of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. "Society is changing. Students are coming to our institution with varying experiences. We are aligning ourselves with that change. We want to message to all that UNI is not only a place where you belong but that we are expecting you. UNI will look different but also feel different, and that's good."

The open house on Jan. 24 is free and open to the public. For more information about the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, contact the office at 319-273-2250 or

January 11, 2019 - 1:49pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES—In its continuing effort to keep tuition affordable and competitive while providing high-quality education, the University of Northern Iowa is asking the state legislature for an additional $4 million in state appropriations for financial aid to resident undergraduates.

In addition to the general fund request, the university requested a three-year, $38 million investment for the renovation and expansion of the Industrial Technology Center, home of UNI’s Department of Technology. The extensive transformation will modernize the facility and increase its enrollment capacity by 40 percent to better meet Iowa’s workforce needs in construction, manufacturing and engineering technology industries.

Metal Casting Center
UNI proposes to modernize and expand the Industrial Technology Center to serve the workforce needs of Iowa industry and better prepare teachers to teach STEM and career and technical education disciplines.

Combined, the requests represent UNI’s commitment to ensuring a reasonable, predictable cost of education for Iowa families while providing the state with the qualified applicants it needs to fill positions in high-demand fields.

“We know that the cost of college is a concern for many students,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “Our goal with our new budget process is to provide the high-quality education that our state needs at a price that students and their families across the state can afford.” 

UNI has been a recognized national leader in reducing debt. In the four years from 2012 to 2016, UNI lowered the average undergraduate student debt by more than $2,000, and they are now $4,959 below the national average. The college’s program and its impact on student borrowing has been featured by the American Council on Education. UNI was also ranked as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

Although UNI students already graduate with less debt than the average college student, the university is committed to making education even more affordable. The additional $4 million in state funding would allow UNI to maintain tuition costs essentially at current levels and become more competitive with peer institutions, while growing enrollment in line with its facilities.

Meanwhile, the state has more job vacancies than workers to fill them. These jobs demand highly skilled workers in dynamic industries, such as teachers, accountants, construction managers and operations specialists.

UNI is situated to meet these state employment needs. Its programs in business and education are nationally recognized, and more than 85 percent of UNI’s graduates remain in the state to work, with the vast majority leaving college with experience directly related to their future careers.

“UNI is committed to educating Iowans for Iowa,” Nook said. “That means we must continue building support for educational opportunities that are within reach for Iowa students and their families. We must also do our part to build a vibrant workforce and economy for years and generations to come.”  

UNI’s total state appropriation request for the 2020 fiscal year is $99.7 million for the general education fund, with an additional $5.7 million for special purpose units and $2.3 million for economic development.


January 8, 2019 - 4:07pm


UNI NEWS SERVICES – Bruce Mack has been named interim vice president of University Advancement at the University of Northern Iowa. Mack most recently served as director of Development for Regional Programs at University of Nevada, Reno. He also served as associate vice president for Development and Alumni Relations and associate executive director and secretary of the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation. Mack will assume his duties at UNI on Jan. 10, 2019.

Bruce Mack
Bruce Mack has been named interim VP of University Advancement at UNI. He will begin his new duties on Jan. 10, 2019.

"Bruce is a skilled administrator with a background in managing professional and volunteer relationships, marketing, organizational enhancement and program development," said UNI President Mark Nook. "His expertise with fundraising and capital projects will transition well to UNI, and his leadership will lay the foundation for the permanent vice president of University Advancement."

Mack said he is looking forward to working with the UNI community and Advancement division.

"I am grateful to President Nook and other members of the campus community for the opportunity to come to the University of Northern Iowa," said Mack. "I am impressed with what the university has achieved to date in raising private gift support and look forward to working with people on campus to identify new and increased sources of philanthropic support."

While at the University of Nevada, Reno, Mack worked with the vice president for Development and Alumni Relations to successfully increase the university's annual fundraising results from $20-$25 million to $40-$60 million, managed a portfolio of prospective donors, developed the plans and coordinated work for the university's $500 million capital campaign—"Building What Comes Next: The Campaign for the New Nevada"—and served on committees that successfully completed fundraising for multiple campus buildings.

Mack has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Adult and Continuing Education and a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University. Before his time at the University of Nevada, Reno, Mack served numerous colleges and universities in advancement and development roles.

Mack replaces Lisa Baronio, who announced in December 2018 that she was leaving her role at UNI after nearly four years of service. UNI is conducting a nationwide search for the vice president of University Advancement.

January 4, 2019 - 3:13pm


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – University of Northern Iowa Rod Library’s Special Collections & University Archives has been selected to receive Preservation Assistance Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the amount of $5,986. The grants were awarded for the project “Improving Preservation Policies and Practices for Rod Library Manuscripts and University Archives,” which is under the direction of Jaycie Vos, special collections coordinator/university archivist and assistant professor at Rod Library.

This project will improve preservation in Special Collections & University Archives at UNI, which will support future research, teaching and outreach. The focus will be manuscripts and university archives, which consist of 5,400+ linear feet of print, audiovisual and large format items that document experiences from diverse perspectives in activities, ideas and change across education, arts, culture, politics and social life on campus and across the region. Materials reflect research, teaching and creation in the humanities, such as faculty papers, and records from groups supporting humanities engagement, such as local art festivals. Other materials reflect political, social and civic activities by local and regional organizations and leaders, such as Sen. Charles Grassley’s papers.

The grant will support a site visit by a preservation consultant, resulting in a report identifying goals for improved policies and practices to align with professional standards, a training workshop for library staff and colleagues at neighboring institutions, and supplies. The project will take place from Jan. 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

For more information, visit or contact Vos at 319-273-6307 or

December 17, 2018 - 11:16am


UNI NEWS SERVICES — VP of University Advancement and Foundation President Lisa Baronio announced earlier today that she will be leaving her role at the University of Northern Iowa following the end of the calendar year.

"UNI afforded me an amazing opportunity to work closely with talented staff, faculty and administrators to help transform lives of deserving students through the generosity of many alumni and friends,” said Baronio. “UNl's trajectory is on the rise under the leadership of President Nook, and the path ahead is bright. Rafael and I will reflect fondly on our time with the Panther family."

Lisa Baronio
VP of University Advancement and Foundation President, Lisa Baronio, addresses attendees of the 2018 President's Distinguished Alumni Celebration.

Prior to joining UNI, Baronio served as vice president for Alumni Relations and Development at Trinity University in San Antonio, vice president for advancement at the University of North Texas, vice president for development at the University of Connecticut Foundation, associate vice president for development at the Wichita State University Foundation and director of corporate relations at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

“During her tenure, Baronio was instrumental in implementing many best practices at the UNI Foundation,” remarked President Nook. “Her ability to successfully meld the UNI Foundation and UNI Alumni Association into today’s cohesive UNI Advancement team was no small task and one worthy of praise.”

UNI Advancement successfully raised more than $85 million and distributed more than $20 million to UNI endeavors during Baronio’s tenure. Her impact went beyond dollars as she helped grow the UNI Foundation Board of Trustees to 37 members by adding 16 highly successful trustees.

“Lisa did an outstanding job creating the Outreach and Annual Giving team that is now housed in a renovated space in the Commons,” said Board Chairman Dave Takes. “The board is proud that this team consistently raises more than $725,000 in unrestricted dollars annually while also supporting broader giving options."

The Alumni Relations team has also flourished, expanding their programming to host more than 100 events for more than 10,000 alumni annually. Alumni Association dues were eliminated under Baronio’s watch, immediately growing membership to all 118,000 living alumni.

“As a Waterloo native, Lisa was uniquely positioned to help us grow the Purple Circle,” commented President Nook. “With the steadfast work of the Advancement Division, our campus and community partners, we will continue to grow that circle.”

UNI will appoint an experienced external higher education advancement professional to serve as interim prior to Baronio’s departure. A search for a permanent replacement will commence in January.

December 13, 2018 - 11:04am


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa will host its annual fall Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, in the McLeod Center. This year’s Commencement speaker delivering the student address is Jo Ellen Latham, a candidate for Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership.

Approximately 560 graduates will participate in Commencement. The names of candidates will be read by Nichole Zumbach Harken, instructor of communication studies.

The individual receiving an honorary degree is Jane Jennison Elliott. Elliott is an internationally known teacher, lecturer, race activist and advocate for diversity education. She is a Riceville, Iowa, native and UNI alumna. She earned a teaching certificate in 1954 and degree in elementary education in 1974.

Like mane Panthers, after graduating from UNI, Elliott returned to her hometown to give back to her community and to the state of Iowa and started teaching third grade. She developed a world-famous teaching strategy to demonstrate how easily prejudice, inequality and racism can exist and thrive and how education about structural inequality can prevent it and change people's lives for the better. Elliott's "blue eyes/brown eyes" exercise was initiated in 1968 when, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she realized that simply having a discussion about racism with her classroom full of all-white students would not effectively teach them about the cultural impact and legacy of prejudice, structural inequality and racism.

The Commencement ceremony will be streamed live at For more information, visit

November 2, 2018 - 10:46am


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa is hosting its first Panther Push Day on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Panther Push Day is a chance to share Panther pride with family and friends who are seeking an engaging and challenging education. The university always welcomes student referrals, but this day has been set aside to give those new student referrals an extra "push."

Students, faculty and staff can stop by Maucker Union from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 8 to manually refer a new student at a bank of computers. Prizes will be available for students who participate in Panther Push Day in the Union, including a $500 scholarship. Participants can also fill out the "Refer a Student" form on the Panther Push Day webpage

For more information about Panther Push Day, visit or follow the #PantherPush hashtag.

October 25, 2018 - 2:01pm


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Cassie Mathes has been named director of University Relations at the University of Northern Iowa. Mathes is currently director of University Relations and Marketing at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. She will assume her new duties at UNI on Nov. 30.

Cassie Mathes
Cassie Mathes

"Cassie is an accomplished marketing and communications professional, and her strong higher education background will serve the University Relations team and the campus community well," said UNI President Mark Nook. "I'm delighted that she will be a part of the Panther family and will bring her skills and expertise to UNI."

Mathes holds a master's degree in communication from Missouri State University and a bachelor's degree in communication from Missouri Southern State University. Prior to her time at Missouri Southern, she served in a variety of roles within the Office of University Marketing and Communication at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and also worked at a newspaper and TV station.

Mathes replaces Scott Ketelsen, who left UNI in June to become the executive director of Communication, Alumni and External Relations for the University of Iowa's College of Nursing.