UNI receives Carver grant to enhance graduate education

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2005

Susan Koch, dean, Graduate College, (319) 273-2748
Ruth Ratliff, vice president, University Advancement, (319) 273-6078
Melissa Barber, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa, long known for undergraduate programs, has received a three-year, $295,500 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to enhance graduate education.

The grant helps UNI with further development of a graduate community within the overall university environment through seminars, focused readings, group discussion, hands-on activities, demonstrations and small group instruction.

'Because graduate faculty have their disciplinary 'homes' in many different departments and colleges, and often teach both undergraduate and graduate courses, creating an intentional graduate community will enhance learning for graduate students and prepare them more effectively to be successful in their graduate studies and beyond,' said Susan Koch, dean of the Graduate College and author of the proposal.

Modeled after a successful undergraduate project at UNI (also funded by the Carver Trust) that focuses on innovative instructional strategies and educational technology applications for UNI's general education program, the Graduate Education Program will bring together graduate faculty and students to promote intellectual communication, share instructional technology tools and methods and develop new ideas for interdisciplinary education and research at the graduate level.

According to Koch, 'many of the breakthroughs in addressing societal problems and generating new knowledge and solutions occur at the interface between disciplines, so developing the ability to work with others across disciplinary lines is an essential part of the graduate experience.'

The project will provide one institute each summer beginning in 2006 with 20 graduate faculty participants in each session, as well as follow-up activities for faculty communities and faculty/student projects that develop throughout the year. Possible themes include: examining applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to various interdisciplinary problems such as crime prevention, public health, business marketing, natural resource management, and urban planning; examining current and future immigrant patterns in Iowa and related challenges with UNI's Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration; and studying parenting and school achievement with UNI's College of Education, as well as faculty in psychology, sociology, biology and social work.

Graduate education at UNI began in 1953 with a master's degree in education. Additional graduate programs have been developed during the past 50 years to serve the needs of graduate-prepared professionals throughout Iowa and beyond. Graduate enrollment now comprises 1,600 students (about 12 percent of the total student population).

The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust was created through the will of Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist who died in 1981. It is the largest private foundation in Iowa and supports biomedical and scientific research, scholarships, and programs addressing the educational and recreational needs of youth.