Summer Updates

Rod Library

At the August meeting, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the appointment of Christopher Cox as Dean, Rod Library. Chris plans to move to campus the end of August. He has served as Dean of Libraries at Western Washington University since 2008. Chris brings a wealth of experience and we are excited to welcome him to our UNI family. Special thanks to the search committee, chaired by Michael Licari.

UNI Museums

As of July 1st, administration of the UNI Museums has moved from the Division of Continuing Education and Special Programs to Rod Library. While the principal Museum building has closed to the public, the staff remains at work reviewing and refining selected collections, seeking new exhibit and storage space across campus, and preparing for continued support of University programs and classes. The Rural School Papers, currently located in Special Collections & University Archives in Rod Library, are being prepared for cataloging using the Archon archival system; this process, which will enhance access, is expected to begin in the fall. Museum resources will remain available for use by University faculty, staff, and students, and internships will continue to be made available.

Fall Faculty Workshop and New Faculty Orientation

Thirteen new term, tenured and tenure-track faculty will join UNI this fall. To introduce them to campus, New Faculty Orientation takes place August 14-15, and will focus on information that our new colleagues need up-front to get settled in at UNI, such as benefits, library orientation, technology resources, student services, and what it’s like to teach UNI students. In addition to the initial new faculty orientation, the provost’s office is sponsoring on-going activities for new faculty throughout the year that focus on issues such as faculty governance, balancing teaching and scholarship/creative activity, choosing service commitments wisely, and getting involved on campus. Please encourage your new colleagues to attend as many of these sessions as they can.

The 2012 Fall Faculty Workshop is scheduled for August 16. Dr. Todd Zakrasjek, Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will lead a workshop on “How Students Learn: Strategies for Teaching from the Psychology of Learning.” Research shows that students learn best when the mind is actively engaged, and there is a great deal of scholarly literature that deals specifically with how we can increase such engagement. The workshop draws on this literature to show how we can teach so that students can learn more effectively, can successfully encode information into long-term memory, and know when they’ve learned well. The workshop is set up to give faculty from all disciplines a number of different strategies for enhancing student learning. A dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Zakrasjek received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Ohio University, and has given workshops and keynote speeches in over 30 states.  Faculty can register for the workshop here:

FY13 Budget Allocations

For the first time in three years, UNI is not facing a budget reduction!  We have an increase of about $1,500,000 in our base budget and one-time funds of $750,000. Each vice president made a presentation requesting the available funding. The Academic Affairs request for permanent funding was $2.2 million and the one-time funding request was $2.5 million.  The provost prioritized the request and each vice president made a presentation detailing the rationale for the request. After deliberation, the president made the final decisions. From the one-time funding, Academic Affairs received $272,020 for the following:

  • Eyegaze Tracking Technology to expand our research capacity on obtaining visual data from subjects. A group of researchers from the Colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Humanities, Arts and Sciences have formed a research cluster using eyegaze tracking. ($59,720)

  • Funding for books, e-books and audio-visual materials. Rod Library’s recurring materials budget has remained static since FY 2002-03. The purchases will result in expanding our resources to support teaching and research. ($50,000)

  • Funding for JSTOR Arts & Sciences Collections to provide access to refereed journals from diverse academic publishers. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service initiated by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  This request includes over 630 journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.  ($38,000)

  • Library Learning Commons will repurpose Library space to provide an environment that facilitates interactions, cross disciplinary learning and increased research exploration. ($75,000)

  • Purchase Studio Abroad software to automate study abroad office processes. It will help the Study Abroad Center recruit non-UNI students to take part in SAC courses (resulting in increased UNI enrollment and revenue), replace with on-line publications the reams of paper-based publications used by the office, replace the homegrown Student International Travel Registry with a product that will more effectively monitor student, faculty and staff overseas travel and much more. ($49,000)

 Academic Affairs was granted $490,040 to its permanent base to fund the following:

  • Faculty hires in strategically selected areas. $300,000 will be allocated in FY13 on a permanent basis. However, since faculty will not be hired this year, these funds can be used for one-time expenses in FY13. $200,000 will be allocated toward funding IT’s one-time need for network upgrades; $50,000 to renovate space in SEC for clinical faculty and the remaining $50,000 for Academic Affairs initiatives.

  • Adopt a new funding model for the International Student Exchange Program that follows best practices. Outgoing UNI students (studying abroad) will pay UNI tuition rate, which is then used to pay the tuition of incoming international exchange students. These funds are needed to correct the model and fund IP Office staff salaries. ($103,000 plus matching funds of  $125,000)

  • Reestablish the Center for Teaching Excellence that focuses on providing professional development for faculty and resources related to the scholarship of teaching and learning.  ($35,000 + $15,000 match from Academic Affairs)

  • Fund one Academic Advisor in the College of Education to assist with recruitment, retention and support of students. ($52,040)

Detailed information on savings from ESIP and Phased Retirements for FY13 is forthcoming.

Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs

The position of Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs is currently being restructured. The provost’s office is presently conducting research evaluating job descriptions at the other Regent institutions and at our peer institutions. The goal is for the position to be more faculty-centered. An additional attorney (part-time) will be hired to assist with legal responsibilities.

Cornerstone FY 2013

The Cornerstone project is serving our UNI students well. During 2012-2013 we will be increasing the number of sections being offered from 10 to 21. New and returning faculty participated in a two week summer faculty development workshop during the May term. Collaboration with Student Affairs will continue next year as will the collaboration with the library. In addition to more than doubling of the number of Cornerstone sections being offered, we are experiencing tremendous growth in the areas of Peer Teaching Assistants (PTAs) and projects related to the common read. The Peer Teaching Assistant program will be expanded to cover a select number of first-year only courses in the LAC (i.e. Intro to Biology, Theatre and Society, World Religions, Intro to Astronomy and Soundscapes). Some returning Cornerstone faculty have also been involved in additional common read related activities, including obtaining a grant from Humanities Iowa and collaborating on a new Freshman Leadership Academy being run through International Programs.


Three UNI faculty are 2012-13 Fulbright recipients. Congratulations! We are extremely proud of our Fulbright scholars.

  • Bettina Fabos, Communications Studies, will conduct research at Central European University in Hungary. Fabos' project will include researching 10 Hungarian photographic archives in order to create a visualization of 20th century history in the country.

  • Kevin Finn, Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services, will also conduct research in Hungary. The University of West Hungary will host Finn as he studies the physical activity levels of inhabitants in the northwest portion of the country.

  • Tammy Gregersen, Languages & Literatures, will teach a graduate course in language assessment at the University of Santiago in Chile. The course will professionally develop K through 12 teachers and generate curriculum for potential student exchanges.

Karen Mitchell, Full Professor in Performance Studies in the Department of Communication Studies, is the provost’s office new Diversity Fellowship recipient. Dr. Mitchell joined UNI in 1991, tenured 1996. She was among the first in Academic Affairs to volunteer to become a certified facilitator with the National Coalition Builders Institute to conduct workshops on campus, in 2010. She is the founding director of UNI’s SAVE (Students Against a Violent Environment) Forum Actors that present interactive workshops on campus, and she is the Artistic Director of UNI Interpreters Theatre.

Jody Stone, a science education professor at the University of Northern Iowa, has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science and are awarded annually. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.

Update on Strategic Plan Implementation

A meeting of designated Points took place May 14 to review progress on the process and to share successes and challenges. Current Step: We are collecting progress updates on each of the 87 Draft Action Plans associated with the 49 Level 3 Strategies. These will provide the raw material for the Annual Progress Report (second year). 

Associate deans are refining the Deans’ Indicators for the 9 strategies assigned to the Deans. We are applying the principles of first looking at indicators that are already being collected by UNI and then see if proposed indicators will work across all colleges. The goal is to be practical, economical and useful.  The most recent ones chosen are being evaluated by OSP, IR, and OIP to make sure that those units supplying the data of the selected Indicators are in agreement as to the appropriateness.

Our web site is being revised by Charles Sanders and will include links to other UNI strategic plans, links to significant initiatives associated with the strategies of the UNI Strategic Plan, and links to Progress Indicators.

Campus Coalition Builders

The UNI team of staff and soon student volunteers, known as the Campus Coalition Builders (CCB), will kick off a semester of free community-building workshops by offering a full day diversity immersion titled: “Welcoming Diversity and Building Community Through the NCBI Model,” Wednesday, August 15th, from 8:30-4 p.m., lunch and snacks included.

This workshop builds on the previous 3-hour workshops offered, but there is no prerequisite to attend. It is a high energy, hands-on approach where participants:

  • Recognize the multiple layers of diversity in the group

  • Identify the impact of oppressive behaviors and attitudes on themselves and others

  • Practice practical interpersonal skills to empower effective leaders and allies

  • Promote the creation of a supportive, inclusive campus community

All workshops are facilitated by UNI members who have completed three days of training and are certified by the National Coalition Building Institute ( The group extends a special invitation to those interested in joining the CCB to help facilitate or provide support for future workshops. Please recommend it to students and staff. Members attend a monthly get together and must participate in 1-2 workshops a semester. Pre-registration for the workshop is required: Seating is limited. For more information, contact Victoria DeFrancisco ( or Alisa Weeks 273-2519.

New Programs Approved

Three new programs were approved by the BOR at the August meeting. Programs include a bachelor of arts in interactive digital studies, a bachelor of arts in graphic design and a master of arts in teaching English in secondary schools. The programs in graphic design and teaching English existed previously, but are now stand alone degrees. Interactive digital studies, an interdisciplinary program, builds on strengths across the university.