A 21st century education center

The University of Northern Iowa has been preparing educators for the last 140 years. But the Schindler Education Center – the building that serves as home to students and faculty in the College of Education – has only been around for 44.

When construction of the six-story structure was completed in 1973, the education center was considered a state-of-the-art facility where future educators could learn effective and innovative teaching methods for use in their own classroom some day.

Schindler Education Center

"The building has been transformed into a vibrant, modern learning environment – inspiring collaboration, strengthening a sense of community and heralding a new beginning for preparing teacher educators."

But the needs of today’s students are different than students 40 years ago. Times have changed – and the Schindler Education Center needed to change with them.

In the summer of 2015, the building was cleared out and gutted over the next 18 months as part of an extensive redesign spearheaded by experts specializing in educational the facilities. The goal was to update the building to better serve students who would be expected to lead classrooms in the 21st century.

Outdated classrooms and dingy lecture auditoriums have been transformed into more flexible and collaborative learning spaces. Chalkboards, now a relic of a bygone era, have been replaced with interactive television monitors and active learning technologies. These upgrades not only serve to enhance the student experience at UNI, but also seek to foster growth and development for future educators in the state of Iowa and across the country.

The Schindler Education Center re-opened in January, and early indications would suggest that the updates were well worth the wait.

“The new remodel has revitalized the education students,” said Hunter Flesch, a junior elementary education major. “I feel like when I am in Schindler I am in a school full of motivated teachers, which makes me really feel at home here at UNI.”

Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean of the College of Education, believes the renovations will allow UNI to continue to be a leader in teacher education.

“The building has been transformed into a vibrant, modern learning environment – inspiring collaboration, strengthening a sense of community and heralding a new beginning for preparing teacher educators," said Jean-Marie.

The renovated building will be rededicated at a special ceremony at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in the Dr. Ken Budke Family Auditorium.

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