Veridian Credit Union Honors Faculty

When University of Northern Iowa faculty members take education beyond the classroom, the students aren't the only ones to benefit. While students get experience, local organizations get assistance with projects, programs or work they might not be able to afford.

Each year, since 2006, Veridian Credit Union® has honored faculty who use community engagement to put theory into practice.

The Veridian Credit Union® Community Engagement Awards [link: recognizes a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty member from each of the University of Northern Iowa's five undergraduate colleges who combines his or her instructional and scholarly efforts with projects that benefit the greater community.

Each recipient receives an award and a check for $1,000 payable to a nonprofit organization with which he or she is engaged. If the faculty member is involved with a business or more than one organization, funding is awarded to an approved organization of the faculty member's choice.

"Veridian applauds the contributions by UNI's faculty to make the Cedar Valley a better place," said Jean Trainor, president and CEO of Veridian Credit Union. "Community engagement mirrors our vision of playing a vital role in enriching the community, and these awards are an opportunity for Veridian to express gratitude to those who are engaged in the Cedar Valley."

The 2010 Veridian Credit Union Community Engagement Award recipients are:

veridian awards

Matthew Bunker, associate professor of marketing in the UNI College of Business Administration.

Students in Bunker's marketing research class have created a win-win partnership in the Cedar Valley. Since 2004, Bunker's students have worked with local businesses and organizations to design, execute and interpret market research, gaining experience while providing an estimated $4 million-worth of service over the years. Since this project's implementation, about 600 students have worked with more than 80 businesses and organizations.

Bunker will donate the monetary award to International Medical Corps.


Mark Ecker, professor of mathematics in the UNI
College of Natural Science
s.veridian awards

For more than 10 years, Ecker and his mathematics students have been integral in Iowa's economic development efforts. Working with UNI's Institute for Decision Making and Iowa Workforce Development, they develop, enhance and strengthen the methodology and processes used in the state's laborshed studies. Laborshed is the area or region from which an employment center draws its commuting workers. The studies provide insight into the local labor market as economic developers and employers make decisions about expansion and site selection. Using real-life applications of statistical mathematics in the classroom has created some ongoing research and employment opportunities for the students.

Ecker will donate the monetary award to the Waterloo Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation.


veridian awardsWilliam Downs, professor of social work in the UNI College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Collaboration between domestic violence programs and substance abuse treatment agencies is integral to Downs' research and service. He helped establish the Integrative Services Project to help battered women reach safety and sobriety in tandem. The Integrative Services Project develops and delivers education and training to staff in 27 agencies that serve 51 Iowa counties. Much of Downs' research for domestic violence programs is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Students work alongside Downs and conduct interviews, analyze data, develop educational materials, deliver training programs, co-author papers and present at conferences.

Downs will donate the monetary award to Seeds of Hope.


veridian awardsJoseph Wilson, associate professor of leisure, youth and human services in the UNI College of Education.

Each year Wilson and his students volunteer at three State Special Olympics competitions, and many from the UNI community have become involved with the program in thanks to Wilson's dedication. His involvement dates back to his days as a college student in 1968. Wilson has helped train athletes who competed in the first International Special Olympics Games, and for the past 25 years he has been the Special Olympics area director for Northeast Iowa and coordinates six area competitions throughout the year for people with intellectual disabilities.

Wilson will donate the monetary award to Special Olympics of Northeast Iowa.



Adrienne Lamberti, assistant professor of English language and literature in the UNI College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

veridian awards

Lamberti approaches her administration of the UNI Professional Writing Program and her teaching as opportunities for citizenship. Her approach shows students how strong communication skills can build support for organizations and raise public awareness. In Lamberti's

professional writing courses, students learn how to create, design and edit workplace documents in print and digital form to support an organization's mission and improve its visibility. Since 2005, she has cultivated a relationship between the Professional Writing Program and more than 40 organizations in the Cedar Valley to create service-learning opportunities for her students.

Lamberti will donate the monetary award to 1000 Friends of Iowa.