Parent Newsletter December 2010

UNI I am a Panther Parent

Panther Parent is UNI's e-newsletter for parents and guardians. Panther Parent is sent three times per semester and features university events, deadlines and tips from the UNI Parents Association. 

If your student graduated or has left the university and we missed removing your name, you may Unsubscribe from the Panther Parent e-newsletter.


We want to hear from you! Please let us know if there's information you need or topics you'd like to see addressed.

Message from President Allen

Dear Panther Parents:

This fall has been a busy and fruitful time on the UNI campus. After three years of preparation, the Higher Learning Commission review team gave UNI its highest possible recommendation: reaccreditation for another 10 years. The recommendation for reaccreditation confirms the high quality of UNI's academic programs, faculty, staff and students. Individuals with a degree from an accredited institution are more attractive to employers because of the value they bring to the workplace. Additionally, graduates pursuing an advanced degree are more likely to be accepted to higher quality graduate and professional programs.

Our reaccreditation and two generous gifts from friends and alumni continue to attract the best and brightest to UNI. Des Moines businessman Richard Jacobson pledged $11 million to create the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy. Alumni Mark C. Oman and Jill Fuerhoff Oman of West Des Moines pledged $10 million to fund student scholarships. 

These gifts, along with many others, allow us to achieve a higher level of excellence and to provide more students the opportunity to attend college.

As always, thank you for sending your student to UNI, and best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season.

Ben Allen, President


UNI Commencement Goes Green
Many changes are underway for fall Commencement: electronic RSVP, a new venue (McLeod Center), a reception to follow Commencement and a new diploma. If you have a student who will participate in the upcoming ceremony, please visit the website for more information.

Time to Reapply for Financial Aid
Students must reapply for financial aid each academic year. Students are encouraged to complete forms as soon as possible after Jan. 1. To reapply, visit Contact the UNI Financial Aid Office at 800-772-2736 or 319-273-2700 with any questions.

The Hunt for Scholarships
UNI's Financial Aid Office encourages students to make use of the UNIversity Scholarship Application (USA). The USA has all UNI scholarships categorized by college, while also allows a student to apply for all general university scholarships. Deadlines vary, however the most common deadline for current students is Feb. 15. Start the hunt.

Plan Ahead for Summer Classes
If your student plans to take summer classes, be sure to budget your spring financial aid wisely. Summer aid is limited, so many scholarships and grants are not available in the summer. Also, federal loans have annual limits, and if you borrow the maximum amount between fall and spring, you may not have federal loan eligibility remaining for the summer. If you would like to learn more about how to finance summer classes, have your student stop into the Financial Aid office to discuss his or her situation.

Severe Weather Announcements
Announcements regarding cancellation of classes and/or reduced university operations are made via UNI Alert, local radio and TV stations and the UNI homepage. The local TV stations also list closings and delays on their websites. Click here for more information.

New Housing Options
On Nov. 17, a groundbreaking celebration was held at the site of a new apartment complex that will house 204 UNI juniors and seniors. Placement will be based on seniority and continuity of residence in the Department of Residence system. An apartment inventory will be included in the recontracting campaign beginning in January 2012 for occupancy in fall 2012. These apartments are furnished for one, two and four students. The building is going up south of Redeker Center and will include an outdoor patio, recreation spaces, offices and student meeting spaces. Watch the work in progress via a webcam.

Sabin Hall Renovation
Sabin Hall, in the central campus area, has undergone major renovations. The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the Departments of Social Work and Political Science moved out of the building in 2008. Classes will resume in the building in January.

The reopening of Sabin will provide students with state-of-the-art classroom technology, a new student testing lab, lecture hall and seminar rooms. Natural lighting through a pre-existing light well that was part of the original building will greatly enhance the student-learning environment. The project is designed to achieve a minimum of LEED silver certification for sustainability.

See a history of the building.

New Wind-Solar Hybrid Power System in Operation
The recently completed 12-kilowatt wind-solar hybrid power station, built next to the Industrial Technology Center, brings together two sustainable sources of energy that will reduce carbon emissions and provide a renewable energy teaching and research facility.

The electricity generated by the hybrid power station is being used as a renewable energy input for a smart-grid-based greenhouse educational demonstration project to aid in teaching and research on smart-grid and energy-efficiency issues.

Approximately 18,835 kilowatt-hours of wind power and 3,325 kilowatt-hours of solar power-based electrical energy are being harnessed from the system, keeping approximately 31,025 pounds of CO2 emissions out of the air each year by using renewable energy sources instead of coal-fired sources.    

Reclaim Your Holidays
UNI's Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) has started the "Reclaim Your Holidays: Practical Ways to Create Meaning" initiative, which offers several easy tips for Iowans to reduce their carbon footprints during the holiday season.

The program offers gift ideas, tips on "green" entertaining and suggestions on creating meaningful traditions. View an editorial that appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette regarding the program. 

For more information on this program, visit the Reclaim Your Holidays website.

Want More UNI News?
Visit the UNI Newsroom.

Follow UNI on Twitter at @uninews or become a fan on UNI's Facebook site.


View a complete list of UNI events.

Key Dates:

Dec. 13-17 - Finals week

Dec. 18 - Commencement, McLeod Center

Jan. 10 - Spring semester begins

Jan. 17 - university holiday (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Feb. 21 - spring Career Fair

March 13 - spring break begins

March 21 - instruction resumes

May 2 - 6 - finals week

May 7 - Commencement, UNI-Dome


Hugs from Home
If you'd like to help your student get through finals week, visit the Panther Pantry and send a care package. The Panther Pantry, an online shopping option for UNI gifts, is sponsored by the UNI Department of Residence. Learn more.


Tutoring Can Help Get Students Up to Speed
Not everyone masters every subject right away. If your son or daughter needs help with a class, suggest UNI's ASK-A-TUTOR service. UNI has free tutors (peer instructors) for many Liberal Arts Core and major courses. Students can call Academic Services at 319-273-6023 or visit the Academic Learning Center website to find out if there's a tutor for their course.

Students can come to the second floor of the Rod Library from 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays and work with an academic coach.

Dr. Grammar is on Call
Many students struggle with grammar, spelling and punctuation. But they need not worry anymore. Dr. Grammar, UNI's free writing resource, is available online.

At the site, students can find answers to frequently asked questions regarding English grammar. If a particular question isn't already listed, students can e-mail the question directly to Dr. Grammar and she will respond.

Is Your Student Career Ready?
The Spring Career Fair will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 21, in the McLeod Center. Check the list of participating employers.

Rod Library Help Via Text Message
Text 319-242-1508 to ask questions about library resources and services. Text messages will be received at the Rod Library reference desk and answered during regular business hours. Learn about other ways to ask questions.


Calling All Parents!
That's what UNI students will be doing during spring semester…checking in to ask how your student is enjoying UNI and talking with you about the Annual Fund.

The Annual Fund provides support for not only your children, but all UNI students. Tuition covers less than 50 percent of what it costs to educate a student at UNI. State support has decreased significantly. UNI students depend on additional private support to bridge that gap.

Together, we make it possible for UNI to offer a world-class university education, with personalized experiences and a lifetime of opportunities. When a Panther calls, we hope you’ll take part in the tradition of giving.

For more information, contact the UNI Foundation at 800-782-9522 or on the UNI Foundation website.

Get Involved - Join UNIPA
The UNI Parents Association board is an advocacy group for UNI students and their parents. Members get the opportunity to share their opinions and insight with UNI staff and faculty. Joining the board is a great opportunity to hear what's happening on campus and to be heard. Learn more on the UNIPA website.

All parents/guardians of UNI students are automatically members of the parents association, which works as an advocacy group. Benefits include e-newsletters each semester and a parents' booth at orientation. Contact Jon Buse, UNIPA liaison, at 319-273-2332 or with questions. The parents association also supports the Parents Fund, which supports student scholarships and activities on campus.

UNI Parents Association 

118 Gilchrist

University of Northern Iowa 

Cedar Falls, IA 50614