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A Safe and Healthy Environment

Goal 5.0 of the University's 2001-2006 Strategic Plan is to:
foster a supportive living, learning and working environment with
services and programs that promote individual well-being and
organizational effectiveness.

Two departments, the University Health Services and Public Safety and the University Health and Safety Committee, have special responsibility for health and safety on campus.

University Health Services
During the last ten years, the UNI health clinic services, mental health counseling services, and health promotion services were organized into a functional, unified structure. The resulting University Health Services department now provides comprehensive services across the spectrum of mental and physical wellness and mental and physical illness. Interlacing management teams and the combining of resources created an environment for continuous quality improvement. An outstanding example is the UNI Employee Assistance Program.

One part of the University Health Services department, the Wellness and Recreation Services unit, provides up-to-date, well-staffed offerings to students (and to other members of the UNI community for a fee) in UNI's new Wellness/Recreation Center. The absorption of recreational services into the wellness program has allowed for the development of both individual training programs and broad-based programming that help assure the lifelong practice of healthy activities. Coordination of health education and wellness staff with those of the mental health and the student health clinic has led to improved service. For example, the Wellness and Recreation Services unit has enhanced its ability to track injuries, provide individual counseling, promote public health, and provide options for after-hours wellness activities.

The Counseling Center mental health unit has modernized its record keeping, added providers from diverse cultural backgrounds, and made a commitment to accreditation by a national certifying body. Services for students and employees with disabilities have dramatically improved with the creation of a full-time staff and a comprehensive panel of services.

The Student Health Clinic recently implemented an egalitarian, comprehensive, continuous quality improvement program that led to a three-year certification by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). The staff has identified more than 100 quality improvement issues, proposed a number of improvements, tracked change, and confirmed improvement.

Here are some examples of the ways in which University Health Services staff have worked with the campus at large to promote health and safety:

1.Coordination of campus-wide efforts to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors that can result in personal injury, violence, property damage, and poor academic performance

2.Back safety training for Plant Services staff

3.Service on the Environmental Stewardship Task Force addressing issues of pesticide usage on campus

4.Collaboration among Wellness and Recreation Services, Public Safety, and the Center for Environmental and Educational Technology to encourage non-motorized commuting to campus, with a related educational campaign to promote safe biking and helmet use

5.Collaboration with Women's Studies in preparing a grant proposal, which succeeded in securing a $500,000 grant to help address issues of violence on campus

6.Involvement in the 1993 policy implementation banning smoking in University buildings and vehicles and offering smoking cessation programs for students, faculty, and staff

7.Initiation of a Risk Management committee, including the University risk manager and legal counsel from the President's office to address facility and program safety issues

8.Initiation of research and discussion regarding purchase of automatic external defibrillators by several UNI departments.

Public Safety
The other department dedicated to the health and safety of all on campus is Public Safety. This department is "committed to the protection of life and property, the prevention of crime, the enforcement of laws and regulations, and the preservation of constitutional rights" (

Within the past decade this department has fostered a close relationship to the police and fire departments of the city of Cedar Falls, facilitating the placement of a neighborhood office on "the Hill" near campus. Of the many services provided by the Public Safety department, some are especially noteworthy:

1.The Student Patrol program provides some basic services, including a personal escort service, allowing the officers to address in a more timely manner those issues requiring their special skills.

2.The "S Files" program gives Public Safety, in collaboration with the Department of Residence, a chance to provide safety awareness to students.

3.In collaboration with Northern Iowa Student Government and the Women's Studies program, Public Safety is planning a "defensive tactics" program specifically targeted at enhancing the safety level of women on campus.

4.The Public Safety web site (, which receives over 10,000 "hits" each month during the academic year and a large number even during the summer sessions, provides much essential information to UNI students, faculty, and staff.

5.The safety staff have collaborated with the Department of Residence and Human Resource Services to provide training in using fire extinguishers both on campus and at home.

6.The bicycle patrol program has been popular with students and with their parents. Officers have become more highly visible, accessible, and accessed, particularly during periods when students move into residence halls. This program provides immediate access to visitors and the University community and permits the department to provide truly timely public safety information.

The University Health and Safety Committee
The safety and well being of the campus community is also the purview of the University Health and Safety Committee, which now has broad-based representation, meets regularly, and reports to the Director of Public Safety.

Since UNI's last self study, the Health and Safety Committee has discussed campus safety concerns such as halogen lamps, emergency telephone access, communication of emergency information, building preplanning by the fire department, campus landscaping and environmental design, fire prevention, materials storage, worker-right-to-know training, safety training, on-campus medical emergencies, and ergonomics. The Committee has made a focused study of some issues:

1.Smoking in campus buildings

2.Use of chemical pesticides on campus lawns and in campus buildings

Preparedness of the campus community to respond to natural or other disasters (currently under study)

The Committee utilizes campus resources by inviting specific individuals to meetings to address questions and concerns. The departments of Physical Plant, Public Safety, and Facilities Planning have played key roles in providing information regarding safety issues for the Committee. The University's risk manager and Human Resource Services director have also been involved in providing responses to questions or facilitating the sharing of information when requested. The Director of Public Safety takes issues resolved by the Committee to the Cabinet.


Criteria I
Criteria II
Criteria III
Criteria IV
Criteria V
Summary &
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Last Modified: 02/14/01