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Notes from Leaders in Education


Benjamin J. Allen, UNI President

The University of Northern Iowa is honored to announce that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be visiting our campus. Secretary Duncan is scheduled to deliver a major address in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center’s Great Hall on April 24 at 11 a.m.


Secretary Duncan’s visit represents a momentous opportunity for our university and the entire state of Iowa to participate in the critical national discussion about the future of education in our country. It is appropriate that our university, with its rich history of excellence in teacher education, should provide a forum for our nation’s chief administrator in charge of promoting student achievement and educational excellence.


I wish to take this opportunity to welcome Secretary Duncan, and I encourage the university community to prepare itself to take part in this very important event. We will provide updates on this site as more details become available.

Dr. William Callahan, Dean & Professor, College of Education

It is an honor to welcome Secretary Arne Duncan to the University of Northern Iowa. His high ideals coupled with his innovative approach to learning excites me and the faculty, staff and students here at UNI. His initiatives will create a professional climate for teachers that will enable them to set high standards for our nation’s children.

Our university has a rich tradition in education and it is appropriate that Secretary Duncan has chosen UNI to address our nation's educational opportunities and challenges. In 1876, we began as a teacher preparation school and our unrelenting commitment to excellence has established UNI as one of the Midwest’s premier educator preparation programs. Our faculty are researching new methods to prepare future teachers for the 21st century. Evidence of this is the recent federal funding granted to UNI for a National Institute for Early Math and Science Education that will focus on curriculum development and teaching methods for early childhood educators.

Secretary Duncan is well known as a consensus builder and I am confident he will unite our nation's efforts to improve our educational system. As a leader in educator preparation, we look forward to doing our part in collaboration with many to promote educational excellence for all Americans.

Nadene Davidson, Interim Department Head & Assistant Professor,
Office of Student Field Experiences

On behalf of the educator preparation faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, it is a pleasure to welcome Secretary Duncan to campus. Our faculty takes great pride in preparing quality educators for 21st century learning environments. We share Secretary Duncan’s priority of elevating the teaching profession and providing highly effective teachers in each classroom.


One of the strengths of the UNI teacher preparation program is the quality and diversity of clinical experiences provided our candidates. The University of Northern Iowa’s laboratory school, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, serves as a cornerstone for the teacher education clinical experiences. This P/K – grade 12 comprehensive public school serves as a site for research, development, and dissemination, bridging educational theory and practice. Strong partnerships with other schools in the Cedar Valley, the state of Iowa, nation, and internationally contribute to the diverse learning experiences of UNI’s teacher candidates.


UNI’s educator preparation programs enjoy strong collaborative partnerships with the Iowa Department of Education and Area Education Agencies. We share a common vision that each Iowa student graduates from high school prepared for post-secondary education, work, and satisfying quality of life. UNI faculty have been actively engaged with the development and implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum and the preparation of educators to work in the learning environments of the 21st century. We look forward to the challenges of preparing teachers with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions for leading the transformation of our educational systems and supporting 21st century learning.

Betty Zan, Interim Director & Associate Professor, Center for Early Developmental Education

The Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education is pleased to welcome Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to UNI. We share Secretary Duncan and the Obama administration’s recognition of the critical importance of high-quality early childhood education to educational success. Over three decades of research demonstrates unequivocally that making high-quality early education available to our nation’s preschoolers will contribute significantly to closing the achievement gap and making U.S. students competitive in the 21st century global economy. We know from research that well-prepared, skilled teachers are central to high-quality preschool programs, and the University of Northern Iowa has a long and distinguished history of early childhood teacher preparation. We stand ready to assist the administration in its efforts to expand the quality, accessibility, and affordability of preschool education, so that all of our nation’s children have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Jeff Weld, Director, Iowa Math and Science Education Partnership

Coinciding with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's call for a "new era" in how we teach science and math, Iowa's Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP) prepares to celebrate its one-year anniversary. The Secretary envisions learning labs that encourage every student to ask tough, challenging questions, staffed by well-prepared science and math teachers. Coincidentally, through IMSEP, talented collegians are being drawn in to top-notch certification programs where students question answers rather than answer questions. We're proud to have in place the human and resource network for realizing the shared ambitions of Iowans and our U.S. Secretary of Education, to provide a top-notch 21st century science and math education to every learner. The Math and Science Education Institute here at UNI welcomes Secretary Duncan.


To see Secretary Duncan's remarks from the National Science Teachers Association conference, go to