THE MAJORITY of UNI students come from Iowa and adjoining states. But this is changing, and, increasingly, students come from across the country, and from throughout the world. Today, in walking across campus, it is inspiring to see the richness of languages, accents, clothing styles, and cultural traditions that are now represented. 
As observed by art faculty members who have taught at other schools, the art, design, art history and art education students at UNI are astonishing in certain ways. At first they seem to be naive as entering freshmen (more gullible and less “street smart” than their urban peers) but after a few semesters, they are as resourceful and quick on their feet as anyone else—and, very often, more so. They are also uncommonly earnest, hard-working, and (as people often say) they are “wholesome,” so that, by the time they approach graduation, many of them have won national competitions, have received lucrative job offers from major companies, have been offered assistantships from the country’s leading graduate schools, or have been hired to create commissioned artwork.

Surely, one of the strengths of the school is the emphasis that’s given to a broad education on the one hand, and an intensively focused speciality on the other. It is not unusual for graduates to eventually end up having great success in areas other than the single one they majored in as undergraduates (as is true of other fields as well). We ourselves do not see that as a weakness of our program, but rather as a critical strength—it proves that we are providing them with the means with which to use their skills in ways that are adaptive to constantly changing societal trends. For survival, what better thing to teach than that? 



Four lessons I learned while I was a student at UNI:

Art has more to do with seeing 
and thinking than with drawing skill.

Design is more than just making things beautiful, it is also problem-solving and a visual means of
communication.

Creativity does not come from inner vision, but from connecting external inspirations.

You often learn more from your classmates than you do from your teachers.
 
Mark Faga
BA 1993
product designer,
Motorola
Chicago
When I first came to UNI, my artwork was the simple unbounded expression of aimless creativity. The faculty and facilities of the UNI Department 
of Art afforded me ways to make my passion into a profession I love.

Bounnak Thammavong
BFA 2003, MA 2005
sculptor
University of Iowa
Foundations students’ composite class self-portrait
© Rich Koppes
B.J. Alumbaugh department of art
university of northern iowa
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UNI is a great setting for artistic experimentation if a student is ambitious enough to aim for more than just a degree.

Jared Rogness
BFA 2003
illustrator
Los Angeleshttp://www.theartofjaredrogness.com/shapeimage_13_link_0