Barb Bakker

Barb Bakker believes in hands-on teaching and making a difference in the classroom. She teaches courses in the School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services. Bakker helps students understand what to expect as a potential health or physical education teacher within elementary and secondary schools. Bakker interacts directly with the students in her classroom as she creates a hands-on, interactive approach for UNI students to engage in.

"One of the most effective things I do is take students through four mini-lessons that demonstrate the eight national health education standards," Bakker said.

Students learn about the five concepts within the Iowa Core Curriculum for Health Literacy including literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and 21st century skills, all of which students will use in their future classrooms.

"The relevance of her course work will be very applicable to my future endeavors," student Joshua Reuter said. (Barb) structures her classes around real world application. "I believe she takes a great deal of pride in providing her students with a complete and total education."

Bakker encourages students to explore the major and find out if it is a good fit on an individual basis. Her door is always open for students to stop by and gain a better understanding of what a health education major or minor may do for them.

Students also know when they have found a good fit with physical education and adopt Bakker's passion as their own.

"I want to impact the lives of the youth and teaching is a great platform to do so," Reuter said. "Health and physical activity are two things that I value greatly and I want to pass that value onto ohters.

For students interested in either a major or minor in health education, health has been listed as a high-needs area in Iowa, as recently as fall 2011, according to Bakker. Students who are pursuing this degree now are offered the opportunity to apply for TEACH grants.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides students with grants to put toward their student loans after graduation. Students are considered to receive this grant by agreeing to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field that serves low-income students. Although financial need does not have to be demonstrated in order to receive a TEACH grant, students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must also meet certain academic achievement requirements such as scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25. The UNI Financial Aid Office and www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov contain additionl information regarding these grants.

How do you choose your major and/or minor if your interest is health education? The health education minor is very compatible with the physical education major and go hand-in-hand, according to Bakker.

"The health education minor is so important," she said. "Our online program has at least 100+ people who have come back to UNI to get the minor. It makes students more marketable because many jobs in Iowa are asking for a health education minor besides the physical education major."

Bakker's classes model a true helath education teaching experience and allow students to gain understanding and knowledge that can be applied as future educators. "Everything I teach, college students can turn around and use it in their classroom. Health education is skills based and I try to model that in the classroom. In my methods course you need to see what it looks, sounds and feels like."

Bakker encourages students to explore the health education field if they are interested in making a difference. "You need to have a passion for it. If you have a passion for helping students and an interest in the area of health and wellness, you've found your perfect match and have come to the right place."