Celebrating a century of service

UNI has a distinguished history of providing academic opportunities through innovative outreach efforts. In 1913, the university established study centers to serve teachers on a statewide basis – the first initiative of its kind in the country. While delivery methods have changed, the commitment to provide Iowans access to high-quality educational opportunities that fall outside traditional campus offerings has remained a core part of our mission.

Continuing Education
Study center from the 1930s.

In 2012-13, more than 13,000 enrollments were received for UNI's distance education courses, and more than 20 degree, certificate and endorsement programs, mostly at the graduate level, were offered entirely or primarily at a distance. Academic departments provide a variety of services to the citizens of Iowa, many through academic outreach.

For example, in response to interest by community members, the UNI College of Business Administration recently began a sequence of M.B.A. courses offered onsite in Pella, Iowa. The College of Education currently offers the Professional Development for Teachers M.A.E., developed in close cooperation with the Waterloo Community School District, which prepares teachers for a variety of leadership roles.

In addition to in-person instruction, delivery methods include interactive video conferencing, online instruction via eLearning and advising using Skype. These educational technologies allow UNI to connect with a wider audience, including students from outside the state and overseas.

UNI's College of Education recently began delivery of a graduate program for instructional staff who reside in Bombay, India, and teach at the American School in Bombay, one of the premier international schools in the world.

Included in the Bombay group is UNI alumna Amy Garrett, who graduated with a double major in art education and Spanish. Her undergraduate experiences took her around the globe: service trips to Guatemala, studies in Chile and student teaching in Cairo. Her participation in the distance program seemed a perfect fit.

"I love living overseas, and this program offers me the best of both worlds," she said. "It's amazing to be living in India and for people to recognize the quality of [the institution] I graduated from."

"There are countless options for students who wish to advance educationally, ranging from for-profit colleges to Ivy League institutions," said Kent Johnson, dean of Continuing Education & Special Programs at UNI. "We are confident that students won't find any better learning opportunities than [what] UNI offers."

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