down arrowMenu

Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Review


Core Component 2a: The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.
Core Component 2b: The organization’s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
Core Component 2c: The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.
Core Component 2d: All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.
Criterion Two Summary



The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.


Core Component 2a: The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.




The University of Northern Iowa takes pride in its inclusive approach to campus planning and decision making. The institution recognizes that its various constituent groups each have valuable perspectives that can inform planning and determine priorities.  Faculty, staff, and student involvement are key components of the University’s planning process which often includes consultation and collaboration  with groups such as the President’s Campus Advisory Group, internal advisory boards (e.g., Facilities Planning Advisory Committee, Wellness Recreation Advisory Committee), external advisory boards, and campus governing bodies (e.g., Professional & Scientific Council, Faculty Senate, Northern Iowa Student Government).  The President and campus leaders also have used several ad hoc task forces to broaden discussion and input on important campus issues.  Through this collaborative process the institution addresses the opportunities and challenges it faces.


In the decade since the University’s last reaccreditation self-study, it has been challenged by periods of severe budget reversions and limitations.  From fiscal year 2002 though fiscal year 2005, State appropriations were significantly reduced.  In FY06, State funding began to increase.  However, the recent economic downturn resulted in reversions and reductions in FY09, FY10, and FY11 appropriations with ongoing concerns for State funding for FY12 and beyond.  The University has responded to these economic downturns in a number of ways.  For example, it has used the strategic planning process to systematically address the decline in appropriations to protect the integrity of the University’s programs. 



Under the direction of the Board of Regents’ policy 6.05 on Strategic Planning, [1] the University of Northern Iowa uses the strategic planning process to ensure it is prepared to respond to changes in its external economic and social environment.  The Mission, Vision and Value statements of the University guide planning and resource allocation decisions, insuring a continuity of its identity despite a turbulent environment. 


According to the BOR policy, the University must undertake a review and revision of its strategic plan every five years, being guided by changes in BOR strategic plan.  In 2000, UNI completed its strategic plan for 2001-2006. [2] However, early in the decade an economic recession resulted in significant reductions in state appropriations.  In response to changing economic conditions, UNI’s president formed a cross-campus committee to review and update the planning documents, with a focus on maintaining the integrity of UNI’s mission commitments. [3]  A revised strategic plan, effective for 2004-2009 resulted. [4]  The revised 2004-2009 plan responded to the changing economic situation by adding new objectives specifically focused on allocating resources strategically and increasing external funding.


Table 4.1 Comparison of UNI Resource Related Goals and Objectives from the past two strategic plans



Goal 7.0: Continue to improve capital, physical and informational resources at the university

Goal 5: Provide and Maintain appropriate resources including staffing for effective and efficient university operations


Objective 5.1: Implement budget processes linking allocations to the strategic plan

Objective 6.1: Increase professional career development opportunities for university staff to enhance performance

Objective 5.2: Develop intellectual resources by providing opportunities for staff and faculty to pursue professional development and to enhance performance

Objective 7.1: Enhance technologically appropriate teaching and learning facilities and equipment

Objective 5.3: Provide an appropriate array of library, informational resources, and other University collections to support academic and other campus programs

Objective 7.2: More fully integrate modern technology into the everyday lives of UNI students, faculty and staff

Objective 5.4: Assess and meet the technology, information and data base systems, and equipment needs of University programs and operations


Objective 5.5: Upgrade, construct, and maintain buildings, grounds, and equipment in accord with the University’s Campus Master Plan


Objective 5.6: Increase external funding to support programs and services 


Under the direction of the Board of Regents, the University of Northern Iowa engages in planning and organization that is reflective of its mission and role as a comprehensive institution.  Decisions about planning and resource allocation uphold the elements of the University’s mission from which it distinguishes its identity and role.  Among the elements defined in the institutional mission are its personalized learning environment, strong liberal arts component, intellectually and culturally diverse community, and focus on undergraduate education and selected master’s and doctoral programs. The institution is characterized by excellence in teaching and learning; research, scholarship, creative work; and service. These form the guidelines for institutional planning.


The Board of Regents [5] clearly establishes that strategic planning occurs at both the Regent and institutional levels and mandates that institutional plans be consistent with the Board of Regents’ overall planning process and cover a period of five years.The Board undertook an intensive planning process to develop its plan for 2010-2016.  This plan was proposed and adopted in spring 2010. [6]


Since UNI completed its previous self-study report in 2000, the University has operated with two strategic planning documents, 2001-2006 [7] and 2004-2009. [8]  In spring 2003, President Koob appointed a fourteen-member committee to review the existing strategic plan. [9]  This committee represented constituent groups such as Academic Affairs, Faculty Senate, academic and non-academic department heads, Professional & Scientific employees, Supervisory & Confidential and Merit work groups, and students.  At that time the President indicated that external environment changes, especially substantial State budget cuts and accompanying large tuition increases, warranted a mid-term review of the University’s plan.  He tasked the committee to review the 2001-2006 plan and to recommend any necessary changes.  This work produced a revised University plan for 2004-2009 with new goals and indicators.  It was adopted by the Board of Regents in March 2005.


In fall 2009 the University formally launched the process to develop the institution’s next plan.  This Town Hall drew hundreds of faculty, staff, and students who engaged in brainstorming activities to provide a starting point for the University’s strategic planning committee.  A draft of the new 2010-2015 plan can be found in Appendix A of this document.  The University cannot finalize its new plan until it is approved by the Board of Regents; that had not yet happened when this self-study went to press.


Each year the University provides the UNI Strategic Plan Performance Report [10] to the Board of Regents outlining progress toward strategic plan goals and objectives. This report, based on performance indicators, assists the University in monitoring progress and decision making relative to established plan objectives.



Another response to an increasingly competitive marketplace and shrinking state support was the University’s 2008 launch of its first-ever comprehensive market-research project.  The competition for students, state funding, grants and private funding continues to increase. With that competition comes the need for a coherent brand approach. The research data, coupled with public data and existing focus-group and admissions-based research, was used to develop a comprehensive brand position for the university.  Marketing and communications programs to introduce the new brand will be launched in fall 2010.



The academic colleges use an inclusive approach with representation from their stakeholders to develop customized strategic plans consistent with the University's strategic plan.  Each college has developed its particular approach to serve its needs, but all consistently provide for discussion and vision on long-range planning. [11]  For example, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences recently created a permanent strategic planning committee which began work on a new CSBS strategic plan in fall 2009. [12]


The Strategic Plan for the College of Natural Sciences was developed by its Faculty Senate.  Reports on progress are made by the dean to the faculty at the annual faculty meeting, with other reports to the College Senate.  The dean, associate dean, and department heads also typically engage in an annual retreat to discuss long-term planning.


The College of Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) uses several different mechanisms to routinely review and update its comprehensive plan on future strategic priorities and goals.  The process of reviewing and updating strategic priorities and goals involves internal and external constituencies such as college senators, members of the CHFA Heads Council, alumni, and members of various task forces, academic program review committees, and other committees.  Recommendations from these constituencies are prioritized and integrated into the existing framework of strategic priorities and goals as they are finalized.  The CHFA Faculty Senate has been charged with an annual review of the College strategic plan, CHFA holds an annual Alumni Fellows Symposia as a conference for discussion of specific topics pertinent to future academic direction, and the College is establishing an Alumni Advisory Board to assist in defining long-range goals.


Long-range planning in the College of Education is accomplished by reviewing the college’s strategic plan [13] in tandem with the strategic planning process within departments.  These plans are aligned with both the University and Board of Regents planning documents.  The College also takes into consideration the needs and requirements of the State Department of Education and considers national trends in education.  Since the Division of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services is a large part of the college, needs identified by the affiliated professional organizations relevant to each area of study are also considered.  This process is then reviewed by the departmental committees charged with overseeing the various components of the strategic plan as it is implemented.  Data on those efforts are gathered and used to evaluate effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary.


The strategic planning process of the College of Business Administration is based on initiatives of faculty, departments, and the college's executive and student advisory boards.  These initiatves are used in the annual strategy session to modify development priorities and form action items for the upcoming year.  The annual session is also used to evaluate progress toward existing action items.


The mission and goals of the University as a whole, as well as input from the central administration, are also critical elements to the College-level planning process to insure that initiatives at the College level are consistent with the University’s vision.


The Graduate College engages constituents from across the University, including graduate faculty, department heads, deans, staff members, and graduate students, to participate in the Graduate College's strategic planning process.  For the current plan, [14] an independent expert in facilitating strategic planning was hired to guide the process, with the final plan approved by the Graduate Council and ratified by the graduate faculty at the annual Graduate Faculty meeting.  Progress on strategies within the plan is reviewed semi-annually by the Graduate Leadership Team (Dean, Associate Dean, Chair of the Graduate Council, Chair of the Graduate Faculty, and Director of Graduate Student Life) and presented to the Graduate Council to keep them abreast of progress, determine priorities within the plan, and seek additional ideas.



Faculty Governance

To effectively meet the challenges of a rapidly changing external environment, UNI involves its faculty, staff and students in planning, decision making, and institutional governance.  Faculty governance structures such as the University Faculty Senate and its affiliated committees, the Graduate Council, and the Council on Teacher Education gather information about societal trends, evaluate current curricular offerings, assess curricular outcomes and make responsive changes.


The Faculty Senate is comprised of faculty members elected from each of the academic colleges.  The role of the Senate is defined by Article IV of  the Senate Constitution, last reviewed by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in 1986, as follows:


The faculty has the right to be adequately informed about and to participate jointly with the related components of the University in the determination of policy touching all the phases of the University's operations. The faculty may formulate and recommend policies to the President of the University on all subjects of University concern. The faculty shall play a central role in all decisions regarding educational policy and curriculum. The faculty functions through consultation and review in personnel decisions that can modify the faculty's professional identity, professional quality, and working environment (subject to any restrictions imposed by Chapter 20 of the Code and any collective bargaining agreements). The faculty's more general concern with the total program of the University is expressed in the form of recommendations and advice to the related components of the University.


The Faculty Senate begins each academic year with a planning retreat attended by key administrators such as the President and Provost and meets every two weeks during the academic year to fulfill its role in planning and curricular review.  Key committees of the Senate play an important role in carrying out the detailed review and planning function.  These include the Strategic Planning Committee, which reviews the UNI Strategic Plan and provides feedback to the administration and the Educational Policies Commission which considers, reviews and recommends changes and updates for academic policies.


The Faculty Senate meetings also provide an important communication channel among college faculties and administrators, serving as a forum for thoughtful and open consideration of critical University issues. For example, in fall 2007 the Faculty Senate co-sponsored, with United Faculty, a faculty forum on the issue of arming campus police. The Faculty Senate then met to make a recommendation to the President.  In another example, during spring 2008, the Faculty Senate invited the Athletic Director to present information about the budget for  athletic programs and the role of athletics on campus.  The Faculty Senate continues to monitor and debate this issue, providing input to institutional leaders.  It is clear the University Faculty Senate plays an active role in shared governance of the institution, assisting with planning in the areas of curriculum and academic policies.  The Senate is committed to full participation in University governance and seeks to contribute in areas beyond routine business.


Two other representative faculty bodies, the Graduate Council and the Council on Teacher Education, also play a role in the planning process via regular consultations between administrators and the faculty chairs of these bodies. The Chair of the Graduate Council collaborates regularly with the Graduate Dean on planning initiatives. The Chair of the Council of Teacher Education works closely and meets regularly with the Director of Teacher Education to proactively plan the work of the group in ensuring the academic quality of the teacher education program.



Employee Input

UNI classifies its employees into three groups:  faculty, professional and scientific, and merit. Each group plays an active role in identifying trends related to employee welfare and productivity and consults on the planning to meet these changing needs, while serving institutional interest.



The faculty at the University of Northern Iowa is represented in collective bargaining by The UNI-United Faculty (UF).  Pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 20 (Section 20.9) the Board of Regents, State of Iowa and the faculty union must negotiate in good faith with respect to compensation, benefits,  and terms and conditions of employment such as leaves of absence, evaluation procedures for tenure and promotion, and procedures for resolving grievances.  The contract between the Board and faculty, the Master Agreement, is negotiated every two years. [15]


The Master Agreement contains a provision for United Faculty and the administration to meet and confer  upon written request by either party, once each calendar quarter, to discuss items of mutual interest. The leadership of United Faculty now meets monthly with the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs to discuss issues of interest or concern to either side and to facilitate informal problem resolution.  During the course of these ongoing monthly meetings, collegial discussions of the changing nature of the professoriate and student bodies led to a discussion of faculty evaluation processes.  As a result, a labor/management/ student committee has been formed to evaluate the effectiveness of the current student assessment instrument and to investigate whether a more satisfactory system can be devised.  Furthermore, under the 2009-2011 agreement, United Faculty and UNI administration agreed to labor - management committees to discuss topics of overload compensation and insurance benefits.  Both topics arose from recognition of broader economic and social trends which are impacting budgets and changing the relationship between institutions and their faculty members.  These discussions and negotiations are ongoing during the fall 2010 semester.


Career Services

Professional and Scientific Employees

Professional and Scientific (P&S) employees, who administer policy and implement academic and administrative services, have formed the P&S Council [16] to work with campus administration.  The Council meets monthly to discuss policies, issues, and concerns as they relate to the over 600 P&S employees. Members  representing each division of the campus are elected by their peers and  the UNI Cabinet designates one vice-president to serve as Council liaison each year.


UNI Merit System

Support employees of the University (blue-collar, clerical, security, and technical employees) are organized and represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  The union partners with the Board of Regents, the University, and employees to maintain safe working conditions, offer competitive wages and benefits, and ensure equal representation. The labor contract and associated governing policies are negotiated at the state level and cover a much broader statewide union membership. Because of the statewide nature of the organization, the University‘s influence in this process is limited. However, the University enjoys a positive working relationship with the campus leadership of this group and works with them as their procedures allow. 


Within the merit classification some employees are designated as Supervisory and Confidential Merit Personnel and are not represented by AFCSME.  This group of approximately 70 employees also has an organization called the Supervisory and Confidential Merit Personnel Council [17] to represent their interests and facilitate communication with administration as well as with other Regent Supervisory and Confidential personnel. Meetings are held a minimum of six times per year so these employees may provide input and perspective on issues affecting them and the campus as a whole.


The President has adopted a policy of including employees from each of these classifications in ongoing University Council discussions of issues facing the campus.  When the University faced significant budgetary issues in 2008, due to reductions in state funding, the President convened cross-campus task forces to examine options for revenue enhancement and cost containment.  Each employee group was represented in order to provide for inclusive input and involvement in the planning process.


Northern Iowa Student Government

At the University of Northern Iowa, students are also integrated into planning processes.  The Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) is the elected body representing students.  NISG appoints student representatives to University committees and is the overall voice of the students on issues and concerns facing the institution. The working relationship between NISG and the University administration has consistently been very positive. Regular meetings are held between NISG and University leadership and are characterized by constructive and open communication.  It is part of the culture of the institution to ensure student representation on all decision-making groups including ad-hoc committees and task forces. 


Campus Advisory Group

The Campus Advisory Group [18] was established in 2002 by President Koob.  The purpose was to open additional lines of communication with a cross-section of campus leadership. This group continues to meet regularly with President Allen to provide input on broad campus issues and to encourage and facilitate communication and coordination among the various constituencies at the University.  The Campus Advisory Group is chaired by the President and consists of 12 representative members from the administration, faculty, staff, students, and two ex officio members.  Topics of discussion have included the University budget, relations with community colleges, policies regarding arming of campus police officers, and candidate searches at the executive level.  While this group is not a decision making body, it regularly gathers additional perspectives for consideration as decisions and planning move forward. 


External Advisory Boards

CBA advisory board

External advisory boards serve an important role in planning for the future.  The boards serve as a primary link between UNI and constituents from the community, state, region, and nation.  Examples of local advisory boards include the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, the Greater Valley Chamber Board, Waterloo Regional Airport Commission, and Cedar Valley Coalition.  State advisory boards include the Biosciences Alliance of Iowa, Des Moines Higher Education Center, and Iowa Business Council.  National advisory boards on which UNI actively participates include the Central Association of College and University Business Officers (CACUBO) Board of Directors and Midwestern Higher Education Compact.  The UNI Alumni Association has a 30 member board of directors, comprised of Alumni from various classes and geographical locations. [19]  Additionally, many academic departments and colleges have departmental advisory groups or councils.  Each year the Office of the President gathers and updates information related to external board memberships across campus.  The University Advisory Board and Council master list [20] is important in that it not only tracks board memberships but also serves as a readily available resource for consultation relative to issues appropriate to the expertise of board members.


Campus Conversation

In order to assist campus leadership in future planning, in 2004 then-President Koob engaged employees and students in a “Campus Conversation” [21] discussing the University work place.  After evaluating stakeholder input on a series of questions, eleven topics emerged for discussion in a series of town hall meetings attended by over 200 faculty, staff, and students.  Topics were grouped into four categories, and a task force was assigned to further explore each area:  Leadership, Communication, Diversity, and Continuous Improvement.


The task forces concluded that while UNI is fundamentally a good place to work, improvements could be made, especially if a formal mechanism were established to address issues in each of the major areas.  In 2006, the Campus Advisory Group, with the University Cabinet endorsement, agreed to assume responsibility for implementation of recommended actions and a summary report [22] was developed with the following areas:

  • Picking a protocol or template based on the input of each task force.
  • Implementing a campus-wide approach to each topic.
  • Establishing a measurement matrix.

President Koob resigned from his position in 2006; however, the University has continued a number of action items.  For example, President Allen initiated regular University Council [23] meetings to enhance communication, UNI Online has expanded as a regular communication tool for faculty and staff with a version specifically focused on information for students, and the Diversity Council was created.


Shared governance at UNI is both valued and valuable.  The established governing bodies, as well as input from external boards and processes such as the Campus Conversation, move the institution forward with a shared vision.  An important component of this vision is the commitment to communication among the various governing groups.  While there may be differing perspectives, UNI continues to benefit from positive working relationships among the governing organizations of the campus.



campus scene

Another example of UNI’s ability to recognize and respond to changes in the environment is provided by looking at changes in enrollment management.  After reaching an all-time high enrollment of 14,070 students in 2001, UNI’s enrollment declined by 12.9% to 12,260 in fall 2006.  Undergraduate enrollment declined by over 14%.  A significant challenge to enrollment is that the pool from which most of UNI’s students are drawn – high school graduates from Iowa – is predicted to shrink 6% between 2006 and 2016.  Because tuition funds over 40% of UNI’s operating budget, any decrease in enrollment has serious negative implications for the future of the University. 


In March 2007, as a result of analyzing enrollment trends, President Allen established the Enrollment Council [24] to enhance student recruitment and retention efforts.  The charge of the council is to develop a vision or philosophy for enrollment management; to enhance first-year, transfer, and graduate student recruitment; and to enhance retention and graduation rates for current students, particularly students of color. 


The Enrollment Council uses a data-driven, decision making approach.  Applications data, enrollment data, financial aid data, and cost-of-instruction data are analyzed, and recruitment and other strategies are developed.  


In 2008, the Director of Admissions and the Vice-President of Student Affairs unveiled a strategic Enrollment and Recruitment plan.  Specific strategies were presented to support these goals:

  • Increase enrollment to 14,000 by 2015.
  • Increase percentage of students who are African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American to 8.5% of total enrollment.
  • Enhance international, out-of-state, and high-ability student enrollment.
  • Improve undergraduate student retention.
  • Improve programs and operations of the Admissions Office.
  • Expand and refine the use of technology.

In order to provide support to the enrollment and recruitment messages, University Marketing & Public Relations engaged the University in working with consultants to develop a comprehensive market research project. The goal of this effort, throughout the 2008-2009 academic year, was to redefine a brand image to guide marketing and communication efforts.  This consistent and clear message will be critical in disseminating to the public and to prospective students and parents what UNI does best.  The full report [25] and strategies for marketing and communication are being used to boost enrollment.  


small class

It should be noted, however, that while the goal of increasing enrollment to the levels indicated over the next several years is an important one, the University will also need to be cognizant of the potential effects such increases will have on other institutional priorities.  A key example of this is the student-to- faculty ratio which has stayed fairly constant at 16:1.  If faculty staffing is affected by budget constraints, faculty decline combined with higher enrollment would increase that ratio. 


Another component of UNI’s planning for enrollment growth and stability is its participation in the Foundations of Excellence® (FoE) project.  It is expected that the FoE project will result in achieving the overarching goal of providing the best and most meaningful educational experience for UNI students, as well as improving retention of students between their first and second years of college, which will have a significant positive impact on enrollment.  See Appendix E for the FoE® Progress Report of the First-Year Council.


To support the goal of improving transfer recruitment, especially from Iowa community colleges, UNI continues to develop programs and services for transfer students.  Transfer Plan-It, [26] described later in this chapter, is an online tool to help potential transfer students evaluate the community college credit they have earned and how those courses apply to UNI requirements.  This tool augments statewide articulation agreements between Iowa community colleges and Regent universities. [27]  Additionally, UNI has approximately 200 program-to-program agreements beyond these statewide agreements.  Throughout the Foundations of Excellence® process, which focuses on the first-year experience, the importance of also evaluating the experience of UNI’s many transfer students was discussed.  UNI is continuing its work with the Policy Center on the First Year of College not only to initiate the action plan focused on first-year students but also to expand the Foundations of Excellence® self-study and action planning process to focus on transfer students.  Through this continuing commitment to academic excellence, the University is striving to improve the beginning college experience for both first-year and transfer students.  See Appendix F for a description of UNI’s FoE® Transfer Study.


international students


UNI has made several adjustments as new trends have emerged in the higher education arena related to international programs.  Rising prosperity throughout the world has meant increasing interests in U.S. higher education from families in other countries. 


Similarly, a globally connected economy has spurred an interest in study and travel abroad among UNI’s Iowa students.  In response to this interest, the University recently merged all its international programs – including the office of International Programs, Study Abroad, International Services and CIEP -- under one office under the direction of an assistant provost for International Programs. This has led to an increase in international students on campus.  In the last five years there has been an 18% increase in the number of students from other countries studying at UNI, [28] and an increase in the number of institutional affiliations and partnerships with foreign institutions, with more than 60 exchange programs with international universities. [29]  There has been a significant increase in the number of UNI students studying abroad at the same time.  In 2004-2005, 85 UNI students participated in a study abroad program, while in 2009-2010, 412 students participated.  In addition, these numbers are continuing to increase: 461 students have already signed up for summer and fall 2010 study abroad programs.  Clearly, UNI recognized this changing dynamic and has responded effectively to improve educational opportunities for its students.


Figure 4.1: UNI Study Abroad Participation

Figure 4.1 - Study Abroad Participation

Source: Study Abroad Office



graduate students

While the first of President Allen’s priorities for UNI is to be known as a leading undergraduate institution, graduate education at UNI serves a very specific niche in the state and region, and both undergraduate and graduate recruitment and retention are important to long-term enrollment management strategies.  The largest numbers of graduate students pursue degrees in the College of Education, supporting the second of President Allen’s priorities, that UNI be known as a leader in pre-K–12 education.  In addition, graduate education at UNI is supportive of President Allen’s third priority, to enhance the economic, social, and cultural development of Iowa.  The University has seen steady growth in graduate education for the past ten years. 


In 2006, the Graduate College [30] developed a comprehensive strategic plan, mission, and vision for Graduate Education at UNI. [31]  Goals of the strategic plan include the following:

  • maintain a responsive graduate organization that fosters innovation and excellence, facilitates community, and promotes the identity of graduate education.
  • provide high quality graduate programs that address State, regional, national, and/or international needs.
  • recruit and maintain a distinguished graduate faculty.
  • recruit and retain high-quality and diverse graduate students.
  • acquire and direct the resources necessary to advance the strategic plan for graduate education.

Both undergraduate and graduate enrollment are critical to enrollment management and planning.  The University has the capacity to grow and the vision to realize that growth.  However, growth is challenged by financial resources and declining populations of prospective students.  The Enrollment Council will need to provide continued leadership and support for recruitment and retention efforts.


DIVERSITYdiversity on campus

To prepare for a future in which the pool of students the University draws from is increasingly diverse, in the last few years UNI has begun to develop a more focused approach to diversity which integrates it into a variety of the University’s goals.  One example of this can be found in the 2004-2009 strategic plan, which integrates diversity into three of the five goals in the strategic plan, as opposed to the 2001-2006 plan in which diversity is mentioned only in one diversity-related goal.


Table 4.2  Comparison of UNI Diversity Related Goals and Objectives from the past two strategic plans



Goal 1.0: Provide intellectually stimulating and challenging experiences for students that broaden and deepen their perspective and awareness 

Goal 1: Provide intellectually challenging and character-building experiences for undergraduate and graduate students in a personalized learning environment.


Objective 1.5: Broaden and enrich the intellectual and learning experiences of students by increasing the number of U.S. racial and ethnic minority, and international students, faculty, and staff


Goal 2.0: Support creative and intellectually rigorous teaching and scholarship 

Goal 2: Maintain a faculty distinguished by their creative and intellectually rigorous teaching and scholarship 


Objective 2.1: Recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty

Goal 4.0: Strengthen a University culture characterized by diversity, collegiality and mutual respect

Goal 4: Promote a University culture characterized by diversity, collegiality, mutual respect, organizational effectiveness, and shared responsibility

Objective 4.1: Increase the number of American ethnic minority students and international students enrolled at UNI by 2005 consistent with the Board of Regents Strategic Plan

Objective 4.1: Employ recruitment and retention strategies that will increase the number of U.S. racial and ethnic minority, international, and protected class students, faculty, staff, and University officials

Objective 4.2: Provide a welcoming and responsive environment for members of the UNI community who have unique needs that may affect their opportunity for success

Objective 4.2: Maintain a safe and supportive working and living environment characterized by services and programs that promote individual well-being and organizational effectiveness


Another example of a more focused approach to diversity, is the establishment of a Diversity Council by President Allen, which, in August 2009, developed a written definition of diversity and vision and mission statements to guide the campus.  This definition “can refer broadly to culture, identity and ideology, or more specifically to age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, gender identity, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, marital status, national origin, or veteran status.” [32]


Demographic Overview

Demographic evidence suggests that UNI’s minority enrollment has increased since 2001, although it has not yet reached the goal of 8.5% proposed by the Board of Regents. [33]  UNI’s enrollment for fall 2009 was 13,080, with 11,060 of those students enrolled full time.  A total of 904 of the students identify themselves as being members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group (American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic). This number has increased, although not always steadily, over the past decade.  In 1998, 539 students (of a total 13,329) identified themselves as members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group.


Figure 4.2 UNI’s Minority Enrollment

uni's minority enrollment


At UNI, the total workforce (not including student employees) is 1,846.  Of that total, 1,669 identify themselves as White, 75 as Black/African American, 54 as Asian, 32 as Hispanic, ten as two or more groups, five as American Indian/Alaskan Native, and one as Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.


Figure 4.3  UNI’s Minority Workforce

uni minority workforce


There are 810 faculty members, 716 of whom identify themselves as White and 431 of whom are male. Within the faculty ranks, 467 members are tenured, 185 of them female and 282 of them male.  Another 127 are tenure-track, 68 of them female and 59 of them male.  Of the 216 faculty members who are non-tenure track, 126 are female and 90 are male.


Figure 4.4  Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty by Gender

tenured/tenure-track faculty by gender


Figure 4.5  Tenured/Tenure-Track Minority Faculty

tenured/tenure-track minority faculty


This data indicates that the University is quite close to the Board of Regents’ target of 14% minority faculty, and it reached its target of 42% female tenure/tenure track faculty in 2008. [34]  The commitment to recruiting, supporting, and retaining a diverse University work force and student population must remain an institutional priority.  Even as it faces unprecedented budget challenges, UNI continues to uphold this commitment.  The development of a confirmed definition of diversity and the establishment of key performance indicators provide a basis for more effective benchmarking and goal-setting.  Nevertheless, while commitment is strong, future progress will require coordinated information, efforts, goals, and measurement.


In 2009, the Diversity Council commissioned a confidential survey of faculty, staff, and student concerns about diversity-related issues.  The instrument was introduced to students in January 2009 and to faculty and staff in February 2009.  Results of the study for both students [35] and employees [36] were analyzed by an outside agency and disseminated to the campus community via the Diversity Matters Web site.  This site houses the results and allows all campus community members to manipulate the data and perform real-time cross-tabulations.  UNI’s results also were benchmarked against those of similar institutions of higher education in the United States.  The response rate for student participation was 15.3% and for employees 51.6%.  The Diversity Council, Diversity Advisory Committee, and the College Diversity Councils will be using the results to improve programs and practices.  The Diversity Council has also developed key performance indicators, several pulled from this study as well as from results from the National Survey of Student Engagement and from institutional data collected by the Office of Institutional Research, to measure progress related to diversity efforts.  This survey will be repeated at given intervals and the results of this study will be used as a benchmark for future analysis.  Overall, a total of 41 metrics were chosen to monitor progress across five categories of strategic priority; these will be reported annually to the campus community in a public forum hosted by the President and the Council.  The Council has adopted a definition of diversity, determined mission and vision statements, [37] and agreed to a strategic framework to guide its work, committing to pursue improvement by preparing students for the future, maintaining a diverse student body and workforce, fostering a supportive climate, and promoting success.


Student Recruitment

Another recent change implemented in an effort to reach 8.5% minority student enrollment was the hiring of an Assistant Director for Multicultural Recruitment in the Office of Admissions.


jump startIn 2009, the Office of Admissions hosted the 12th year of Jump Start, a one-week orientation program for students from ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. [38]  These efforts help give new students a solid foundation and the tools needed to pursue an education at UNI.  Students often comment about the relationships developed during this week-long program.  The institution continues to develop this and other programs to support the academic, social, and co-curricular experiences of students and will incorporate the findings of the Foundations of Excellence® study in these developments. 


Campus of Difference

Over a period of six years, UNI contracted with the Anti-Defamation League to present their program, A Campus of Difference (ACOD). [39]  The Anti-Defamation League provides a series of workshops designed to get universities, schools, communities, and workplaces involved in discussions about inequality on all levels.  The Campus of Difference program was specifically designed for colleges and universities and offered materials and exercises focused on higher education.  UNI participants engaged in activities and conversations about their differences and personal experiences and were encouraged to continue the effort outside the workshop.  Trainers involved with the program voiced a desire to move diversity efforts above and beyond “sensitivity training,” and UNI’s license to the ACOD program was allowed to expire.  The Executive Vice-President and Provost’s Office has contracted with the National Coalition Building Institute to provide professional development regarding diversity for faculty, staff, and students to begin in summer 2010.


Office of Compliance and Equity Management

The Office of Compliance and Equity Management [40] (OCEM), reporting to the President, has oversight for all equity and affirmative action issues involving compliance with federal and State laws and for all Board of Regents and University policies dealing with civil rights issues.  Additionally, the office works closely with departments to ensure the University implements a dynamic recruitment strategy for those affected classes underrepresented in the current workforce.  The OCEM monitors the University’s recruitment and employment procedures to ensure diversity objectives are met and equal opportunity guidelines are adhered to; compiles and reviews the University’s statistical analysis and reports concerning the workforce composition by race and gender, including the annual Affirmative Action Plan; receives reports and complaints concerning alleged violations of civil rights and works toward resolution; and oversees compliance with various federal and State laws, executive orders, and rules and regulations related to civil rights.  The office also provides annual training workshops on compliance and the prevention of illegal harassment for faculty and staff to ensure that current best practices are shared and employees are aware of their roles and responsibilities regarding the prevention of harassment and discrimination.




Educational and Student Services Task Force

Shortly after his arrival at the University, President Allen initiated a study to evaluate the organizational effectiveness of the Division of Educational and Student Services (ESS), now known as the Division of Student Affairs.  The ESS Task Force [41] was created in August 2006 and charged with reviewing the organizational structure to determine if all the units reporting to the Vice-President of the ESS should continue to do so and to consider if units not then reporting to ESS should do so.


The ESS Task Force offered two possible institutional organizational models for examination and consideration.  It identified that the main priority was to ensure optimal service to students while maintaining or enhancing high academic standards.  The first organizational structure change involved merging two departments that offered advising and support services to students: Academic Services (under ESS) and the Center for Academic Achievement (under the Division of Academic Affairs).  The units were combined under the direction of Academic Affairs and the department renamed the Academic Learning Center.  In addition, the advising functions housed within Advising and Career Services in ESS were moved to Academic Affairs.  Career Services remained in Student Affairs.


international students-libraryAs a result of the findings of this task force, President Allen established the Enrollment Council to coordinate these efforts.  The three departments continue to function under individual leadership within Student Affairs.


The final task force recommendation was to merge into one consolidated unit International Programs, International Student Services, the Culture and Intensive English Program (CIEP), and Study Abroad.  Responsibility for international admissions remains primarily within the Admissions Office of Student Affairs.  Other units involved in service and programs for international students have been consolidated into International Programs, under Academic Affairs.


Advising Council

To continue the process of improving both centralized academic advising and advising by colleges and faculty, the Interim Provost initiated an external evaluation by the National Academic Advising Association in 2007.  One of the association's recommendations was to create an Advisory Council to the Provost, charged with reviewing and assessing advising services and with promoting the development and recognition of professional and faculty advisers.  As a result of this recommendation, in December 2007 the Interim Provost created an Undergraduate Academic Advising Council. [42]  Outcomes have included the development of mission and vision statements and goals for academic advising.  The Advising Council also compiled an inventory of recommendations and provided this report [43] to the Interim Provost in spring 2009.  The Advising Council met with the new Provost in fall 2009 to review these recommendations.


Student Academic Planning Tools

In addition to academic advising, UNI relies on two very important tools for student academic planning:  Transfer Plan-It and the Plan of Study.


In response to the growing number of students who come to UNI from community colleges, Transfer Plan-It [44] was unveiled in 2006 to better serve those students anticipating a transfer to the University. [45]  Transfer Plan-It is an online computer program [46] that allows prospective students to select courses they have taken and immediately see which courses transfer to UNI and which requirements they fulfill.  At the time Transfer Plan-It was initiated, it was the only program in the nation to include all community colleges within its state.  The Board of Regents used UNI’s Transfer Plan-It tool as a model for the other Regent universities and initiated the creation of a Web site to provide a seamless transition for students transferring from Iowa’s community colleges to Iowa’s Regent universities. [47]  UNI has statewide institution-to-institution articulation agreements and over 200 program-to-program agreements to facilitate a smooth transition for community college students.


The Undergraduate Plan of Study [48] (POS) was completed in 2003.  The POS gives undergraduate students access to their degree audit via the Web and helps them plan their academic career as efficiently as possible.  This valuable electronic planning tool needs to be more fully integrated into the student academic planning process.  Development of the new Student Information System will provide features that better assist students and academic departments to more effectively use the information provided through the Plan of Study.


UNI is committed to organization and planning that will facilitate student success.  Taking advantage of perspectives that are inclusive of all stakeholders helps insure that policies and procedures are designed to support students, faculty, and staff.   And it is clear the campus seeks to be responsive to issues and concerns as they arise and develop appropriate and timely responses.



Academic curriculum planning is a collaborative and deliberative process involving varied groups inside and outside the University as outlined in Curriculum Review Process Information Handbook.[49]    


The University also has clearly established curricular planning policies. [50]  This process is driven by consideration of strategic initiatives of the University, individual missions of each college, the goals of the departments and programs within each college and of outside entities such as the Board of Regents and the Iowa Department of Education.  The Board of Regents mandates a separate pre-approval process for proposed baccalaureate, masters, doctoral, or professional programs likely to be submitted for approval.


It is imperative that all involved groups are kept informed throughout curriculum planning.  To this end, a University curriculum Web site was developed in 2008.  In addition, UNI Curriculum Online [51] was developed as an electronic tool to enhance the curriculum process, create an open environment for discussion and review of curriculum proposals, and ensure consultation with all parties affected by these curriculum proposals.  A significant feature of this electronic tool is an “impact analysis” feature.  This feature is data driven and allows faculty and staff to assess the impact of their proposed changes on the courses and programs offered by all departments in the University.  


Departments play a key role in the curriculum planning process, utilizing information from academic program and accreditation reviews, student outcomes assessment, new specializations and trends in their fields, professional and advisory groups, and historic enrollment data and information about degrees awarded.  As departments review information from these various sources, they continue to assess the viability of their current programs, restate majors and minors to better facilitate demands in their fields of study, and also develop new degrees, new majors, new minors, and options within majors to best serve students in meeting their educational, employment, and professional endeavors.  A list of new degrees, majors, major options/emphases, and minors initiated from 2000 to 2010 appear in Appendix G.   A list of degrees, majors, major options/emphases, and minors dropped (no longer offered) 2000-2010 appear in Appendix H.


There are instances in which curriculum development is driven by outside groups such as the Board of Regents, the Iowa Department of Education, or accreditation bodies.  The implementation of the Master of Arts in Education, Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and the undergraduate minor in Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments in 2006 was in direct response to a Board of Regents initiative.  Changes in requirements by the Board of Educational Examiners for the State of Iowa Middle School Endorsement initiated in August 2009, prompted the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Council on Teacher Education to plan a curriculum to address these changes.


As the curriculum is developed at the departmental level, the department consults with other affected parties to seek their approval and input.  The Library assesses the impact of proposed changes and determines what additional resources and services may be needed.  The Council on Teacher Education examines all proposals related to teaching majors, minors, or professional education requirements for licensure requirements, duplication, and interdisciplinary implications.  The Liberal Arts Core Committee receives, reviews, and responds to consultations for proposals involving Liberal Arts Core courses and proposals for changes in the design and structure of the Liberal Arts Core categories and requirements.


Each college senate receives all department-approved proposals and evaluates them for justification, integrity, compliance with curriculum policies, and duplication.  Any changes are made only after communication with the initiating department(s).  The complete college-approved proposal is forwarded to the dean of the college for consideration of its budgetary implications and approval.


The University Curriculum Committee (UCC) reviews all undergraduate curriculum proposals and acts upon all unresolved objections and deviations from University curriculum structure or policy.  The Graduate College Curriculum Committee (GCCC) also reviews all graduate curricular proposals in the same manner and forwards them to the Graduate Council.  The GCCC forwards to the Graduate Council all approved graduate curricular matters and unresolved objections.  The Council reviews these proposals and seeks to reconcile any unresolved objections.  All approved graduate and undergraduate curricular matters and unresolved objections are forwarded to the University Faculty Senate by the UCC.


The University Faculty Senate reviews all approved curricular proposals and any department or college appeals.  The Senate forwards all approved curricular proposals to the Office of the Executive Vice-President and Provost.  That office prepares a summary sheet of all curricular changes and forwards it to the President’s Office, the Council of Provosts, and the Board of Regents.  New program proposals are also forwarded to the Iowa Coordinating Council for Post High School Education.  Following approval by the Board of Regents, all approved changes are included in the University catalog.  While the curriculum process is collaborative and deliberative, it takes two years to complete, which makes it difficult for programs to respond quickly to new curricular needs.



The University of Northern Iowa’s plan for meeting information technology (IT) needs on campus involves a combination of centralized and decentralized approaches.  Many campus-wide IT needs, such as e-mail, calendar, and networking, are provided centrally through Information Technology Services (ITS).  Services more specific to the needs of a college or division are provided by IT staff within those organizations.  


ITS has established a security office to work with departments to comply with internal and external requirements and laws regarding data privacy and network and desktop security.  ITS uses capacity and life-cycle planning for upgrading technology on campus subject to available budgets, priorities, and needs.


There are several committees to address planning and governance of information technology needs.  The position of Associate Vice-President for Information Technology was vacated in June 2006, and leadership has been interim since then.  Following a failed search in spring 2008, President Allen assembled an Information Technology Task Force which he charged “to evaluate the current state of IT in the context of IT needs of faculty, staff, and students.”  The Task Force was further directed to submit “recommendations that when enacted will position the University of Northern Iowa to support our strategic goals with a comprehensive, coordinated, and robust IT infrastructure.”  The Task Force collaborated with various campus groups to collect information on the portfolio of IT services provided on campus, campus satisfaction with the current portfolio, and the cost of providing those services.  It submitted its recommendations, which related to information technology and governance, strategic planning, funding model, and technology, as well as academic research, IT expenditures, and business processes, to the President in July 2009, who is currently taking these recommendations under advisement.  Another related IT planning group is the Student Computing Advisory Committee, which advises the Assistant Provost for Information Technology Services with computing priorities and the allocation of student computer fees.


University planning is guided by a Technology Vision, [52] a Campus Technology Mission Statement, and Strategies for Using Technology to Advance the University Strategic Plan. [53]  Other technology policies and guidelines have been developed as well, such as the Disaster Recovery Plan, [54] Principles of Student Use of Technology, [55] and IT Support Guidelines. [56]


The Educational Technology Advisory Council [57] (ETAC) assists ITS-Educational Technology staff in setting priorities for the use of instructional technologies; recommends planning and development activities; ensures UNI’s Strategic Plan serves as the overall umbrella; identifies new technologies to be reviewed and piloted; shares information with faculty, staff, and students regarding instructional technology initiatives; and assists in evaluating the instructional technology support provided to the campus.


Colleges and divisions have their own technology committees, which are responsible for developing and submitting proposals for student computer fee funds.  These committees have student representation to help ensure student input.  In reviewing requests and making decisions, groups follow the Student Computer Fee Allocation Guidelines. [58]  


Enterprise Systems

ITS staff work with each division on the selection and implementation of technologies to support its needs.  UNI has implemented the Modern Executive Management Financial Information System [59] (MEMFIS).  The first elements of the system were brought online in July 2001 and now include applications for financial systems, payroll, and Human Resource Services.  System administrators track usage statistics, [60] providing valuable data for planning purposes.  


UNI is in the process of implementing an enterprise-wide student information system (SIS).  The first components, a new MyUNIverse portal and admissions systems, were implemented in the summer of 2010.


Technology is a constantly changing environment and as such challenges the planning process.  UNI will undoubtedly benefit from planning and organization that will come about as a result of the IT Task Force review.  The President is currently considering their recommendations.



The University recognizes the critical importance of building and maintaining facilities that support quality academic services and programs.  To that end, the institution continually plans for facility needs and institutional growth.  The University maintains an overall Campus Master Plan, [61] which was updated in 2004 and presented to the Board of Regents in February 2005.  This document includes a review of construction and renovation from 2001 to 2004.  Facilities Planning staff is currently working on a new update ready for review in spring 2010.  A brief overview of campus renovations and upgrades since 2000 follows:


Figure 4.6 Campus renovations and upgrades since 2000


Gross SF



Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center




Lang Hall Renovation




Redeker Center




McCollum Science Addition




Maucker Union Renovation/Expansion




Student Health Center Renovation/Expansion




Towers Dining Center




Innovative Teaching & Technology Center




McLeod Center




Business & Community Services




Begeman, McCollum Science, Greenhouse




Russell Hall Renovation




Human Performance Center





It is important to acknowledge the University’s outstanding work in renovating older buildings while maintaining their historic appeal.  Three examples of this approach are: Lang Hall, the Innovative Teaching and Technology Center, and Begeman Hall (Physics).  The University has also preserved attractive open space in the central part of campus.


In 2001 staff developed the South Campus Design Guidelines, [62] which guides development and priorities for campus properties south of University Avenue.  The West Campus Master Plan [63] guides the development of campus properties west of Hudson Road.  Development of the West campus has benefited from partnerships with the City of Cedar Falls to utilize city and University resources for recreational fields.   The 28E Agreement for Joint Use, [64] signed in 2006, resulted in improved fields that support UNI and city activities and in a four-acre permanent pond to resolve a city storm water retention issue.  The design of this wetland demonstration pond, which is open to public and campus use as a park area, also supports academic research and activities.  This partnership is an excellent example of the mutually beneficial and fiscally responsible ways in which the city and University work together to address the needs of the community. 


When developing long-term plans, UNI relies on the Facilities Planning Advisory Committee [65] to provide input regarding space utilization, campus plans, and development.  This committee reviews all master plans and is instrumental in making recommendations to the University’s five-year capital plan. The five-year capital plan is updated each year and, after approval by the President’s Cabinet, is submitted to the Board of Regents. [66]  The Board then reviews submissions from each of the institutions it oversees and creates a five-year capital plan for the entire Regent system.


Physical Plant Long-Range Plan

The UNI Physical Plant is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the campus facilities and properties.  The Physical Plant’s long-range plan can be found in its Vision 2013 document. [67]  The plan identifies six strategic approaches in the areas of inventory management, materials and supplies purchasing, establishment of metrics to evaluate effectiveness and efficiency of staff time, review of organizational structures to ensure they support the University’s goals, review of the manner in which space assigned to the physical plant is effectively utilized, and continued development of the University’s “green” initiatives.


Energy and Sustainability

In an effort to respond to the global problem of climate change as well as budget shortfalls at the University, responsible use of resources has become a top priority of the University.  In order to effect change across campus, in October 2006 President Allen created the Energy Conservation Committee, which helps the institution to identify new opportunities in sustainability.  That committee was given the charge “to enhance energy efficiency measures and to promote environmental awareness.” [68]  The Committee is chaired by a faculty member, with a student representative as Vice-Chair.  The Committee advises the Vice-President of Administration and Financial Services.  The Committee has established task groups focused on specific topic areas within energy conservation, energy management, and sustainability.  These groups study such topics as classroom and facility scheduling, engagement, education and information, and best practices.  The work of the committee is tracked on the campus sustainability Web site. [69]  


On the committee’s recommendation, in spring 2007 UNI joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  In recent years UNI has also worked hard to integrate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards into new and existing buildings on campus.  For example, in the current renovation of Sabin Hall, which was built in 1912, UNI is committed to seeking LEED Silver Certification from the United States Green Building Council. [70] 


In order to support the work of the Energy Conservation Committee, in 2008 President Allen established the Sustainability Council.  The Council is chaired by the Vice-President for Administration and Financial Services and advises the President on University policies and activities to assist UNI in complying with the Board of Regents sustainability programs and efforts.  In March 2009, the Board approved system-wide initiatives that provide an integrated and collaborative effort toward greater sustainability. [71]


In spring 2009 a campus-wide meeting was conducted to bring faculty, staff, and students together for discussion and information regarding how UNI is approaching sustainability issues.  There were seven major areas of discussion: campus properties, educating the campus on sustainability issues, investments in sustainability, policies for campus buildings, sustainability in student life, sustainability in the curriculum, and transportation policies.  As a result of the information gathered, a final report was forwarded to a recently established Sustainability Council, headed by the Vice-President for Administration and Financial Services, which reviewed and initiated action on a number of the recommendations. [72]  For example, the report stressed the need to have a person on campus responsible for coordinating the University’s sustainability efforts.  The Sustainability Council then created the position of Sustainability Coordinator; a search was held and a coordinator was hired in spring 2010. [73]


Space Use Reports

UNI continues to manage overall campus use of space in ways that respond to scheduling needs and recognize the demands on energy and conservation that accompany all space usage.  The Registrar’s Office has worked with the Sustainability Council, the Executive Vice-President and Provost’s office, and academic leadership to review policies governing space assignment and usage.  Below is a brief summary of usage for 2006-2009: [74]


Figure 4.7  Average Room Periods (1 period is 60 minutes) Used Per Week

average room period used per week


Figure 4.8  Utilization of Stations when Room is Occupied  

utilization of stations when room is occupied


The charts above indicate that the University has the physical capacity to support enrollment growth.  It should be noted that regular and long-term repair and maintenance of facilities is of critical importance.  The challenge of budget reductions may impact the overall maintenance program and repair schedules. 



barlett hall

The Department of Residence conducts two annual surveys to evaluate and assess the performance of housing and dining operations.  The first is the Educational Benchmarking, Inc. (EBI) survey on housing and facilities satisfaction, and the second is the National Association of College and University Food Service (NACUFS) Customer Service Survey.


In September 2007, the Executive Director of Residence convened a task force to draft a new Department of Residence strategic plan for 2008-2018.  Focus groups of administrators, students, and staff contributed to the information utilized in the process.  A new mission statement was developed:  “The Department of Residence contributes to the success of students and the University by providing exceptional hospitality and creating dynamic communities.”  In addition, new values were articulated that focus on academic and personal growth of students, individual and professional growth of staff, safe environments for students and staff, collaboration within and beyond the department, diligent stewardship of resources, and responsiveness to stakeholders.  Goals were established in five areas:  Administration, Student Education/Learning, Student Profile, Facilities, and Marketing. [75]



The University has also responded quickly to the important national concern of violence on college campuses.  In fall 2006, an Assessment and Consultation Team (ACT), formerly called the Critical Incident Team, was established to respond to incidents of high-risk mental health, disciplinary, or criminal behavior exhibited by students. A team of University professionals reviews, discusses, and coordinates appropriate responses to students exhibiting inappropriate behaviors, suicidal thoughts or attempts, or other mental health issues.


In 2007, President Allen established a larger Critical Incident Team (CIT) to integrate University services, such as police, counseling, student affairs, University communication, human resources, facilities, and environmental health and safety into a functional planning unit.  The central planning group assesses campus needs for information, education, and training as they pertain to safety and emergency response.  It provides training or workshop resources for faculty, staff, and students on campus policies and procedures related to safety and emergency response.  In addition to planning and training, this group also serves as the Assessment and Consultation Team (ACT) for faculty, staff, and campus guests and visitors.


UNI is National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant, as required by law.  Safety issues are presented to new faculty, staff, students, and parents during orientation sessions.  Each fall, an updated booklet covering Prevention and Response to Critical Incidents is distributed to all faculty and staff, with other resources provided electronically. [76]  An emergency call center team has been established and can be deployed to a centralized call center to respond to emergencies affecting the campus.


In 2008, UNI initiated a mass notification system, UNIAlert, [77] utilizing e-mail, text messaging, and voice mail.  This service, contracted through Connect Ed, is used only to disseminate emergency information related to weather or safety issues.  In 2009, UNI added an external speaker system across campus.  Discussion continues on incorporating other campus technology to improve mass notification, and on training individuals to assist in notification and response.


The University also monitors security and safety in all campus facilities.  Electronic locks are being installed to allow for remote locking and to identify those attempting to gain access.  Eleven emergency phones are located throughout the campus and connect directly to UNI Police in the event of an emergency. UNI Police meet weekly with Cedar Falls Police and monthly with local and county law enforcement to discuss active cases and problems within the campus or general geographic area.  UNI also has a Public Safety Advisory Committee, [78] to provide an advisory and consultative review of actions and activities regarding operational activities and programs of the Department of Public Safety.  The Environmental Health and Safety Office provides leadership to ensure a safe and secure working and learning environment.  Staff work with the University Health and Safety Committee [79] to foster a safe campus environment.


The challenge of campus safety and security is ongoing, and the institution must engage in a continual process of evaluation and improvement.  However, UNI enjoys excellent communication and cooperation across the institution and in the surrounding community.  University Police require ongoing training which, while necessary and important, is costly.  The Dean of Students office deals with numerous concerns regarding student behaviors and disciplines, and increased demands call for increased staffing to manage critical needs.  The UNI Counseling Center provides valuable service for UNI students who require or are advised to seek counseling support.  While Counseling Center staffing levels have recently increased, the institution must continually monitor student needs against available resources.  Mandatory reporting such as that required for the Board of Regents, Uniform Crime Report, and OSHA, while important, demands time and resources.  It is extremely important to direct resources to these and other areas related to campus safety, as funds become available. 



UNI also engages in a variety of outreach and special programs that respond to the needs of the community, state, and the nation.  Several significant activities are described below.


Business and Community Services

Business and Community Services (BCS) [80] is built upon planning and analyzing social and economic trends, and its work is reflected in its ability to meet the needs of the business clients and communities served.  Business and Community Services coordinates 15 programs:  Executive Development Center; Institute for Decision Making; Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration; Iowa Waste Reduction Center; John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center; National Ag-Based Lubricants Center; Strategic Marketing Services; Regional Business Center; Center for Energy and Environmental Education; Geoinformatics Training, Research, Education, and Extension Center; Materials Innovation Service; Metal Casting Center; Recycle and Reuse Technology Transfer Center; Sustainable Tourism and Environment Program; and Tallgrass Prairie Center.  These programs help keep UNI faculty, staff, and alumni at the forefront of these fields.  For example, a professor of Anthropology and professor from HPELS were recently recognized with the One Iowa Award for their work directing the Iowa Center of Immigrant Leadership and Integration.  The director of the Regional Business Center and a graduate of UNI’s Public Administration program was the 2009 Cedar Valley Woman of the Year.


These programs provide products and services to individuals, businesses, industries, communities, governments, educational organizations, and others.  In FY09, BCS programs provided services to all 99 counties in Iowa, assisted more than 4,210 business and community clients, and involved or assisted 220 faculty and 2,105 students.  Programs leverage $1 of direct appropriations with $6 in federal funding, grants or private support.  UNI’s three incubators and MyEntre.Net helped start or expand 160 ventures, creating 277 jobs.


The advisory councils of BCS programs outline business, economic or community trends and offer assistance with funding and public relations.  The Executive Development Center has a consortium that outlines the training needs for consortium members.  These councils include representatives from the Iowa Legislature, local economic developers, Congressional staff, Regent University program staff, community colleges, entrepreneurs, business and industry, local elected officials, investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and State agencies.  Input from these councils is vital in the planning process for these organizations.


Strategic initiatives are vetted, refined, and shared with the Dean of the College of Business Administration and other Deans as appropriate.  Individual programs also conduct strategic planning.   Annually, BCS provides an Economic Development and Technology Transfer report of the outcomes of these initiatives to the Board of Regents and others. [81]  To develop strategic initiatives, BCS programs closely monitor economic trends in Iowa and the world.  Staff serve on various state, regional, and national boards and committees: U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Economic Development Council, Mid-American Economic Development Council, Professional Developers of Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Workforce Development, Bioscience Alliance of Iowa, Advanced Manufacturing Council, Information Technology Association of Iowa, and Iowa Power Fund.  


The Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer program [82] continually monitors the development of intellectual property at the University.  The technology transfer process at UNI is a collaboration among the Office of Intellectual Property; the UNI Research Foundation; Business and Community Services; and the faculty, staff, and student innovators.  Together, these offices provide an integrated approach to protect intellectual property and advance projects toward commercialization.


Two committees exist at UNI to protect intellectual property and foster technology transfer.  These committees are the Intellectual Property Committee (IPC) and the Technology Transfer Committee (TTC).  The Intellectual Property Committee is a faculty and staff organization initiated in 1998.  The Committee was instituted in response to the growing number of technologies being developed, copyright concerns, and trademarks managed by University departments and associated centers.  Its mission is to support, promote, and encourage the patenting, copyrighting, trade-marking, and licensing of works developed at UNI.  This committee also works to maintain and update the Intellectual Property policy as well as assist with licensing and disbursement of revenue.  The Technology Transfer Committee works with inventors to develop a process to advance a project toward commercialization.  The Intellectual Property Committee and the Technology Transfer Committee assess the UNI intellectual property portfolio and disclosures annually.  Recommendations are made on which disclosures and patents should continue to be pursued.


The Research Foundation [83] is a board of successful businesspersons and investors who assist the UNI IPC and TTC with determining the best method of commercialization for UNI intellectual property.  This foundation engages in an annual planning and budgeting process, and assesses trends and opportunities that will affect UNI intellectual property.  


Iowa Math and Science Education Partnership

In response to a shortage of math and science teachers for Iowa’s public schools, in 2008, the Iowa legislature authorized the Board of Regents to establish a Mathematics and Science Education Collaboration Initiative, subsequently known as the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership [84] (IMSEP).   This initiative is led by UNI in collaboration with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.  IMSEP has three basic goals:  to improve mathematics and science performance of Iowa students, prepare more high-quality mathematics and science teachers for Iowa’s schools, and promote statewide collaboration and cooperation.  Among other initiatives, IMSEP has  introduced a national pre-engineering curriculum package for middle and high school students; sought to develop public-private partnerships between Iowa schools and businesses, providing paid summer internships for current math and science teachers; and offered tuition-waived courses and other assistance  to encourage qualified candidates to pursue math and science teaching through the I-Teach project.


Price Laboratory School/Research and Development Task Force

Price Laboratory School

In 2007, Iowa legislation (SF 601, Section 128) directed the Iowa Department of Education and the University of Northern Iowa to convene a task force to conduct a feasibility study [85] regarding creation of a research and development school serving pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students for the State of Iowa and to consider the existing laboratory school located at the University of Northern Iowa as the site for the school.  The task force, co-chaired by the Director of the Iowa Department of Education and President Allen, determined it would be highly advantageous to create an Iowa Research, Development, Demonstration and Dissemination (RDDD) school.  The RDDD school should target its research on challenges that face Iowa schools and partner with educational researchers at the Regent universities as well as with teacher preparation programs at independent colleges and universities in Iowa.  The Task Force concurred that the program should be located at the existing Price Laboratory School at the University of Northern Iowa.


The Iowa Legislature agreed with the Task Force recommendations and funded Iowa’s first statewide Research & Development (R&D) school with the passage of Senate File 470. [86]  The Price Laboratory School is transitioning to the R&D school which is a collaboration among UNI, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the Iowa Department of Education.  The initial goals of the school will be to raise and sustain the level of educational attainment and personal development for all K-12 students; enhance the preparation and professional competence of Iowa educators; and focus on research to meet the challenge of changing educational needs. 



Summary of Core Component 2a

A review of Component 2a, “The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends,” demonstrates that the University takes seriously its role to look ahead to the future and adjust its programs, services, and outreach to contribute effectively to students, the community, the state, and the nation.  Nine general areas were discussed with strengths to build upon and challenges to be addressed.


  • Overview of Campus Planning
         A. Strengths
             1. There is a strong focus and clear communication on the priorities established by the President. 
                 Decisions and actions are aligned with these priorities.
             2. Established priorities have helped UNI to continue to move forward in long-range planning, even with
                 the delayed start of the University strategic planning process.
             3. There is a history of inclusiveness of all stakeholders in the strategic planning process.
         B. Challenges:
             1. The start of the UNI Strategic Planning process was delayed to coincide with the Board of Regents
                 Strategic Planning process.
  • Campus Governance:
          A. Strengths:
               1. UNI has a history of positive working relationships and respectful communication between campus
                   administration and governance groups.
               2. Student input in campus decision making is solicited and valued.
               3. Stakeholders are involved in decision making via task forces, campus conversations, surveys, and
                   campus advisory and leadership groups.
          B. Challenges:
               1. Campus governance groups have had to address the budgetary reductions and their impact effect
                   on programs, tuition, salaries, and fringe benefits.
  • SAA tourEnrollment Management:
          A. Strengths:
                1. President Allen created and co-chairs the Enrollment
                2. Admissions is developing new strategies to enhance
                    both undergraduate and graduate student recruitment.
                3. Participation in the Foundations of Excellence®
                    program project will lead to a comprehensive program
                    for first-year students.

           B. Challenges:
                 1. The University recruits the vast majority of its
                     students from Iowa where there will be a declining pool of high school graduates from which to
                 2. The economic climate may discourage potential students from post-secondary education.
                 3. While building enrollment, the University needs to focus on retention as well as recruitment.

  • Diversity
            A. academic learning centerStrengths:
                 1. The Diversity Council coordinates diversity programs,
                     measurements, and benchmarks.
                 2. Leadership in Academic Affairs will participate in
                     diversity training over the next year.
                 3. The President and Cabinet are actively involved in
                      the Diversity Council and activities.
                 4. Results of the 2009 campus climate survey were
                     publicly disseminated.
                 5. UNI has reached its target for female
                     tenure/tenure-track faculty members.
                 6. Additional staff have been hired to recruit students
                     from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
            B. Challenges:
                  1. Coordination of diversity measurement and evaluation has been fragmented; the Diversity Council
                      will need to play a key role in developing shared responsibility for diversity efforts.
                  2. A University-wide, professional development program focused on diversity has not been
                  3. There is a comparatively small number of faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented racial
                      and ethnic groups. 
  • Planning to Assist Student Success:
            A. Strengths:
                  1. Student success is an institutional priority, and decisions are based on what is in the best interest
                      of students collectively and individually.
                  2. The examination of issues affecting students includes stakeholders from across the campus.
                  3. Significant changes in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, designed to increase coordination
                      between Admissions, Financial Aid and the Registrar were made as a result of task force review
                      and recommendations.
  • Academic Curriculum Planning:
            A. Strength:
                   1. The University has clear guidelines for academic curriculum planning and changes.
            B. Challenges:
                   1. More emphasis could be given to removing or reorganizing weak programs and low-enrollment
                       courses and to better integrating student outcomes assessment findings into the curriculum
                       process; the Academic Program Assessment has had, and continues to have, an impact in this
                   2. The two-year curriculum cycle may reduce flexibility and the ability to respond quickly to curricular
  • Technology:
            A. Strengths:
                   1. Technology is provided both centrally and from divisions/colleges with the goal of meeting the
                       rapidly changing needs of students, faculty, and staff.
                   2. Technology staff are well versed in emerging technologies and current issues.
            B. Challenges:
                   1. The centralized/decentralized model can lead to duplicate efforts and competition for resources.
                   2. Information Technology has operated since 2006 with an interim CIO.
  • Facilities:
            A. Strengths:
                   1. UNI is committed to preserving an attractive campus with historic architecture, while providing
                       facilities that meet 21st century needs.
                   2. The University is committed to increasing “green” sustainability initiatives in campus buildings,
                       renovations, and future planning.
                   3. The University has a long-range plan for facility maintenance.
                   4. A strategic plan and assessment process are in place to guide the Residence system.
                   5. UNI and the city of Cedar Falls have developed a partnership that expands facilities and
            B. Challenges:
                   1. There has been a reduction in resources to support facility and deferred maintenance.
  • Critical Incident Planning:
            A. Strength:
                   1. A campus-wide critical incident planning process is in place.
  • Outreach efforts responding to the needs of economic and societal trends:
            A. Strengths:
                   1. The University has a variety of outstanding outreach programs and partnerships that serve Iowa,
                       the nation and the world.
                   2. The University responds rapidly to the identified needs of its external constituents.
            B. Challenges:
                   1. Budgetary reductions will pose challenges in funding and support for outreach activities.

Back to Top

Core Component 2b: The organization’s resource base supports its educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.



The University’s more than 1,800 faculty and staff make up the vital human resource base needed to develop and execute high-quality educational programs and provide a sound administrative foundation.  UNI’s support of professional development opportunities paves the way for ongoing self-improvement and program enhancements.  Faculty Professional Development Assignments [87] provide a semester or academic year to undertake an approved program of study, research, or other professional development activity.  The policies that govern the Professional & Scientific employee group outline support for sponsorship of professional memberships, conferences, and other developmental activities.  The Staff Training Grant program provides tuition assistance to eligible Merit and Professional & Scientific employees.  This program was recently enhanced to provide up to 12 credit hours per year for up to 100% of the tuition cost.  While the training grant is an important resource for staff, there is a continuing desire on the part of employees to see this and other staff development programs expanded.


See Appendix I for Staff Training Grant Usage Table.


Professional Development Assignments for Faculty

The Professional Development Assignment (PDA) is an excellent opportunity for faculty members to hone their research skills, develop new knowledge for teaching, and expand their professional experiences.  These activities enhance faculty preparation and productivity and are an important means of supporting active, faculty scholarship. [88]  Applying for and receiving a PDA at UNI is a highly competitive process; it is not a sabbatical faculty members automatically receive.  For additional information on Professional Development Assignments, see Criterion 3b.  One challenge in awarding PDAs is the difficulty it may pose for the department, where other faculty bear the burden of teaching courses, courses are not taught, or the department must find money for adjuncts to teach courses.


Employee Training

UNI’s Educational Technology Department works to maintain and strengthen the quality of UNIs educational programs by providing resources for faculty to integrate the newest technology into their courses.  For example, it provides a full slate of free computer workshops through their Technology ‘n’ Training program [89] to educate employees on creating Web pages, using the Internet, and using Microsoft Office suite.  The program’s Faculty Focus workshops provide training to incorporate technology into teaching.  Workshop topics include online course development, e-portfolios, Web site development, and preparing course materials for the Web.  


In 2007 Human Resource Services created the Training Advisory Committee to re-evaluate current campus training initiatives and indicate future directions.  The committee is composed of a representative group of campus directors who are instrumental in identifying training needs of their staff and other similar campus staff.  In 2008 a desire to focus on improved customer service resulted in a partnership with the Cedar Falls/Waterloo community to support and participate in a Service Speaks program. [90]  This program included three nationally known speakers, each providing a session on their customer service concepts. All three sessions were held on the UNI campus and were attended by thousands of employees from UNI and area businesses.  Other focus areas of the Training Advisory Committee include enhancing employee orientation programs, centralizing and streamlining information resources, and comparing personal versus automated communication.  Human Resource Services Training and Development Coordinator also provides customized training for small-group or departmental sessions. Topics have included communication, team-building, and conducting performance appraisals.


Recruitment and Retention of Employees

UNI works to recruit and retain quality employees as part of its effort to support and strengthen its educational programs in the future.  One example of this commitment was the creation of a new position, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs in 2009.  The Provost’s Office recently created a New Faculty Orientation Web site to help new faculty make the transition to UNI and the Cedar Valley community, [91] and new faculty go through an orientation session shortly before the beginning of the fall semester to provide information about the university.  New merit and P&S staff also have their own orientation session.  When recruiting employees, UNI emphasizes the high quality of life in the Cedar Falls area, which includes good schools, low crime rates, and a variety of cultural and recreational activities. employee training 


Merit personnel, Supervisory/Confidential staff, and Professional & Scientific employees receive annual performance appraisals by their supervisors.  These are reviewed in a performance meeting, as are employee job descriptions.  In this process, employees can help define their goals for the coming year.


The University also actively participates in salary and benefit surveys in order to gauge the competitiveness of its total compensation packages.  Results from the College & University Personnel Association (CUPA) salary surveys have consistently shown UNI Professional & Scientific compensation levels to be at or above 100% on average as compared to average salaries at UNI’s peer institutions and public institutions nation-wide with similar operating budgets.  In 2006 UNI was at the 46th percentile, in 2007 it rose to the 54th percentile, but in 2008, it fell back to the 46th percentile. [92]  In addition, attracting and retaining diverse applicants has been challenging for UNI, and recognition of this challenge has led to an increased emphasis on how to effect positive change.


In recent years the University has enhanced its sponsorship of employee immigration processes.  In 2008, Human Resources added a P&S Employment and Immigration Coordinator who is responsible for the facilitation of immigration processes for both faculty and staff.   The assignment of these responsibilities to a single individual and the establishment of a contractual relationship with the University of Iowa’s immigration attorney has enabled UNI to better respond to work authorization inquiries and develop a closer working relationship with employees involved in this complex and sensitive process.


The University also provides support services to employees.  UNI participates in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo. [93]  The EAP offers initial assessment, referral, and short-term counseling for employees and family members who are tax dependent and/or covered on the employee’s health insurance plan.  The EAP offers assistance with problems affecting personal relationships, health, and work performance.  Supervisors may refer employees to the EAP under circumstances that include unacceptable or continued deterioration of job performance; perceived immediate risk to an employee’s health and safety; or observed behavior that creates an immediate health and safety risk to others.


In an effort to employ a high-quality employee base, UNI has deepened its commitment to recruitment and retention.  In fall 2008, the University adopted a Policy for Conducting Pre-Employment Checks. [94] Relevant academic and/or professional credentials, work history, and references are verified for any person offered employment by the University.  The pre-employment background check of a candidate for employment is undertaken to comply with pertinent laws; promote a safe work environment; protect the University’s assets, including its employees, property, and information; and assist departments in their hiring decisions.  A specialized background check must be completed after an offer is made for selected positions. 



As is true for all institutions of higher education, a sound financial base is vital to UNI’s ability to successfully fulfill its mission and its plans for maintaining and strengthening the quality of its educational programs in the future.  The composite financial index analysis measures the overall financial health of UNI.  This analysis illustrates the computation of the primary reserve, net income using an operation indicator, net income using change in unrestricted assets, return on net assets, and viability ratios.  (See Appendix C, section #7 for Composite Financial Index.)


Since 2001 UNI has responded to substantial funding challenges while maintaining its commitment to students.  The following sections provide a brief explanation of UNI’s budget approach, resources, and expenditures.


UNI’s resources for the general operating fund consist primarily of state appropriations and tuition income.  For FY09, appropriations were approximately 58% of resources while tuition income was approximately 40%.  Other miscellaneous resources represent only 2% and consist of indirect cost recovery, investment income, and miscellaneous fees.  It should be noted that this funding structure has substantially changed since FY01.  In that year, state appropriations represented 69.9% of our resources, while tuition represented 28.1%.


Table 4.3  Ten year comparison of appropriations and tuition


General Fund


General Fund




of Budget


of Budget



















































Source: Division of Administration and Financial Services


The University of Northern Iowa submits an annual request to the Board of Regents for new tuition and fee rate increases.  Due to decreases in State appropriations, tuition filled the funding gap with rate increases of 17-18% in fiscal years 2003 and 2004.  In recent years, tuition and fee increases have been aligned with the Higher Education Price Index and have ranged from 3.2% to 5.2%.  The recently approved rate for FY11 was 6.0%.  According to IPEDS data, [95] UNI tuition rates are in line with those of our peer institutions.  This does not, however, lessen the importance of monitoring tuition rates to insure that the University is cognizant of the difficulties of students and their parents to pay increasingly expensive tuition as it attempts to manage its fiscal requirements. 


Table 4.4  Ten year comparison of enrollment and tuition rates

















































Source: Division of Administration and Financial Services


The University is not alone in experiencing significant decreases from its largest funding source since FY01, but decreased funding and reversions may affect UNI more than most.  For the first time since FY01, the State did provide new appropriations in FY08 and FY09.  However, the most recent economic downturn has once again had a significant effect on state revenues.  During FY09, UNI experienced a 2.5%  reversion ($2.5 million) and while the institution was engaged in planning for the FY10 budget  appropriations were reduced another 12.5% or $12 million.    Further, during the fall 2009 semester (FY10) UNI experienced yet another across-the-board reversion of 10% or $8.4 million.  This reversion was later partially offset by a one-time, state appropriation of $5.2 million used to increase employee contributions to TIAA-CREF, assist with deferred maintenance, improve classroom technology, and to balance the budget.  The end result was such that state appropriations were reduced to FY97 levels.  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds helped offset budget shortfalls in FY10.  These funds were used to support 29 projects, including a number of programs to enhance classroomeducational technology, training, and student learning, to implement recommendations from the Foundations of Excellence project, and to partially fund a new student information system. [96]  However, even with this assistance the University remains very concerned, since ARRA funds are one-time funds.


Intensive planning began in 2009 to address FY10 budget issues and those that will face the University in FY11 and beyond, when ARRA funds are no longer available.  President Allen met with a variety of constituent groups to discuss their ideas and input on how the institution should handle the 10% reduction in state funding.  These groups included the Faculty Senate, Professional & Scientific Council, Supervisory & Confidential Council, United Faculty, university and state leadership of AFSCME, and Northern Iowa Student Government.  In addition, the President devoted each agenda of the Campus Advisory Group meetings (representing all constituent groups across campus) to the discussion of the budget.  When it became clear that there would be a supplemental appropriation of $5.2 million, President Allen met with these same groups to discuss how to spend or invest these funds.  He also established a working budget committee with whom he meets regularly to review legislative progress, funding strategies, and internal organizational and infrastructure proposals.  This information is then used as he conducts meetings and receives input from across campus.



UNI Development raises and administers funds given by individuals and organizations to support the University of Northern Iowa.  The funds are received and managed by the University of Northern Iowa Foundation (UNIF), a 501(c)3 organization incorporated in 1959 and governed by a Board of Trustees.  Development operations are funded by UNI Foundation revenues and by UNI funds.  The Development staff was expanded in 1998 to include constituent development officers to focus on the specific needs of each college and Intercollegiate Athletics.  Since that time, Development has also added two planned giving staff members.  Six central gift officers secure major gifts for all areas of the University, bringing the total number of gift officers to 13.  Other Development staff provide research, communication, stewardship, financial, and technology services.  Development currently has 32 staff members. 


The Students First Campaign [97] was a comprehensive fundraising drive conducted in two phases.  The first, begun in 1997, had as its goal raising $10 million for scholarships.  By 2000, this effort had raised $14 million.  In April 2000, the Campaign moved into its second phase with the goal of raising an additional $61 million for scholarships, program support and capital projects, bringing the total campaign goal to $75 million.  This was a significant increase over the $34.4 million raised in the previous campaign, “Leading, Building, Sharing” (1990-1995).  In October 2002, the Foundation’s Trustees, responding to the success of the Students First campaign, increased its goal to $100 million to be raised by June 30, 2005. 


By that date the Campaign had raised $112 million, including $42 million for scholarships, $39 million for program support and $31 million for capital projects.  Support given for scholarships created 330 new scholarship funds, most of them permanent, endowed funds.  Program-support gifts created a Dean’s Funds for Excellence in each of the academic colleges.  Major gifts in this category also created a distinguished visiting lecture program and a new endowment fund for the College of Education and assisted the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, the interdisciplinary Business Ethics program, the UNI Museums, Intercollegiate Athletics, and many other University programs.  Capital projects supported included the McLeod Center (sports arena), the Human Performance Complex, a facility for the Freeburg Early Childhood Program, renovation of the UNI School of Music’s Russell Hall, equipment for McCollum Science Hall, and renovation of UNI’s oldest classroom building, Lang Hall.  The Campaign received several gifts larger than any previously given to UNI:  gifts of $4,000,000 and $2,000,000 for the arena and a gift of $3,600,000 for endowed scholarships.


The Students First Campaign helped the University communicate with alumni and friends within and outside Iowa.  While the campaign drew significant support from its home community of the Cedar Valley (Black Hawk and contiguous counties), it also demonstrated UNI’s increasing ability to attract support from outside this area.  In the “Leading, Building, Sharing” Campaign (1990-1995) the Cedar Valley contributed 41% of the $34.4 million raised.  In the Students First campaign, the Cedar Valley supplied about 34% of the $112 million raised.  The two largest gifts to this campaign came from donors outside the Cedar Valley, one from a UNI graduate and the other from the parents of a graduate.


In addition to major gift fundraising, Development gift officers conduct several Annual Giving fundraising efforts to benefit academic colleges and departments, Panther Athletics, the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, the UNI Museums, and the UNI Annual Fund.  Since FY01, Annual Giving has grown from $3.2 million to $5.4 million.  In FY08, 12.3% of UNI’s living alumni made a gift, and the average gift was $458.  UNI, like most universities, has experienced an overall (though not steady) decline in the annual percentage of living alumni who make a gift, but a steady increase in the average size of a gift.  The Annual Giving Report [98] summarizes these activities for donors and the University community. 


The UNI Annual Fund raises unrestricted support and is used primarily for Development operations.  In FY08 it raised $630,000.  Most of the dollars it receives come through its telemarketing component conducted by student employees and managed by a contracted firm.  The students are carefully trained and briefed on UNI history and on current issues that may arise during their phone calls.  Alumni enjoy these conversations, and the student callers provide the University valuable feedback from them.  A significant step in the Fund’s growth was the creation of the Campanile Society in FY04 to recognize those who make gifts to the Fund of $1,000 or more each year.  By FY08, Campanile Society gifts accounted for more than $200,000 of the Annual Fund’s revenue.  The Development gift officers encourage their major gift prospects to make Annual Fund gifts at this level.  Several UNI Foundation Trustees have promoted annual giving at this level to their fellow Trustees, and it is now accepted as an obligation of UNI Foundation Board membership.


The current major campaign for the University is Imagine the Impact.[99]  Initiated in 2005, it will be announced on a national level in 2010.  In preparation for this campaign, faculty and staff were invited to comment on University needs and recommend purposes for which the campaign should raise funds.  These were reviewed by Development staff and the UNI Cabinet and presented to the UNI Foundation Board of Trustees.  The Board decided that the campaign should emphasize raising funds for scholarships and programs, especially endowed funds.  These emphases also supported President Allen’s priorities for the institution:  1. Be known as a leading undergraduate institution.  2. Be known as a leader in pre-K through 12 issues.  3. Enhance the economic, social and cultural development of the state.  The UNIF Trustees set the campaign’s goal at $150 million–the largest in the institution’s history. 


The Imagine the Impact campaign was presented to emeritus faculty in spring 2008, and in fall 2008 teams of campus ambassadors were recruited to promote it to their colleagues.  This approach has been successful in encouraging increased commitment from these “insiders” and has been a good opportunity to educate the campus community about the work of the Foundation.  


There is a concerted effort in this campaign to educate all donors on the benefits of planned gifts and bequests.  A substantial portion of the campaign is expected to come from planned giving.   Despite the poor economy, the Campaign has stayed on track to reach its goal.  As of October 31, 2009 (with 53% of Campaign period elapsed), the Campaign had raised almost $83 million (55% of the goal).  In recognition of its success, the UNI Foundation received an Overall Fund-Raising Performance Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in 2009.  From 1999 to 2008, the UNI Foundation endowment increased from $32,290,930 to $56,110,747. 


The market decline of 2001 and 2002 prompted the UNI Foundation Board and Development staff to reconsider the Foundation’s endowment payout rate, which had previously been 5% of the value of the true endowment.  This spending rate, typical among colleges and universities, eroded the value of the Foundation’s scholarship and program endowments during market declines.  At one point, about one-third of the Foundation’s endowed accounts were “under water,” that is, worth less than the value of the original gifts that had established them.  In 2006, the Board adopted a spending policy that incorporates the “Yale Model,” using a combination of market return and an inflation factor to establish a target for total spending.  The actual spending rate is determined annually by the UNI Foundation Board of Trustees.  This method of calculating spending is intended to level the extremes of market fluctuation, and the timing of determining spending assists account holders (such as academic departments and colleges) in annual planning.


Table 4.5  Three Year Comparison of UNI Foundation Spending and Endowments

Fiscal Year


As of the last day (June 30) of the fiscal year

Endowment increase/decrease


To be paid on the first day (July 1) of the following fiscal year

Spending increase

FY 2006





FY 2007





FY 2008






Development took care to inform account holders and donors of the rationale for these changes.  Thanks to the revised policy, by 2008, almost all the Foundation’s endowed accounts had recovered their full value. 


Regrettably, this recovery was severely eroded by the market decline of 2008-2009, and the value of many of the Foundation’s endowed scholarships and endowed program support funds fell to levels below those of their original gifts.  To preserve the Foundation’s long-term ability to assist UNI students and programs, in late February 2009 the UNI Foundation Trustees decided to suspend June 30, 2009, payouts from any endowments that were below their original gift level.  To alleviate the loss of scholarship support for students, the University made a one-time commitment of $1 million of University funds for scholarships to be paid in the coming academic year. 


In September 2009, the UNI Foundation Board decided to resume making payouts for all scholarship and program endowments, even those that are underwater on June 30, 2010.  The Board took this action because it is confident that UNI Foundation endowments will eventually recover their historic value.  In the meantime, Board members feel obliged to address the very real need of current UNI students and to honor the charitable intent of UNI Foundation donors. 


To assure the most effective use of available scholarship dollars produced by UNI Foundation endowments, the Development staff has worked closely with campus financial aid administrators and deans to create better procedures for administering these awards.  In 2007-2008 improved procedures were developed and tested for College of Education scholarships and in 2008-2009 were implemented among all the academic colleges. 


Development staff have worked with deans and faculty to create academic college Advancement Teams who assist in donor cultivation and stewardship efforts.  University faculty’s willingness to engage in these activities reflects a positive campus culture of philanthropy that will strengthen all fundraising efforts in the future.


Undoubtedly the biggest challenge faced by Development and the UNI Foundation is the economic recession, which has impacted both giving and endowment earnings.  While the loyalty of UNI alumni and friends remains strong, many are cautious about committing to a cash gift.  In the current climate, UNI Development staff are promoting deferred gifts and annuities to potential donors.  


Another challenge faced by UNI and many other schools is the increasing difficulty of conducting fundraising via phone banks.  The number of donors to UNI’s Annual Fund has decreased; however, the average gift has increased, mirroring a pattern found at many schools.  The UNI Annual Fund has increased its analysis and segmentation of phone solicitations to assure the effectiveness of the calls that can be completed.  It is also expanding its use of electronic means to contact prospective donors.


Like many other universities, UNI has had difficulty defining what types of grant funding should be pursued by Development and received by the UNI Foundation and what types by the Office of Sponsored Programs.  At present, certain grants are assigned to each according to criteria that are somewhat confusing to faculty and administrators.  The Foundation and the Office of Sponsored Programs are now engaged in discussions to clarify their respective responsibilities and bring their policies into line with those of the other two Regent universities and their institutionally affiliated foundations. 


The growing interest in fundraising by UNI departments outside the academic colleges poses an opportunity and a challenge for Development.  The willingness of these departments to assist with fundraising and stewardship can create new opportunities for giving.  However, because some of them do not have large, unique constituencies, it may be challenging to identify prospects for them.


UNI Alumni Relations           

Alumni involvement is promoted by the Office of Alumni Relations, whose staff also support the activities of the UNI Alumni Association.  Alumni Relations staff also maintain biographical data for the joint database of UNI alumni and contributors to the UNI Foundation.  Alumni who are attending graduate school or who are unemployed may become members of the Alumni Association for free.  All others may choose from three benefit levels. [100]


The University’s Alumni Association recently completed its first comprehensive alumni survey. [101]  The results provide insights about alumni expectations, needs, and preferences for programming, services, and opportunities.  The survey reveals that alumni are overwhelmingly satisfied with their experience at the University of Northern Iowa and speak positively to others about the institution.  The University outperformed all schools listed in the survey in nearly every comparison.


The Alumni Association provides social, cultural and educational opportunities with a focus on affinity programming by activity, profession, and academic loyalties.  A Panther Volunteer Network offers opportunities in three critical areas--recruitment, career services, and legislative advocacy.  E-networking opportunities are offered through the Alumni Association’s on-line community, Panther Union, as well as information sites on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Revenue from the membership program is increasing, thanks to an innovative tiered dues program and increasingly aggressive member acquisition program.  Standardized tracking and reporting systems have established a solid baseline for reference.  Below are membership numbers for the past three years.


Table 4.6  UNI Alumni Association Membership 


Alumni Association Members

Student Members

June 2007



June 2008



June 2009




The Alumni Association also has made significant strides in involving future alumni.  Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) has more than tripled its membership in the last five years, reaching nearly a quarter of the campus with special programming, events, and promotions designed to educate the campus about the role and obligations of University of Northern Iowa alumni.



CATS (Connecting Alumni to Students), a volunteer ambassador program, is a premier student group on and off campus.  Its members have been honored for their leadership by UNI’s Student Government, by the Affiliated Student Advancement Programs--CASE (ASAP) as 2007 District 5 Organization of the Year, and by the Iowa Governor’s Award for Service in 2008.


The University is fortunate to have a very loyal alumni base.  The Alumni Association staff features a broad range of talents and experiences that integrate well with the campus partnership philosophy.  Office and operations infrastructure have been streamlined for effectiveness and efficiencies.  UNI Alumni Relations appears to be on the cutting edge of the trend toward individual experiences and services.  Appropriate events, programs and services need to be nurtured and refined continually for a strong return on investment.


The largest challenge and opportunity before Alumni Relations is to provide, with minimal additional or dwindling resources, the programs and services that alumni are seeking.  The needs and expectations of our constituency also require either reassignments in staff portfolios or additional staff for needed expertise.  There are opportunities for outsourcing (e.g., communications, career services, etc.).  Regardless, this is a prime opportunity to evaluate and adapt from a programs and services perspective.


Alumni Relations must creatively provide the programs and services necessary to engage University alumni even as financial resources are challenged.  At a time when the department should be adding human and financial resources to career services and volunteer opportunities, the department may face the need to increase membership revenue.  Substantial revenue is now provided by the Affinity credit card contract, which expires in 2013.  If the contractor were not able to renew and no replacement could be found, the department would face a significant revenue challenge. 


To accommodate the need for additional services and programs, Alumni Relations has a stated goal of increasing membership from 8% to 25% of the alumni base in the next 10 years.  This target would bring the University in line with the nation’s best membership programs.  While an aggressive goal, staff believe it attainable with a new emphasis on member acquisition.


Segmenting communications is the foremost tactical challenge for Alumni Relations because it requires a commitment of time, talent and resources across campus.  Some steps have been taken to improve e-mail communications, but further work remains.  Effectively telling the University’s story to multiple generations is a challenge, an opportunity, and a necessity.



To help facilitate objective 5.6 of the 2004-2009 Strategic Plan, to increase external funding, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) [102] was formed in fiscal year 2005-2006.  Prior to that time, UNI had a Grants and Contracts Office that provided submissions oversight (primarily budget review) and financial accounting and reporting.  When OSP was created, UNI restructured a position to create an Assistant Provost for Sponsored Programs and created a Grant Specialist position to provide pre-award services.


OSP created a Web site to provide comprehensive sponsored funding information to faculty and staff.  This office also developed the UNI Professional Interest (UNI PI) database, linked to the Web site, which profiles the research, teaching, and special interests expertise of UNI faculty and staff.  The database facilitates greater awareness of research interests across colleges and fosters additional collaboration.  It is linked to the Association of American State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Grants Resource Center, which provides funding opportunities to faculty and staff based on their research interests.


Since the formation of OSP, UNI has made additional investments to help faculty and staff to secure external funding, including a second Grant Specialist and a Post-Award Support Services Coordinator.  Grant Specialists assist faculty and staff from the initial stages of an idea through proposal submission.  They assist in budget development and also review and edit proposals.  The new Post-Award Support Services Coordinator develops training materials and programs that help faculty and staff implement sponsored funding and comply with the myriad of state and federal regulations governing grants.  OSP uses a campus-wide advisory committee of representatives from each college and other departments, such as the UNI Foundation, to obtain feedback about UNI’s sponsored funding climate and culture and about OSP services.


In 2008-2009, to spur more interdisciplinary research, the Office of Sponsored Programs hosted the institution’s first campus-wide research symposium.  The program used breakout sessions to highlight several interdisciplinary research strengths, including ethics, energy and environment, teaching and learning, and community health and well-being.  Because sponsored funding is more likely to be secured through interdisciplinary, collaborative proposals, these will continue to be a focus and a priority for OSP.  Through these efforts UNI experienced a 26% increase in external funding for FY08 and was within $300 of doubling its competitive grant awards, which comprised 80% of the total external funding received through OSP.  Given the budget difficulties continuing to face the University, it is clear that external and grant funding will remain an institutional need and priority.


Figure 4.9 Sponsored Funding

Sponsored funding



The Office of University Marketing & Public Relations (UM&PR) leads marketing and public relations for the University and guides the management and oversight of the University's reputation.  The office engages in three main priorities: support the president's key priorities, develop and promote a brand for the University, and support and help guide student recruitment and retention.


In FY09 a comprehensive set of University policies regarding institutional communication were put in place by the University Cabinet. [103]  According to the policy, University Marketing & Public Relations is charged with the leadership and oversight of all official institutional marketing and communication channels and programs and activities used to reach internal and external audiences.  This policy was designed to insure consistent and clear marketing and messaging on the part of the University.  The development of the University’s first comprehensive market research project was also undertaken in 2009.  This research is meant to serve as the backbone of the University’s branding effort to be led by UM&PR.


Since 1999 UM&PR has undergone five leadership changes and has recently completed a reorganization.  The assistant vice-president for marketing and public relations was named to lead the office, and directors of marketing, electronic communication, and public relations were chosen.  In addition, three open positions were filled.  However, the staff of 17 professionals is small for UNI’s campus.  The recent reduction in state funding eliminated plans for a programmer position in the electronic communications area.  That need is currently being filled by two student employees each working approximately 12 hours per week; however, a programmer is needed to design and program Web sites because UNI is in the midst of implementing a new Web content management system that will make it easier for departments to manage their own sites without intensive programming support from UM&PR.  Increasing emphasis on the Web and social media also makes necessary a full-time Web content editor. UM&PR has editors for publications, but they do not have expertise specific to writing for the Web, e-communications (electronic newsletters), or in maintaining and monitoring social media sites.


Reductions in state support put continuing pressure on UNI to increase enrollment while the number of college-age Iowans declines.  Competing effectively in this marketplace requires dedicated funds for marketing, if not an increase in those funds.  This is an area that needs further support and review in order to develop effective marketing strategies.


Finally, UM&PR strives to found its work on data-driven decision making.  A robust media-tracking system is needed to improve data collection and tracking.  Currently, UM&PR has a service that collects media stories from the Web, but the service does not comprehensively gather media coverage from broadcast, radio, print and Web.  It is nearly impossible to correctly capture results, appropriately focus efforts, or identify emerging issues based on past coverage.  This focus will be increasingly important in the coming years to help increase efficiency.  However, these costs are prohibitive given the current economic conditions.


The Office of Marketing & Public Relations plays a key role in communicating the priorities of the University.  The University would benefit from a broad-based review of the scope and quality of their services in light of the challenges the Office faces with regard to diminishing resources and growing demand for quality service and support. 


Summary of Core Component 2b

UNI employees are committed to excellence and seek opportunities for professional development.  The University provides mechanisms to support professional development through internal workshops and training, Staff Training Grant opportunities for Professional and Scientific staff and Merit staff, and Professional Development Assignments for Faculty.  Faculty and staff express a desire for continuing professional development opportunities.


UNI, like many institutions, has felt the effects of state, national, and international economic climates, reflected in reduced state appropriations and increased reliance on tuition and fees to meet budget demands.  The Division of Advancement and the Office of Sponsored Programs have increased their efforts to identify and capture additional funding support.  But they, too, are challenged by economic factors beyond their control.  The University remains resolute in striving to maintain uncompromised quality but is cognizant that continuing funding setbacks will make this increasingly difficult.




  • Professional Development Assignments (faculty) and Staff Training Grants (Professional and Scientific personnel and Merit staff) provide excellent opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Departments such as Human Resource Services and Information Technology provide professional development training and workshops to employees.
  • The Division of Advancement has been successful in recent major campaign efforts and has launched the next University campaign.
  • Additional staff has been added in the areas of Advancement and the Office of Sponsored Programs to assist in securing additional external funding.
  • Alumni Relations is focused on increasing interactions and relationships with alumni and has increased programming with current students to strengthen the potential for future alumni relationships.
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds helped offset the FY10 budget reduction.


  • Professional Development Assignments may pose difficulties for smaller departments that do not have sufficient faculty to teach courses for faculty awarded the PDA.
  • The Staff Training Grant program requires additional funding.
  • The University lacks a widely understood campus plan to enhance recruitment and retention of diverse candidates.
  • The effect of stock market declines has had an adverse effect on the University endowment, challenging the institution’s ability to provide needed scholarship support.
  • Alumni Relations Affinity credit card program is scheduled to expire in 2013; if the program is not replaced, Alumni Relations will face a significant revenue challenge.
  • Consistency in the marketing of the University and its programs is challenged by the failure of campus units to make consistent use of the services of University Relations. 
  • ARRA funding for FY10 is one-time money.  Reliance on federal funds will not alleviate cutbacks if state funding support does not rebound by FY11.
  • Tuition increases cannot fully replace state appropriation shortfalls.

Back to Top

Core Component 2c: The organization’s ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.



One way in which the University provides reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that informs strategies for continuous improvement is through the process of Academic Program Review.  Board of Regents Policy 6.07A [104] requires that each Regent university review each academic program once every seven years to assess its role with respect to the mission and strategic plan of the University, college, and department; address program quality, effectiveness, and viability; utilize student outcomes assessment results; and stimulate strategic program planning and improvement.  Program review also enables academic programs to obtain external peer opinion.  Board and University policies on Academic Program Review are available on two Web sites:  Board of Regents of the State of Iowa Policy and Mandate on Academic Program Review 6.07 [105] and Detailed Procedures for Academic Program Review and Student Outcomes Assessment (Twentieth edition, April 2010). [106]


Student outcomes assessment is an ongoing process by which the University’s stated mission, goals, objectives, and the actual outcomes of its academic programs and co-curricular activities are assembled and analyzed in order to improve teaching and learning and accomplish institutional goals.  Through its role in program review and strategic planning, outcomes assessment promotes the rational, orderly evolution and continuous improvement of the University and its programs.  Outcomes assessment helps compel the University to be more responsive to students, parents, accrediting bodies, potential employers, and various public agencies and supports the potential need for resources.


The academic program review results are discussed in a self-study document combining narrative and data to clearly describe the history, present circumstances, and strategic direction of the program.  The reporting of ongoing Student Outcomes Assessment (SOA) procedures, findings, and results is a central element of this self-study.  Student outcomes assessment data, developed by the departments in consultation with the Director of Academic Assessment and conducted according to the SOA Policy and the department’s SOA plan, should contribute clearly to critical analysis of the program throughout the self-study.  External reviewers are asked to visit UNI to assess programs conducting academic program review and provide an assessment in a written External Review Report.


Following receipt of the external reviewers’ report, the Dean, Executive Vice-President and Provost, and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs (and the Graduate Dean, for graduate programs) meet with the program faculty and the Department Head to discuss the self-study and external review.  The Dean of the College (and Dean of the Graduate College for graduate programs) and Department Head continue to meet with program faculty to discuss priorities for recommended changes consistent with the College’s strategic plan.  A program plan is then written that includes student outcomes measures for assessing whether the proposed changes have been successfully completed. [107]  Progress made toward accomplishing these recommendations is reported annually to the Dean and to the Board of Regents in the year following the review7


Academic Program Assessment

Another example of how UNI uses assessment to evaluate and improve its programs is the recent Academic Program Assessment conducted in 2008.  In August of that year, the Interim Provost informed faculty, staff, and administrators of a new initiative to promote excellence in Academic Affairs by assessing all academic programs.  Task Force I was charged with planning and researching assessment methods and putting policy and operations in place for program faculty to conduct rigorous self-assessments of every program on campus.  Task Force II reviewed program self-studies to rate each program and assign it to one of four categories:  growth and investment, reorganization/consolidation/reduction, maintenance, or phase out.  Recommendations were distributed to department heads, college deans, the graduate college dean (as appropriate), and the Provost at the end of the spring 2009 term.  The provost (the interim provost in May and the new executive vice-president and provost in November), associate provosts, and deans held a retreat in May and September of 2009 to review recommendations.  Programs that were recommended for termination or suspension were processed using the regular curriculum review procedures.  Programs recommended for reorganization were required to submit a reorganization plan to the office of the executive vice-president and provost by November 1, 2009, followed by a detailed reorganization plan by March 1, 2010.  These reorganization plans are currently being evaluated.


When the study started, the emphasis was on program improvement.  However, as the budget crisis deepened, the elimination of under-enrolled programs also became an area of emphasis.  It is also important to note that this intensive process had a significant impact on faculty morale.  Faculty members were concerned about the possibility of program elimination and reduction of faculty lines.  In addition, this was a time-intensive process for faculty and administrators that had strict time limits and was undertaken while other significant University initiatives were underway. 



The mission of Internal Audit is to provide independent, objective assurance and consulting services designed to add value and improve the organization’s operations.  Internal Audit supports the mission of the University by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluating and improving the effectiveness of risk management, financial control, and the governance process.  


UNI’s Internal Audit Office is a member of the Board of Regents’ consolidated internal audit function and reports directly to the Regents’ Internal Audit Director and indirectly to President Allen.  The Internal Audit Director is appointed by the BOR and reports to the Executive Director of the BOR Office.  This structure provides the necessary independence to the audit process.  Internal Audit has unrestricted access to all functions, records, property, and personnel.  It can allocate resources and request assistance from personnel within units where they are performing audits and from general offices such as Business Operations and Financial Accounting and Reporting Services.  Internal Audit reports are distributed internally to the campus as applicable and externally to the Board of Regents approximately quarterly. 


An annual audit plan is determined for each fiscal year and driven by the performance of an annual risk assessment.  The assessment includes discussions with senior administration and key personnel, review of the ethics reporting hotline, and control issues noted throughout the fiscal year.  Audits may be conducted outside of the annual audit plan if there is a special request.



Another example of UNI’s increasing focus on ongoing evaluation and assessment processes that generate data which are then used to inform strategies for continuous improvement can be found in the movement of the Office of Institutional Research to a more prominent place in the University over the last 10 years.  In 1999, the office was housed in the Academic Affairs Division, with the Director reporting to the Provost.  In July 2005, the Office of Information Management and Analysis was renamed the Office of Institutional Research to better reflect the roles and responsibilities of the office.  In March 2006, it became apparent that the value of the office would benefit all organizational units at UNI, not just those in Academic Affairs.  At this time, the Office of Institutional Research was moved from Academic Affairs to the President’s purview, with the Director reporting directly to the President.  The mission of the office is to provide decision support to senior University administrators.


The Office of Institutional Research (IR) is responsible for a variety of activities related to strategic institutional planning, policy formation, and decision making. The office provides leadership in the implementation and maintenance of an information system that enables measurement of key performance indicators, examines trends in data, and monitors various organizational and planning targets in an effort to inform the administration, and the University at large, of progress and growth as well as to highlight areas where improvements can be made.  The data collected by the Office of Institutional Research are presented to a campus audience in an effort to provide the most transparency and accessibility to all those on campus.  All surveys and reports are made available on the Institutional Research Web site. [108]


Institutional Research plays a key role in monitoring state and national demographics, preparing annual and special reports to the Board of Regents, and completing such initiatives as the annual reporting for the Voluntary System of Accountability.  The Office is responsible for several campus surveys, including the Graduating Senior Survey, Student Satisfaction Survey, UNI Organizational Diversity Survey, Faculty Survey of Student Engagement and First Year Experience Survey.  The Office is also accountable to various external constituents, responding as needed to requests for information and surveys, including the U.S. News and World Report ranking survey. 


Summary of Core Component 2c

The University is committed to ongoing review and assessment of programs and activities and seeks to improve quality and effectiveness.  Scheduled Academic Program Reviews provide a clear and consistent mechanism for evaluating the quality, relevance and delivery of each program.  Many programs seek external accreditation as yet another means of assuring quality and relevance.  Student outcomes assessment is an integral part of these evaluations and gives evidence that the institution continues to focus on outcomes as we move forward with any programmatic changes.  In addition, the Academic Program Assessment was designed to review all academic offerings and evaluate them based on agreed upon criteria.   The role of Institutional Research has been expanded beyond Academic Affairs, and Internal Audit provides timely and responsive objective review.



  • Academic program review is closely linked to student outcomes assessment, facilitating a culture of continuous improvement. 
  • The recent Academic Program Assessment added another level of review that was especially relevant given economic conditions.   
  • Internal Audit is structured to ensure an independent process supporting continuous improvement. 
  • The responsibility of the Office of Institutional Research has been broadened to include all units on campus. 


  • The process of evaluating and implementing recommendations from the 2008-2009 Academic Program Assessment needs to be completed.
  • The Office of Institutional Research is called upon to take a wider role in data gathering and analysis but has limited staff to respond to increasing needs.

Back to Top

Core Component 2d: All levels of planning align with the organization’s mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that mission.



The University of Northern Iowa is part of a system of five institutions and affiliated centers governed by the Board of Regents. [109]  Other institutions governed by the Regents system are the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Iowa School for the Deaf, and Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.  As part of the overall system, UNI must plan in line with the strategic direction and goals set by the Board of Regents.   Board Policy 6.05 on Strategic Planning [110] clearly establishes that strategic planning occur at both the Regent and institutional levels and mandates that institutional plans be consistent with the Board of Regents overall planning process and cover a period of five years.  The Board’s plan expired in 2009.  In that year, the Board undertook an intensive planning process to establish the new strategic plan for 2010-2016.  This plan was adopted in spring 2010.  At the Board’s direction, institutional strategic planning was set to follow its process and timeline.


UNI officials routinely meet with their counterparts from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University to discuss system-wide issues and the impact on their respective institutions.  This system is designed to ensure that all levels of planning at the three universities align with the Board’s mission and with the mission of each university.  Examples of such inter-institutional planning include the following:

  • The Council of Provosts [111] (Provosts, and as guests, the Associate Provosts from each Regent university, a Board of Regents representative, and faculty senate chairs from each institution) meets prior to the regularly scheduled Board of Regents meetings.  This group discusses institutional and Board issues that potentially impact academics, such as state requirements, legislation, and budget. 
  • Financial officers from the three Regent universities meet at each of the regularly scheduled Board meetings and by conference call to discuss financial matters, Board actions, and fiscal management.           
  • Staff from the three Regent universities meet quarterly as the Facilities Planning Inter-Institutional Committee to review standard construction contract documents and discuss best practices.  A representative of the Board of Regents Office also attends these meetings and provides information, guidance, and coordination.  In addition, staff from each institution and the Board Office meet with Master Builders of Iowa as needed to discuss topics and legislation relative to construction and ways to improve the project delivery and construction process. 
  • The Regents Committee on Educational Relations promotes cooperation among the Regent institutions, community colleges, and the Department of Education with postsecondary institutions, facilitates articulation between secondary and postsecondary schools, develops procedures for and determines acceptability of academic credit, recommends policy modifications for admission of undergraduate students, coordinates record-keeping practices, and supports joint research efforts related to academic progress and performance.


The budgeting and planning process at UNI is linked directly to the University’s mission, to ensure that resources are maintained and strategically allocated to support that mission and goals.  Especially during challenging financial times, operations undergo scrutiny for opportunities to reorganize, reduce energy and health costs, maximize personnel effectiveness, maximize enrollment, and assess programs.


University budget development follows a general calendar each year. [112]  As part of the planning process, divisions provide reallocation information and identify requests for new priorities that relate directly to University goals.  Upon final Cabinet review and approval, the budget is then submitted to the Board of Regents for their final approval.


Management of the budget throughout the fiscal year is decentralized. Each division is responsible for the dollars in their colleges or departments.  Each division can reallocate funds, such as salary savings, for other specific needs.   Flexibility is maintained through the use of lump sum amounts budgeted for major expenditures, such as adjunct faculty, strategic initiatives, and tuition/enrollment contingency.


As previously discussed, UNI’s planning process was challenged by significant downturns in appropriation support beginning in 2001, and the Strategic Plan was revised to ensure that the University responded to the budget crisis in a systematic way that aligned with UNI’s mission.  In addition, each year the Cabinet sought input from the campus on their planning and prioritization for allocations. [113]  However, as resource support was further reduced, this consultative process became more of an informative process; without additional allocations, there was little need to solicit feedback on prioritization of new monies when, in fact, little or no new money would be received.  However, information was shared as a means of keeping the campus community informed. [114]


In response to the economic downturn that began in 2008, President Allen created two task forces with representation from across campus and the community.  These two task forces, Revenue Enhancement and Cost Containment, were charged to solicit input and ideas and to develop recommendations.  These task forces have since come up with a number of recommendations which have been implemented or will be implemented in the future.  For example, in 2009, the Cost Containment task force made a number of recommendations concerning building temperature, printer use, service redundancies, etc. which were implemented immediately, as well as “big ticket items” which required further discussion. [115]  Since then, some of these recommendations have been implemented.  For example, one of its recommendations was to “reduce administrative and management overhead through consolidations and mergers,” including consolidating the graduate college with other colleges, merging some smaller departments together and combining colleges.  In January 2010 it was announced that the Department of English Language and Literature and the Department of Modern Languages would be merged together, and the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) would also be consolidated into one college.  In addition, the position of Associate Provost for Academic Affairs was redefined in spring 2010 as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Dean of the Graduate College. 


As the University continues to look ahead to address continuing budget concerns, it will examine not only the internal situation but also its status among peer institutions on a variety of measures.  While tuition has significantly increased over the past decade, the figure below indicates that the institution remains comparable to our peer institutions. 


Figure 4.10: Year Tuition and Required Fees

year tuition and required fees for full-time, first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates

Source: IPEDs data


In reviewing tuition versus state appropriation ratios (see Table 4.7) as of FY09, according to the most recent Department of Management Report, UNI still derived a lower portion of resources from tuition and fees (40.3%) than from state appropriations (57.8%).  However, in 2001 this ratio was 28.1% tuition compared to 69.9% state appropriation, shifting much more of the burden to students/families for bearing the cost of education.  While this may be somewhat understandable given economic situations, this is a disturbing trend in terms of student access, affordability, and potential loan debt.  Further declines in state appropriation support will further challenge this situation and must be monitored closely.


Table 4.7  UNI Resources (in millions) Comparison of FY01, FY08, and FY09 


FY 2001

(in millions)


FY 2008

(in millions)


FY 2009

(in millions)


State Appropriation








& Fees







Indirect Cost Recovery






















Source:  University Department of Management Report


In examining the core expenses of the institution in Figure 4.12 below, as of FY08 (most recent IPEDs data available) there are several areas where UNI aligns closely with peer institutions: instruction, academic support, institutional support,  and other core expenses.  However, comparisons reveal that UNI ranks lower in support for research and student services while somewhat higher in public service expenses.


Figure 4.11: Core Expenses per FTE Enrollment

Core expenses per FTE enrollment, by function Fiscal year 2008

Source:  IPEDs data


Summary of Core Component 2d

UNI is part of an educational system governed by the Board of Regents.  As one of five institutions in the system, it is important for the University to engage in planning that is not only effective for the University but aligns strategically with overall system goals.  In order to accomplish this, the University aligns with the Board of Regents’ strategic plan and engages in activities that share information and guide decision making among the Regent institutions.

Internal planning processes are consultative and inclusive.  This is especially apparent in the process and communication that takes place during annual budget development.  The Cost Containment Task Force and the Revenue Enhancement Task Force are further examples of how the institution seeks to engage stakeholders in providing input and expertise to guide future planning. 



  • Representatives from across the Regent system exchange information and collaborate on formal and informal decision making.
  • Budget processes are transparent, consultative, and follow an established calendar.
  • Task forces for revenue enhancement and cost containment provide broad input regarding economic decisions.


  • The approval of the UNI Strategic Plan was delayed until completion of the Board of Regents 2010-2016 Strategic Plan. 
  • There is considerable uncertainty as to the impact of the national economic climate and continued decline in state support.

Back to Top


This chapter has provided an overview describing the processes, procedures and activities that contribute to future planning that is strategic, based on identified priorities and goals, in concert with UNI’s mission, in alignment with the Board of Regents governing guidelines, and in response to emerging economic and societal trends.  Allocation of human and financial resources, while always challenging, has been made more challenging given the uncertainty of economic forces and market conditions.  However, UNI has demonstrated its commitment to inclusive decision making and shared governance.  Strengths and challenges for the institution were outlined in each of the core components.  Below is a summary of strengths and areas for continuing University improvement.



  • The University has clearly identified priorities to guide planning and decision making.
  • Open and honest communication contributes to constructive working relationships with University governance groups.
  • There is a genuine desire for input from constituent groups across the University in major decisions such as reallocation, reorganization, and budget planning.
  • Enhancing diversity is a clearly communicated institutional priority.
  • The University recognizes and appreciates its role as a member of the institutions governed by the Board of Regents; inter-institutional communication is strong; decisions and policies align with guidelines and planning as directed by the Board.
  • Enrollment planning is a priority and is benefiting from improved coordination and leadership from the President’s Enrollment Council.
  • The Foundations of Excellence® program offers a positive approach to improving first-year experiences.
  • Student success is a clear priority; decisions are made reflective of that priority.
  • There are well-defined procedures for curricular planning.
  • There is a well-defined process for Academic Program Review and student outcomes assessment procedures.
  • Technology supports a range of student, faculty, and staff needs.
  • Buildings and grounds are well maintained; the University is respectful of historic preservation, works in partnership with the city, and follows its long-range plan for facilities and grounds.
  • The University takes critical incident planning seriously and makes every effort to respond to campus and community safety needs.
  • The University has programs and services that monitor and respond to developing economic trends and emerging societal needs. 
  • UNI supports professional development through Staff Training Grants, Professional Development Assignments, campus training, and workshops.
  • The UNI Foundation and Office of Sponsored Programs develop external funding opportunities and cultivate strong ties to the University.
  • Internal Audit is an independent entity and can act with authority.
  • Institutional Research provides campus leadership in data gathering and analysis.
  • Budget processes are clearly defined and transparent.

Areas for Improvement

  • Recruitment information, goals, and benchmarks of the Enrollment Council are not clearly communicated across campus.
  • The University lacks a comprehensive approach to technology support and has not yet made changes derived from the recommendations of the Information Technology Task Force.
  • Funds for institutional repairs and maintenance are below minimum needs.
  • Critical incident and emergency planning would benefit from additional staff in identified areas.
  • Professional development for staff should be a higher institutional priority.
  • The University must continue efforts to recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff.
  • University Relations would benefit from further research and evaluation on messaging, tracking, and effectiveness, especially in light of diminishing resources and growing demand for quality service and support.


  • Increase the number of faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. 
  • In building enrollment, the University needs to evaluate and enhance campus-wide retention strategies while maintaining its current focus on recruitment. 
  • The University should establish a campus-wide program to further faculty, staff, and student education and training in support of diversity efforts.
  • The recommendations of the Information Technology Task Force should be evaluated and implemented as appropriate.
  • A University task force should be established and charged with evaluating and making recommendations to the President regarding University Marketing & Public Relations activities.
  • Changes to the university’s present two-year curriculum review cycle should be considered in order to enhance flexibility in curricular planning.

[11],,,, SP.pdf
[12] Strategic Planning Sessions-Letter from the Dean.pdf
[28], p. 104
[33], p. 1-2
[34], p. 1-2
[51]; (CAT ID required)
[54] HLC Resource Room:  UNI MEMFIS Disaster Recovery Plan (last updated May 1, 2006)(confidential document)
[70] “Energy Conservation and Sustainability Initiatives at the University of Northern Iowa: Past, Present, and Future,” 2, at; and, “Sabin Hall Renovation to Meet Silver LEED Certification Standards,” at
[83] Research Foundation Bylaws.pdf
[92], p. 25
[107] HLC Resource Room:  Academic Program Assessment Report (confidential document)
[115]  and