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UNI Teacher Education Program History, Organization, and Mission

Historical Context of the UNI Teacher Education Program

The University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1876 as Iowa State Normal School for the purpose of providing a school for the special instruction and training of teachers for the common schools of the state. Prior to its founding, the grounds on which UNI stands served as a home for the orphans of Civil War soldiers in Iowa. In 1909, the school became Iowa State Teachers College, and in 1961, it became the State College of Iowa. Throughout this period, the central purpose of the institution was the preparation of teachers for Iowa schools. In 1967, the Iowa Legislature acted to change UNI’s status to that of a university with its present name. These changes in the institution’s name have reflected changes in its mission, although for its first 90 years, UNI was almost solely concerned with the education and preparation of students for careers in education. Upon achieving university status, the institution’s mission and programming expanded greatly.  However, at its heart, the University of Northern Iowa still approaches the education of future teachers as a campus-wide endeavor, thus making the University of Northern Iowa a complete Educator Preparation Program.

Organization of the UNI Teacher Education Program

The Teacher Education Program at the University of Northern Iowa is defined as all undergraduate academic programs in educator preparation involved in the instruction of strategies and methods for teaching, the professional sequence, and the supervision of field experiences that lead to licensure to practice in school settings. Based upon this definition, teacher preparation at UNI is a campus-wide endeavor involving each of the four academic colleges:

  • College of Business Administration; 
  • College of Education; 
  • College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; and 
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

However, because of its primary role involving Teacher Preparation, the College of Education provides important leadership for the unit through its provision of the Office of Teacher Education and its dedication of resources (e.g., professional sequence licensure coursework, and field experience/student teaching coordination and supervision) to the service of all teacher education majors at UNI. 

The main governing structure for UNI Teacher Education Program at the University of Northern Iowa consists of:

  • An Executive Council,
  • Two Senates (one Elementary and one Secondary), and
  • Two Coordinators of Teacher Education (one Elementary and one Secondary).

Here is graphic representation of the Organizational Structure for the UNI Teacher Education Program: Governance Chart.​ 

UNI Teacher Education Program Mission, Vision, and Belief Statements

Mission

The UNI Educator Preparation Program provides an authentic and challenging education that empowers candidates to serve as reflective, professional educators who advocate for students, schools, communities, and the profession in a dynamic and changing world.

 

Vision

The UNI Educator Preparation Program seeks to be an influential source of excellence in knowledge and practice in education. We strive to inspire educators to effectively 1) apply content and pedagogy in practical settings, 2) navigate changing social and political contexts to promote social justice, and 3) demonstrate competence in leadership, advocacy, and collaboration.

 

Belief Statements

UNI Educator Preparation Program professionals believe the following are key components of a strong educator preparation program:

  1. Candidates must deeply understand and reflect on their content and pedagogy.

  2. Candidates must engage in rich, purposeful, and authentic field-based experiences to develop appropriate dispositions and practices.

  3. Candidates have a responsibility to understand historical, social, cultural, and political contexts and how they impact education.

  4. Candidates must understand the importance of diversity and equity and engage in opportunities to promote social justice.

  5. Candidates must develop competence in the skills and dispositions that allow them to engage in effective leadership and advocacy.
  6. Candidates must develop strong skills in order to effectively collaborate with all stakeholders for student learning.

           *Research-Based Conceptual Framework: https://uni.edu/teachered/goverance-materials)