Spring-Summer 2020

Welcome to the Spring-Summer 2020 issue of the UNI College of Education's Premier Magazine.

Premier is published for University of Northern Iowa College of Education alumni, friends, faculty and staff.

From the Dean: An Unprecedented Spring

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Unprecedented. Never before seen. Unlike any other. Dean Colleen Mulholland

Such descriptors of the life and times of COVID-19 became common this spring. Even when overused, they seemed apt.

As students returned from spring break, we had one goal: to keep them on track toward completion of their courses and degrees. We did just that, with 475 graduates honored during our virtual commencement ceremonies. 

In this issue of our Premier e-newsletter, we offer some glimpses of the College of Education response to COVID-19, as we: 

  • Shifted to remote learning for all our students in teacher education, health and human services;
  • Adapted what this meant for field and clinical experiences and internships; and,
  • Watched as faculty and students discovered, in real time, the meaning of public health. 

As spring semester drew to a close, I shared my great appreciation with faculty and staff for their steadfast commitment to our students. And, I thanked our students for their patience, resolve and persistence. 

College of Education leadership team on ZoomI thank you, our alumni and friends, as well. Many of you assisted directly or indirectly, whether that was helping us adapt changing field experiences, joining in for a Zoom conversation with students instead of in person, or contributing to the #UNItogether scholarship fund for students. I also salute your efforts to serve students, clients, patients -- or just “be there” for parents, children or neighbors -- the best you could during these challenging times. 

Part of our role as educators is to reflect. We’ve been doing a great deal of learning and listening in response to COVID-19. We know our students actually prefer being on campus, so we’re thrilled to welcome them back on August 17. 

As this issue was being finalized, the killing of George Floyd--and the response it triggered worldwide--pushed another critical issue to the forefront. 

In a note to faculty and staff, I stated: “As demonstrations continue to flare up across the country to protest the ubiquitous violence and deaths of Black Americans, we must commit to active and dynamic work to dismantle systems and structures that are inherently biased, racist and exclusive.  We must continue to question the macro-level assumptions that surround us, especially those in academe.”  

This is a moment for us to move beyond increasingly polarizing rhetoric and elevate our work toward transformation and sustained change. 

As our leadership team develops action-oriented objectives for the coming academic year, at least one will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. We plan to continue dialogue started last year with students to address diversity, equity and inclusion issues. And, we plan to look, specifically, at curriculum, partnerships and recruitment and retention to do our part in identifying areas of opportunity for increased accessibility, affordability and engagement. 

Even with the uncertainty of the continued impact of COVID-19, we can, and we must, press forward toward change. We hope to engage, learn and create that change with all of you. 

Stay safe and strong,

Colleen S. Mulholland
Dean, College of Education