Projects and Initiatives

Five Pillars of Professional Learning

Professional learning and development is a core focus of the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy (JCCL) as demonstrated through projects and initiatives that engage young students, pre-service and in-service teachers. Within the JCCL, we embrace five fundamental principles for professional learning. We: 

  • Emphasize the vital significance of relationships, highlighting their critical role. 

  • Recognize the pivotal position of teacher knowledge at the cornerstone of our efforts,  

  • Prioritize process over outcome, valuing the learning journey alongside its results. 

  • Stress the importance of argumentation in facilitating the exploration of new insights.

  • Advocate for symmetric power and trust-based relationships to establish a solid foundation for encouraging risk-taking in teaching and learning.

I hear the demands to raise scores in our schools. I see the impact of the pressure to get more done in less time to meet standards. And I wonder what we lose when we let go of those small moments when we kneel down next to a child and look at the world from their level.

Laminack, 2016

Key Initiatives

UNI Literacy Clinic

The UNI Literacy Clinic is a critical part of the Literacy Education program and supports identified students (1st-6th grade) with literacy learning needs in an after-school program in fall and spring semesters, and as a morning clinic program at school sites in the summer. One-to-one tutoring is provided to clients by UNI students enrolled in the Advanced Literacy Practices course and the co-requisite Experience in Literacy: Tutoring course.

UNI Literacy Initiative

A new professional development effort called the UNI Literacy Initiative brings 15 teachers to campus for a two-week summer institute to study elements of transformative comprehensive literacy and identify a research project to be carried out in their classroom during the school year (with ongoing support and guidance from JCCL staff). This research is then presented at a statewide “Share Fair” at the Iowa Reading Conference.

Young Readers & Writers Project

Each year, we engage with a community partner to bring young readers and writers to the UNI campus where they will have the opportunity to hear from and work with a variety of authors and illustrators. In addition, during the summer of 2024 we are planning a special back to school camp for third- to fifth-graders that will get them ready to learn with several adventures on the UNI campus.