A Message from President Mark A. Nook
Dear Emeritus Association Members,
As we prepare for the 150th anniversary since UNI’s founding, our faculty, staff, and students are working together to create an even stronger university for years and generations to come. We do this critical work together and with an underlying commitment to the personalized touch that defines the UNI experience for our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters. Several key initiatives are guiding our work:
Academic Quality and Innovation
UNI is distinctive for the quality of our academic programs and the connections our faculty and staff provide students to research, cutting-edge internships, and hands-on classroom experiences. We are building on that tradition by implementing key recommendations by our faculty-led Academic Positioning Work Group to explore the addition of undergraduate health science and data science program offerings. In February, the Board of Regents approved two new Bachelor’s programs in Automation Engineering Technology and Business Analytics. This coming fall, we are launching a new general education curriculum that empowers learners to choose a path based on their interest within a clear framework built on common learning outcomes in communication, reasoning, and discovery.
One of my most important responsibilities is to assure UNI has the leaders we need to secure a strong and vibrant university now and into the future. After two national searches, we are fortunate to be transitioning new leaders to critical roles for the university and our students.
This past summer, we welcomed Dr. José Herrera as UNI’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Herrera brings more than 30 years of experience in academic leadership and faculty roles, most recently as Provost at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Provost Herrera is already making a positive impact on the UNI community; throughout the fall, he met with academic departments to assess strengths, opportunities, and needs, and he has established strong relationships across Academic Affairs and across campus. José is also guiding the execution of a dynamic recruitment strategy to assure UNI is competitive in a highly competitive market for students, and he is building partnerships that enable us to grow our program offerings to respond to student interests and meet community needs.
UNI also selected Dr. Heather Harbach as Vice President for Student Life. Dr. Harbach joins UNI after most recently serving Edgewood College as Vice President for Student Development; Dr. Harbach brings more than 20 years of student life leadership experience as a former Associate Dean of Students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and various residence life leadership positions at Marquette University and Mount Mary University. Dr. Harbach will help UNI build strong connections between the newly renamed Division of Student Life and the university and broader community to assure we maintain high-touch, personalized educational experiences for all students.
We are fortunate to have José and Heather join our campus community to help us maintain our focus on the success of our students and colleagues.
We continue to work closely with the Governor’s Office, Iowa Legislature, and Board of Regents to advocate for our legislative goals and priorities. For FY23, UNI has requested $4 million in new dollars to assure UNI tuition is affordable for students and their families, and we are also asking for an additional $1.6 million to launch a new initiative with Iowa’s community colleges to bring a UNI education to Iowans whose family and work responsibilities do not allow them to uproot their lives and attend an on-campus program at UNI. We are also maintaining our commitment to economic development programs across Iowa.
With the leadership of Vice President Jim Jermier, private philanthropic support remains strong at UNI. In FY20, UNI set its annual fundraising record with $38.9 million in private giving. The very next year, the UNI Foundation broke its prior year record by generating $43.1 million in private support. We will continue engaging philanthropic support toward our goals to maintain affordability for our students while investing in faculty scholarship and UNI’s other critical priorities.
This is a time of significant change for UNI. Importantly, it’s also a time of tremendous opportunity. We are a strong and vibrant university community focused on building on our rich legacy of high-quality education as we lay the foundation for generations to come. Thank you for your continued support of the University of Northern Iowa and the people and communities we serve through our work. We are excited about the future of our university and grateful for your contributions to a campus community so committed to the learning and success of our students.
Mark A. Nook
Feedback from Emeriti
Roy R. Behrens
Department of Art
No doubt it goes without saying that this past year has been one of the strangest that I can recall. At the same time, it has also been one of the most productive for me. Not only were there fewer distractions, there were virtually none at all—which was also a source of frustration of course.
Within the last year, I published as many as fifteen research articles in US and European journals (probably more than ever before); produced seven documentary films (available free online); created more than sixty digital montages, some of which were reproduced in European academic journals, while others were exhibited at the Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls; and exhibited other artworks at the Jester Nature Center near Des Moines, and at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. All of these events took place without my appearing in person.
Since retiring at the end of 2018, I still miss parts of teaching, although faculty meetings are not one of them. I especially miss contact with students, a solution to which I have found in teaching online courses for Drake University’s program for retirement-age participants. I really enjoy it, in part because the online conversations are like having a cup of coffee with friends (a tradition that I also miss).
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Hugh L. Beykirch
No question about it, 2021 proved to be a somewhat better year than 2020, although not all is well in the country or the world. Being fully vaccinated and boostered, we ventured on a quick trip to Atlanta in May and reconnected with friends and family in the Midwest in June. We became more daring and spent a good part of July and all of August in the Vaterland. We were impressed by the discipline and protocols followed by most people and businesses under what the Germans refer to as CORONA. They are as sick of it as we are in the U.S., but they exercise more care. Many didn’t attend even family gatherings unless all who showed up had proof of a recent negative test. That takes some doing. Harald Lutz Bruckner published a sequel to The Blue Sapphire Amulet, entitled A Backward Glance at Eden. Our days continue to be filled with writing, painting, sewing, philanthropic groups, and numerous involvements at our revived church and recreation centers. We are all looking forward to the end of this endless time of discontent.
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On June 23 I gave a presentation on Zoom for an international meeting of scholars sponsored by the Guitar Foundation of America. I published an article "On the Need for a Scholarly Edition of Tárrega’s Complete Works." In Soundboard Scholar 7 (https://digitalcommons.du.edu/sbs/vol7/iss1/2). I am also preparing my edition of the piano-vocal score of the collaborative opera (including Mozart) "Der Stein der Weisen" (Vienna, 1790) for A-R Editions. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022. My wife Lucy is now in the degree program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, making the transition from medicine to painting. How’s that for retirement?
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Retirement is interesting, trying to stay busy. Last year, I published a book which was a critique of the student evaluation of teaching, which surprisingly was called A Comprehensive Critique of Student Evaluation of Teaching.
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I continue to work on renovating an 1878 Folk Victorian house with Second Empire details in Webster City, Iowa. In January 2022, I contributed to the Keep on Learning program at Wartburg College. My offering was entitled "Late 19th and Earl 20th Century Stagecraft as Evidenced by the Bayreuth Festspielhaus". Many of the lecture images were drawn from my large collection of Festspielhaus photographs and collectibles.
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George F. Day
Hi to all of you. I now live in Minneapolis, in a retirement residence, just one block from my daughter and one state away from my middle son. I miss Cedar Falls and all my friends there. We have had many cases of Covid and I have had it twice. Also, I have had pneumonia, so that is how I keep out of trouble. My eyesight is not very good, but I have a wonderful grandson who reads to me three times a week. We are reading some authors I used to teach so that provides something of a learning process for my grandson. I still receive email and my address is the following: email@example.com. My phone number is 612-225-1157. My residence address is Jones-Harrison Senior Living Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave., Minneapolis MN 55416. Fortunately, I have the pleasure of seeing many visitors.
Excelsior! and all kind thoughts.
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Travel and new experiences continue being important to both LaVada and me. Last fall, on Saturday, September 25, we attended, along with our son, Aaron, from Helena, Montana, the annual Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park, South Dakota. What an experience!!! We were among 20,000 people in attendance to observe cowgirls and cowboys roundup 2,500 buffalo that had been grazing on the grasses of the Black Hills during the past year. We were informed that the buffalo were sorted into three groups: (1) those to be retained to live in the park for at least another year, (2) those to be sold at auction to private ranchers, and (3) those to become “Buffalo Burgers”. It was a beautiful day-long event on the rolling hills of the South Dakota prairie. We stayed two nights in the State Game Lodge in Custer; a very nice facility in the Black Hills.
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Aging is accompanied by a variety of losses. One of the most noticeable is the loss of colleagues that have spanned the years. I have attended many funerals to renew my memories of them.
I recently presided at the memorial services for Al Gilgen who was the Head of the Psychology Department and Diane Baum, long- time member of the Mathematics Department. David Duncan provided prepared remarks celebrating Diane. Others used storied accounts to renew their memories and offer meaningful references to her presence and participation in their lives.
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Robert F. Gish
Hello colleagues—from Bob Gish here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The sandhill cranes are heading back your way to the Platte and Nebraska…reminding me I once saw them gathering around Ogalala by the thousands. That was spring 1980 and I too was heading back to UNI for spring semester. But for me now at 82 it’s all in stop time. Best regards friends. Check out my new trilogy on Amazon, paperback or ebook. See “Blood Guilt,” “El Jefe in Aztlan,” and “Madre,” for a taste of the ever-present Anglo/Hispanic Southwest.
Abrazos y suerte a todos!
El Viejo Roberto
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Since this year is something of a milestone, 15 years since I retired, I have felt like looking back on this time. While I have not worked for any money during this time, I have co-founded a couple of companies that offer support services to behavioral health agencies throughout Iowa. I have also, on occasion, mentored a few CEOs of non-profit and for-profit firms. I continue to offer help to various non-profits with consultative and other forms of aid. My steady activity is to serve as an active member of three editorial review boards, mainly in the area of business case studies. I have reviewed over 250 submissions in my golden years and along the way picked up a couple best reviewer awards. This stuff requires me to keep up in the fields of strategic management, finance, and entrepreneurship. I love the process of working with authors to improve and publish these important vehicles for business teaching. I am lucky to have worked with several gifted editors, some of whom have remained friends. I actively support local arts and educational organizations in the KC area and I feel busy, but I am getting older, which is not my favorite thing, and miss my friends and colleagues who are no longer with us, especially Lynda. Stay healthy everyone.
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For the first time in over 30 years, June and I stayed in Cedar Falls for the winter months. Usually we spent December until March in Yuma AZ with a daughter. We had forgotten what these winters can be in Cedar Falls. Turning 95 this year, we have decided to quit the long driving trips we have taken in the past. We do plan on spending two weeks in Winter Park CO in July with 15 to 20 family members.
We are pleased that we moved to the Western Home Community four years ago. Nice not having to mow the yard or clear the walks and driveway.
Since the COVID pandemic, we have not attended any UNI functions and we have missed those. Overall, our health has been very good. I am anxious for better weather so I can get back to riding my bike on many of these great bike trails, and the two of us hiking on trails.
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Having retired in June, 2020, just after the world shut down, my retirement hasn’t been what I had anticipated! But Zoom and other interests have kept me involved and busy. As a few examples, last December, I received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Allen College. In November and December, I made two presentations to the local chapter of Sons of Norway, one on the Norwegian mathematician Henrik Abel and the Abel Prize, and one in which my wife Linda and I presented a program of Norwegian Christmas music, consisting of piano duets, vocal solos, and sing-alongs. A regular activity throughout my retirement has been singing with the Stay at Home Choir, a virtual chorus based in the United Kingdom. With that group, I’ve had the chance to participate in 18 recordings, working with such composers as John Rutter, Christopher Tin and Morton Lauridsen, the conductor Marin Alsop, and professional vocal groups such as Voces8, The King’s Singers, the Swingles, and I Fagiolini. It is rewarding, educational, and great fun! I have also remained actively involved as secretary of the GBPAC Advisory Board and also the Arcturus Club. Linda and I are editors of the Red Tail newsletter of the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. Additionally, I continue to judge the annual History of Mathematics student paper competition, and I serve on two editorial boards of the Mathematical Association of America. Finally, Linda and I enjoy life-long learning classes offered through Wartburg College and Drake University.
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The year 2021 was fairly uneventful for us, although Frank and I did manage to visit friends and relatives in Michigan and to spend a week at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. Returning to San Diego in October, we decided to sell my condo and do a major downsizing so that we could move into a retirement community. Since Jan 3, ’22 we’ve been living in a beautiful, new apartment at Meadowbrook Village in Escondido CA. Among the amenities we particularly enjoy is the creative cooking of our chef who trained at the Cordon Bleu School in Paris. Ah, those delectable sauces! Life is good. We’re enjoying shedding some responsibilities and simplifying life.
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Fifty years ago, I started reading scores of the 6,000 so-called U.S. “slave narrative,” now incorporated into the U.S. literary and cultural canon. As a doctoral student of Brazilian-Lusophone-Hispanic Studies and a staunch anti-racist, I took up the mission to find the “slave narrative” narrative of Brazil, which started a century before the North American colony and received 48% of the African slave trade. I encountered one! Then a few more in fragments. I changed the criteria for Brazil to “narratives and texts written or dictated by enslaved and freed peoples of Brazil.” By 1986, I could launch the call to reform the Brazil literary-cultural canon to include Afro-Indigenous-Brazilian narratives. Joined by my life-long partner, Alida Bakuzis, we now have the largest archive of these narratives. UNI Scholar Works is digitizing our collection, containing facsimiles and references to several hundred narratives, which we share with a team of brilliant Brazilian historians, scholars and artists, and soon to go on public platform. As a playwright, I have written and published several scripts based on some of the narratives in the effort to make history public. Several of my scripts are being produced in Brazil. I will travel to Brazil this year on a lecture tour and a premiere of my latest script about my original Peace Corps site in the Brazilian “sertão” backlands.
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The Kueters (Roger and Barb) are continuing to be well and enjoying grandchildren and events in the Cedar Valley. After a pause of a couple of years I have been back doing a few “benefit auctions.” One in particular I have enjoyed, which was in early February, was the “UNI Women at Play” annual fundraiser.
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Jay T. Lees
I would like to report that I was invited by the Vatican to give a presentation at the Third International Conference on Canon Regulars in Vatican City last November. I spoke about Anselm, the twelfth-century bishop of Havelberg and archbishop of Ravenna.
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Retirement has simply been a joy! I moved my personal things to the condo in Lawrence, Kansas, December 24, 2020 that my girlfriend and I purchased together. My brothers both still reside here, and I still have friends here. My furniture arrived December 27th, and on December 31st I officially retired from UNI after 36 years of employment. I have gotten back to writing manuscripts. It is thrilling to do so without distractions.
My girlfriend retired May 23, 2021, and our car travels began! We travelled to Colorado three times, Minnesota twice, and five National Parks: Rocky Mountain, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite. We also visited friends in North Carolina and California.
We have more travel plans for 2022. We are going to Moab, Utah to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and the Grand Canyon. Although I can’t hike down into the canyon (darn knees!), we will enjoy many views of it from above. We have plans to travel to the Pacific Northwest (Olympic National Park) in July. In September we will return to Minnesota’s Northshore of Lake Superior and visit family in Kalispell, Montana, as well as Glacier National Park again. The Geographer in me lives on!
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The year 2021 gave me several opportunities to experience and reflect about the effects of anxiety, pain, fear, grief, death and dying; and at the same time to confront them with love, hope, faith and compassion.
This is my third year living in a retiring community and this daily contact with such reality of life gave me a direct insight into the meaning of Marie von Ebner-Eisenbach's sentence: "Old age either transfigures or fossilizes." In between these two extremes describing the last period of the human existence and condition on the earth, we have to come to terms with the wide variety of the 'in-betweens.' The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, in a clear non-dogmatic, and common sensical way says: "Aging destroys youth, sickness destroys health, degeneration of life destroys all excellent qualities, and death destroys life. Even if you are a great runner, you cannot run away from death. You cannot stop death, through your magic performances, or recitations of mantras or even medicines. Therefore, it is wise to prepare for your own death." The question is, are we preparing ourselves to face the ultimate reality?
During 2021 I organized two conversation (supporting) groups: "The Faces of Aging" and the "Senior's Forum", in order to establish a mature non-academic dialogue about the ultimate human reality. We have explored some aspects of comparative religions and discovered a wide variety of spiritual discontents, fears, doubt, anxiety, and also talked about the wisdom of insecurity. We left for the end The Tibetan book of the Death, and almost agreed that it looks like things are alike in their differences, and also that neither thought nor intellect but only vision (inner vision) will allow us to face this human paradox, because old age either confirms or denies the fact that sometimes things in life are not what they seem, not what we expect, and more importantly, not what we have been led to believe.
Last but not least, we are confronted with a serious question: Are we able to raise above the limitations imposed by our society and system of belief? I do pray and hope that 2022 will allow us to find and clarify the 'in betwens' and reconcile the differences......until then, let's keep looking up.
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I appreciate Tammy Chambers’ transcribing this typing for me. I’m presently unable to write or transcribe as I had a fall on my back and am pretty limited in terms of my typing and walking around for the past several years. I’m residing at the VA Hospital and it’s an ongoing experience to interact with all of the veterans through all the wars. I’m the only group candidate that ever qualified for that criterion. I just wanted to say many thanks to you for the opportunity to communicate with professors and graduates of UNI. Through the years my three daughters have always been so proud and thankful for having had Price Lab School and so fondly remember the skilled performances of Price Lab’s people, led by Ken Butzier and Les Neal. So, with many good wishes and good memories we are plugging along at the VA Hospital and it’s really a great experience; they are so caring to all of us. I deeply appreciate the efforts of the UNIEA and its newsletter.
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I have recently donated a set of trombone solo and ensemble literature to the UNI School of Music.
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Roy Unruh celebrated his 90th birthday with family on November 15. He is currently volunteer teaching science and math at the Peace Academy Center, Kykotsmovi AZ. This is a Hopi mission school for K-6 students who live on the Hopi Reservation.
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Katherine van Wormer
I had to leave Cedar Falls and move to the less friendly town of Madison, Wisconsin to help in the care of grandchildren. I still know only a few people here. Please contact me if you get to Madison as I'd love to meet former colleagues at a neat coffee shop near my home. During the COVID isolation period I wrote a 5th edition (with Clem Bartollas) of Women and the Criminal Justice System: Gender, Race, and Class (Routledge, 2022). I still do three social work correspondence courses for UNI.
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It has been many years since retirement in 2004. I have traveled many miles since then. Some of the places include: Iceland, Norway, Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica and to see polar bears in the wild in Churchill on the Hudson Bay in Canada. The polar bears and Israel are my favorite trips. I have zip lined at age 79 and para sailed at age 74---both are great. Play golf every chance I get. I live in Springfield, Missouri and go to Branson some. Waiting for Covid to end so I can travel more. I get to Cedar Falls once or twice a year.
A Message from Provost José Herrera
Higher Education requires adaptation and UNI should lead the way. Over the past 20 years, the educational landscape locally, regionally, and nationally has undergone a transformative soul-searching change triggered by the mission-critical questions: “Who are we?”, “Who do we serve?”, “How do we serve?” And, of more recent importance, “How do we provide this service while remaining solvent?” Each institution will have to address these questions separately and each will develop place-based responses that make sense within their communities. The University of Northern Iowa is in an enviable place to be meeting many of the needs of the region and state but challenged by changing funding paradigms, demographics, and technological and scientific transformations. To meet these challenges, UNI must adapt by increasing the cadence of our assessments. That is, we need to be asking the mission-critical questions outlined above much more frequently than every 10 or 20 years.
We also need to be mindful of how our graduates are faring once they leave the care of UNI. Increasingly, we should be interested and intentional about how current and prospective students view our efforts to help them successfully transition into their careers. Formulating career outcomes that include internships, as one example, would help students understand the value of the liberal arts competencies imparted during their time at UNI. We also need to expose students to the ever-changing diversity of career paths and skills, many of which did not exist 10 years ago. And, importantly, structure our learning pathways to increase the importance of interdisciplinary learning and give students experiences to help them understand how, say, a math major with a Spanish minor or certificate can be a CEO of an international Fortune 500 company.
More pragmatically, we need to provide our current and future students with the programs that will develop these pathways and competencies. To that end, and as you may know, for the past two years or so, we have been undertaking the work of diversifying and targeting our portfolio of academic programs; a process we have been calling, Academic Positioning. Faculty and staff are in the second phase of the work to develop recommendations about what UNI will look like—programmatically—while considering who we will serve, how will we serve them, and how we provide our adapted suite of programs while remaining solvent. Collectively, these steps will advance UNI’s value proposition for the students that we serve and those that we want to attract. The selected pathways of Health Science, Data Science, Applied Engineering, Environmental & Sustainability Sciences, Education and Business, along with a review and adaptation of Advising and Alternative Credentials will improve how students and their families view our great institution. We continue providing members of the steering committee and focused working groups with data, guidance, and analytics as they develop recommendations to operationalize these new pathways, programs, and interdisciplinary connections. We are excited about the forthcoming improvements and I trust that we will work diligently to implement the recommendations over the following (2023) year.
A Message from Jim Jermier, VP for Advancement and President of UNI Foundation
I hope you and your families are well and that your 2022 is off to a good start. I assume I’m not the only one looking forward to warmer, longer, daylight-filled days. President Nook and I were fortunate to ‘escape’ Iowa for a few days in January with travels to Florida and Arizona for donor visits and alumni events. The pandemic impacted our work in many ways, and we both have so enjoyed the ability to connect and reconnect with alumni, donors, and friends. We’re grateful to be back out on the road, making connections, and sharing the UNI story.
Life in the UNI Advancement Division continues to be busy. The world of engagement and fundraising changed drastically in the pandemic, and we did our best to ‘pivot’ in ways that allowed us to stay the course with fundraising for the largest comprehensive campaign in university history. I am extremely proud of our team and the work we do on behalf of the University of Northern Iowa. For the second consecutive year, we broke our record for the highest annual fundraising total in history and raised $43.1 million (FY2020-21).
Of the $43.1 million raised, $18.1 million will support university endowments with forty new endowments established. Additionally, a total of $5.8 million was raised in scholarship support. Just over 1,900 students were the grateful recipients of these scholarships. Success was also due in part to record giving from corporations and foundations, with $10.7 million of the UNI Foundation’s fundraising coming from these organizations.
It bears repeating that this campaign is the largest in institutional history and is our calling to build the UNI tomorrow needs. It is a commitment to the things that have a constant place at the heart and soul of this institution we all love: our students, a spirit of service, a commitment to the state of Iowa, and an unrelenting drive to adapt and evolve, while never losing sight of our students-first approach. I can’t wait to share more with all of you about the campaign. We are very hard at work with planning for the public launch at Homecoming this fall, October 2022.
As Emeriti, you have played an essential role in preparing thousands of former students to take on tomorrow and the challenges and opportunities that tomorrow presents. It is with this in mind that I have a favor to ask. As you learn more about the campaign in the coming weeks and months, please think about your former students - are there initiatives in the campaign that would resonate with them? If so, please reach out to a member of our team in the UNI Foundation. We would welcome any doors you are willing to open for us, knowing that doing so will strengthen the university we all know and love.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you an update on Advancement happenings. My best wishes to all of you for good health and happiness in 2022.
UNI Vice President for Advancement
President of the UNI Foundation
A note from Leslie Prideaux, UNI Alumni Association President and Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations
My name is Leslie Prideaux and I serve as the Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations overseeing the UNI Alumni Association. The alumni team and I are looking forward to enhancing our collaboration with the UNIEA. Each of you is an important member of the UNI family whom we want to keep connected to the university. Our office is excited to support the activities of the UNIEA through logistical coordination, communication efforts, and event development. Tammra (Tammy) Chambers will serve as your primary contact in the alumni office, answering any questions you may have. I am also happy to be a contact for each of you. We look forward to hearing about and pursuing additional avenues to support this important organization.
Thank You and Farewell to UNIEA's Secretary Virginia Thulstrup, Upon Her Retirement
By: Judith F. Harrington
This past September as she retired, Virginia Thulstrup, expressed being “very proud to be part of UNI for 21 years” and also noted her pride in supporting UNIEA. Indeed, she was our UNIEA secretary for 13 years before retiring from UNI. The majority of emeriti are unfamiliar with Virginia, only perhaps seeing her name when luncheon reservations needed to be made, or directory data needed to be updated. Local emeriti would have seen Virginia at annual luncheons, helping to register you and hand out name tags. She was most visible to the Association’s leaders and newsletter editors; and she played a vital role in assuring that our Association’s business occurred promptly.
Having completed a BS degree in Business in 1998 from Upper Iowa University, Virginia was employed at the UNI Foundation starting January 2, 2000 and remained in the Advancement division for all of her years at UNI. Although Virginia had many other assignments in Advancement, her job description included serving as UNIEA’s secretary. With her gracious, always welcoming personality, Virginia quickly became familiar with our needs, and adapted quickly to the many shifts in our leadership that occurred over the years. She says she most enjoyed “getting the opportunity to meet members and get to know them”—a characteristic that was evident to those of us who had the privilege of knowing her. But as with any job, there were UNIEA assignments that also were disappointing and frustrating. Virginia noted those were “making certain that the newsletter went out in a timely manner. Bill Waack [previous newsletter Editor] and David Duncan [current Editor] were extremely helpful” in assuring that all information was correct.
A bit about Virginia’s personal life: “I have lived in Cedar Falls for 33 years with my husband. My children attended Price Lab. My daughter, Angela, is a teacher in San Antonio; one son, Neils, lives in Cedar Falls, and my other son, Harry, has been in the Air Force and currently stationed in Guam. We have four grandsons and four granddaughters who are a true blessing to us. Retirement was timely, as I am now my husband's caregiver, I drive a granddaughter to preschool and back three days a week, and best of all is I have time to enjoy life more than ever.”
Our gratefulness to Virginia perhaps was best expressed in the certificate presented to her on behalf of UNIEA at the time of her retirement, wording in part: “[UNIEA] extends our deep appreciation and gratitude for your abounding loyalty throughout the years.”
Your UNIEA Changes this year: Back Story One
By: Judith F. Harrington
A tale of traditional rights and responsibilities. In October 2021, your Advisory Council and Program Committee members met to begin earnest conversation about the future of UNIEA. An emerging theme: Rather than continuing to be solely a social outlet, UNIEA had the opportunity to become a resource when emeriti, or those nearing retirement, had concerns about their continuing relationship with UNI. Judith Harrington, UNIEA Chair, already had arranged to be introduced to then-new Provost, José Herrera, to provide the history of UNIEA, and explain the crossroads we now were at. Joining us at the meeting in November 2021, was longtime colleague John Vallentine, formerly School of Music Head, now Associate VP for Faculty Affairs. Thanks to exhaustive research conducted by two faculty approaching retirement, along with other concerns Judith had received from emeriti, a detailed list of needs was presented. VP Herrera was most gracious; and John immediately recognized the numerous mixed messages to emeriti unintentionally coming from the Human Resources and Information Technology offices, and other divisions. Within the next few months, he was the driving force to assure that some concerns were resolved. Just two examples: Emeriti have always had the privilege of auditing classes at no cost with professor’s permission and with enough room. However, eLearning technology fundamental to success in many courses was not available to emeriti, as they weren’t registered! That has been resolved. Second: Space and basic equipment for emeriti, in addition to much more detailed technology privileges had to be addressed, and continue to be addressed at this writing. Bottom line: Emeriti (particularly newer colleagues still actively wrapped into their research and professional activities) have technology/library needs that at one time were rights. Our University’s leadership is expressing its appreciation for all our loyalty over many decades; it does appear administration wants to acknowledge and reward us with its own loyalty to us.
You may be shaking your heads; what rights? What privileges? From UNIEA’s inception in 1986, our predecessors had hammered out with the administration a long list of them! Most prominent to those of us remaining in the area was complimentary parking permits and continued privileges of the Rod Library. Due to the enormous advancement in technology, portions of that list are outdated. Our website has the original list at this writing. You will be informed when the new list is finally approved and posted. Reminder how to find our website: https://emeritus.uni.edu. Or if you already are at UNI’s home page, go to Menu found in upper right, click on A-Z Index, click on E, and scroll down to Emeritus Association.
Your UNIEA Changes this year: Back Story Two
By: Judith F. Harrington
A tale of location! Our annual newsletters have had features in the past about how the UNIEA came to be formed in 1986, spear-headed by Ross Nielsen and other devoted emeriti. Ross was in the College of Education; so it came to pass that any secretarial support was provided by that College—until it stopped! (No documented explanation of those circumstances.) At any rate, fortuitously, the UNI Foundation’s hospitality somewhere in the 1990s precluded us from becoming homeless. No, the Foundation secretary didn’t and doesn’t take minutes of our meetings! Rather, the role is to deal with all the details of interactions with other offices on our behalf, including our modest budget, identifying new emeriti, noting the passing of emeriti, supporting the annual newsletter process, being involved in disseminating emails to local emeriti, etc. As noted in the article about Virginia Thulstrup’s retirement, our Foundation secretary was located in the Advancement division until her retirement last September. Your UNIEA leaders shuddered, fearing our association truly would become homeless. We were quickly assured by Jim Jermier, Vice President for University Advancement and President of the UNI Foundation, that secretarial help would continue from their facilities. However, the position was moved to the Alumni Relations division. A permanent secretary would not be in place for some months, however. Uh, oh. We had announcements that needed processing ASAP! Happily, Leslie Prideaux, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations and President of the UNI Alumni Association, didn’t miss a beat in stepping up. She and Judith Harrington, UNIEA Chair, communicated by phone and email for a time, then met in December 2021, to go through all UNIEA’s secretarial needs. It quickly became evident that UNIEA was in excellent hands! For each dilemma Judith presented, Leslie had solutions. Immediate examples: She explained the many reasons that a printed annual newsletter was much too costly; and the directory, also very costly, could only be updated every 2 years. Solutions: Her team was offered to us to digitize our annual newsletter (that information was sent to you in David Duncan’s annual “call” for newsletter personal updates). Further, the printed directory is now history (just as the UNI printed directory became history following the 2012-2013 edition!). Our website directory, under leadership of our webmaster Steve Moon, is now the go-to resource for current emeriti listings. Do check out your listing! Any changes should be sent to our new secretary, Tammra (Tammy) Chambers, firstname.lastname@example.org 319-273-3032.
With your officers’ input, Leslie and Tammy have also taken the lead in organizing this spring’s local emeriti gathering, and those being planned for next fall. A final bonus of the transition to Alumni Relations: Any news UNIEA wants to disseminate to all emeriti between annual newsletters can now be sent to you as email updates.
Thank you, thank you to Jim Jermier, Leslie Prideaux, Tammy Chambers, and your excellent staffs!
Department of History - Recent Highlights
By Jennifer McNabb, Ph.D., department head and professor of history
Greetings from the Department of History. In recent years the department has embarked on a period of reinvention, dramatically redesigning its curriculum for majors and for the general UNI student population. History is launching a new curriculum for UNI’s new general education program that impresses upon students the value and importance of understanding historical context. “Problems and Perspectives in Global History” and “Conflict and Justice in History” reflect the department’s decision to prioritize global history, comparative history, and thematic history to prepare UNI students for the twenty-first century world, as does a new survey in modern world history. Other UNIFI offerings include our two US surveys, which prioritize diversity and the exploration of the plurality of voices and experiences in US history, and a new course titled “Engaging Sources” that helps students work extensively with primary sources. We’ve also redesigned our majors to enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of our programs and to allow students to add certificates and other credentials. We are developing a new Global Studies track within the major to enhance training in global competence in the 21st-century world, global citizenship, and professional opportunities. We take pride in preparing History majors for the future in our department, with an emphasis on hands-on applied experience through internships and career development.
UNI History makes an impact on our campus and regional communities, thanks to a range of outreach activities. The department now hosts of the Sullivan Brothers District Competition of National History Day, and it continues to serve as the site for the annual Iowa High School Model UN conference, under the supervision of Konrad Sadkowski. We hold a successful undergraduate research conference every spring to honor the life and work of Don Shepardson. Our annual Phi Alpha Theta lecture series and other department programming drew close to 1000 participants from 55 countries last year, thanks to Zoom, and on April 6, we have noted historian Colin Gordon offering our signature lecture, the Carl L. Becker Memorial Lecture.
History continues to boast outstanding faculty and students. Kenneth Atkinson has been selected as the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Josephus, Lou Fenech was recently recognized for his scholarly contributions to the field at the Seventh Annual Sikh Conference, and Tom Connors has been awarded a grant to develop a new digital history project, “Underground Iowans.” Barbara Cutter and Emily Machen were promoted to full professor on the strength of their outstanding teaching, scholarly, and service contributions, and Reinier Hesselink has been appointed as a visiting professor at Yale University for the 2022-2023 academic year. The department has two dynamic new US historians, Cheryl Dong and Emily Masghati. Our excellent young alumni have found success in academic and public history settings, in the classroom, and a range of industries. The future is bright for UNI History.
Recent updates from the department of biology
By Theresa Spralding, head of the UNI Biology Department
The Department of Biology today serves just over 450 biology students with majors that include BS and BA degrees in Biology; an Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology (EEOB) Emphasis; a Biomedical Emphasis; and an MS program. We also participate in two interdisciplinary programs, the Environmental Science BS and the Environmental Resource Management BA. Our department is also committed to providing a well-rounded science education to non-biology majors, and we participate enthusiastically in the UNI Foundational Inquiry program (formerly the Liberal Arts Core). Currently, we have 22 tenure-track faculty, two instructors, and one adjunct instructor. Most recently, we have welcomed Dr. Jesse Wilcox to our faculty. Jesse specializes in science education research, and he already has 40 peer-reviewed publications to his name.
Nearly half of all biology majors participate in individualized instruction, most often by participating in biology research projects directly with faculty or by serving as a teaching assistant. Students currently are participating projects as wide ranging as studies of effective science teaching, genetic diversity in native Iowa bees and fish stocks, conservation of wood turtles, colonization of the animal intestinal microbiome, and studies of how the parasite that causes the tropical disease, Leishmaniasis, evades the human immune system. Ecological research remains a strength of our department, which is bolstered by our strong relationship with the Tallgrass Prairie Center.
The department is fortunate to have the spectacular UNI Botanical Center next door to McCollum Science Hall. It is a treasured teaching resource and home to a diverse collection of plants that are beautifully displayed in greenhouses that include a cactus house, tropical house, an orchid room, two project houses, and an aquatic and propagation house. Visitors are always welcome.
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