President Harreld: Strategic Plan 2016–2021 promotes student success

By Bruce Harreld

The University of Iowa prides itself on the achievement of its students. Student Success is one of the pillars of the University of Iowa’s collaboratively written Strategic Plan 2016 to 2021—which I encourage you to read here—and we have worked hard to make the UI a welcoming, inclusive, and productive environment for students, one that allows them to effectively pursue their education and prepare to become leaders in their fields. 

The University of Iowa prides itself on the achievement of its students. Student Success is one of the pillars of the University of Iowa’s collaboratively written Strategic Plan 2016 to 2021—which I encourage you to read here—and we have worked hard to make the UI a welcoming, inclusive, and productive environment for students, one that allows them to effectively pursue their education and prepare to become leaders in their fields.

One way we know our methods are working is our first-year retention rate. Last year, 87 percent of first-year students stayed on at the UI to pursue their degrees. I think an important part of that is building a community and making students feel at home. For instance, we’ve begun reinvesting in our cultural houses: In 2016, the UI renovated its LGBTQ Resource Center, Afro-American Cultural Center, Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, and Latino Native American Cultural Center, which all provide resources and welcoming spaces to students from underrepresented groups. Combined, these resource centers draw more than 28,000 visits each year.

We’ve also invested in state-of-the-art academic spaces like the Visual Arts Building, which was specifically designed so that artists in different media cross paths on their way to and from studios, giving them a chance to share insights from their respective fields. VAB was called a Best of the Year educational building by Interior Design, and WIRED named it one of the 25 best pieces of architecture in the world in 2016. Investments in not only beautiful but practical classroom spaces like those in VAB and the new Voxman Music Building—as well as the pharmacy building and the College of Engineering’s new South Annex, both currently under construction—help make the University of Iowa a destination for talented faculty and students from across the country and will do so long into the future.

Of course, it’s not just classroom spaces but the work taking place in them that gives Iowa students the skills they need to succeed. The UI’s commitment to experiential learning sets our graduates apart. The Sport and Recreation Management Program—which Dan Matheson recently wrote about for Iowa Now—regularly takes students on trips to meet with professional sports teams, and during practicum courses, students work with some of these organizations on marketing, communications, sales, and more, often going on to pursue internships with those same teams. The Certificate in Health Care Delivery Science and Management program, a partnership between the Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, teaches medical students about the business side of health care, preparing them to go into private practice, flourish as part of a large hospital team, and understand the medical billing process—everyday aspects of health care that they might not otherwise learn in a strictly medical education environment. And, the College of Law’s new joint degree program allows students to study both law and a secondary subject like health science, political science, or urban and regional planning in order to gain an additional area of expertise even before entering the workforce. UI programs also respond to the ongoing changes in their fields: Noting a rising need for end-of-life medicine, the College of Pharmacy recently created a Certificate in Palliative Care program to train future pharmacists to care for both patients and family members in this difficult stage of treatment.

These programs work. Six months after graduation, 93 percent of Iowa graduates either have a job or have been accepted to graduate school. In the past three years, more than 4,100 employers have hired Iowa graduates. Seventy-nine percent of the state of Iowa’s dentists, 50 percent of its physicians, and 48 percent of its pharmacists studied at the UI. There are UI graduates teaching in every K–12 school in the state, and for every $1 of state funding, the university creates $16 in economic impact. Our graduates get hired, and they serve Iowa and its citizens.

Again, I encourage you to read the Strategic Plan 2016 to 2021. It lays out the university’s vision and goals, explains how the UI plans to accomplish these goals, and establishes benchmarks to determine if the university has reached them. This strategic plan is already fostering student success, and we will see Hawkeyes go on to even greater achievements.

Tags: , , ,

Site created by Student Life Marketing + Design