Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

UNI Centers & Clinics


Developing Centers: For information about the university's guidelines and review process for developing and managing centers and institutes, contact Tolif Hunt, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs.  Not all programmatic or activity units are subject to the university's requirements for centers.  Proposed centers that do fit the criteria, however, must be pre-approved by the University Center Review Committee. 

Centers Reporting: For information on annual and 7-year reporting requirements and documents, please visit the UNI Centers & Institute Reporting page.


Advance Iowa

In 2015, the UNI Regional Business Center and MyEntre.Net brands became the UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation.  It's program include Advance Iowa, Business Concierge, Dream Big Grow Here, Innovation Incubator, and the Small Business Development Center.  The CBGI is a division of UNI's Business and Community Services.

Arctic, Remote and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center (ARCTICenter)

ARCTICenter is a hub for many Arctic research and educational projects funded by various U.S. and international organizations.  The center’s mission is to develop collaboration among faculty, staff and students, who are engaged in research and educational activities pertaining to the Arctic, remote, and cold regions.

UNI is serving as the national focal center of sustainability science research in the Arctic for the next five years (2014-2019). Arctic-FROST builds international interdisciplinary collaborative network that teams together environmental and social scientists, local educators and community members from all circumpolar countries to enable and mobilize research on sustainable Arctic development, specifically aimed at improving health, human development and well-being of Arctic communities while conserving ecosystem structures, functions and resources under changing climate conditions. It is the first U.S.-based circumpolar initiative of this kind and magnitude after the International Polar Year (2007-08). The purpose of the project is to contribute to conceptual, applied and educational aspects of sustainability science about the Arctic and beyond.

The Arctic Social and Environmental Systems Research Lab (ARCSES) was established in 2011 in the Department of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa to expand Arctic research at UNI and build further capacities for receiving external funding, raising university’s profile and attracting students to UNI. The lab’s mission is to develop synergies and collaboration among faculty, staff and students in Geography and across campus, who are engaged in research and educational activities pertaining to the Arctic as well as other remote and cold regions. The lab is partially funded by NSF and NASA grants and will assist in cross-pollinating ideas and will use its capacity to promote Arctic-based research on and outside campus and involve other faculty, staff and students in Arctic-based work.

Center for Disability Studies in Literacy, Language, and Learning

The Center for Disability Studies in Literacy, Language, and Learning is located at the Price Lab at the University of Northern Iowa. The Center explores, promotes, and supports the literacy and communication development of children with significant disabilities through effective, education-based practices. The Center has four areas of focus: (a) Professional development (at the preservice and postgraduate level), (b) Family support, (c) Policy, and (d) Scholarship. The work done at the Center has implications for both national and local educational efforts. 

Center for Educational Transformation (CET)

Founded upon the values of partnership and innovation, the UNI-based Center for Educational Transformation (CET) is a PreK-12 education research and development hub within the state of Iowa that is designed to respond to and be inclusive of all education stakeholders.  Through field-based and action-oriented research, innovative educational practices and effective policy analysis, the center works to leverage existing strengths to dramatically impact PreK-12 student learning and teacher effectiveness across the state and to inform the national education landscape.

Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE)

The Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) is part of the University of Northern Iowa. Their mission is "to empower Iowans with the knowledge, experiences, tools, and inspiration needed to create a sustainable future for our communities." Some of their priorities include using CEEE to raise public awareness about key energy and environmental issues, to create leadership opportunities for UNI students and faculty, and to foster community involvement in leadership.

Center for Social and Behavioral Research

The Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has been conducting applied survey research since 1967. In those 40+ years, in addition to projects internal to UNI and its faculty and staff, there have been over 600 externally funded studies for local, state and federal agencies and public/not-for-profit organizations.  Recent projects focus on various issues of public health, including behavioral health risks, tobacco (prevention, use, cessation), problem gambling, asthma, maternal and child health (reproductive health, prenatal healthcare), health disparities, cancer screening; environment (recycling, waste disposal, bottle deposit); human services (Medicaid clients, child welfare protection); and technology impacts (math and science).  Project results are used to improve services and advance public policy. Data collection, data analysis, and program evaluation services for small and large studies are available.

Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics

The Center for Teaching and Learning Mathematics (CTLM) is committed to improving mathematics education and seeks to assist teachers, students, and parents in making sense of mathematics.  The CTLM seeks to professionally develop teachers in the area of mathematics. Making Sense Professional Development courses deepen teachers' understanding of mathematics content and implementation of research-based best practice.  In addition, The CTLM provides research-based resources that support families learning together.  The CTLM produces Making Sense Family Resources videos and supplementary educational materials (videos, activities, links, and references) for families and their children in the areas of mathematics, literacy, early learning, and autism spectrum disorders.

Patricia A. Tomson Center for Violence Prevention

The mission of the Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) is to build the capacity of institutions of higher education, K-12 schools, victim service agencies, law enforcement and the criminal justice system to systematically implement best practice violence prevention and evaluation strategies in collaboration with state, family and community partners.  The CVP will do this by:
Conducting common bullying and gender violence prevention trainings and workshops with school and community partners.
Increasing the engagement of men in working to reduce and end violence and abuse.
Supporting schools and community partners in their efforts to maintain and sustain bullying and violence prevention initiatives and strategies.
Making data-informed decisions with schools and communities in their efforts to reduce and end all forms of bullying and gender-based violence.

GeoTREE Center

GeoTREE stands for "GeoInformatics Training, Research, Education, and Extension" Center. The primary goal of this center is to transfer geospatial technologies to the individuals from federal, state, local, and tribal government (FSLT) agencies through education, multi-disciplinary research, and outreach activities. GeoTREE is an interdisciplinary center and is unique in transferring geospatial technologies to FSLT agencies by bringing NASA and other scientists, academic members, and members from FSLT agencies together to integrate remote sensing data into GIS in order to improve decision-making through Decision Support Systems (DSS).

Institute for Decision Making (IDM)

The Institute for Decision Making (IDM) is a unit of the University of Northern Iowa's Business and Community Services Division, which is included in the College of Business Administration. They guide organizations and community-based groups, and help ease their way, as they make decisions and take organized action toward economic-and-community-development results. IDMs team typically serves and advises economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, convention and visitor's bureaus, community planning groups, and other similar groups and organizations.

Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC)

The Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC), housed at the University of Northern Iowa, provides free, confidential environmental assistance to Iowa small businesses. The IWRC has been providing expert environmental assistance to thousands of Iowa small businesses from all 99 counties for 20 years. Services range from conducting an on-site review, assisting with environmental paperwork, or just answering questions. Iowa small businesses with less than 200 employees are eligible for free assistance.

Jacobson (Richard O.) Center for Comprehensive Literacy

Funded by an endowment from Des Moines businessman Richard O. Jacobson, UNI’s Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy will work with Iowa schools to improve literacy for all Iowa students. To accomplish these goals, the Center has joined with other universities in the Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) initiative, led by Dr. Linda Dorn of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

The goals of the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy are:

  • To close the achievement gap between diverse groups, while increasing literacy proficiency for all students
  • To increase teachers' knowledge and instructional expertise through university supported professional development
  • To support teachers' collaborative monitoring of student progress and instructional decision-making

The Jacobson Center will achieve these goals by implementing the Partnership in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) model (developed by Linda Dorn at the University of Arkansas) and Professional Development School (PDS) model. The PCL and PDS models provide education, coaching and mentoring for preservice and inservice teachers and administrators.

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC)

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) at the University of Northern Iowa is one of five across the state of Iowa. The mission of each individual JPEC is different, but the purpose of the centers is to enhance the effectiveness of Iowa's entrepreneurs. The JPEC at UNI focuses on entrepreneurship in capital programs, student/faculty/staff entrepreneurship, and technology transfer. The UNI JPEC offers more than a dozen educational programs and are open to all qualifying businesses and individuals.

Metal Casting Center (MCC)

The Metal Casting Center (MCC) is a nationally recognized leader in foundry research, applied technology, and technical business assistance. The MCC links university research and resources to private sector applications. They offer a combination of practical hands-on experience, modern well-equipped facilities, and cutting edge technology and concepts to the casting industry. MCC offers services ranging from large-scale, long-term, pro-active initiatives to small-scale, responsive assistance on individualized inquiries. They educate students who are floor ready upon graduation. The MCC serves the private business sector. Their client base ranges from nationally recognized foundry operations to small individually owned businesses.

National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS)

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) was developed at the University of Northern Iowa through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention. NPPS' mission is to help the public create safe and developmentally appropriate play environments for children. They deliver training and services about outdoor play and safety and have developed the largest and most comprehensive clearinghouse of outdoor play areas safety information and resources in the U.S.

Recycling and Reuse Technology Transfer Center (RRTTC)

The Recycling and Reuse Technology Transfer Center (RRTTC) is an interdisciplinary research, education and outreach center serving Regent university researchers and students, Iowa citizens, business, and industry. The RRTTC's goals include the development of economical approaches to solving intractable solid waste problems and providing research and technical assistance on public health concerns as they relate to solid waste concerns.

  • The RRTTC awards grants to researchers to conduct basic and applied research that addresses a particular question or issue concerning Iowa business and industry.
  • Projects receive one-to-two year RRTTC grants and are selected on a competitive basis following external peer review
  • The research project results are made available through publications, seminars, presentations, and news releases.
Materials Innovation Service

The Materials Innovation Service (MIS) at the University of Northern Iowa is part of the Recycling and reuse Technology Transfer Center (RRTTC). The MIS partners with businesses in the Cedar Valley to identify the materials and processes that will help reduce costs and give businesses a competitive edge. MIS can help with product development, ASTM testing, monitoring quality, prototyping, manufacturing process development, and unique product testing development.

Regents' Center for Early Development Education (RCEDE)

Established in 1988, the Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education focuses efforts on improving early childhood education (birth through 8 years) in Iowa and beyond. Recognizing that children construct knowledge, intelligence, personality, and morality through active engagement with physical and social environments, the Center supports educational efforts that emphasize children's interest, experimentation, and cooperation. Ongoing research includes: 

  • National Science Foundation, Ramps and Pathways
  • Curriculum: music, physical knowledge activities, and physical knowledge activities integrated with literacy
  • Competitive and cooperative games
  • Classroom management
  • Integration of children with special needs
  • Development of spatial and mathematical reasoning with pattern blocks and frames


Strategic Marketing Services (SMS)

Strategic Marketing Services is a component of Business and Community Services in the College of Business Administration at UNI.  SMS provides market research support and services to businesses across Iowa and beyond, including market and employee survey research, interviewing, focus groups, and expert panels. 

Tallgrass Prairie Center (TPC)

The mission of the Tallgrass Prairie Center is restoring native vegetation for the benefit of society and the environment, with research, education and technology transfer. Major goals are to:  1) Increase the capacity of the partners and stakeholders to establish and protect native perennial vegetation and restore ecosystem services in the tallgrass prairie region. 2) Increase awareness and appreciation of the Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem, and understanding of its significance to society.  3) Build a stronger and more resilient organization. The primary programs of the Center are Research and Restoration, Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM),  Natural Selections, and Prairie on Farms. The Research and Restoration Program reflects UNI’s 30-year commitment to prairie reconstruction, restoration, management, and advocacy. The Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program (IRVM) was established in 1988 to assist Iowa counties in implementing IRVM programs using native vegetation. Natural Selections (formerly the Iowa Ecotype Project, initiated in 1990) develops regionally adapted Iowa Source Identified foundation seed for commercial production. The Prairie on Farms program began in 2015 as a way to spread best practices and seed mixes to conservation plantings on farms, such as contour filter strips.

UNI Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE)

UNI-CUE's mission is to provide a positive environment for lifetime learning where individuals may pursue and continue their educational goals and prepare for careers. UNI-CUE collaborates with other University departments and community programs to match its resources with community needs. Above all, the pursuit of excellence and distinction in all university programs and activities is critical to fulfilling the University's public responsibilities for the development of educated and productive Iowa citizens and for providing leadership and service. Educational opportunity for minority and non-traditional students is a high priority. The UNI-CUE continues its longstanding tradition of recruiting, motivating, and encouraging students to pursue their career goals and aspirations. The UNI-CUE facility supports several federally-funded TRiO programs: the Educational Opportunity Center; the Educational Talent Search program;and  the Classic Upward Bound program.

UNI Community Music School

The Community Music School at the University of Northern Iowa provides innovative music education experiences for youth and adults through private instruction, coaching, enrichment classes in theory and music history, and music instruction. They also provide outreach and teaching opportunities for UNI School of Music students.  Their mission also includes maintaining a community-based partnership to promote and utilize the many resources and facets of cultural diversity at UNI and in the Cedar Valley.

UNI Family Business Center

The focus of the University of Northern Iowa Family Business Center is to create a community of family businesses that will have the ability to learn about business governance, continuity, strategic planning, leadership transition and growth together. 

UNI Suzuki School

The mission of the UNI Suzuki School is to enrich the lives of children and adults through the study of music.  Guided by the teachings of Dr. Suzuki, we believe in the potential of all children to learn within the framework of the parent-teacher-child relationship.  The UNI Suzuki Talent Education Program (UNI STEP) was founded in January of 1976, as a pilot program in string education in the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa.  An introductory course, "The Suzuki Approach to Teaching String Instruments" was developed by Martha Holvik, director of the program. UNI STEP, now know as the UNI Suzuki School, has grown to include over 160 children studying violin, viola, cello, string bass, flute and harp from ages 3 to 18 as well as an adult string program.  While Suzuki training for children is primarily a "triangle experience" between parent, teacher and student--participation in group activities enhances the enjoyment of making music with and for others.  Our students also share their music in brief concerts for area groups, fall and spring recitals and an annual concert. The UNI Suzuki School also sponsors the Northern Iowa Junior Orchestra for area middle and junior high school students, the Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra for high school students, an adult orchestra and Verisimo-a chamber music program.


Arts and Cultural Programs/Centers

A variety of arts and entertainment programs are offered by UNI, including the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, the Strayer-Wood Theatre, the School of Music, Gallery of Arts, Interpreters Theatre, and More.

Botanical Center

Since 1938 the UNI Botanical Center has been home to a very extensive and diverse collection of plants, which have been studied and enjoyed by generations of students, faculty, staff and public visitors.  Through the Botanical Center, UNI students are offered the unique experience of:  Learning the relationships between plant species as well as the evolution of plant species; Climate and plant diversity; and Plant adaptations to climate and ecosystems. Two full time professional staff are assisted by UNI students who have an opportunity to learn horticultural techniques, while maintaining an extraordinary plant collection. The UNI Biology Botanical Center Teaching Collection contains a diversity of species that range from ancient tree ferns and cycads to a large number of economically important varieties from around the world. These excellent resources offer students the unique experience of seeing, smelling and touching living plants; learning first hand about the relationships between plant species and the evolution of plant species; climate and plant diversity; and plant adaptation to various climates and ecosystems. The ecological setting in which the plants are grown provides the basis for real life demonstrations of how organisms are connected within their environments. The botanical center operation itself allows for student internships on botanical center techniques and management.

Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education

Through the Center, the UNI Holocaust and Genocide Education Committee aims to increase our knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides as well as to strengthen our commitment to confront genocide and other threats to human rights, such as intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and ignorance. The Center and committee do this by providing educational programming and resources on campus, in the community, and in partnership with educational and other organizations throughout the State of Iowa, and beyond.

Cedar Valley Medical Center clinics at UNI

The Northeast Iowa Physical Therapy Clinic and the Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Clinic are housed at the University of Northern Iowa Wellness Recreation Center. The clinics are owned and operated by Cedar Valley Medical Center.

Center for Economic Education (CEE)

The Center for Economic Education (CEE) at the University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1975. It is part of the Department of Economics in the College of Business Administration. The CEE's primary focus is working with K-12 teachers in assisting them in integrating economic concepts and activities into their curriculum. Their mission is to improve the economic and financial literacy among Iowa's youth. The CEE shares in a national vision that they will have a country of people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills to make informed economic choices.

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning seeks to engage, explore, and enhance the practice of teaching and the culture of learning at UNI.  The CETL offers opportunities for reflection and conversations on teaching and learning that cultivate and value the variety and diversity of teaching and learning taking place at UNI; promotes research-based pedagogies and practices that encourage student engagement and success; supports the professional and career development of the campus teaching community; designs programming in collaboration with individuals, departments and programs on and off campus that is aligned with UNI’s institutional mission and strategic goals; and acts as a campus-wide clearinghouse for opportunities to enhance teaching and learning, and to share campus resources and expertise.

Center for International Peace and Security Studies

The Center for International Peace and Security Studies is part of the Political Science department at the University if Northern Iowa. Its mission is to foster discussion, research and teaching on international conflicts and the meanings of security in the 21st Century among students, faculty and the broader Iowa community.

Center for Multicultural Education

The Center for Multicultural Education (MCE) at the University of Northern Iowa has made it its mission to foster success in racial and ethnic minority students, to contribute to the cultural competence of all students, and to promote an appreciation of diversity in the University community. They do this by providing programs and services which contribute to the success of racial and ethnic minority students, by encouraging those students to become fully engaged in campus life, by developing programming that will raise awareness and appreciation of diversity across campus, and by providing educational resources to faculty.

Geographic Alliance of Iowa (GAI)

The Geographic Alliance of Iowa (GAI) was established in 1991 with the support of the National Geographic Society (NGS). GAI is composed of K-12 teachers, college and university professors, personnel from a variety of other educational endeavors, and citizens, all of who are concerned with improving geographic instruction in Iowa. Related to several national efforts, the overall goal of the GAI is to promote and enhance the understanding by Iowans of their lace in an increasingly interdependent world by expanding their geographic knowledge. This understanding will enable citizens of Iowa to become better informed, and to analyze and relate to the geographic dimension of many contemporary issues.

Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)

The Institute for Educational Leadership, a unit of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, has as its primary mission to promote the improvement of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education throughout Iowa. To fulfill this mission, the IEL serves as a catalyst for informed dialogue on educational issues impacting schools of Iowa, the region and nation; developing collaborative relationship with individuals and/or organizations external to schools; and educational policy development.

Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration (ICILI)

The Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration (ICILI) guides and prepares Iowa communities and businesses as they accommodate immigrant and refugee newcomers living and working in Iowa. ICILI provides tailored consultation for community leadership, conducts research relating to issues facing newcomers and communities, develops innovative training programs for business and industry, and educates Iowans concerning the needs, challenges and opportunities of their new immigrant neighbors, co-workers and employees. All ICILI programming incorporates a strong appreciation for the critical role newcomers play in ensuring the long-term social and economic vitality of Iowa's businesses and communities.

Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council

Operationally based at the University of Northern Iowa, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a made up of leaders in higher education, business, pre-K through 12 educators, as well as state and local government officials. The STEM Council is led by Governor Kim Reynolds and Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens. The executive director of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council is Dr. Jeff Weld. Created with the goal of increasing STEM interest and achievement, the STEM Council is a collaboration of bipartisan Iowa legislators, educators, business, nonprofits, students and families focused on improving STEM opportunities and awareness in Iowa.  There are a total of 47 members on the STEM Council, including 17 members that comprise the Executive Committee.

Iowa Space Grant Consortium

The Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) is part of the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. It was formed by the three Regents' universities (University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, and Iowa State University). The mission of the ISGC is to coordinate and improve Iowa's future in aerospace science and technology and to stimulate aerospace research, education and outreach activities throughout the state. These goals are focused on precollege students, higher education, fellowships, research, and the general public.

Iowa Writing Project

The Iowa Writing Project (IWP) has its operations centered at the University of Northern Iowa. The IWP offers professional growth opportunities for Iowa teachers and advocates exemplary teaching of writing and use of writing for learning in Iowa schools. They do this through summer institutes and workshops built for teachers in K - college education.

Just for Kicks

The Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services at the University of Northern Iowa has formed Just for Kicks for youth soccer players, coaches and parents. The purpose of the program is to provide and help coordinate coaching education programs for northeast Iowa high school and competitive coaches; to hold an annual conference on high school and competitive soccer; and to provide information for players, parents, and coaches to find soccer tournaments, games, and training.

UNI Panther Play

The UNI Panther Play program in the Department of Kinesiology, College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa provides an array of physical activities for children aged 2 - 5 years old. It is a weekly session under the supervision of UNI students. UNU Panther Play was developed around the philosophy that young children benefit by being exposed to a variety of activities that require the utilization of an array of physical, social, and cognitive skills.

Psychological Assessment Clinic

The Psychological Assessment Clinic provides services to the University of Northern Iowa and the greater Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. They routinely provide low-cost psychological evaluations for disability claims, diagnostic services, and referrals and recommendations for psychotherapy and psychotropic medication evaluations. The Clinic's patients include UNI students, faculty and staff, as well as both adults and children from the surrounding communities.

Roy Eblen Speech & Hearing Clinic

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Speech and Hearing Clinic has been in existence since the early 1960s. In 1997, the clinic was renamed the Roy Eblen Speech & Hearing Clinic in honor of Dr. Eblen, the founding Head of the Department of Communicative Disorders, now the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The Clinic is located on the east end of the second floor of the Communication Arts Center on the UNI campus.  The clinic is affiliated with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, which is dedicated to the preparation of students who will be entering the professions of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. In this way, the clinic's service delivery model revolves around the provision of assessment and therapeutic services by students under the supervision of faculty and staff members in the department.  The clinic provides services for all forms of speech, language, and hearing disorders for persons of all ages. Clinic clientele consists of people from the University community, as well as those from the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area and many of the surrounding communities in Northeast Iowa. The clinic is affiliated with various hospitals, schools, clinics, and extended care facilities that serve as practicum and internship sites for student clinical training. The UNI clinic's supervisory staff consists of nine Ph.D. and six M.A. level Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, all of whom are licensed and have expertise in specific areas of communicative disorders.

Science Center for Teaching, Research, and Outreach in Meteorology

The Science Center for Teaching, Outreach, and Research on Meteorology (the STORM Project) at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is a cooperative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UNI.  The Project seeks to initiate, support, and coordinate education, service, and research activities that relate weather information and conceptual models of the atmosphere to relevant user communities in Iowa and the Midwest. STORM is developing programming in three areas: Curriculum Development, Remote Sensing, and Meteorological Decision Support.

Science Education Resource Center

The Science Education Resource Center (SERC for short!) is a curriculum materials center for science for both UNI students and faculty and K-12 science teachers.  The SERC has print materials -  science tests, activity books, science standards, and pedagogy materials - as well as science kits for grades K- 8.  Print materials may be checked out just as from a library.  Science Kits can be reserved by AEA 267 teachers for classroom use and delivered directly to the schools. A small user fee is invoiced to the school.  Contact with questions and for kit reservation requests.