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Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

UNI Centers & Clinics

Center Review Committee

For information about the university's guidelines and review process for developing and managing centers and institutes, contact Tolif Hunt, Director of RSP.  Not all of the programmatic or activity centers below are subject to the university's requirements for centers.

Arctic Social and Environmental Systems (ARCSES) Research Lab

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.

Arts and Cultural Programs/Centers

Camp Adventure Youth Services

The University of Northern Iowa's Camp Adventure Youth Services is committed to enriching and enhancing the well-being of children and youth. They provide a multitude of camp experiences for children and teens, and provide an opportunity for college students to be involved as camp counselors.

Center for Academic Ethics

The Center for Academic Ethics is an interdisciplinary initiative devoted to advancing ethics in the academy. The vision is for individuals from many fields to join together to promote integrity and ethical decision-making and behavior through research, education, and professional development. One special emphasis will be on ethical practices in scholarship and research.  Another will be on building and maintaining a culture of academic and professional integrity across all areas of science, social work, humanities, education, and business.

Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

A component of the Regents Center for Early Childhood Education, this project supports early childhood educators in creating hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use scientific inquiry processes to explore and better understand their environments. This project will reach students (and their teachers) in an age group that has received little attention from the STEM community. In addition to laying a foundation that will contribute to increasing the number of students who choose to pursue careers in STEM fields, the work of CEESTEM will also contribute to raising the scientific literacy of all students, including those who do not choose careers in STEM fields.

Center for Educational Transformation

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.  The Carver Trust has provided two years of funding to help establish the center.

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

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 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. For more information, please contact the Center at 319/273-2728.

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 CEEs 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 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 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 offcampus 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.

*Website under construction*

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.

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.

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 teaching opportunities for UNI School of Music students.

Educational Opportunity Center

The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at the University of Northern Iowa is an academic counseling program which promotes post-secondary education in communities with large populations of low-income, first generation adults. Career and educational counselors assist eligible adults in seeking a post-secondary institution or training program that best suits their interests and needs, and then assists the adult with admissions and financial aid. The EOC also provides academic development workshops on study skills, tests taking, and college writing, among others.

Executive Development Center

The University of Northern Iowa's Executive Development Center provides comprehensive management and leadership training and education to businesses and organizations to improve and maximize their performance and results in today's business world. The Executive Business Center provides training programs for team leaders, supervisors, managers, and executives. They offer comprehensive certificate programs, one day on-campus workshops, customized on-site training programs, consulting services, and business planning retreats.

Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center (GBPAC)

The Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. It's mission is to "inspire all generations with diverse presentations of artistic and cultural excellence." The GBPAC hosts more than 300 performances per year, including ensembles of the UNI School of Music and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.

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.

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 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.

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 Center on Health Disparities (ICHD)

The Iowa center on Health Disparities (ICHD) was established by the University of Northern Iowa in order to address the obvious and rapidly growing need for health disparities research, training, and community outreach. The Iowa Center provides statewide academic leadership in addressing and reducing health disparities among minority, immigrant, and medically underserved populations in Iowa. The Iowa Center provides a number of services including: applied research community education and outreach programs with diverse and underserved populations; and trainings and workshops on health disparities and culturally competent health care for educators and providers. The Iowa Center has a decidedly applied focus, with many of its activities being conducted directly in the field where clients and agencies can best access the services. The Iowa Center on Health Disparities serves as a national model to other rural states challenged with addressing health disparities.

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 Educational Technology and Training Institute

The Iowa Educational Technology and Training Institute (IETTI) at the University of Northern Iowa was designed to ensure that every educator in the state of Iowa has the opportunity to become competent in the use of educational technology and be able to integrate it into their teaching, their administrative duties and into the learning of their students. They provide services to K - 12 teachers, library media specialists, school board members, higher education faculty, and school administrators, among others.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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.


The Kindergym program in the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services 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. Kindergym 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.

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.

Mathematics and Science Education Institute Coordination and Advancement Center

The Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership (IMSEP) works to improve mathematics and science performance of Iowa students. To achieve this, the Mathematics and Science Education Institute Coordination and Advancement Center is a coordinating center for the overall initiative's research/preparation/professional development mission. The institute serves a funding role for competitive grants across the Regent university system that supports IMSEP goals and objectives. The institute is charged with the pursuit of external funding, the development of new degrees (e.g. elementary specialist), creative licensure solutions, new teacher mentorship and support, curriculum development and testing, and policy issues analysis and consultation.

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 Ag-Based Lubricants Center

Established in 1991, the University of Northern Iowa's National Ag-Based Lubricants (NABL) Center is recognized nationally as a technical service organization offering closed-loop expertise focusing on biobased lubricants.  The Center has been bringing together an understanding of lubricant markets, applications, and performance requirements with knowledge about the physical structures, and the use of additives and genetically modified seed oils to enhance value between both the agriculture and lubricants industry.  Relative to conventional products, soybean-based oils provide better lubricity, adherence to metal surfaces, thin-film strength, temperature stability, and higher flash and fire points. These features not only expand the capabilities of the lubricant industry, they also help increase market opportunities for the nation's farmers.

National Program for Playground Safety

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 US.

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 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.

Reading Recovery Center of Iowa

The Reading Recovery Center of Iowa, located at the University of Northern Iowa, is devoted to reducing the number of first-grade students who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write, and to reduce the cost of these learners to educational systems. This is done through after-school individual programming for 12 to 20 weeks, after which the student is caught up to classroom standards.

Recycling and Reuse Technology Transfer Center

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.

Regents' Center for Early Development Education

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