FAYETTE, IOWA (July 16, 2021) — As part of its unwavering commitment to accessible higher-education and lifelong learning, Upper Iowa University (UIU) is always eager to introduce new academic and networking opportunities to students at an affordable price. This fall is no exception as UIU is prepared to offer students a SkillFlex Learning option, access to the UIU Connect online engagement platform, enrollment in the 3+1 Pre-nursing and 2+2 Industrial Tech academic programs, and participation in DECA and Forensics (Speech).

"At Upper Iowa University, we have a community of engaged students and faculty passionate about education," Dr Doug Binsfeld, vice president for academic and student affairs, said. "The additions of these latest programs further demonstrate UIU's commitment to providing the benefits of a small, private university in an environment that has the dynamics and variety of a large campus."

Still in the development stage, UIU's SkillFlex Learning option is different from the traditional university model. SkillFlex Learning will allow students to set the pace of their education. Progress through coursework is based on showing mastery of learning outcomes (or competencies) — the skills, abilities, and knowledge required in an area of study. Support will be provided through substantive faculty feedback/interaction and personalized advising.

Meanwhile, the UIU Connect online community presents prospective students with a helpful tool to learn about life at UIU and easily find and communicate with friends and mentors that share similar interests. The technology also enables faculty to offer guidance on majors and classes, while giving the institution a direct channel for delivering personalized content to interested students.

"By providing this dynamic virtual community, UIU is further expanding its engagement with students and hastening their exposure to our vibrant university," Kathy Franken, vice president for finance and enrollment management, said. "This platform encourages Universitywide interaction while allowing us to share relevant subject matter in a timely fashion."

New academic partnerships

In the 2+2 articulation agreement with Eastern Iowa Community College (EICC), qualified students who achieve a diploma in automotive technology and an Associate of Science degree in technical studies at EICC are admitted into UIU's Bachelor of Science degree program in teacher education. The major can be finished at Fayette Campus or UIU's Quad Cities, Waterloo and Des Moines locations.

"This 2+2 agreement between EICC and UIU is now one of many partnerships that our Teacher Education program has with community colleges and PreK-12 schools," Dr Billie Cowley, dean of the Andres School of Education, said. "Each of these partnerships play a part in allowing our graduates to hit the ground running and apply the skills they learn directly into their own classroom or work environment."

"UIU's industrial technology 5-12 teaching degree prepares students to be effective professionals and allows them to pursue a career in teaching industrial technology in grades 5 through 12," added Dr. Gina Kuker, professor of education. "The successful graduates of this new offering will help meet the growing needs of school districts that offer industrial technology courses."

An additional partnership with Allen College allows 3+1 Pre-nursing students to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in life science at UIU before achieving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Allen College — all in a little over four years. Once a student completes their required UIU coursework, this new academic program guarantees a spot in the Allen College BSN program.

"UIU's life science major with a pre-nursing emphasis lets the student get the most out of their college experience at a more affordable cost," associate professor of nursing Stephanie Tippin said. "UIU faculty have real-world experience, truly care about their students' success, and are there to help them from start to finish. Meanwhile, the Allen nursing component will allow for greater engagement in a health care setting."

Team competitions

Students can further enhance their life skills by joining Forensics or DECA. Argument meets advocacy with a side of public speaking when students take on Forensics, while DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs through competitive events. Scholarships are available to members of both teams. Forensics team-members have the opportunity to compete as an individual or group. Regional and national competitions allow the participants to test their skills against other students across the country.

"We are excited to offer Forensics to students looking for a way to hone their public speaking, while also learning life skills when speaking on timely topics and competing against their equally talented peers," UIU forensics director Jordan Compton said.

Through the development of strong academics, fostering community and employer connections, and participation in competitive events, DECA hones the skills of emerging leaders and potential entrepreneurs. The national DECA organization has helped train these individuals in high schools and colleges since 1946. "Joining DECA is another step our students can take in realizing their greatest potential and achieving career goals," UIU DECA director Christopher Kragnes said. "By taking their leadership skills to the next level, the team members will be better prepared for experiencing a successful career."

Most UIU students are eligible for additional endowed or institutional scholarships to further lower the cost of their UIU education. Students who are completing a two-year degree at another college are encouraged to inquire about UIU's transfer-tuition scholarship program available at Fayette Campus; eligible students earn a scholarship of up to $20,145. In addition, UIU's Corporate Advantage Partnership provides tuition grants and other benefits to employees of participating companies.

Since its inception in 1857, UIU students have been provided with the skills they need to be successful in the classroom, career and life. A private, non-profit university, UIU provides undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs to about 4,500 students at over 20 US education locations, including its main Fayette, Iowa, Campus.

For additional information about UIU and each of its program opportunities, visit www.uiu.edu/admissions or call 800.553.4150.

About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, non-profit university providing undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs to about 4,500 students — nationally and internationally — at its Fayette, Iowa, Campus and over 20 US locations. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple-delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree programs. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual-enrollment programs for high-school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.

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