Photo of Science education students demonstrating test kits

The University of Northern Iowa is committed to the success of its students no matter what — whether we’re together on campus, or taking classes at home from around the state. Even as our normal routines have taken a 180 degree turn, our faculty and leadership are working hard to ensure that our academic programs remain of the highest quality.

UNI’s Science Education program is demonstrating our commitment to high-quality degrees through their completion of an Academic Program Review — a rigorous quality review process that takes place every seven years. Earlier this month, the Science Education faculty finished up the review in a completely virtual way. 

In a typical time, the year-long process involves writing numerous reports, before outside reviewers visit campus to tour the facilities, sit in on classes, review curriculum and speak with faculty, staff and students, before turning in their formal review of the program.

But, with the COVID-19 pandemic, a normal review was not possible. There was an option of postponing the review, but instead, the Science Education faculty and leadership teamed up to make sure that the review still happened.

The team spent hours creating video tours of different classrooms and spaces, recorded classes through Zoom for reviewers, and coordinated discussions between the reviewers and Science Education students and faculty.

Larry Escalada, director of the Science Education program, says with the dedication and commitment of faculty, staff, students, and reviewers, the online APR was a success. 

“There were obviously some challenges with doing this online,” he said. “But overall, we were very happy with how it turned out. Faculty, student and staff participation was fantastic, and everyone really came together to make this happen.”