The distance education model that UNI used for my master's program was the number one reason that I chose this program. Most of the other in-state programs had a face-to-face component, but as a high school coach, UNI’s distance model allowed me to be able to complete my master's while being busy on the road with coaching.
UNI has a strong reputation for preparing educators for greatness, and the Superintendency program is no exception. The blended format allows quality professional learning at a distance without disrupting the everyday flow of life. The professors and staff members within the Educational Leadership department are true leaders of learning, service, and change, and are dedicated to preparing students to excel at the next level.
As a young nonprofit professional, the program gives credibility to my resume and offered me an opportunity to network with other nonprofit professionals. In fact, I was introduced to my first employer post-graduation who was a guest speaker in a first semester course! I recommend this program to anyone who is looking to further their career in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development. The curriculum is a broad overview of all aspects of the nonprofit sector, and the research paper allowed me to dive deeper into a relevant and timely topic that fit my career path and interests. Thanks to Dr. Rod Dieser’s considerate guidance, I was able to have my research reviewed and approved prior to graduation.
The University of Northern Iowa offered me the unique opportunity to attend classes through my computer and a headset, make personal connections and develop camaraderie with my fellow cohorts. When I completed the program, I had an enormous sense of accomplishment, a heightened awareness to new thoughts and a professional empowerment to advance my career.
The Speech-Language Pathology program is so supportive of its students. I have met some great professors, staff members, and students that are genuinely interested in seeing that you succeed well beyond the classroom.
The most important thing I’ve taken from this program is the importance of critical thinking and the ability to evaluate community programs and resources. Before, I felt like just another person living in Cedar Falls; now I feel more invested in the development of my community because of the conversations we’ve had in class. Furthermore, I feel like I can add to the conversation and help grow the world around me.
UNI provides an environment where students feel comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas and to learn new skills in the process. UNI not only educates their students, but builds a community relationship with them so that they can be successful.
The benefits of the distance program for me were vast. Because classes were in the evenings, the flexibility allowed me to continue to work in my current position. Secondly, I have a family with two young children. It would have been nearly impossible for me to complete a specialized degree in a “traditional” master’s program; however, the way this program was designed, it was achievable for me and I believe that it is achievable for anyone.
The distance program gave me so much flexibility. While using Adobe Connect I was able to be at home, at my job, or on vacation and still be in class. As adults we have so many things pulling us in every direction - the distance program really allowed us to be successful while still juggling all the other aspects of life.
Completing an MA in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development has opened a number of career opportunities that I did not imagine. Initially it helped develop my skill set as an alumni relations professional at a nonprofit nursing and healthcare college, as the research paper I wrote was directly related to my advancement work. Furthermore, my degree aided when I was hired as director of community engagement at Wartburg College, including the opportunity to teach a first level course in Wartburg’s Leadership Minor related to leadership theories and style. I would not have these opportunities without the knowledge and experience obtain pursuing my degree.
UNI is a great choice for students who want to experience learning beyond the four walls of a lecture hall. Students don't have to search far to find opportunities for real-world encounters on campus, in the local community or abroad.
I enjoyed working with a cohort. It allowed me to make personal and professional relationships with other social studies teachers both in my area and across the state. I continue to be in contact with most people in my cohort 3 years after the program has ended.