Our Outreach

Faculty, staff, and students at the College of Education are involved in outreach projects locally, nationally, and abroad. The list below describes some of our current work. Please check back often for frequent additions and updates.

Adult and Family Literacy Program in West Liberty

ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences): We Can! Developing Resiliency in Elementary Schools Project

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact children early in their development. ACE’s have been associated with lower rates of school engagement, higher rates of chronic health concerns, being more likely to repeat a grade in school, and a higher likelihood of behavioral concerns in the classroom. Using a whole-school approach the We Can! Program provides teachers and staff with prevention and classroom intervention tools aimed at promoting resilience and building relationships that will increase a child’s opportunity for success. This academic, year-long project is currently being pioneered within elementary schools in Iowa.

African American Achievement Program

Over 100 Cedar Rapids school district middle school students involved with the African American Achievement Program (AAAP) visit the University of Iowa each spring (since 2007). UI College of Education Diversity Committee, along with the Center for Diversity and Enrichment and UI Admissions, host the event which includes a panel discussion to help students learn more about college life and how to prepare for their own academic futures, as well as a book discussion. This year the students and UI participants have been reading The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake. Students will discuss their ideas about the book with College of Education faculty, staff, and students as a part of their visit on campus.

Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy

The Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy at the Belin-Blank Center is designed for those special students who are ready for college one or two years earlier than their peers.  The Bucksbaum Academy...

  • Provides top students with a high-level curriculum, research opportunities
  • Supports students through the transition from high school to a research intensive university
  • Integrates STEM and the Arts/Humanities
  • Collaborates with UI Honors
  • Capitalizes on the Belin-Blank Center’s expertise in student programming and acceleration

Visit the Bucksbaum Academy Blog online for more information.

Cedar Rapids Science Center Brain Awareness Week

Center for Disability Research and Education (CDRE)

CDRE (pronounced like ‘cedar’) is currently collaborating with a local educator who has developed a reading intervention to design and conduct research to develop an evidence base for her work. In addition, CDRE researchers are collaborating with Decoding Dyslexia of Iowa to design research and program evaluation for several reading clinics across the state of Iowa.

Cooperating Schools Program

The University of Iowa Cooperating Schools Program (CSP) is a university-wide service to facilitate the placement of research projects conducted by faculty, staff, and students in public schools throughout Iowa. The purpose of the CSP is to provide information needed to obtain permission to conduct research in Iowa schools and school districts. All University of Iowa personnel (faculty, staff, and students) who wish to conduct research or projects involving students, their families, and/or staff of K-12 schools in Iowa are required to first obtain permission through the appropriate K-12 administrator(s). This requirement was established at the request of school administrators charged with the responsibility of approving research projects in their schools.

Education Technology Center

EL Bridge Project

The University of Iowa’s EL Bridge Project provides professional development and support for (pre-service and in-service) teachers in science, mathematics, and special education to help them build best practices in working with English Language Learners (ELs) throughout the State of Iowa.

Families and Schools Together (FAST)

This is a collaboration with the Neighborhood Agencies of Johnson County and the Iowa City School District that trains a group of professionals and volunteers in the FAST program. This is a school-based multifamily group intervention with families of at-risk elementary school children. The goal is to make the local program self-sufficient, improve emotional wellbeing and school performance of children, get the parents more involved with the schools, and help parents self-organize.

Filial Therapy with Pre-School and Elementary School Children

Project trains community agency (e.g., Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids) play therapists in the approach and provides supervision during the implementation phase.

Grace Cochran Fund for Elementary Language Education

This initiative is designed to encourage and promote educational programs for early acquisition of a second language in Eastern Iowa and other parts of Iowa. The efforts associated with this initiative include providing and hosting training for elementary language teachers in the area, collecting data about current elementary programs in the state, and supporting and promoting extracurricular programs at the elementary level where language is not offered in the regular curriculum.

Innovation Institute

A two-week summer residential computer and technology innovation program for talented high school students. Teams of students collaborate with industry experts, entrepreneurs, professors and peers to identify a community problem and develop a rapid prototype computer solution. Partnership between the Belin-Blank Center in the UI College of Education and the Jacobsen Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in the UI College of Business.

Interdisciplinary Flood Institute for Teachers

The three-day institute, taught by UI College of Education faculty, provided support and training to cross-disciplinary teams from 7 Iowa communities that experienced the floods of 2008 and/or 2011. The teams developed multi-disciplinary curriculum specific to their communities' experience. The Institute was developed in partnership with the university-wide 2013 Living with Floods project.

International School Leadership Summit

Invent IOWA

Invent Iowa is a comprehensive, statewide program developed to assist Iowa’s educators in promoting the invention process as part of their regular K–12 curricula. Since 1987, Iowa students have had the opportunity to express their inventiveness and solve problems in an educational way. Students are invited to submit their invention to the Belin-Blank Center to be considered for the Invent Iowa State Invention Convention. All inventions at a convention must be a completely new product or significant new application of an existing product. Additionally, students who win at the state level are given the opportunity to go to the National Invention Convention at the United States Patent and Trade Office in Washington D.C.

Iowa Assistive Technology Professional Development Network

The Iowa Assistive Technology Professional Development Network, funded through the University of Iowa’s Office of the Provost and facilitated by ICATER, will create, coordinate, and provide AT professional development opportunities to professionals, parents, and individuals with disabilities across the state of Iowa, focusing especially on educational and employment settings.

Iowa Center For Assistive Technology Education and Research (ICATER)

ICATER is a technology and universal design resource for all members of the education community to build learner capacity, and increase access to learning opportunities. Powerful Assistive Technology (AT) can greatly increase learning and reduce barriers for all students. Our purpose is to make AT available to you.

Iowa Governor’s STEM Council Real World Externship Program

Formerly the Iowa Mathematics & Science Education Partnership Real World Externship Program

Secondary STEM teachers engage in a six-week summer STEM industry Externship. Teachers incorporate STEM content and 21st Century skills into classroom curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices. Over 200 teacher participants across the State of Iowa. Partnership between University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Iowa.

Baker Digital Teacher Project (formerly Iowa iPad Project)

Newly admitted teacher education students in the College of Education have received a digital device (Chromebook) to use in support of their course, clinical, volunteer, outreach, and professional development experiences. Students attend an extensive professional development series that helps them to meet the technology challenges of the 21st century school.

Iowa Online Advanced Placement Academy

The Belin-Blank Center partners with Apex Learning to provide free online Advanced Placement (AP) courses to Iowa high school students who do not have access to traditional, brick-and-mortar AP courses, such as students from Iowa’s many small, rural schools. We also provide free online AP Exam Reviews each spring, free in-school, above-level testing for Iowa 6th-graders, and grants for Iowa teachers to attend our Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute at the University of Iowa each summer.

Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) Student Program

In this student-led program for students in the Teacher Education Program, student members plan and host programs for the College, coordinate community service initiatives, and participate in state ISEA conferences and workshops.

Iowa Testing Programs (ITP)

Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) is a research, development, and outreach unit in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. ITP’s mission is to pursue research that improves the practice of educational measurement, design and develop assessments that provide information for a variety of purposes and audiences, and outreach that delivers assessment results and international audiences.

IP-Stanley Foundation Global Education Institute for Teachers

This institute focuses on infusing a global perspective into the 6-12 curriculum. It is held every December and offered to all teachers in the state of Iowa.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)

Promotes and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement in original research and experimentation in STEM at the high school level. By connecting talented students, their teachers, and research professionals, JSHS aims to widen the pool of students prepared to conduct research vital to our nation. Scholarship competition at the state and national level. Partnership between Belin-Blank Center, Academy of Applied Science, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Migrant Education Research Group

MiniSim: The Science of Driving

Physics comes alive when students take the wheel of portable driving simulators that travel to schools. Teachers engage in professional development to facilitate student learning of force and motion concepts by collecting data during investigations while driving. Partnership with National Advanced Driving Simulator and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Mobile Museum: The Science of Water

Inspires visitors to understand the world science by bringing exhibits with cutting-edge research, one-of-a-kind artifacts, and interactive digital media to Iowa’s schools and communities statewide. Celebrates innovative scientific discoveries and applications to improving Iowan’s daily life. Stimulates understanding, appreciation, and for the University of Iowa and the state. Partnership with Vice President of Research and Economic Development, Office of the State Archeologist, Chemistry Department, Hydroscience & Engineering, and the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.

New Horizons Band

The Iowa City New Horizons Band (IC-NHB) partners with the College of Education Music Education Program, the School of Music, West Music, and the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center. Our mission is to provide the opportunity for all persons age 50 and older to learn and make music. In addition to the band itself, the IC-NHB will encourage entry-level group-music opportunities for members and nonmembers alike and facilitate the many current self-formed ensembles and those that will emerge. Our atmosphere is one of casual comradery mixed with a passion for making beautiful music.

Oakdale Prison Community Choir

The goals of the Oakdale Community Choir, founded in 2009, are to provide choral singing and experiences for men in the general population of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center who are not restricted to their units and for community volunteers who have an interest in learning more about issues in the prison system locally and across the state and nation. We have many collaborative aspects of the program such as its mutual benefit for both inside and outside singers, the partnership between the University of Iowa and IMCC, our connections with the Iowa Department of Corrections Victim Services and Restorative Justice Programs, and associations with community organizations through our concerts. The choir performs two concerts each season in the prison gymnasium. One concert is for an incarcerated audience and the second concert is for 85 guests from the community including choir members’ friends and family, people interested in learning about the prison system in Iowa, and others interested in the choir.

Prison Choir's Songwriters' Workshop

The Songwriters’ Workshop at IMCC (Iowa Medical and Classification Center commonly known as Oakdale Prison) grew naturally out of the Oakdale Community Choir’s writing component. University students assist with the leadership of this workshop that meets weekly for 45-60 minutes during academic semesters and 90 minutes during the summer. Inside singers are quite prolific and we regularly perform original songs at our concerts. In the first 13 seasons, the choir has performed 42 original songs composed by choir members at our concerts. One audience member shared these reflections: “I have been to prisons in the system, hundreds of times as part of my work, and I have to say this is the first time in 35 years I have seen anything in the system that inspired me. I was particularly moved by the decision to sing songs composed by the ‘inside’ members of the choir.”

Project HOPE

Project HOPE (Healthcare Occupations Preparation and Exploration) is a STEM-based curricular intervention that integrates academic and vocational opportunities designed to connect minority and low socioeconomic middle school students to the health science professions early in their education. HOPE addresses the critical national need to increase diversity in the American healthcare workforce.

Project SEALED

Reflective Assessment in Elementary Science (RAES)

Elementary teachers engage in learning formative assessment techniques to inform their next step strategies to enhance student achievement in science. The three year professional development program is a partnership between University of Iowa College of Education, UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science, Van Allen Science Center, IA Department of Education, and Washington, Highland, St. James, Iowa City and Clear Creek Amana School districts.

Saturday Art Workshops

Saturday Art Workshops offered to young artists by the University of Iowa College of Education’s Art Education faculty and students. The workshops, which have been offered for more than three decades, are a win-win community outreach project. The young artists, ages 5 to 12, get to create and aspiring art teachers get to practice their future profession. The Art Education Program also offers workshops to middle and high school students in the spring.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The Belin-Blank Center is proud to serve as the Iowa and Midwest Region-at-Large Affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program is the nation’s longest-running, largest, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Over the past 90 years, the Awards have recognized and encouraged artists and writers such as: Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Tom Otterness, Zac Posen, among countless others.  The Belin-Blank Center adjudicated almost 10,000 pieces of art and writing from across Iowa and seven additional states last year.

Science Writing Heuristic Approach (SWH)

The SWH approach is about transforming students’ thinking by transforming the science classroom. With the SWH approach, teachers move away from verification labs and memorization to the kinds of activities, conversations, and writing that real scientists do. It has been used in over 700 classrooms across Iowa, in Washington, and across the globe in Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Australia, benefiting more than 20,000 students since 2004.

Secondary School Art Workshops

This partnership with Iowa City United Action for Youth is part of the Art Education Secondary Methods course. TEP Art Education students each teach a 10-week workshop for secondary students. (Started in 2011)

Secondary Student Training Program

Students in grades 10-11 may nominate themselves for the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP), a five-week residential summer research program at The University of Iowa. Students will conduct scientific research in university laboratories under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students will also produce a research project/paper as a part of the program.

Shelter House Partnership

Special Education Leaders Applying Research in Schools (SELARiS)

The SELARiS project is a grant to train scholars in special education to conduct research in and in collaboration with schools and other education agencies. It involves a semester of collaboration between the Iowa Department of Education Bureau of School Improvement and a School in need of improvement (SINA) in Iowa to evaluate programs, improve instruction, and apply evidence-based practices in schools.

STEM Excellence and Leadership

The STEM Excellence and Leadership program aims to empower academically able students from under-resourced rural schools. The program is implemented in K–12 schools, designed for students in grades 6-8, and provides university-based support for math and science teachers. The goal is to discover students early and provide an intervention of specialized programming to promote their academic and social-emotional development. STEM Excellence and Leadership has two major components:

  1. an extracurricular enrichment curriculum in mathematics and science for high-ability middle school students, and
  2. professional development for teachers in the enrichment curriculum, math and science content, and gifted education.

With funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Belin-Blank Center works jointly with school districts to serve high-potential, low-income students.

STEM Innovator at Kirkwood Regional Center at University of Iowa

High school students work side-by-side with STEM industry experts to develop knowledge and skills to pursue innovative solutions to challenging problems. Model allows students to earn college credit to advance their college and career aspirations. Partnership between Kirkwood Community College, University of Iowa, IA Governor’s STEM Council, Iowa STEM industry professionals, and West Branch, Clear Creek Amana, Iowa City, College Community, Solon, Regina, and Tipton School Districts.

STEM Innovator

School district teams create community-driven models to infuse STEM innovation and entrepreneurship into the student learning experience. Implemented in 34 Iowa high schools, over 10,000 students benefit from engaging with industry experts to solve authentic STEM problems of student and community interest. Partnership between the UI Colleges of Education and Business, IA Governor’s STEM Council, Iowa STEM industry professionals and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Strong Girls Read Strong Books

The project works with girls, grades 4-6, in an after-school book club focused on stories with strong female protagonists. The research team (including graduate and undergraduate students) offers opportunities for the children to respond to literature through drama, dance, art, writing, and talk.

Student Iowa School Counselor Association (SISCA)

Talented and Gifted Endorsement

The Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) provides extensive professional learning opportunities throughout the year, supporting educators from around the world who want to better understand how to meet the unique needs of gifted/talented children.  The semester hours offered through the collaboration between the B-BC, the College of Education, and the Division of Continuing Education culminate in the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement, required for Iowa educators who work directly with gifted learners in public schools today, and accepted in many other states.  The current schedule of classes is available at www.belinblank.org/educators.  

Tête à Tête Professional Development Workshops

We offer free practice-focused professional development workshops every spring semester for K-16 world language educators in Iowa. Themes in recent years have included theater, technology integration, students with special needs, and high school-university collaborations.

UI Helping Professionals Workshop (IHELP)

For over three decades, the Annual Summer School for Helping Professionals (ASSHP) consistently offered programs and leadership that has enhanced the personal and professional development of Iowa’s helping professionals. The IHELP workshops offer CEU-credit classes for community, agency, and education practitioners working with or interested in helping individuals, groups, families, and organizations.

UI REACH Program

The University of Iowa REACH Program is a two-year, transition certificate program for students with multiple intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities. UI REACH provides a campus experience to empower young adults to become independent, engaged members of the community. Courses, campus life, and career preparation assist students in reaching their full potential. UI REACH strives to maintain periodic contact with alumni to encourage them to become independent adults by utilizing the independent living and career-related skills they learned in the program.

Universal Access Project

Universal Access Project

University of Iowa International Day for Human Rights

International Day is a hands-on, interactive event for middle-schoolers focuses on a different theme each year, and is coordinated by the University of Iowa College of Education and the UI Center for Human Rights. The 2015 event, The Human Right to a Clean Environment, hosted more than 300 students.

Voices of Experience

Volunteer Art Activities with REM Iowa Developmental Services in Coralville

Art Education students designed 6 weeks of lesson/activities for the residents (children & young adults with brain injuries) of the REM Center. (Started in 2014)

Weather Balloon Project

Science Education students and School of the Wild worked with Iowa City 5th-graders to build an deploy helium weather balloons. The project involve sending GoPro cameras and GPS trackers to nearly 100,000 feet. Nearly 8,000 photos were collected and shared with students as part of this STEM initiative.