As a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, your personal safety, growth, and success is our Graduate College’s top priority. Considering 8%1 of UNI’s entire student body identify themselves as people of color and approximately 12%2 of our current graduate population identify as people of color, it is important to acknowledge racial inequity. Multiple campus-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives already underway are even more critical in light of racial violence at the national level and injustices in our local communities.

This spring the Graduate College staff completed Cultivating Justice: A Quest Towards Racial Equity. This eye-opening experience inspired our office to further commit to actively seeking equity in our institution. The Graduate College Graduate Assistant in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Tabitha Decker, has been instrumental in building and supporting DEI initiatives. She helped shape the Graduate College’s new Diversity and Inclusion Advancement Award, a renewable scholarship and funding opportunity for graduate students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds or who are underrepresented in ways specific to their academic discipline. The Graduate College is sponsoring a multicultural affinity group and an LGBTQ+ affinity group for graduate students. Associate Dean Dr. Gabriela Olivares and I host Coffee with the Dean events twice a month. Students are able to meet with us in an informal environment and share their concerns.

Students are supported at UNI. Nearly 60% of eligible graduate students received funding (graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships) from the Graduate College during the 2019-2020 school year. Academically, students have access to tutoring and writing support through free workshops and one-on-one assistance. The Panther Pantry is a food and necessities resource available to any UNI student facing food insecurity. Mental health and wellness resources include the UNI Counseling Center and Wellness Counseling services. The Graduate College is supporting mental health on campus by hiring an interdisciplinary cohort of graduate students who are teaming up with Active Minds to provide V-A-R training to peer mentors and other groups on campus. 

UNI has multiple mechanisms to report suspected harassment or discrimination incidents and more information can be found in the Office of Compliance and Equity Management. Students can also contact Associate Dean Olivares within the Graduate College.

Diversity makes a university. Our campus is a more vibrant and creative place with diversity and diverse perspectives. The Graduate College appreciates, honors, and respects the similarities and differences of all our students. Your graduate education is a challenging and magical time. I hope you follow in the steps of current students like Hasina Jalal or alumni like Dr. Belinda Creighton-Smith and Waterloo mayor Quentin Hart and seize the unexpected opportunities at UNI.

Dr. Jennifer Waldron, Graduate College Dean

1 University of Northern Iowa. (2014). Extended campus community diversity facts. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://diversity.uni.edu/extended-campus-community-diversity-facts
2 Saavedra, D. (2021). Demographics: SP21 grad students [PowerPoint slides]. University of Northern Iowa Graduate College.


91% Recent graduates agree they received a high-quality education


Recent graduates agree they received a high-quality education

1650+ Students 2018 enrollment


Students enrolled in Fall 2020

92% Recent graduates agree the quality of graduate teaching is excellent


Recent graduates agree the quality of graduate teaching is excellent

93% Recent graduates agree courses were intellectually stimulating


Recent graduates agree courses were intellectually stimulating

Annual Meeting, 2019


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Apr 12
INSPIRE Conference Logo

INSPIRE Student Research...

Monday Apr 12 - 2021

The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the Graduate College are joining forces...

View Event titled INSPIRE Student Research and Engagement Conference

Apr 19
Student destress day

Graduate Student...

Monday Apr 19 - 2021

Monday, April 19th: Mindfulness Monday session led by Dr. Sarah Montgomery, one of the...

View Event titled Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Apr 21
Coffee with the Dean

Coffee with the Dean

Wednesday Apr 21 - 2021

Join Dr. Jennifer Waldron, Dean of the Graduate College, and Dr. Gabriela Olivares,...

View Event titled Coffee with the Dean

Apr 29
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APA (7th Edition): What’s...

Thursday Apr 29 - 2021

A free webinar hosted by pd.education, provided to you by the UNI Graduate College. ...

View Event titled APA (7th Edition): What’s new? What’s still valid?