About the University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is one of the nation’s premier public research universities, dedicated to academic excellence, groundbreaking discoveries and creations, commitment to the state and the world, and a culture that prizes community, diversity, and opportunity.

A reputation for excellence

Iowa is known around the world for its commitment to excellence in the arts, sciences, and humanities. It is home to the first and best creative writing program in the world, as well as one of America’s top teaching hospitals. Its faculty, staff, and students have pioneered fields such as educational testing and speech pathology, sent UI-built instruments on virtually every mission in NASA history, and traced the genetic origins of countless human diseases. Its 12 colleges are home to scholars dedicated to bridging disciplines and reinventing higher education.  

new lab

Ricardo Mantilla, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, observes a hydrodynamics experiment during the Engineering Annex Media Tour, which was held Feb. 19, 2018. Photo by Justin Torner.

Iowa’s collaborative, can-do culture fosters a campus-wide dedication to student success. Welcoming students from all backgrounds, helping them chart paths that serve their individual interests and goals, and giving them tools to graduate on time and on budget are central to Iowa’s mission. The Iowa approach works—undergraduate and graduation rates well exceed the national average.

Iowa students graduate with the skills, perspectives, and values they need to lead productive lives and have rewarding careers. The university’s strong liberal arts tradition prizes exploration, flexibility, and broad-based knowledge while innovative teaching facilities and methods infuse timeless lessons with new energy. Today’s graduates are tech savvy and team oriented.

Iowa’s size, structure, and culture foster interaction among scholars at all levels, with advanced programs surrounding and shaping a vital liberal arts core. Strong graduate and professional programs enrich the undergraduate experience while providing unparalleled opportunities for student who want to take their education further.

Alongside education and discovery, Iowa is known for its NCAA Division I athletics programs, a world-class academic medical center, commitment to statewide service, and its role as an economic engine for the state of Iowa. The university has launched new programs that lend support and expertise to businesses across the state, and a pervasive spirit of entrepreneurship guides student start-ups, new enterprises built on faculty discoveries, and other innovations.

A proud history

When the University of Iowa was founded on Feb. 25, 1847, it was Iowa’s first public university and it was located in the state’s first capital. When Des Moines became the seat of state government in 1857, Iowa City’s Old Capitol building became the geographic and symbolic heart of the university campus.

Iowa has been a member of the Big Ten Conference since 1899 and a member of the Association of American Universities since 1909. 

From its founding, Iowa has been a beacon of equality and opportunity for all people. It was the nation’s first public university to admit men and women on an equal basis, the first public institution to award law degrees to women and African Americans, and the first state university to recognize a campus organization for gay students. 

Iowa invented the Master of Fine Arts degree, becoming the first institution to accept creative work in lieu of a written thesis. It pioneered fields ranging from educational television to cochlear implants.

In more recent years, the university has faced and overcome historic challenges—from a devasting campus flood in 2008 to the global economic downturn to the impact of new technology. Community spirit, pragmatic vision, and dedicated leadership have helped Iowa weather these crises. Today, the University of Iowa is stronger than ever and is poised to write a new chapter in its more than 170-year history. 

Mission and Core Values

The university’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan highlights these priorities:

Mission

In pursuing its missions of teaching, research, and service, the university seeks to advance scholarly and creative endeavor through leading-edge research and artistic production; to use this research and creativity to enhance undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, health care, and other services provided to the people of Iowa, the nation, and the world; and to educate students for success and personal fulfillment in a diverse world.

The University of Iowa carries out its academic mission primarily through its 12 colleges, which offer undergraduate and graduate education, professional education, and education and training in the health sciences.

More about the Strategic Plan can be found at https://provost.uiowa.edu/strategic-plan-2016-2021

Core values

In planning, setting priorities, and carrying out every aspect of its mission, the University of Iowa is guided by seven interdependent commitments:

  • Excellence
  • Learning
  • Community
  • Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Responsibility

Colleges and units

The university is made up of 13 colleges and units that carry out its academic mission.

Explore Iowa Now

Learn more about the University of Iowa on Iowa Now: the official, one-stop source for University of Iowa news for faculty, staff, and students on campus.

Class in session
Class in session
New Engineering Addition
New Engineering Addition
The Pentacrest
The Pentacrest
Hancher Auditorium
Hancher Auditorium
MacBride Hall
MacBride Hall
Recreation Center
Recreation Center
Iowa River
Iowa River
The Old Capitol
The Old Capitol
Fall on the River
Fall on the River
Voxman Music Building
Voxman Music Building

Campus facilities projects in progress

Kinnick Football Stadium

Kinnick Football Stadium

The final stage in a modernization of the 1929-building Nile Kinnick Stadium.  The project will be completed in two phases – The first will include the seats facing the field, to be opened for the 2018 season.  Over the following year the club spaces and amenities/concessions behind the seating will be completed.


Psychological & Brian Sciences

Psychological & Brian Sciences

This 65,000 square foot building will create a new home for the largest program, in the largest UI college.  Psychological & Brain Sciences will move from the adjacent Seashore Hall, built in 1899 as UI’s original Hospital & Clinics.  Following completion and relocation the original building will be razed, leaving green space and future program expansion options.


College of Pharmacy Building

College of Pharmacy Building

As the largest State-appropriated UI project ($64M of the project’s $96M), this building will create a new and expanded home for the College and for UI Pharmaceuticals.  The project is slated to be open in 2020.


Stanley Museum of Art

Stanley Museum of Art

This building will represent the final physical improvement related to the historic flood of 2008.  The original site was impacted by the flood, requiring the UI to find a new home for one of the nations most noted collegiate fine arts collections. Of the works to be displayed within the new building, Jackson Pollock’s Mural is the most renown (currently on a world-wide tour).



Recently-completed projects

College of Engineering

College of Engineering

Completed in 2018, this project expands the already modernized College of Engineering facilities at the core of the campus. The building uses and displays sustainable systems and serves both College and general education classroom needs.  The design shows off creative student lab work and also serves to provide importance campus pathway connections.


Visual Arts BuildingVisual Arts Building

Opened in the fall of 2016, this architecturally-awarded building replaces the Art & Art History program within the original (1936) Art Building, lost to the flood of 2008.


Voxman Music Building

Voxman Music Building

Dedicated in the fall of 2016, this building is home to the UI School of Music.  Positioned at the connection between the campus and the Iowa City downtown, Voxman hosts as many as 400 performances each year, most free of charge – it has quickly become an impactful building for both the University and the community’s downtown.


Hancher Auditorium

Hancher Auditorium

The largest and most symbolic project from the recovery of the 2008 flood, the Hancher Auditorium performing arts center was opened in the fall of 2016. The state-of-the arts facility carries on the noted celebration of the arts begun in 1972, within its predecessor the original Hancher Auditorium, a major building complex which included the School of Music, lost to the flood of 2008.