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Academic and support programs across the University are incorporating The IOWA Challenge into their work with students. The Challenge touches on concepts these programs have always emphasized, but does so in a way that's concise, consistent, and comprehensive.

The following examples offer potential models for other programs, showing how different units use The IOWA Challenge to underscore their traditional messages while offering guidance to shape students' full experience at the University.

Office of Admissions

Communication and marketing materials aimed at first-year and transfer students underscore the Challenge message, as do campus visit and outreach events for prospective students. Packets and letters from the UI president and provost sent to all admitted students emphasize Challenge expectations.

Academic Advising Center

The Academic Advising Center incorporates a discussion of the Challenge in the goal-setting section of its College Transition course. Students write goals related to each Challenge expectation and describe how they will achieve them.

Athletic Student Services

Athletic Student Services has incorporated the Challenge into its transition seminar series for student athletes and developed IOWA Challenge displays for Gerdin Athletic Learning Center.

Tippie College of Business

The Tippie College of Business includes a Challenge-related goal-setting assignment in its direct admit seminar, reviews the Challenge with student organizations, presents it to new students during its Admit One Orientation program, and has trained student ambassadors to describe the Challenge in visits with prospective students. The college also promotes The IOWA Challenge on its web site and lobby kiosks.

Center for Diversity and Enrichment

The Center for Diversity and Enrichment incorporates the Challenge in Upward Bound programming with regional high school students, and its multicultural coordinators discuss it during goal-setting meetings with undergraduate students.

Center for Teaching

The Center for Teaching has developed ideas for weaving the Challenge into classroom teaching, particularly in First-Year Seminars. Center staff emphasize these tips during new faculty orientation and workshops for teaching assistants and large-class instructors. The center also co-sponsors a workshop on General Education Program proposals that uses the Challenge as a framework for designing assignments and discussions.

College of Engineering

The College of Engineering added an assignment on IOWA Challenge goal-setting to its transitions course for first-year engineering students, who completed short writing assignments reflecting on Challenge principles.

Introduction to Leadership

Part of the UI Leadership Development Program, the course asked students to connect IOWA Challenge goals and leadership principles in five written reflections developed during the semester.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has added The IOWA Challenge to the agenda for faculty orientation and for several faculty committees, and is promoting the Challenge on its web site and in discussions of new General Education Program requirements. The academic programs and services department also is integrating the Challenge into its peer-mentoring course.

University of Iowa Libraries

The Libraries have reinforced the Challenge during the Library Research in Context course and in presentations for rhetoric courses, working with individual instructors. The libraries also promote the Challenge message on large display screens.

Office of International Students and Scholars

The Office of International Students and Scholars uses The IOWA Challenge as a means to communicate the University's cultural expectations to undergraduate and graduate students from abroad. The office also presents the Challenge during recruiting as a way to distinguish the University from other institutions.


Orientation materials and programs for new students adopt IOWA Challenge messages throughout—handbooks distributed to first-year and transfer students stress the Challenge up front, and Orientation advisers lead small-group discussions of Challenge expectations.

Office of Residence Life

Residence Life created the Golden Dome Awards for residence hall floor communities that demonstrate high levels of interaction, strong academic standards, broad campus involvement, and minimal negative behavior. Winners have their names added to a plaque in the floor’s lobby. The office also includes the Challenge in its training program for resident assistants, providing a model for RAs to use in helping residents learn and grow beyond the classroom. RAs emphasize the Challenge's "excel," "engage," "choose," and "serve" messages during different quarters of the academic year—focusing on "stretch" throughout—and develop programming to support each. The Challenge also is part of Residence Life's move-in week orientation and other programs.

Student Health Service

Student Health has emphasized the Challenge's "choose" message during Health Expos at locations including Burge and Hillcrest residence halls, and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The events encouraged students to develop health and wellness action plans, and follow-up evaluations showed that almost all first-year students were familiar with the IOWA Challenge. Ninety-four percent of 195 participants surveyed said the expos provided a variety of ideas to help them meet the Challenge’s “choose” component.

Center for Student Involvement & Leadership

The Center for Student Involvement & Leadership has incorporated the Challenge into multiple student programs and promotional publications. Welcome Week, Homecoming, the Introduction to Leadership Class, and the President’s Leadership Class highlight Challenge components. “Be Greek” t-shirts distributed to all returning fraternity and sorority life students carried the “engage” message, and the Challenge was promoted on a six-foot poster display seen by about 4,000 incoming students as they lined up to get their student IDs.

Office of the Vice President for Student Services

The Office of the Vice President for Student Services has added the Challenge to the back of the Parents Association calendar.

For more ideas about teaching and learning, including ways to incorporate The IOWA Challenge into instruction, visit the Center for Teaching web site or contact center director Jean Florman.


"In my view, The IOWA Challenge is an extremely helpful tool for our international students. The Challenge uses clear, understandable terms, but is written in such a way that students can apply their own individual values, backgrounds, and experiences."

Scott King


Office of International Students and Scholars