A $1 million gift from HNI Corporation to the University of Northern Iowa is providing the finishing touches on the renovation of Schindler Education Center, home to the university’s College of Education. The gift established the HNI Corporation Instructional Resources and Technology Services (IRTS) Lab and helped furnish the facility.
“The UNI College of Education and HNI Corporation are both Iowa-based leaders in their respective fields,” said Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean of the College of Education and Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership in Education. “The HNI Corporation IRTS Lab will serve as an education resource facility for students, faculty, and in-service teachers and school administrators.”
Headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa, HNI Corporation is the second largest furniture company in the world. Its brands include HON, Allsteel and Gunlocke.
“HNI Corporation truly values our partnership with UNI,” said Gary Carlson, HNI Corporation’s vice president of Community Relations. “UNI does an excellent job of preparing students for outstanding careers offered by HNI Corporation and other excellent Iowa employers.”
According to Jean-Marie, the redesign of Schindler Education Center enabled the university to create a showplace for a teaching lab and best practices in classroom design. “We are thrilled to see traditional classrooms transformed, fully integrating technology and creating flexible spaces to better prepare students for their future careers.”
The gift from HNI Corporation caps off more than $6.5 million in private fundraising for the newly renovated facility. Renovations feature spaces and furnishings that are flexible, such as the central learning commons area where students can engage in diverse learning activities like group presentations. Lecture halls transitioned into collaborative, interactive learning spaces. Obsolete computer labs were replaced by classrooms that use integrated technology. The new design also created classroom simulation spaces in which teacher candidates can model instructional methods in learning environments similar to those that are currently used in kindergarten through high school settings.
The HNI Corporation gift was made to the University of Northern Iowa through the UNI Foundation.