UI launches program encouraging employees to explore campus

The program, called Discover Your University, allows employees to go on tours around campus during work hours.


Matthew Kennedy

Sophia Davis drives the test car in the testing area of the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator, in Coralville, Iowa, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

Emily Nyberg, News Reporter

The University of Iowa launched a new pilot program, Discover Your University, to allow faculty and staff to explore campus that they don’t get to visit during a normal workday. 

On the first visit day on Oct. 11, over 200 staff and faculty members participated in the program.

Cheryl Reardon, UI chief human resources officer and associate vice president of university human resources, wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that President Barbara Wilson based her idea for the program to one at the University of Illinois. 

“The main purpose of Discover Your University is to increase faculty and staff awareness of all the amazing research, teaching, and service taking place at Iowa,” she wrote. “Participating in this program helps them connect with the university in new ways and build camaraderie with their colleagues by registering for a visit day together.”

Teresa Kulper, UI director of organizational effectiveness and human resources, said at the Oct. 11 UI Faculty Council meeting that she hopes the program will fuel employee’s passion for their jobs.

“One of the things that comes from engagement is a sense of pride and meaning in my work, my work makes a difference or institution makes a difference,” she said. 

The Oct. 11 event offered 16 location options including tours of the Iowa Technology Institute, Hancher Auditorium, UI Health Care, the Pentacrest Museums, and the National Advanced Driving Simulator.

Kristine Roggentien, National Advanced Driving Simulator head of communications, said she gave a tour to 18 staff members around the NADS. She found the program to be a great way to meet other staff.

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“The majority of our tour group was a team from Grants Accounting, some of whom we had already worked with over email, but never actually met in person,” she said.  

The NADS team will be involved in the Nov. 2 event as well. Overall, Roggentien said the program gave faculty and staff a crucial sense of support from the university.

“Stuff like this serves such important functions at the university and what they do really supports us and our work,” she said. “It helps everyone feel more connected to each other across campus.”

The UI will host a second visit day on Nov. 2. After the first two events, UI human resources will collect feedback and decide whether to continue the program in the spring.