Why Be Better?

The University that Prepares Leaders

The Be Better initiative will position the UI as the university that creates leaders who leverage their Strengths, leadership knowledge, and leadership skills to contribute to their communities now and in the future. Effective leaders are critical to many aspects of our world, including the workplace. Since 2007, conversations about the best way to support student leadership development have been a priority at the University of Iowa. For more history of the initiative, click here.

The Be Better initiative supports educationally purposeful experiences that promote student success through undergraduate student leadership development.  It encourages UI faculty and staff to develop partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs to maximize our ability to enhance student success. Be Better will connect classroom learning with student involvement, leadership, service, employment, and multicultural experiences while promoting coordinated assessment of learning outcomes.

The Be Better initiative creates a seamless environment that not only transforms the student experience, but also makes our students more employable, competitive and marketable in the job market and to graduate schools.  There are many departments and divisions throughout the UI campus community providing meaningful, deeply engaging leadership development experiences. The versatility of the many opportunities (some listed here) provides the perfect opportunity for every Hawkeye to have a meaningful leadership experience through the use of the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment and specific student leadership competencies.

Benefits for students

The Be Better initiative helps undergraduate students develop as leaders, scholars, employees, and citizens. The initiative is intentionally designed to support each student's personal journey and success by helping students:

  • better articulate what is learned from their classes, their major(s), and co-curricular experiences
  • practice transferring learning across contexts
  • gain self-awareness and reflect on their learning
  • develop and improve the knowledge and skills employers are seeking from new and recent graduates

Be Better is designed to support each student's personal pathway to leadership and success!

Benefits for Faculty and Staff

The Be Better initiative will provide students with the tools to excel and engage in their learning and development in order to help them be prepared for whatever challenge they undertake next. One goal for this initiative is to assist students in articulating what they learn at the University of Iowa using an evidence-based common language. Using the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment and Student Leadership Competencies will support this specific goal. In addition the initiative may:

  • help students know the value of what is learned from a class/major/experience
  • increase enrollment in classes and participation in specific co-curricular experiences
  • increase number of declared majors for departments based on their connection to competency development
  • help students articulate what they gain from their major/minor/certificate


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