Benefits for Students

Be Better provides you with the tools to gain self-awareness and develop key competencies to help you develop as leaders and be more successful while at the University of Iowa and after you graduate. 

Once on campus, you can also engage in a variety of opportunities during the year that help you gain self-awareness and participate in opportunities to develop leadership competencies. Listed below is a sample of opportunities in which first-year students can engage. 

Get Engaged


BUS:1200 Tippie College Direct Admit Seminar

The Tippie College Direct Admit Seminar is an eight-week course for students admitted directly from high school into the Tippie College of Business. The course uses the Strengths model to help students acclimate to the University and College cultures, explore possible business-related major and careers, and establish a set of positive academic habits.

Eligibility: Admission to the Tippie College of Business directly from high school
Contact: Mike Schluckebier (

COMM:1818 Communication Skills for Leadership

Communication Skills for Leadership offers an introduction to the study of communication and leadership. The course uses the Strengths model to help students understand and develop essential communication skills related to developing professional relationships, working collaboratively, speaking in professional contexts, and writing effectively.

Eligibility: Open to all students
Contact: David Supp-Montgomerie (

LS:1018 Issues in College Residence Halls

Issues in College Residence Halls is a six-week course for students that have been recently hired for the resident assistant position. The course serves as development of knowledge and skills required for work as a resident assistant; creating community, handling crises and emergencies; and leadership. The course uses the Strengths model to help resident assistants understand their role within a team by what strengths they can bring and how they can work best with others. It will also cover how the resident assistants can use the strengths of the individuals within the floor community to create a strong, welcoming, and active floor community.

Eligibility: Selection as a resident assistant
Contact: Becky Wilson (

LS:1020 Introduction to Leadership

The goal of Introduction to Leadership is to provide an overview of theories and skills necessary for effective leadership. Students will examine the historical perspective on leadership theory, take and apply the Gallup StrengthsQuest assessment, learn about the Student Leadership Challenge, understand groups, culture, and communities, apply what they have learned in experiential learning settings, and develop a personal philosophy of leadership. This course is geared toward emerging student leaders.

Eligibility: Open to all students
Contact: Paul Mintner ( 

LS:1022 President's Leadership Class (PLC)

PLC is a three-hour, credit-bearing course offered each fall to specially nominated first-year students. Students explore pertinent leadership issues with University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, meet with and attend programs by Iowa, community, and state leaders, participate in meaningful civic activities, network with other student leaders, and engage in a curriculum that help them develop their personal leadership style and skills.

Eligibility: Selection for the course
Contact: Paul Mintner (

LS:2002 Career Leadership Academy Part 1

The Career Leadership Academy uses the Strengths model to help students increase their understanding of themselves as leaders as well as provide them opportunities to work and lead effectively in teams. The Academy also explores career development activities such as résumé writing, LinkedIn profile construction, and networking.

Eligibility: Open to all students
Contact: Career Leadership Academy (

LS:2013 Strengths-Based Leadership

Strengths-Based Leadership uses the Strengths model to help students examine and evaluate their personal unique talents, be more engaged students and citizens, and gain a better understanding of leadership.

Eligibility: Open to all students
Contact: Amanda McFadden (


Leadership Opportunities:

Fraternity & Sorority Life New Member Education Programs

Students selected through the fraternity and sorority life recruitment process engage in new member education programs to learn about and acclimate to their organizations. Some fraternities and sororities at Iowa use the Strengths model to help their members develop into well-rounded individuals who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Eligibility: Students selected by a fraternity or sorority
Contact: Erin McHale (

Theme Semester Student Ambassador 

Theme Semester Student Ambassadors assist the Theme Semester Planning Committee in creating marquee activities during the spring semester by developing creative initiatives to engage students in meaningful conversations. Student Ambassadors develop and enact creative student programming, engage their peers and community in meaningful conversations, gain leadership and Strengths knowledge, and represent the University of Iowa student voice while planning and executing campus events and activities.

Eligibility: Students selected through application process
Contact: David L. Gould (

Hawkeye Guide Training

Hawkeye Guides work with new students and their families to prepare them for their transition to the University of Iowa. They use the Strengths model in serving as positive representatives for the university, responding to questions about student life and resources at Iowa, and assisting students with the registration process.

Eligibility: Selection as a Hawkeye Guide
Contact: Cara Wiebel (

Iowa N.E.W. Leadership

Iowa N.E.W. Leadership is an intensive 5-day residential institute designed to empower women across the political spectrum and increase the participation of underrepresented groups in all sectors of public leadership. The institute uses the Strengths model in its team-based activities, including the Political Action Project, a role-playing exercise where participants collaborate within a group to research an issue and develop a policy recommendation.

Eligibility: Selection for the institute
Contact: Jessica Padilla (

On Iowa! Leader Training

On Iowa! Leaders play a crucial role at The University of Iowa by helping new University of Iowa students acclimate to their very first semester. They use the Strengths model to serve as mentors to approximately 25 new Iowa students facilitating small group activities and guiding them through On Iowa! programs.

Eligibility: Selection as an On Iowa! Leader
Contact: Kate Garrett (

University Housing & Dining Hall Associations

The nine Hall Associations are governing bodies that improve the way of life in the halls through community improvements and programming efforts. By hosting and attending social and educational programs, residents begin to enhance their community environment. Hall Association members use the Strengths model in developing skills facilitating programs, managing conflict, and developing interpersonally.

Eligibility: Students who live in University Housing
Contact: Your Resident Assistant (RA) or Hall Coordinator

University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) Freshman Senators

The University of Iowa Student Government exists to empower students and seeks to ensure a student-centered environment through education and advocacy. Each year, five vacancies are filled by first-year students selected through an application and interview process. As a representative, students participate in the University of Iowa Student Government Student Senate attending meetings, working on initiatives to improve the campus, and voicing undergraduate constituent concerns.

Eligibility: First-year students selected to serve on UISG
Contact: Bill Nelson (


Faculty and staff interested in listing a course or co-curricular program are encouraged to use the Be Better @ Iowa submission form. A member of the Be Better team will follow up with any additional questions and confirm the information prior to listing.