teacher helping a student

Welcome to the Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy! Our center was established in November 2010 with a gift of $11 million. A native of Belmond, Iowa, Richard O. Jacobson was an outstanding supporter of the University of Northern Iowa, along with numerous other educational and civic programs and projects throughout Iowa.

Our Mission:

To promote comprehensive literacy of all learners by transforming literacy education through expanding pre-service and in-service teachers’ literacy knowledge and instructional expertise in professional learning communities.

Our Goals:

The Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy Mission will be accomplished by the following goals:

  • Form collaborative partnerships with districts across the state for the development of effective literacy programs that impact student learning and progress.
  • Support professional development based on effective literacy instruction practices and current reading research. Assist teachers to collaborate in planning to meet the instructional needs of all students.
  • Involve pre-service teachers in authentic teaching and learning experiences in the school setting, including shared professional development opportunities with in-service teachers.
  • Advance knowledge related to literacy teaching and learning by engaging in mutually beneficial research-practice partnerships with schools, community organizations, and other research institutions in Iowa, nationally, and globally.


Beyond its conventional concept as a set of reading, writing and counting skills, literacy is now understood as a means of identification, understanding, interpretation, creation, and communication in an increasingly digital, text-mediated, information-rich and fast-changing world. -- UNESCO, 2021