Centralized home for the department will transform teaching, research
Monday, January 27, 2020

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa has a permanent home.

At a ceremony on Jan. 24, UI President J. Bruce Harreld joined deans, faculty, and donors to celebrate the official opening of a building that will transform teaching and research, and will position the department to better prepare students for learning modern psychology and finding jobs in the field.

Harreld said the building, located as a gateway to the east side of campus at Gilbert Steet and Iowa Avenue, will enhance students’ academic experience, increase the research capacity and success of faculty and staff, and help recruit more talent to the university.

“It’s about all of us coming together—to make better science, greater strides for our students, and actually lifting ourselves to what is possible as opposed to being stuck in what is impossible,” Harreld said.

The building is the first centralized home for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, which is the seventh-oldest psychology department in the United States and has been a leader in teaching and research for nearly 130 years.

“Here we are, living in what feels like a new reality,” noted department chair Mark Blumberg. “It is an elegant and functional building that will serve our needs for many decades to come.”

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is among the largest undergraduate departments at Iowa—with 1,200 declared psychology majors, 500 minors, more than 200 undergraduates performing research in faculty labs, and more than 23,000 student credit hours taught in psychology each year.

“We owe it to our students to provide a world-class environment, and this building will enable us to do science in ways that were impossible before,” said College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Dean Steve Goddard.

The new building collects faculty in one place. It features cutting-edge research labs, presents a new administrative face for the department, and provides a commons space for students—all serving the department to remain in the forefront in neuroscience, virtual reality, and computational modeling. It also complements the UI’s renewed emphasis on neuroscience— adding to the 2016 creation of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and the 2017 introduction of an undergraduate major in neuroscience.

The 66,470-square-foot building cost $33.5 million and was paid for by a combination of funding sources, including the UI, CLAS, and donors.