The University of Iowa is first a university of academics, and the school makes it known from the moment students arrive on campus. At UI, you can find many of the top schools in the nation. As for the actual environment, budget constraints are forcing the University to cut back on the number of classes offered, and most of the general-education and entry-level classes tend to be large. Students will spend more time interacting with their TAs in these classes than with the professors. It isn’t until students take the more advanced classes that there is more interaction between students and professors. Some students will say their professors and TAs are not accessible for extra help, but many teachers will argue that students do not take advantage of their office hours. In the end, the more time you put into your education, the more you are going to get out.
Probably the biggest issue facing Iowa academics is the general-education requirements. Some entry-level courses, such as natural science ones, are almost always over-packed, some by as many as 100 students. Students who are taking courses simply to fulfill gen-ed requirements compete for places with students who are taking the courses for their majors and are genuinely interested in the subjects. Aside from the gen-ed requirements, students have few complaints about classes and professors at Iowa. The system may have a few flaws, but the professors and the courses offered are above average, to say the least.