September 2017 Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

Volume 7, Issue 3                                                                       September 2017                                       

Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Barbara Burrows
Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges

Pradeep Kotamraju
Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education

Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

Governor Reynolds signs Iowa Adult Education and Family Literacy Week proclamation

AEFL week

Representatives from the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Literacy Council, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), and students from DMACC's adult education and literacy programs attended a proclamation signing where Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized September 24-30 as Iowa Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

The week, which coincides with the National Adult Education and Literacy Week, shines a light on the work Iowa’s adult education and literacy programs do in helping Iowans achieve the skills and training needed for college and careers.

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Expanding pathways to high school equivalency diplomas

adult students

Work is underway to expand ways in which Iowans can earn a high school equivalency diploma (HSED). Signed into law this past spring, House File 473 aims to increase the number of Iowans obtaining HSEDs by permitting alternative pathways in addition to the state-designated HiSET exam.

Moving one step closer, the Iowa State Board of Education issued a Notice of Intended Action on September 14 for the substantial revision of 281 Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 32.  This rule proposes the specific pathways for students to demonstrate competency that would lead to the issuance of HSEDs by the Iowa Department of Education, which includes a HSED program based on:

  1. a department-approved test;
  2. attainment of high school credits through an approved adult diploma program;
  3. a postsecondary degree; and
  4. a foreign postsecondary degree.

The Noticed Rule will be published in the Administrative Bulletin on October 11, and a public hearing will be held on October 31 at 10:00 a.m in the State Board Room of the Grimes Building. After the public hearing, the Noticed Rule will go before the Administrative Rules and Review Committee in November.

Contact Jayne Smith, education consultant for adult education and literacy, at or 515-725-0046 with questions.

Test-driving careers

test-driving careers

A car, much like a career, can look great based on pictures and reviews, but once inside you might feel entirely different about it. For that reason, most people wouldn’t purchase a new car without first taking it for test drive. Yet, high school students often choose a career path, one of the biggest financial and professional decisions of their lives, with little to no real-world, test-driving experience. But that is changing for high school students across the state.

The Iowa Intermediary Network, a statewide network comprised of 15 community college regions that work with every Iowa school district, is helping high school students test-drive careers so they can make informed decisions about future college majors and job training.

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State-mandated drinking driver course fees increase


The Iowa State Board of Education recently adopted amendments to Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 281 chapter 21.32(321J) that increase the amount that offenders of Iowa’s OWI law will be charged to take the state-mandated drinking driver course. The increase reflects the recommendations of the OWI Education Advisory Committee and takes into account the increased costs of providing such courses.

There are 13 community colleges and 43 licensed substance abuse treatment agencies in Iowa that provide either the course or a substance abuse assessment to over 13,000 individuals annually. Since January 2003, the course fee was set at $85. The new fee will increase to $140. In addition, the administrative fee to the Iowa Department of Education will increase from $10 to $15. The Department will be issuing implementation guidance to all program providers in the near future.

Contact Barbara Ledvina, education consultant, at or 515-242-5036 with questions.

2016-17 MIS data submission results


For the second consecutive year, the Iowa Department of Education (Department) provided community colleges access to a data validation tool to assist with submitting academic year 2016-17 data. The tool allows colleges to validate the data based on provided documentation, to run and examine confirmation reports, and auto-generate data files according to the MIS Reporting Manual specification for submission to the Department. The overwhelming majority of community colleges submitted their verified data by the September 18 deadline. Comments from the colleges substantiate that the validation tool helps to improve both data quality and the timeliness of its submission.

In the past, data cleansing was a lengthy process that involved the generation of confirmation reports by the Department that were provided to the colleges. In contrast, the data validation tool identifies data errors and allows corrections to be made prior to data submission with confirmation reports available instantly. As a result, the majority of community colleges were able to submit verified data prior to the deadline, as shown in the chart below. We want to thank Hawkeye, Northwest Iowa, Southeastern, Southwestern, and many other community colleges for their diligent work towards quality and timeliness of the required data.   

Contact Vlad Basis, education consultant, at or 515-281-3671 with questions. 

MIS final

Lessons from a Voluntary Framework of Accountability journey


The American Association of Community Colleges recently highlighted Iowa’s implementation of the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA) through a story about Western Iowa Tech Community College’s (WITCC) experience, written by Erin Volk, Director of Institutional Research at WITCC. 

Designed specifically with community colleges in mind, the VFA contains measures which encompass and reflect the full breadth of the community college mission and the diversity of students' goals and educational experiences. Partnering with the community college presidents, the Department of Education’s Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation supports the statewide initiative through centralized data processing, calculation, and submission, utilizing the Management Information System (MIS). 

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Life-changing ingredients

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“They asked me to name the two main ingredients in hollandaise sauce, and I didn’t know,” recalls Joy Jackson of her failed interview attempt for a culinary job at a Columbia, Missouri, Holiday Inn.

“I would never miss that now,” she said. “It’s one of the first things I learned as a student in the culinary arts program at Scott Community College.”

Jackson represents a growing segment of the working adult population returning to school to enhance skill sets to qualify for good-paying jobs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment of adults age 25 and older in degree-granting institutions is expected to increase 18 percent over a 10-year period ending in 2025.