September Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

Volume 8, Issue 3                                                                       September 2018                                       

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

New report highlights employment outcomes for students in noncredit career and technical education programs

noncredit outcomes

A new report, released by the Iowa Department of Education, in partnership with Iowa Workforce Development, details that students completing noncredit career and technical education (CTE) programs at Iowa’s community colleges experience high rates of success.

The Iowa Community Colleges Employment Outcomes: Noncredit Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs Report is the first-of-its kind, containing state-level data on the education, employment, and earnings of students who enroll in noncredit CTE programs at Iowa’s 15 community colleges.

“Noncredit CTE programs are highly responsive to regional workforce needs and serve as a vital pathway to work, continued education, and a better life,” said Jeremy Varner, the Department’s administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation.

Contact Paula Nissen, Education Program Consultant, at 515-418-8273, or for more information.

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Guided pathways state convening set for October 26


A statewide convening on guided pathways will kick off on Friday, October 26, 2018, at the Iowa Culinary Institute on the DMACC Ankeny campus, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Davis Jenkins, a senior research scholar at the Community College Research Center and leader in the national guided pathways movement, is scheduled to present on his research and trends in this area. He will also assist the colleges in an analysis of their self-assessment and student demographic/success data.

Each of Iowa’s 15 community colleges have been invited to send a four-to-five member “success team” responsible for developing their institution’s guided pathway plan. Funded through a Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation planning grant, the convening will be a full day of learning, data analysis, team planning, and statewide collaboration to improve and scale current guided pathway efforts, with a focus on closing equity gaps and incorporating work-based learning opportunities.

The Division is partnering on this initiative with HCM Strategist, LLC, who will lead the convening and provide technical support to the colleges over the course of the planning grant to prepare applications for a Great Lakes implementation grant. They have done this type of work with many states and agencies, and have valuable resources that they are pleased to share with Iowa’s community colleges.

For more information and updates regarding this event, or the planning grant work in general, please contact Barbara Burrows, Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges, at or 515-281-0319. 

Tuition and fees report available

tuition and fees

The Department recently released the fiscal year 2019 Tuition and Fees Report, which provides information about the tuition and fees charged at each of Iowa's 15 community colleges. This report also provides trends in tuition and fees among Iowa’s community colleges, sources of general operating revenue, and comparisons among states and institutions.

According to the report, average in-state tuition for students attending Iowa’s community colleges is $168.42 per credit hour, a 3.9 percent increase from last year, and average mandatory fees are $14.15 per credit hour, up 1.6 percent from last year. Therefore, the average total in-state cost of enrollment (tuition plus fees) is $182.57 per credit hour, which represents a 3.7 percent increase from last year.

Contact Dan Li, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3503, or with comments or questions.

When coursework is relevant, students thrive


A new paired class at Hawkeye Community College aims to make general education classes more relevant for students, particularly for those enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) programs.

Anna Laneville, a writing instructor, and Roxanne Heimann, an oral communications instructor, came up with the concept to better support students and help them to see how their general education courses are relevant to their future careers.

“Not only can we work with CTE instructors to help students select topics related to their future goals, but we can take that a step further and promote deeper-level learning,” Laneville said. 

In a paired class, for instance, a construction and design student could write an argumentative essay in composition class about asphalt versus concrete in building roads, and then use the same topic to make a pitch to city stakeholders for class credit in the oral communications class.

“This way students are getting more out of our general education classes,” Laneville said. “They are making connections, getting real life experiences, and gaining a lot of knowledge on a particular topic of interest to them, all of which makes it more likely that they will stay the course.”

The paired course will be offered for the first time at Hawkeye Community College during the spring 2019 semester.

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Adult Education and Literacy Week: September 23 - 29

Adult ed week

Author Mahtab Narsimhan is quoted as saying, “A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.” This sentiment rings particularly true for the 36 million adults in the United States who struggle to read, write, do math, and use technology above a third grade level.

To bring awareness to this dilemma, and highlight state and local efforts that help adults achieve the skills and training needed to succeed in college and careers, Congress has recognized the week of September 23-29 as National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

The week provides the opportunity to highlight the life-changing programs provided through the state’s 15 regional adult education and literacy programs, which are overseen by the Iowa Department of Education. Last year, nearly 16,000 Iowans received low-cost, high-value instruction in adult basic education, adult secondary education, English as a Second Language, and other training to help improve their education and skill levels to meet employer demands and secure living-wage jobs.

Contact Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, at 515-281-3640, or for more information.

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MIS annual data submission

Data management

September 17, 2018 marked the deadline for academic year (AY) 2017-2018 MIS data submission. This year, all data was submitted, on average, by September 14 and was entirely confirmed by September 17. A lot of preparation, meetings, clarification, and work led to this success.

Each year, changes in the MIS Reporting Manual are analyzed and confirmed by the MIS Advisory Committee, which is comprised of data and subject matters specialists from all 15 Iowa community colleges. Proposed changes also undergo the scrutiny of the field reporting officers' analysis prior to manual publication. To allow colleges to prepare for timely and accurate data submission, the manual is generally published 18 months before the data is due.

The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation (Division) specialists are always ready to answer questions, provide clarification, and help colleges pre-validate their data accuracy by using a data validation tool. Special training sessions involving Division specialists, college reporting officers, and subject matter specialists in all aspects of requested data are conducted during biannual joint specialists meetings.

The Division would like to thank all colleges for analyzing, validating, and submitting their data prior to the deadline and would like to recognize Hawkeye, Northwest, Des Moines Area, Kirkwood, Iowa Central, and Western Iowa Tech community colleges for the impeccable quality of their data and timeliness of its submission.  

Contact Vlad Bassis, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3671, or for more information.

Students prepare for the professional world

professional skills

When you bring together 150 high school seniors with 50 business and industry representatives, the results are a successful Professional Skills Workshop. The event, held on September 19 at the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center, brought together students from Norwalk, Johnston, and Waukee high schools. The students participated in sessions on personal brand/social media, interviewing, professional dress, and resume writing.  Each student also had the opportunity to participate in a mock interview with a business professional.

The Central Iowa Society for Human Resource Management and Des Moines Area Community College partnered to support the day. 

The event is one of many work-based learning opportunities provided across the state to help high school students test drive careers so they can make informed decisions about future college majors and job training. The Iowa Work-Based Learning Intermediary Network consists of 15 regional networks that build relationships within the education system and regional businesses to provide opportunities for students to experience different careers. Each of the individual intermediary networks provides core services to school districts in their respective regions, which may include finding guest speakers, holding career and industry fairs, scheduling job shadowing experiences, coordinating student internships and teacher externships, offering teacher licensure renewal opportunities, and taking students and teachers on industry tours.

Contact Kelli Diemer, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3615, or for more information.

Career opportunities within the division

join our team

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking talented individuals who are passionate about excellence in education to fill several positions over the next few months within the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation (Division).

Currently, the Department is seeking applicants with experience in the areas of career and technical education (CTE) for the following positions:

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at, or 515-281-8260.

Updated accreditation guidance for nondiscrimination statements


The Division has updated the accreditation guidance document related to the publication of community college nondiscrimination statements.  One of the highlighted updates to the document is a clearer outline of the specific differences between the publishing requirements of the annual nondiscrimination statement in comparison to the college's continuing nondiscrimination statement.

Annual statements must include a list of approved CTE programs offered at the college and any program admission criteria that are different from general admission criteria.  In addition, the guidance removes the requirement to include the specific code reference language in the statements and recommends a best practice of using a position title and generic contact information in place of specific names of equity coordinators on printed materials.  As an example, colleges may use a working email contact such as equity@college.eduthat does not specifically name the current equity contact(s) at the college.

The updated guidance document may be found on the Department's website along with other accreditation guidance materials, at

Contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, at 515-725-2247, or, for more information.