October Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

Volume 8, Issue 4                                                                       October 2018                                                 www.educateiowa.gov

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

The national guided pathways movement: A Q&A with Davis Jenkins

Davis Jenkins

Davis Jenkins is a senior research scholar at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), a center at Teachers College, Columbia University that is dedicated to studying community colleges. He works with colleges and states across the country to find ways to improve educational and employment outcomes for students, particularly students of color and those from low-income families. Through this work, Jenkins has become a leader in the national guided pathways movement, an approach that provides college students with educational plans based on clearly structured and educationally coherent program course maps and support services aimed at improving retention and more timely and affordable degree completion.

Jenkins will be in Iowa on October 26 to share his knowledge and expertise with leaders from each of Iowa’s 15 community colleges who are responsible for developing guided pathway plans at their respective institutions.

In this Q&A, Jenkins discusses guided pathway reforms, the impact they have on student success, and why more colleges are changing their mindset about institutional practice and policy on student outcomes.

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VFA: Measuring success


Popular American management consultant Peter Drucker is credited with arguably one of the most important quotes in modern business management: "If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it."

But for community colleges, existing accountability measures in higher education have not adequately measured their unique mission or the diverse students they serve. Much like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, they just don’t fit.

With this in mind, the Iowa Department of Education partnered with the Iowa Association of Community College Presidents to develop appropriate success measures and implement an accountability framework that would work for all 15 of Iowa’s community colleges. They ultimately selected the Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA), a system designed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

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New resource highlights career pathways in Iowa's health sciences industry

health sciences

Iowa's health sciences industry is growing and facing a significant shortage of workers. To build awareness of the wide range of exciting, high-paying careers in this critical industry, the Iowa Department of Education (Department) partnered with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Hospital Association, and Iowa Health Care Association to show how students and job seekers of all ages can enter and advance in the industry.

Through a series of online surveys and in-person employer focus groups conducted around the state (Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Des Moines, and Sioux City), over 350 health care providers and employers provided direct feedback in the development of the Opportunities in Health Sciences: Iowa career pathways resource.

Career pathways organize education and training into a coherent, stackable sequence aligned within specific occupations within a given industry. In that way, career pathways support an individual in developing the personal, technical, and employability skills required for advancement within an industry, and transitioning from training and education into the workforce. For health sciences career pathways, special care was taken to include a wide range of providers and employers, such as hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, community health, research labs, and in-home service providers.

In addition to health sciences, career pathways resources have also been produced for the information technology, energy, and advanced manufacturing sectors in the state. More information about this work, including links to resources for each sector, is available on the Department's website under Sector Partnerships.

Contact Joe Collins, Education Program Consultant, at 515-725-0646, or joe.collins@iowa.gov with comments or questions.

New web management information system development underway

Data management

A $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is helping expand the connectivity between Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Education’s state longitudinal data system. A new web-based platform is being developed to improve data submission and quality while automating key functions, thus creating needed efficiencies in the data submission process. This work will ultimately improve analysis of postsecondary education and workforce outcomes.

Currently, community college data collection and validation is done through manual data file exchanges and verifications. The new web-based platform being developed by Mobius Knowledge, LLC, will provide community colleges with a secure and convenient method of submitting credit and noncredit student demographic, enrollment, and awards data, as well as employee demographic and employee position data. In addition, it will incorporate column and referential integrity constraints, as well as year-to-year threshold comparison constraints to improve data integrity. Advanced reporting functionality and real-time feedback to the submitter will also improve the data review and confirmation process.

The new platform will be completed by August 30, 2020. Prior to implementation, the Department will engage college reporting officers and other stakeholders through the MIS Advisory Committee for input and piloting the new system.

Contact Vlad Bassis, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3671, or vladimir.bassis@iowa.gov with comments or questions.

Learning the (business) ropes in school

school-based enterprise

Marketing and entrepreneurship expert Ann Stewart recently shared her knowledge with educators at the Iowa Business Education Convention. She is a teacher from Smyrna, Tenn.

After working for 25 years in the high-tech industry, Stewart turned her attention to education and hasn’t looked back. As a teacher, she facilitated the development and opening of her school district’s first full-service, in-school coffee shop. As the career and technical education (CTE) department chair at Stewarts Creek High School (Tenn.), she directs the Entrepreneurship Center for the school, a four-year entrepreneurship curriculum for non-marketing students. As the lead DECA advisor, Stewart heads Stewarts Creek Marketplace, a shopping center in the school that includes the Creekside Coffee Shop, Stewarts Creek Design (print shop), Creekside Bank, and Hawk's Nest Bookstore.

In this Q&A, Stewart talks about the value of school-based enterprises and shares her knowledge and experience implementing and fostering in-school entrepreneurial opportunities for students.

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Sparking student interest in one of Iowa's thriving industries

manufacturing day

Though manufacturing jobs across the country and in Iowa have become more technical, employers say the workforce hasn’t kept up, creating a skills gap where good-paying, in-demand jobs go unfilled.

To build awareness of this growing field and the job opportunities available, school districts, employers and community colleges across the state participated in Manufacturing Day on Friday, Oct. 5. It is an annual celebration of modern manufacturing where manufacturers invite their communities to their facilities to educate them about career opportunities and improve public perceptions of manufacturing.

Community colleges, like Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), participated to showcase programs in applied engineering, electronics, robotics, civil engineering, tool and die, welding, advanced manufacturing, and CAD technology. The event allowed students to get a first-hand look at the wide range of career opportunities in Iowa’s growing manufacturing industry.

"It is important to get more students in the pipeline and for them to understand the great career opportunities that exist within these areas," said Amy Steenhoek, the work-based learning coordinator for DMACC’s Career Discovery Network.

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Minding the store


Inventory management? Check. Sales and profitability? Check. Promotions and social media marketing? Check. Customer service? Check.

It’s all in a day’s work at Husky Mart, a student-run convenience store kiosk located inside Oelwein High School.

Currently the only DECA-certified school-based enterprise in the state, Husky Mart is completely student led and student driven. Students see the entire business from start to finish and get first-hand experience in connecting classroom learning with a real-world business. To earn the DECA certification, the students had to demonstrate competency and achievement in 10 key business performance indicators. Its humble beginnings defy the common misconception that a school needs to have deep pockets and large-scale capacity to sustain a successful school-based enterprise.

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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). Three CTE positions (Generalist, Perkins Accountability, and Computer Science and Information Technology) have recently closed and the Division is in the interview stage of the hiring process.

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

In addition, we anticipate posting two new positions within the next couple of months: AmeriCorp Consultant and Community College Consultant. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at jeremy.varner@iowa.gov, or 515-281-8260.