November Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 8, Issue 5                                                                       November 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

State-funded PACE and Gap programs offer critical support for students with the greatest needs


There is no question that the strength of Iowa’s economy is linked to the strength of its workforce. But employers across the state say job seekers often don’t have the skills and training needed to fill their open positions.

Closing this skills gap is tantamount to the state’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, which calls for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025 to ensure Iowa’s workforce is equipped with the skills and education employers need. But this work isn’t easy. For many Iowans facing significant barriers to employment, the path to self-sufficiency and earning a living wage seems like a pipe dream.

Enter the state-funded Pathways for Academic Career Education and Employment (PACE) and Gap programs.

More than just financial aid, these unique programs offer anything from financial aid for unforeseen expenses to connecting students to local resources. For people like Taylor Miller and Dustin Wamsley, these programs were literally the lifeline to ensure they could pursue their dreams.

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Iowa public universities, community colleges meet on articulation and transfer credit policy

education ball

Faculty and administrators from Iowa's public universities and community colleges met on November 8 at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Ankeny campus for their annual statewide conference on articulation and transfer credit policy. This year, work centered around the content and transfer of introductory philosophy and ethics courses.

In addition, the first discipline framework subcommittees met to discuss articulation courses in the areas of business, criminology, and psychology with the goal of identifying a minimum of 18 discipline-relevant course credits that best fit into the frameworks.

This work is part of Iowa's community college transfer major initiative to create clear, structured transfer programs for community college students that allow for program-specific coursework within the associate of arts and associate of science degrees, rather than the single college parallel program that has been historically offered.

Inclusion in these agreements will allow community colleges to identify cohorts of students by major, which will:

  • improve efficiency and communication among institutions, for both staff and students;
  • give community college students a defined pathway toward their academic goals;
  • avoid excessive credits and decrease time to completion;
  • support a more data-informed assessment/articulation process; and
  • improve the affordability of postsecondary education, thus reducing student debt.

Each of the three committees made significant progress in documenting courses that will meet the framework requirements for Iowa's community colleges with all of the public universities. Next steps include creating and vetting course list agreements. The final step will be for the agreements to be signed and implemented across the state and in the state's curricular database. At that point, colleges will be able to market and transcript the approved transfer majors as options for students.

Contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, at, or 515-725-2247, with any questions or comments.

Perkins reporting changes


OCTAE, the federal Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, has announced that next year’s (FY19) Certified Annual Report (CAR) will no longer include Technical Skill Proficiency, formerly a required indicator of performance under Perkins IV. This change is being implemented even though we will just be starting the transition year for Perkins V.  

Since spring 2019 is considered part of the FY19 reporting year, the Department will not need to collect that piece of information for each student. That means that starting now, teachers are no longer required to keep track of the number of students who take technical assessments, nor which of those students demonstrate proficiency by passing the assessments. The Department is currently in the process of removing this reporting requirement from the Secondary CTE Reporting Application.

Contact Pat Thieben, Administrative Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at, or 515-281-4707, with any questions or comments.

Implementation of the Senior Year Plus summer college credit program

senior year plus

The State Board of Education (SBE) noticed administrative rules at its November 14 meeting, adding a new section to Senior Year Plus in Chapter 22 for the summer college credit program. The rules set a policy framework for the summer college credit program. 

Community colleges will be eligible to submit a proposal to the Department. At a minimum, the courses that will be made available to students during the summer months need to be outlined in the proposal, but it may also include additional components such as work-based learning experiences and transportation. The courses must be part of a career and technical education program aligned to in-demand occupations identified by the state workforce board and individual community colleges.

The Department will screen proposals against a set of criteria outlined in the proposed administrative rules. The primary goal of the evaluation process will be to ensure even geographic disbursement of these programs across the state. The second goal will be to maximize student access to these opportunities; for example, weighing the cost of a given proposal against the expected number of students to be served. 

The legislature appropriated a total of $600,000 for the summer college credit program, which will be fully expended on approved programs. Once approved, the program will be eligible for funding through the Department following a process outlined in the proposed administrative rules.

The summer college credit program was enacted as part of the Future Ready Iowa Act (House File 2458), and is designed to increase participation in career and technical education programs aligned to in-demand occupations. The Future Ready Iowa initiative calls for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025 to ensure Iowa's workforce is equipped with the skills and education employers need.

An overview and recorded webinar about the program are available on the Department's website. Contact Eric St Clair, Education Program Consultant, at 515-326-0274, or with comments or questions.

Making a smooth transition: Life after high school

Haley cropped 2

Haley Keeling’s eyes light up when she recalls the day she was offered her first job at the Shores, a retirement community in Pleasant Hill. A senior at Southeast Polk High School, Haley attributes her landing the job to a program at her school that provides pre-employment services to students with disabilities.

“I was really nervous because it was my first job and first interview,” Haley said. “We just practiced for interviews and practiced answering questions. That practice really helped.”

According to Lee Ann Russo, resource manager for the Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS), the program called the Vocational Rehabilitation Intermediary Network, or IN, is the first and only program of its kind in the nation.

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New process for screening career information systems


School districts will soon have the opportunity to work with a greater variety of career information systems (CIS) in completing the requirements of the career and academic planning process.

The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted rules modifying 281 – Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 49 at its scheduled meeting on November 14. The modifications implement a new process for the screening of CIS. The current practice of screening CIS against a set of standards adopted by the SBE will continue, and systems that meet all standards will be made available to districts for use in fulfilling the required components of the career and academic planning process.

Going forward, a CIS that does not meet all required standards will be placed on a list of supplemental career information systems. This list will identify the vendor and CIS, and will also specify which standards/components that are fulfilled by the CIS.

A district that chooses to utilize a supplemental system will need to specify in its district career guidance plan which components of the career and academic planning process are satisfied through the use of a supplemental system. In addition, the district must also continue to utilize and make available to students a CIS that meets state standards.

Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 281--Chapter 49, establishes the minimum components for CIS used by districts to support individual career and academic planning (ICAP) activities for students in grades 8 through 12. More information on the requirements for career guidance, including a current list of CIS meeting SBE standards, is available on the Department’s website.

Contact Amy Vybiral, Education Program Consultant, at, or 515-339-4520, with any questions or comments.

2018 Fall Enrollment Report released

Fall Enrollment

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) has released the 2018 Fall Enrollment Report. This report includes enrollment information from all 15 Iowa community colleges as reported for the 2018 fall semester/quarter.

Fall enrollment decreased slightly to 89,894 students, down less than one percent from 2017. While total enrollment was slightly down, joint enrollment grew 2.9 percent to 35,943 students participating, mostly through contracted courses between high schools and community colleges. Part-time enrollment continued to be the largest segment, comprising 63.3 percent of total 2018 fall enrollment.

The enrollment of students who self-identified as being racial and ethnic minorities reached an all-time high, comprising 22.6 percent of total fall enrollment.

Contact Dan Li, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3503, or; or Vlad Bassis, Education Program Consultant, at 515-281-3671, or with comments or questions.

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 career and technical education (CTE) positions (Generalist, Perkins Accountability, and Computer Science and Information Technology) and one position in Adult Education and Literacy within the Bureau of Community Colleges have recently closed.

Currently, the Department is seeking applicants with CTE experience for the following position:

In addition, we anticipate posting positions for an AmeriCorps and Community College Generalist over the next few months. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at, or 515-281-8260.