April Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 9                                                                      April 2020


Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation


Dennis Harden
 Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education


Paula Nissen
Acting Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges


Heather Doe
Communications Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges

Recently released COVID-19 guidance


This month, the Iowa Department of Education released new guidance for community colleges on several topics related to the delivery of educational programs impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The guidance addresses adult education and literacy programs, a temporary waiver of regulatory provisions that set minimum contact-hour requirements for community colleges and Perkins V applications. Previously released guidance for community college leadership was also updated with new information addressing food and meal services provided to community college students.

The Department also released a preliminary summary of provisions in the federal CARES Act that specifically related to institutions of higher education, including Iowa’s community colleges.

The CARES Act summary and guidance documents are available on the Department's COVID-19 web page. All current guidance from the Department can be found on this page.

Please contact the following consultants with questions:

Adult Education and Literacy Programs: Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, Bureau of Community Colleges, at alex.harris@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3640.

Community College and Temporary Waiver of Provisions: Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at 515-725-2247, or at chris.russell@iowa.gov.

Career and Technical Education/Perkins V Applications: Eric St Clair, Lead Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at 515-326-0274, or at eric.stclair@iowa.gov.

CARES Act: Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, at jeremy.varner@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-8260.

Iowa Community Colleges join the Open Textbook Network


This month, Iowa’s 15 community colleges, public universities and private colleges and universities joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) through a consortium arrangement. The network, which is based in the Center for Open Education at the University of Minnesota, provides access to hundreds of faculty-vetted open educational resources (OER) by discipline. OER are openly licensed teaching, learning and research materials that are free of cost and access barriers.

The OTN also supports the development and training of faculty in how to use OER. With more than 1,100 member campuses, the OTN provides a strong support system and helps to increase student access and participation in using these resources. Now that the contract for the consortium is signed, a core team of Iowa educators will be selected to attend the OTN Summer Institute in late summer (if pubic health safety permits) and two workshops will be led by OTN in the early fall. 

A state OER action team has been working across all institutions of higher education in Iowa to increase awareness of OER options and to build the capacity of those organizations to access materials and learn from each other's successes.  A survey of Iowa's colleges and universities, which was conducted in January, shows that in fall 2019, 29 of 34 institutions had some support for OER initiatives resulting in over $1.2 million of documented material savings for students. More information about OER can be found at the state website: https://iowaoer.wordpress.com/

Please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at 515-725-2247, or at chris.russell@iowa.gov, for more information.  

Work progresses on Iowa’s guided pathways initiative

guided pathways

Work continues across Iowa's community colleges toward three statewide goals of the Ascendium Guided Pathways grant, which was received by the Department last summer. 

Transfer Majors — Additional program pathways have been vetted and approved between the community colleges and Iowa’s public universities across several new disciplines including: English, Communication, Theater, Fine Arts, Social Work, History, Political Science, Exercise Science/Kinesiology and Journalism. There are now 24 discipline frameworks approved and over 180 transfer majors implemented by the colleges to help students with their transfer pathway goals.   

Work-Based Learning — Colleges continue to implement work-based learning strategies into college pathways. A WBL prefix within the common course numbering system has resulted in seven colleges implementing 92 courses into their curriculum so far (EICC, HCC, ICCC, NCC, NIACC, and NICC). Of the 92 courses adopted, there are 24 courses in Exploring Careers, 6 courses in Employability Skills, 18 courses in project-based learning, 24 courses in job shadowing, 11 courses in practicum (field experience), and 9 internship courses. A work-based learning communication board was formed in March with members of all 15 colleges. The board shares information and ideas for the successful implementation of these curricular strategies. 

Equity Strategies – Colleges continue to work on infusing equity strategies into their programming. Most recently, a webinar with all colleges was held on April 16 to answer questions about developing an institutional definition of equity, evaluation policies and practices with an equity lens; using data to help drive decision-making; implementing training for staff and faculty; and navigating tough conversations for institutional buy-in. The next statewide guided pathways event is scheduled for July 7 in an all-college guided pathway convening. 

Please contact Chris Russell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at 515-725-2247, or at chris.russell@iowa.gov, for more information.  

Alternative options for providing state-mandated drinking driver course


On March 22, Gov. Kim Reynolds temporarily suspended Iowa Administrative Code rule 281.21.31(3) b which dictated that the state-mandated course for drinking drivers be delivered in person to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Department issued guidance on alternatives for the delivery of this course, which includes the three options below:

  • Continue to offer the course in person with a limited number of students.
  • Offer the course through video instruction.
  • Offer a self-paced online course through the Department, or a participating provider, using a platform called MyPrime.

Eleven Iowa community colleges offer the state-mandated drinking driver program and all have chosen to offer the course online.

Please contact Barb Ledvina, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at 515-242-5036, or at barbara.ledvina@iowa.gov with any questions.

Work-Based Learning virtual conference prepares for sell-out crowd

WBL Conference

The Work-Based Learning Conference previously scheduled for April 22-23 is being held as a one-day virtual conference via Zoom on Wednesday, April 22. The conference has reached its 500-participant maximum, but the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) will open up registration at CTElearn.org on Friday, April 24 for anyone who wants to view the recorded sessions.

The conference features keynote speaker, Dr. Casey Sacks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, concurrent sessions covering a wide range of topics are being offered throughout the day.

Please contact Kristy Volesky, Education Program Consultant for Business and Marketing, Work-Based Learning and the Iowa Intermediary Network, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at kristy.volesky@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3615, for more information.

Park and institutional Roads Program Fund awards for 2022-2024


The State Park and Institutional Roads Program provides funding to construct, reconstruct, improve and maintain roadways, including bridges, within the boundaries of state-owned lands or community college property. Sixty-five one-hundredths of one percent of the Road Use Tax Fund is allocated for maintenance and improvement of the State Park and Institutional Roads system. 

There are over 600 miles of roadways in the Park and Institutional Roads System. State agencies participating in the program are the Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC), the Iowa Department of Education (DOE) State Fair Board, Department of Human Services (DHS), National Guard of Iowa, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Board of Regents and Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Capitol Complex.

Each agency is allocated a percentage of the fund based on the Iowa Code, as follows: Iowa DNR (45.5%), Board of Regents (30%), Iowa DHS (6.5%), Iowa DOE (6%), Iowa DOC (5.5%), National Guard of Iowa (4%), State Fair Board (2%) and Iowa DAS Capitol Complex (0.5%)

In Fall 2019, all (15) community colleges were able to submit project proposals for review; the awards from 2019 application cycle for calendar years 2022 - 2024 are as follows:

CY 2022: 

Kirkwood Community College; $250,000 for intersection improvements

Iowa Valley Community College; $90,000 for main entrance and loop road

CY 2023:

Des Moines Area Community College; $380,000 for roadway reconstruction

CY 2024: 

Indian Hills Community College; $428,050 for new roadway

Please contact Jeff Fletcher, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at 515-321-7309, or at jeffrey.fletcher@iowa.gov, for more information.  

Work progresses on Iowa career pathways in Information Technology


Work is underway on a new resource to help promote and highlight the wide range of in-demand information technology careers available in Iowa. The work will result in new promotional materials to showcase and explain the different opportunities available across multiple industries in Iowa's growing and innovative information technology (IT) fields.

Virtual roundtables for each region of the state are being held throughout the month with employers from all industries to address regional and local needs and concerns with hiring a skilled tech workforce. The final product is expected to be released in July.

Similar statewide projects have been completed for other industries, including Health ScienceBuilding Trades, and most recently Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL).

This project was developed in support of the Future Ready Iowa initiative, through a public/private partnership between the Iowa Department of Education, Technology Association of Iowa, Office of the Chief Information Officer, and Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council.  Please contact Joe Collins, Sector Partnership and Career Pathways Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at joe.collins@iowa.gov, or at 515-725-0646, for more information.

CTE leadership webinars scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year


May 18 marks the last in a serious of webinars the Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Career and Technical Education has hosted during the 2019-2020 academic year for school administrators and leaders who are interested in learning more about career and technical education, Perkins funding and CTE programming.

The last webinar is scheduled from 3:15 to 4:15 on May 18 via Zoom Meeting, and can be accessed at https://IDOE.zoom.us/j/8829669365.

Past Recorded Webinars – Leadership and 2020 Perkins Updates

Sept. 23, 2019         Perkins 101

Oct. 21, 2019           Perkins V Secondary/Postsecondary Claims and Ineligible Expenses

Nov. 18, 2019          Information Technology and Service Areas

Dec. 16, 2019          Secondary CTE Program Application

Jan. 21, 2020           Equity and Nontraditional Program Focus in Perkins V

Feb. 17, 2020          Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA for Perkins V)

March 9, 2020         Work-Based Learning Intermediary Networks

April 20, 2020          Sector Partnerships 

Please contact Lisa Stange, Education Program Consultant for Family and Consumer Sciences, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at lisa.stange@iowa.gov, or at 515-242-5032, for more information.

School donations needed: Here is how communities can help


As schools across Iowa identify and implement new continuous learning strategies with their students, many have pinpointed areas of need ranging from internet-access hotspots and devices to white boards and printer paper.

A new resource on the Iowa Department of Education's website makes it easier for school districts in need of technology, materials and supplies to connect with individuals and businesses who want to help. The information on the page is regularly updated as more schools report their needs.

Please share this information with individuals, organizations and businesses who want to make a difference by supporting their local schools during this unprecedented crisis.

Career opportunities within the division

join our team

We are 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.

We don't just talk about inclusion; it's how we do business. Our team is globally diverse and we seek candidates whose differences will challenge our ideas, spur innovation and ultimately help build stronger programs serving the people of Iowa.

The division is currently seeking applicants to fill an education program consultant for career and technical student organizations and an executive officer 1 position to serve as a project manager and executive assistant for the administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation. 

The division is also in the process of reviewing applicants for the community college student success consultant and community college bureau chief positions in the coming weeks.

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