June Community College Leader Bulletin

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Community College Leader Bulletin

 Volume 9, Issue 10                                                                      June 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

Iowa earns approval for Perkins V state plan

CTE Perkins V

The U.S. Department of Education has approved Iowa’s plan for expanding high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs under the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V. Iowa’s plan reflects a commitment to providing all students with real-world learning experiences to prepare them for success in college and in the workplace.

Iowa’s plan provides a roadmap for fiscal years 2020-2023 with a focus on expanding CTE programs to middle school students, growing career and technical student organizations to enhance classroom learning through real-world experiences and ensuring that both reflect the diversity of our learners, business and industry, and communities. The plan also focuses on teacher recruitment, retention and professional development and increasing student participation in work-based learning opportunities that connect the classroom to future careers.

Read More

New legislation on qualifications for community college career and technical education instructors


Gov. Kim Reynolds signed new legislation into law on June 1 relating to qualifications for community college career and technical education (CTE) instructors. HF2454 amends Iowa Code 260C.48, subsection 1, paragraph a. Code 2020 to expand the options for CTE instructors to meet state requirements.

In addition to being registered, certified, or licensed in the occupational area in which the state requires registration, certification, or licensure for the occupational area taught, CTE instructors must also meet at least one of the following qualifications:

  1. Possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the area or a related area of study or occupational area in which the instructor teaches classes, or possesses a baccalaureate degree in any area of study if at least eighteen of the credit hours completed were in the career and technical field of instruction in which the instructor teaches classes.
  2. Possess an associate degree in the CTE field of instruction in which the instructor is teaching, if such degree is considered terminal for that field of instruction, and have at least three thousand hours of recent and relevant work experience in the occupational area or related occupational area in which the instructor teaches classes.
  3. Have special training and at least six thousand hours of recent and relevant work experience in the occupational area or related occupational area in which the instructor teaches classes if the instructor possesses less than a baccalaureate degree in the area or related area of study or occupational area in which the instructor is teaching classes and the instructor does not meet the requirements outlined above.

Please contact Jeremy Varner, Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation at jeremy.varner@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-8260, for more information.

New guidance for Regional Planning Partnerships


New guidance for Regional Planning Partnerships (RPP) was issued on April 3 to provide information about the FY21 RPP grant application process. The application opened in IowaGrants.gov on May 8 and is due by October 15, 2020. 

While the application is unchanged from last year, the guidance provides clarification about the uses of RPP funds, particularly related to allowable consumable supplies.  Although similar, the Bureau's guidelines (based on federal and state regulations) for allowable expenses for RPP funds are less restrictive than for Iowa's Perkins funds.

The Guidance to Regional Planning Partnerships on Prioritizing Expenditures published in February of 2017 did not include information on consumable supplies so, while these supplies are not considered high priority, we wanted to communicate that they are allowable expenses.  

For any questions related to this guidance, please contact Dr. Jane Bradley at jane.bradley@iowa.gov, or Dr. Dennis Harden at dennis.harden@iowa.gov

Department releases AY18-19 Joint Enrollment Report

joint enrollment

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) recently released its annual report on joint enrollment for the academic year (AY) 18-19. Jointly enrolled students are high school students enrolled in community college credit coursework. This report provides trend data on factors such as headcount enrollment, credit hours taken, student demographics, and enrollment by program type and offering arrangement.

Some highlights of this AY18-19 report include:

  • A slight decrease in enrollment from 51,001 students last year to 50,587 this year, a 0.8 percent decrease.
  • High school students participating in joint enrollment programs accounted for 39.3 percent of total community college enrollment. an increase of 1.7 percent over last year (37.6).
  • Joint enrollment programs account for 24.8 percent of total credit hours earned.
  • The most common subject areas in which students jointly enrolled include English, social science, history, mathematics, and healthcare.

Contact Eric St Clair, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at eric.stclair@iowa.gov or 515-326-0274 with comments or questions.

Iowa receives $26.2 million in emergency education relief to expand broadband access


Iowa has received $26.2 million in federal relief to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa’s grant is part of the nearly $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The GEER fund allows governors to determine how to best meet the needs of students in public and non-public schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations.

Better enabling remote learning for K-12 and postsecondary students is the goal of Iowa’s GEER application. It focuses on providing and expanding broadband access and improving access to technology in other ways. That could include providing Wi-Fi hotspots and devices. Funding also may be used to offer professional development related to remote learning to educators in school districts and non-public schools as well as in public and private colleges and universities.

Read More

Iowa Careers in IT Project Survey Closes June 5


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 round tables for each region of the state have been held with employers from all industries to address regional and local needs and concerns with hiring a skilled tech workforce. Additional information is being gathered from employers through an online survey, which closes on Friday, June 5. The final product is expected to be released in July.

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

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.

Temporary program modification addresses contact hour requirements


To help colleges with course and program planning during the pandemic, Gov. Kim Reynolds has temporarily waived Iowa code rule 281-21.2(12)(i)-(m). This rule sets minimum contact hour requirements for community college instruction in each of lecture, lab, clinical, and work experience modes of learning. This temporary waiver allows for program modifications in situations where program courses are not able to meet all of the scheduled lab and/or clinical planned program contact hours in the regularly scheduled time frame. The waiver requires colleges to notify the Department of any contact hour reductions.

Before submitting a program modification notification, it is expected that a college has explored and exhausted other course solutions. These possible solutions include: moving contact hours to online delivery; continuing to hold face-to-face contact hours that utilize social distancing; extending the end-date for courses to be completed; and documenting course objective mastery through employment or other work-based learning experiences. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requires notification for program change-in-delivery modifications and this correspondence should be documented with the Department.

The Department has established a streamlined process to aid colleges in submitting a program modification. A notification form is available to detail these programs and courses along with a justification. The rationale should include information about how students complete course learning objectives, the involvement of advisory councils in the program modifications, any program accreditation/licensure considerations, and the course grading methods utilized.

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

Adult Education and Literacy programs transition to online learning

Adult on computer

Over the last two months, Iowa’s Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) programs transitioned from traditional classroom instruction to distance education and online learning. Programs faced initial access barriers such as students not having internet services and low digital literacy skills. Quickly switching from traditional face-to-face classroom instruction challenged instructors to adapt instructional materials and presentations, find new educational apps, and to teach online or remotely for the first time.

“Instructors and staff approached this challenge with open minds, flexibility, and motivation to continue supporting student learning,” said Edith Cabrera-Tello, English Language Learning Center Coordinator at Indian Hills Community College.

Instructors and program staff supported students through instruction on accessing online course materials, utilizing available technology, and participation in online learning environments. Instructors encouraged continued engagement during the transition by communicating with students through social media, text message or by phone.

“Although learning online was an initial barrier for many adult students, they have remarked that their confidence in learning online has improved and are now more interested in taking college classes online,” said Lorene Vilela, ESl and Citizenship Instructor at Indian Hills Community College.

The Iowa Department of Education coordinated and delivered training opportunities over the last two month to support AEL programs and provide technical assistance. The training covered topics such as educational platforms, vicarious trauma, video conferencing services, free online resources, tutoring from a distance, and engaging students online. The Department of Education will continue to offer professional development through the summer culminating in a statewide Summer Virtual Conference July 27 - 29.

Iowa AEL programs overcame the challenges of quickly transitioning face-to-face classrooms to distance education courses. Creativity and state-wide collaboration increased as instructors learned to utilize and employ new online learning management systems, free educational apps, social media, and video conferencing services. Adult Education and Literacy classes continue to be a space where students and instructors come together to move learning forward.

Please contact Elizabeth Campbell, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Community Colleges, at elizabeth.campbell@iowa.gov, for more information.

Community colleges’ focus on student education, care and community outreach


Iowa’s 15 community colleges are never idle, even during a pandemic. And addressing students’ needs is front and center, beginning with how to enable students to continue with their education.

Online classes and services are being provided through virtual delivery systems, instructors have developed academic packets for students to use to complete coursework and career and technical classes, which frequently require mastery of hands-on competencies, have employed on-site social distancing and reduced class sizes of 10 or less in a group. While completing the academic year, staff and students have also volunteered their time and talents to serve front line workers. 

“As the economic engines for their regions, Iowa’s Community Colleges have helped, not only students, but their local businesses and communities to safely cope with and plan for economic recovery following the pandemic,” said MJ Dolan, executive director of Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT). 

Read More

Modified process feasible for state accreditation visits


The Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation has modified the process for state accreditation visits conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic. This new process was implemented during the scheduled comprehensive accreditation visit to Hawkeye Community College on March 30-31. All required accreditation group interviews were converted to virtual meetings. Hawkeye staff and faculty interview participants were able to join the scheduled conversations from their home or work offices with only minor technical difficulties encountered. Each of the interviews helped to clarify college processes and compliance with each of the state’s eight accreditation components. As usual, most of the state accreditation requirements were able to be reviewed through online desk materials provided through the regular process.

Should the social distancing requirements be continued into fall 2020, the NIACC and NWCC interim accreditation visits would be similarly arranged.

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

Educate and Elevate Americorp Changes and Pivots to Online Tutoring

online tutoring

While this year has brought many changes to the Department’s Educate and Elevate Americorp Tutoring Program, including staff changes as early as January, today’s unusual circumstances add a new feature to reaching adults working on basic skills.

In January, Jayne Smith the inaugural Program Director for Educate and Elevate began a new position at Iowa College Aid. With her departure, the Iowa Literacy Council (ILC) assumed a larger role in services to ensure continuity and sustained involvement with members and host sites.  The ILC's experienced Executive Committee and Council members are well poised to support the Educate and Elevate program's implementation and grant management needs having members statewide from business and industry, labor, libraries, state agencies, adult education programs, colleges and universities, student populations, volunteers, media and community colleges. 

In March, ILC appointed a new Executive Director, Dr. Helene Fein, who will serve as the Educate and Elevate Program Director.  Dr. Fein has previously worked for the Iowa Department of Education, serving as the State Director of Adult Literacy (2005-2012) gaining extensive experience administering federal grants and coordinating statewide efforts related to adult education and literacy services for adult learners. With a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy, Dr. Fein has also served with nonprofits, such as United Way of Central Iowa, where she led a team responsible for data and research.

While much has changed in the last month amid school closures, the need for parents and caregivers to access basic skills to support their children's learning outside of the classroom has never been more relevant. Recruitment for tutors is still open until July 1. Additional training, “Successful Remote Tutoring” has been added to aid in connecting through virtual means with adult learners. Educate and Elevate is excited to remain connected to helping host sites support their participants and tutors are eager to share tips, tools and resources in reading, math and acquiring English language skills during this time. For more information or to volunteer please email ilcexecutivedirector@iowa.gov or complete the following form.

Please contact Alex Harris, State Director for Adult Education, Bureau of Community Colleges, at alex.harris@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-3640, for more information.

Iowa Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) ends the year with virtual celebration

virtual conference

A virtual end-of-the year meeting for Iowa FCCLA was held on May 15, following the cancellation of the State Leadership Conference and Competitions that were to be held in late March.  The event was organized to recognize the top qualifiers for the national competition and other award winners from national and state events. The national competitive events and state leadership conference will be held virtually in June and early July. 

FCCLA is one of 11 career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) that are aligned with our six career and technical education service areas. The Bureau of Career and Technical Education is planning to offer CTSO advisor sessions this fall to help those interested in establishing a CTSO chapter.  More information will be provided as fall approaches.

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.

Varner elected vice-chair of NCSDCC


Jeremy Varner, Administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, has been named the vice chair for legislation for the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges (NCSDCC). 

For nearly 50 years, the council has served as the only entity representing the collective interest of state agencies and state boards of community colleges.  Affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges, it serves as a forum for state directors to exchange ideas and address changes in attitude and policy toward community colleges at the federal, state, and local levels.    

Lisa Stange to retire after more than 30 years

Lisa Stange

Lisa Stange, education consultant in the bureau of career and technical education, will retire on June 12 after more than 30 years of serving in the CTE field. Lisa's career includes middle school through college-level teaching in CTE primarily in the areas of family and consumer sciences and work-based learning. She has held leadership roles as a district-level staff developer, Iowa Family and Consumer Sciences Educators, Iowa Association for Career and Technical Education, National Association for State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences and has served on several task forces involving CTE and teacher shortages. Lisa will continue to be involved with CTE through her position on the ACTE National Board as Region III Vice President the next two years. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family and traveling.

Dr. Katy Blatnick-Gangé will take over FCS/Human Services programs for the Division upon Lisa's retirement.

Katy Blatnick-Gagné awarded Iowa ACTE Region III Award of Merit


The Iowa Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has awarded Dr. Katy Blatnick-Gagné with the ACTE Region III Award of Merit for her contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education. The award will be given during the Region III Virtual Conference on June 25.

The award recognizes excellence and dedication within the field of career and technical education. Recipients of these awards are exceptional individuals who have contributed to the success of CTE through the quality of their work and their involvement in the CTE community. Candidates and winners are recognized at three levels: state, regional, and national.

Article featured in national career and technical education publication


Dr. Katy Blatnick-Gagné and Dr. Jeffrey Fletcher, education consultants in the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, co-authored an article featured last month in Techniques Connecting Education and Careers, a national magazine published by the Association of Career and Technical Education.

The article, Enhancing Self-Efficacy for Teaching and Retention: The Need for a Career and Technical Education Teacher Mentorship Program, explores ways to increase the number of those entering the teaching profession and how to reduce the number of teachers leaving the profession. The article outlines the need to provide support and professional learning opportunities and mentorship programming, especially for novice teachers.

Please contact Katy Blatnick-Gangé, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, at katy.blatnick-gagne@iowa.gov, or at 515-281-8353, or Jeff Fletcher, Education Program Consultant, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, jeffrey.fletcher@iowa.gov, or at 515-321-7309, for more information on this work.  

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 position to provide leadership on concurrent enrollment programs, career academies and regional centers in the state. 

The division is also in the process of reviewing and interviewing applicants for the community college student success consultant, community college bureau chief, 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. Decisions on these positions will be made in the coming weeks. In addition, the division is planning to open at least two additional positions this summer and will provide more information in the near future.

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.