April Community College Leader Bulletin

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Community College Leader Bulletin - A publication from the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

 Volume 13, Issue 9                                                                       April 2023                                            educateiowa.gov

Inside this issue

Jeremy Varner
Administrator, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation

Dennis Harden
 Chief, Bureau of Career and Technical  Education

Amy Gieseke
Chief, Bureau of Community Colleges

Regional Center Site Location Study report released

Regional Center

The Iowa Department of Education has released the Regional Center Site Location Study, which is intended to support and show institutional partners -- community colleges, school districts, regional planning partnerships (RPPs) -- what a strategically designed network of regional center facilities could look like within their region as well as statewide.

Recommendations of the study include: locations for future regional centers statewide; possible transportation times from school buildings to potential locations; potential partnerships between school districts and community colleges; and the viability and long-term sustainability of recommended locations based on enrollment trends. Additionally, the study includes an interactive web mapping application for use by RPPs, community colleges, school districts and the Department to explore locational details and understand the analysis underlying the study’s recommendations.

The Department commissioned the study with the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making (IDM) and GEOTree and will additionally be coordinating and scheduling virtual stakeholder meetings in the near future within each designated RPP region to formally present the findings of the Study to the field.

The location study will directly support the work of the state's 15 RPPs, who are tasked with establishing a clear plan for providing consistent and equitable access to a variety of high-quality CTE program opportunities for all high school students. The culmination of individual regional planning will result in a statewide network of regional centers that are strategically located to maximize student access and availability of numerous high-quality CTE career academy programs.

The location study also supports work aligned with the Department’s Career Academy Incentive Fund which provides targeted grants of up to $1 million to support partnerships between school districts and community colleges that expand access to high-quality career academy programs, with a focus on programming delivered through regional centers.

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, education program consultant, at jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or 515-326-5389.

Faculty committee meeting provides updates and connections


On April 13, the Faculty Advisory Committee held its semi-annual meeting for community college faculty representatives, and several updates were provided for members.

  • Legislative updates were provided by Emily Shields, executive director of Community Colleges for Iowa, and Lora Vargason, administrative consultant at the Iowa Department of Education.
  • Community college bureau chief Amy Gieseke gave updates on changes to the Faculty Qualifications Guide and potential changes to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) faculty qualifications.
  • Department consultant Heather Meissen gave a presentation on the types of credits awards available in Iowa and the process for approving these awards.
  • Department consultant Kelly Friesleben provided updates on the latest work in Guided Pathways.
  • Department consultant Cale Hutchings spoke about Iowa’s growing Career and Technical Student Organizations.

The meeting also provided the opportunity for faculty representatives to share initiatives and updates occurring at each of their colleges, such as ongoing construction projects and progress with Guided Pathways work.

The next Faculty Advisory Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for September.

Through Iowa Code 260C.36, the Faculty Advisory Committee meets to inform community college faculty members of higher education issues and Department updates and initiatives. The committee is comprised of one member and one alternative from each of Iowa’s 15 community colleges and is equally represented by individuals from the liberal arts and sciences faculty and the career and technical education faculty. This committee also helps to facilitate open and on-going communication between community college faculty and the Department on faculty-related issues.

For more information about the Faculty Advisory Committee, contact Heather Meissen, education program consultant, at heather.meissen@iowa.gov or 515-326-5378 or Amy Gieseke, bureau chief, at amy.gieseke@iowa.gov or 515-858-2234.

Administrative rules to undergo comprehensive review

stack of books

On Jan. 10, Governor Reynolds issued Executive Order Number 10 that includes a comprehensive review of all existing administrative rules. The Department of Education has begun an initial review of the following administrative rules chapters affecting community colleges:

  • Chapter 21 – Community Colleges
  • Chapter 22 – Senior Year Plus Program
  • Chapter 24 – Community College Accreditation
  • Chapter 25 – Pathways for Academic Career and Employment Program; GAP Tuition Assistance Program
  • Chapter 27 – Workforce Training and Economic Development Funds
  • Chapter 46 – Career and Technical Education
  • Chapter 48 – Work-Based Learning
  • Chapter 49 – Individual Career and Academic Plan

The administrative rules review includes the directive to “remove obsolete, outdated, inconsistent, incompatible, redundant or unnecessary language, including instances where rule language is duplicative of statutory language.” Upon completion of the initial review, the Department will seek stakeholder input, and a notice of intended action along with public hearings will be held to allow for public participation.

For more information, contact Lora Vargason, administrative consultant, at lora.vargason@iowa.gov or 515-729-0859.

College and career transition counselor steering committee moves forward

Hands in

The College and Career Transition Counselor (CCTC) steering committee met on April 20. During this month's meeting, the steering committee discussed the training plan for the 2023-24 school year. Items for discussion included: 

  • An in-person training on Aug. 2-3 at Kirkwood Community College, based upon cohort
  • Cohort structure and requirements based upon cohort
  • Use of the Individual Development Plan; connected and reviewed by the community college supervisor and submitted to Erica Woods-Schmitz to support training/networking development
  • CCTC will meet with their districts each year and use the CCTC Annual meeting document to facilitate and collect the information

The CCTC steering committee was formed with the purpose of creating a cohesive and comprehensive plan for implementation and sustainability of the statewide college and career transition counselor initiative across Iowa. The committee includes community college and school district representatives, Area Education Agencies Prep, Iowa College Aid and Iowa Department of Education. In the first year, the steering committee focused on defining "appropriately trained," creating CCTC competencies and defining the roles and responsibilities for the CCTC, school district, community college and additional stakeholders.

For more information on the CCTC steering committee, contact Erica Woods-Schmitz, education program consultant, at erica.woods-schmitz@iowa.gov or 515-330-0185.

Iowa community colleges gear up to provide summer opportunities to high schoolers

Nursing students

The Summer College Credit Program is an exciting opportunity for incoming ninth through 12th graders to enroll in college-credit courses in career and technical education (CTE) programs that are aligned to in-demand occupations during the summer semester.

Authorized in 2018 as part of the Future Ready Iowa Act, the Summer College Credit Program is moving into its fifth year and will allow students statewide to enroll in over 35 programs such as Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Construction Trades, Certified Nursing Assistant, Computer Programming, Diesel Technology and Welding. Courses are provided by Iowa’s 15 community colleges to high school students who want to maximize their summer break by experiencing college programming and exploring potential future career fields. 

In order to participate in the Summer College Credit Program, each community college submitted a program proposal to the Department and all 15 community colleges had programming approved.

Each community college works directly with school districts in their region to identify and enroll interested students and as an added benefit, there is no cost to the student or their school district for enrolling in the Summer College Credit Program. Course offerings function like standard concurrent enrollment courses offered during the typical academic year in that the requirements for students, courses, instructors and institutions are the same for both. Courses offered through this program, however, are not eligible for concurrent enrollment supplementary weighting. Instead, the program is supported by a $600,000 appropriation from the Iowa Legislature.

For more information, contact Jen Rathje, education program consultant, at jennifer.rathje@iowa.gov or 515-326-5389.

DMACC culinary students shine at state luncheon

DMACC Culinary Students

At the Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) Iowa Culinary Institute, students are used to rolling up their sleeves and working in the college’s training kitchen. But the typical hands-on learning atmosphere was taken up a notch yesterday as a student culinary team was tasked with preparing the meal for the annual Outstanding Iowa Teachers Recognition Luncheon, hosted by Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education.

Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and nearly 70 other guests were delighted with a three-course meal during the awards ceremony luncheon at the Ankeny campus. Along with their instructor, Chef Minsuk “Jake” Kim, a nine-person student culinary team, consisting of second-year students, put together a gourmet, plated meal featuring beef tenderloin steak to honor this year’s top educators. Additionally, a group of first-year students in the culinary arts program gained valuable front-of-the-house experience working as servers during the event.

“This is a great opportunity for real-world experience,” said Chef John Andres, director of the Iowa Culinary Institute. “They are able to learn, with supports in place, and serve food to real-world customers. This is an important part of the learning process.”

DMACC’s Iowa Culinary Institute provides students with opportunities to earn diplomas or two-year associate of applied science degrees. The program is a mix of classroom study and lab time using industry-standard equipment. Students learn technical cooking skills like knife cuts, heat control and working with fresh ingredients as well as costing, purchasing supplies and hospitality concepts.

Perkins V funding opportunity to open May 1

Perkins V

On July 31, 2018, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, became law. This federal law reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, providing nearly $1.43 billion in federal funding for CTE programs in all 50 states and territories, including integrated career pathway programs for students. The state of Iowa receives nearly $13.9 million in federal funding annually to support both secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The purpose of Perkins V is to develop more fully the academic knowledge and technical and employability skills of secondary education students and postsecondary education students who elect to enroll in CTE programs and programs of study.

The funding opportunity opens May 1, 2023, and the application deadline is June 30, 2023. You can find the FY24 Perkins V application under funding opportunities at www.iowagrants.gov. The following guidance, memos, and videos provide more information and assistance in completing the application.

A summary and the full text of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act can be accessed on the Iowa Grants site. The full text of Iowa's State Plan may be viewed on the Department’s Perkins V webpage

For more information on Perkins V, contact Jeff Fletcher, education program consultant, at jeffrey.fletcher@iowa.gov or 515-321-7309.

Presenters sought for upcoming community college convention

CC for Iowa Convention

Community Colleges for Iowa are seeking professionals and others with experience and expertise related to our field to present breakout sessions at this year's Community Colleges for Iowa Convention and Tradeshow. The event will be held at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown on Nov. 28-30.

Call for Proposals

CC for Iowa encourages proposals from all areas, perspectives and positions of the community college mission to enhance the content of our convention. Each session will last 60 minutes for an audience of 20-75 conference attendees. Each room will be equipped with a projector and screen. Presenters will be required to submit presentations in advance and they will be loaded onto laptops in the room. Handouts should also be sent in advance and will be printed by convention staff. Potential presenters are welcome to submit more than one proposal. Out-of-state proposals will be considered with preference given to professionals and others from within Iowa’s community college system.

The theme for this inaugural event is First Edition: Writing the Next Chapter of Community Colleges. Sessions can be on a variety of topics and will be selected based on our ability to provide a diverse set of sessions that will bring the most value to our audience. Some topics the planning committee is particularly interested in include:

  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Enrollment strategy
  • Productivity and planning
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Governance
  • Accreditation
  • Community partnerships
  • Laws and Ethics

Timeline and Process

  • April 7, 2023: Call for Proposals Released
  • May 30, 2023: Proposals Due
  • June 2023: Planning Committee Reviews & Scores Proposals
  • July 2023: Presenters Notified
  • October 15, 2023: Presenters Must Be Registered
  • November 28-30, 2023: Convention

Proposals will be reviewed and scored by planning committee members representing a variety of roles from across Iowa’s community colleges and partner organizations and Community Colleges for Iowa staff.

Proposals can be submitted on the CC for Iowa website form

For more information, contact Kelly Friesleben, education program consultant at kelly.friesleben@iowa.gov or 515-868-2847.

Guided Pathways webinar resources are now available

Guided Pathways

Pathway Pillars in Practice is a series of webinars that create communities of practice around specific topics related to one of the four pillars of Guided Pathways. The first webinar on meta majors featured North Iowa Area Community College in Dec. 2022, and the second webinar on program maps featured Kirkwood Community College in April 2022. Webinar recordings and materials are now available for access. 

Each Pathway Pillars session is held over the lunch hour so anyone can participate and engage in discussion on a topic presented first by the Department and secondly by one of the 15 community college districts. Participants are encouraged to submit ideas for future pathway pillar topics. 

For more information on upcoming Pathway Pillars in Practice sessions and materials, contact Kelly Friesleben, education program consultant at kelly.friesleben@iowa.gov or 515-868-2847.


New guide provides insight into work-based learning common course numbering

Construction hands-on

The Iowa Community College Work-Based Learning Course Guide has been posted to the Department's Work-Based Learning website.

This guide was updated collaboratively with community college work-based learning leaders to represent progress made with the work-based learning common course numbering implementation. This guide offers information on work-based learning course descriptions, numbering, course components, implementation strategies and more.

Additionally, a frequently asked questions section was added to answer common questions related to work-based learning common course numbering.

For more information on Iowa's work-based learning programs, contact Kristy Volesky at kristy.volesky@iowa.gov or 515-971-0669.

Department administrator elected as chair of national council

Jeremy Varner

Division administrator Jeremy Varner was elected chair of the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges (NCSDCC) for 2023-24 at the council's spring meeting. For more than 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.