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IVCCD reports enrollment declines

The Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Board of Directors discussed fall enrollment numbers for Ellsworth Community College (ECC) and Marshalltown Community College (MCC) and learned about a learning-centered success model at ECC when it met this month in Iowa Falls.

IVCCD Chancellor Dr. Chris Duree reported a significant drop in fall term enrollments for both ECC and MCC. ECC is down 117 students (12.33%) and 1,586.5 credit hours (12.88%) this fall compared to Fall 2014. MCC is down 117 students (5.73%) and 1,180.5 credit hours (6.53%) this fall compared to Fall 2014. As a whole, the District is down 7.82% in student headcount and 9.1% in credit hours this fall compared to last fall.

“Obviously, we’re not pleased,” Dr. Duree told the IVCCD Board. “This is the most significant drop we’ve had at Ellsworth in many years, and without doubt there will be (financial) repercussions as a result. Our data is still fresh, and we’re waiting for program-specific information that we’ll also analyze. We anticipated an overall decline of 5% in enrollments and revenues at both campuses, but this is worse than we expected. Both colleges will thoroughly dissect the data, share the information, and make changes and improvements to bring the numbers back up for next year. This trend is not healthy and not sustainable, so we’ll have to make adjustments accordingly.”

Dr. Duree said he has not received statewide numbers to compare Iowa Valley to Iowa’s other community colleges, but many others have seen significant drops in recent years while ECC and MCC have seen only slight declines until now. “Unfortunately, this was our year,” he lamented.

On a brighter note, Dr. Martin Reimer, ECC Provost, gave a presentation on “Moving to a Learning-Centered Success Model at ECC.” The challenge for community colleges, as open access institutions, he said, is how to provide responsive, engaging experiences for students so they can meet and complete their personal and professional goals. Dr. Reimer said success has traditionally been defined by graduation and transfer rates, but ECC plans to delve deeper to analyze every aspect of the college experience to determine what’s working and what can be improved.

“It all boils down to how we collect, analyze and use data,” Dr. Reimer told the Board. “This is something I really enjoy, and I’m looking forward to working with our people here to solve problems and bolster student success. We’ll examine what’s happening and we’ll figure it all out. The key will be our efforts to work with, engage and listen to all of our stakeholders.”

In other matters, the Board: approved contracted services agreements to provide college-level instruction for high school students in BCLUW, East Marshall, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, GMG, Hampton-Dumont, Marshalltown, Meskwaki Settlement School, Montezuma, Nevada, North Mahaska, South Tama and West Marshall School Districts; approved the annual agreement with Iowa Workforce Development for Promise Jobs Central Territory services; approved a resolution naming depositories for the District; and accepted the donation of framing for a movie poster for the Orpheum Theater Center from Nancy Adams.

The Board also recognized several employees for special efforts and accomplishments during the past month: Patricia Mendoza, an office associate at the Education & Training Center in Marshalltown, received her associate degree from MCC; MCC College Transition Advisor/TRIO SSS Coordinator, arranged for a trained facilitator to meet with MCC TRIO staff, SDV108 instructors and MCC administrators for a day-long workshop on “Innovative Strategies for Empowering Your Students to Become Active, Responsible Learners;” and several MCC employees (Dan Juhl, Brenda Kremer, Lara Thoms, Nate Chua, Robin Lilienthal, Amber Bolen, Linda Hanson, Connie Gardalen, Ricky Webster, Dan Huntley and Benita Petersen) have helped while the MCC Bookstore has been understaffed.

The next regular meeting of the IVCCD Board of Directors will be Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 4 pm in Marshalltown; this is a change from the normal schedule of meetings held on the second Wednesday.

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