IVCCD Bestows Outstanding Service Awards

During the Iowa Valley Community College District All Staff Day, held August 17 at Ellsworth Community College, the District recognized several campus leaders who have made a remarkable difference to the campus communities.

IVCCD Chancellor Dr. Kristie Fisher presented the awards as follows:

Outstanding Service Awards: The purpose of the Outstanding Service Awards is to recognize employees who have been nominated by their peers in the spring for exemplary performance that best represents each of IVCCD’s Six Core Values.

Core Value: Educational Excellence – Terri Hungerford, Iowa Valley Intermediary

The award nomination reads, in part: “Terri Hungerford is passionate about her work and the role she plays in providing high school students with quality interactive opportunities and seeks out local and area employers to bring a true hands-on experience to their education. She is an expert problem-solver, collaborator and team player and the District is fortunate to have her. 

Students benefit from Terri’s commitment to providing top notch experiences.  If she learns of a student’s area of interest, regardless of what it is, she moves heaven and earth to provide them access to a practitioner in the field, and she is able to do so because of her extensive network and expertise.  Her knowledge of the community/region and the high regard in which she is held translates to opportunities for students beyond expectations.”

Core Value: Leadership and Communication – Nate Forsyth, ECC Director of Athletics & Student Life

The award nomination reads, in part: “Nate Forsyth has modeled this core value in numerous ways. He was instrumental in garnering support during our bond election where Hardin County secured nearly 70% approval in the votes. He also excels at crisis management and leading staff and students during difficult times.

Nate not only provided local leadership, he was a state leader when the pandemic canceled the 2020 spring sport seasons and turned face-to-face learning to virtual for our student athletes. This same leadership was evident when Ellsworth football players were among some of the first Iowa community college students to return to dorms during the summer of 2020, and he led the efforts to test and revise COVID19 housing athletic protocols based on those early days. His approach was that of a good coach, he developed a game plan, practiced it with his team and then made adjustments when the plan wasn’t working. Working with others, Nate has improved collaborative efforts with the Athletic and Housing departments at Ellsworth and MCC. Including a strong, collaborative relationship with his counterpart John Kriebs, the MCC Athletic Director, to take a more district-wide approach to athletics. He also serves on regional NJCAA Athletic committees to develop policies that affect all District athletes.”

Core Value: Develops Partnerships to Support Educational Opportunities – Shawna Forsyth, ECC Athletic Trainer/Faculty

The award nomination reads, in part: “Shawna Forsyth has been invaluable to the Ellsworth and Marshalltown Community College campuses and the larger community college system with her work on COVID-19 this past year.  She has been a true partner working both internally and externally with our administration and athletics as well as our local public health staff to build the best structure for our students, faculty and staff to be safe on our campus. Shawna has worked tirelessly with our students to set up testing, provide results and next steps, and continued contact with them when they were in quarantine or isolation. Ellsworth has 200+ athletes on our campus, and she had, at times, entire teams that she was evaluating, testing, working with our health care providers to assess, and providing guidance or next steps.

When COVID-19 emerged 18 months ago, a small group gathered to discuss how we would manage this new virus that we knew so little about. Shawna had already begun gathering information from other colleges to begin to put together our athletic and student protocol documents. She was instrumental in developing the Return to Athletics Protocols document for Ellsworth and MCC and many of our colleagues around the state borrowed her work as well. She also developed the COVID Protocols Flowchart that outlines our protocols for students and the actions taken based on where students are in the COVID process from exposure to confirmed positive results.”

Core Value: Contributions to Outstanding Student Achievement – Dr. Barb Klein, ECC Dean of Student Affairs

The award nomination reads, in part: “Barb Klein has been an inspirational, steady and humble leader throughout her career but never has this been more evident than when she assumed the role of Interim Provost during the Pandemic. She was able to maintain a sense of calm during a chaotic time because of her leadership qualities.

Where many colleges in the state experienced a tremendous drop in enrollment, Ellsworth had one of the best enrollment rates in the state in Fall 2020 under her leadership. Last Spring, Barb Klein gathered internal and external stakeholders to create new, innovative plans to maintain retention, recruit new students and engage employees. A focus on maintaining the personal approach to recruitment while maintaining strict safety pandemic protocols was wise and paid big dividends.

In addition, Barb Klein has quietly led her team to reduce the cohort default rate for Ellsworth students by over 18% in the last four years. She consistently credits the Financial Aid staff for their work providing financial literacy through the College Experience class and by developing relationships with our current students to reduce this rate.”

Core Value: Continuous Quality Improvement – Tracy Crippen, ECC Director of Student Success

The award nomination reads, in part: “Since Tracy Crippin was hired as the Director of Student Services at Ellsworth Community College, she has rolled up her sleeves and made innovative and strategic changes to how Academic Support Services serves our students, staff, and faculty. She has made an impact District-wide with her expertise and passion for serving students and staff.  Tracy is very passionate about student success. Since she was hired at ECC, some of the work she has done that has impacted students include: changing the tutoring model to provided top-notch tutoring support in every discipline/program area; when COVID closed access to campus, she quickly moved ECC’s tutoring services to online to support students at home. She updated the tutoring website to reflect current services and tutoring hours.

She also developed curriculum for a new course – SDV 111 for students on academic/financial probation plans to teach them how to more prepared/successful college students. The curriculum for this course was prompted by the low retention data for students on academic/financial probation.  Tracy revamped the Early Alert form so faculty are kept in the loop on the progress of connecting with the student. The new system has increased student retention.

Tracy is a big advocate for ECC. She coordinates activities with the faculty out in the community. She helps with recruiting and advising students and talks to parents at new student orientations. Even though Tracy lives in Fort Dodge, she stays in Iowa Falls during the week so she can participate in student activities and events.”

Core Value: Growth and Sustainability – Adriane Sietsema, ECC Director of Admissions

The award nomination reads, in part: “Adriane Sietsema stayed focused in the early months of COVID and kept in good communication with her admissions staff via Zoom and email.  She continued to send lists of prospective and accepted students to her staff to continue reaching out to them. 

Her focus on the personal approach to recruitment and marketing was a critical piece of our Ellsworth enrollment success last year. The fact that Adriane is an alum of Ellsworth and the fact that she shares her experience and her love for this place when she works with new students only magnifies her spark.

When we first remained home due to COVID in March 2020, Adriane quickly organized weekly meetings with her team. She was able to become the conduit between Admissions and Financial Aid so students were getting their information in and could get registered.  She took the lead on setting up scholarship meetings so we continued to make scholarship awards to keep our edge with students who were unsure where they were going. Her continued focus on keeping that personal approach and connection with our students made a difference. 

Adriane suggested some new ideas for marketing strategies in light of COVID and met students wherever they were to maintain visits and get them registered for the upcoming terms.  Ultimately the Ellsworth credit hour enrollment was down 4.16% in the fall and 2.3% behind in the spring.  Compared to the state, many community colleges were showing deficits of 10+% due to the pandemic. She understands her role in the larger picture and how the work we do impacts the sustainability of the District.”