Board of Trustees hears how NICC works to meet the needs of its local communities and invests in its own employees

At the August 21 Board of Trustees meeting at the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Cresco Center, members received an update on organizational development programs the College has implemented for its employees.

Seth Gilbert, J.D., Ph.D., director of organizational development, shared how organizational development opportunities for employees at the College encompass personal, professional and procedural development, as well as faculty and stakeholder development. From 2016-2017, Gilbert conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis among current employees and will combine the data it generated with the data collected from an environmental scan completed by other members of institutional effectiveness. Gilbert also introduced quarterly new employee orientation sessions and a Leadership Certificate program.

In the next year, a new Leadership Capstone program will be created to enhance skills and development among management personnel, and the College will begin implementing process improvement interventions for departments through Lean training sessions.

“Not only does Northeast Iowa Community College invest in students, but we also invest in our own colleagues. Through the College's leadership and department reorganization in 2016-2017, our organizational development team identified areas where we can identify and make process improvements, increase our capacities and, ultimately, enhance the skills of our own people,” expressed Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., NICC President.

The implementation of organizational development programming aligns with 2017-2018 strategic priorities at the College that will ensure a diverse team that is student driven, community focused, innovative and entrepreneurial. Additional strategic priorities are identified for programs, students, community and facilities and technology.

The trustees’ visit to the Cresco Center provided an opportunity for director Cassie Martin and staff to share updates on successes achieved with students and the community, which are made possible in partnership with the Howard Winneshiek School District and numerous community boards.

Last summer, the center offered the 5th Annual “Be Your Own Boss Camp”. The popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) camp teaches entrepreneurial skills and small business development. Students enrolled in a concurrent welding program between Crestwood High School and the College completed a welding project during the spring semester by building picnic tables and a basketball bin for the community. The center also served as a rest stop for RAGBRAI riders during the summer, and nine Emergency Medical Technician - Career Pathway Certificate students volunteered to care for riders and their First Aid needs during their stop in Cresco.

In a presentation to the Trustees, Kevin Heide, a May 2016 graduate of the Automotive Technology program who is currently enrolled in the Associate of Applied Management program, shared how education and training programs tailored to working adult students are making a difference in successful employment opportunities in the area.

“I took advantage of the Career Pathway Certificate program in Welding at Northeast Iowa Community College, and after completing the program Featherlite, Inc., offered me a job. Now I’m the lead technician for Plants 1, 2 and 4,” Heide said. “The opportunities we have at the Calmar campus and Cresco Center are amazing, especially for the working adult who has a very busy schedule and needs evening, online or blended classes.”

In addition to the Cresco Center, the College has established service locations in Dubuque, Manchester, New Hampton, Oelwein and Waukon. The College's service locations provide educational opportunities and services to students interested in taking classes close to home. Services provided include economic and workforce development, credit and non-credit classes, professional development classes, Adult Literacy and Education programs, programs designed for adult learners returning to college, admissions information, course registration, placement testing and intake advising.

In just a six-week timeframe this summer, the College served 166 Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) students in the Calmar area, and the Town Clock Business Center served 131 students in Dubuque, for a total of nearly 300 CNA students. From June through July, summer camps hosted by the College’s centers served a total of 506 students.

This year’s Fall Fest celebration will be held Thursday, September 7 from 5-8 p.m. at the Calmar campus. The free community event includes food, music, inflatables, rides and carnival games for kids of all ages. The Trustees also approved the following appointments: Jason Bye, industrial maintenance instructor at the Calmar campus; and Kylie Loeffelholz, communications instructor, and Pia McEleney, respiratory care instructor, both at the Peosta campus.

The College will have five Trustees up for re-election on the September 12 school election ballot: Sue Runyon, District 1; Kathy Gunderson, District 2; Gene Fuelling, District 4; David Schueller, District 6; and Robert Shafer, District 9.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NICC Board of Trustees is at 3 p.m. September 18 at the Peosta campus.

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