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STEM Initiative Coming Together

By Staff | Aug 28, 2012

The Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees learned more about the state’s new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in those academic areas. The briefing was part of the August meeting of the Trustees, which was held Tuesday, Aug. 21.

About two years ago, a group of Iowa Lakes science professors began meeting to share ideas of how to enthuse students in those subject areas. In September of 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad launched an initiative to build interest in STEM subjects and appointed Iowa Lakes President Valerie Newhouse to serve on the statewide advisory council. Then in May of this year, Iowa Lakes was named a Regional Hub for northwest Iowa.

Kari Webb of Spirit Lake was selected to be the regional manager of the Northwest Iowa STEM earlier this Summer, and updated the trustees on the initiative.

“The top priority of the Iowa Governor’s STEM initiative is to increase student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math,” Webb said. “The Northwest Region will be infused with full funded STEM programs for students in all grades.”

Iowa Lakes Community College will become the region’s central location for information and implementation of the ‘scale-up’ programming in STEM, with those projects selected by a state committee.

Some 80 to 100 school districts are located within the Northwest Region of the state that will be served by the Iowa Lakes STEM hub.

In other business, Executive Director of Facilities Management, Delaine Hiney updated the board on building projects that occurred this summer. In her report, Hiney noted that an internal committee had termed the campus “boring.” To address the concern, new color schemes using Laker blue and gold, along with poster depicting Laker life were added to each of the five campuses.

Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement reported participation has increased in golf outings, which generate scholarships for students. The various scholarship outings attracted 274 participants, which included a 14 percent growth in the number of individuals golfing and a 40 percent increase in sponsorships.

Rogers also noted that the institutions’ faculty and staff ‘We Believe’ annual campaign kicks off this week.

The trustees were also reminded of upcoming Iowa Lakes Foundation events including the Farm Expo and Tractor ride Aug. 30; at the College Farm Lab, west of Emmetsburg, the Car Cruise Sept. 22; and the Fine Arts scholarship event Oct. 6. Additionally, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey will visit the College Farm Lab for the Farm Expo on Aug. 30 and will speak at the Expo at around 6 p.m. Students will be conducting tours of the Iowa lakes farm during the event.

In final action, the trustees accepted and approved the list of summer graduates. Executive Dean Mark Gruwell noted there were 157 summer graduates with 75 students taking part in the ceremony, which was the largest number of participants since 2006.

The Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees will meet Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Administrative offices of the college in downtown Estherville.