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Growth of Academic Programs Respond to Business-Industry Needs

By Staff | Sep 4, 2013

The members of the Board of Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College were updated Tuesday afternoon on how new academic programs are developed for the college.

Scott Stokes, Executive Dean of the Estherville campus, introduced Gary Phillips, Professor of Environmental Studies. Phillips has assisted with the development of several programs over the years. Most recently, he worked with the new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) program and the new Water Quality program.

Advisory committees provide some of the first input about potential coursework as members typically come from a variety of businesses, which have additional needs, according to Phillips. In addition, key individuals from the college, along with business and industry representatives identify emerging careers, which are needed in the Iowa Lakes region.

Then, Phillips uses a variety of resources as he researches projected market demand.

Next, the committee makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees who then reviews and makes a decision.

A favorable conclusion leads to a wide range of steps including: approval from the Iowa Department of Education; development of curriculum; the identification of potential articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities; marketing possibilities; pinpointing possible students; and, identifying space for classroom and lab facilities.

And, finally, course work and teaching materials are completed as classes begin. In all, there are about 20 steps involved in the process.

This fall, both HVAC and Water Quality program are ready for incoming students.

In other business, Mark Gruwell, Executive Dean of Instruction and Development, presented a list of 159 summer graduates, which was approved by the Trustees.

Delaine Hiney, Executive Director of Facilities Management, updated the Trustees on progress at the swine facility at the farm laboratory, the SERT building in Estherville and other summer renovations on the campuses.

Also during the meeting, the Trustees gave oral reports on college and statewide committees.

The next meeting of the Trustees is slated for Sept. 17.