HLC Assurance Argument

Iowa Lakes Community College

Review Date: 4/24/2023


The Iowa Department of Education officially recognized Iowa Lakes Community College (Iowa Lakes) on October 28, 1966. Following its recognition, the college organized its first Board of Trustees in January 1967. Iowa Lakes is a public, comprehensive educational institution offering 61 programs of study and boasting a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1. Co-curricular opportunities at Iowa Lakes include over 30 clubs and organizations and 16 athletic teams. The college's five-county service area encompasses 2,900 square miles. The Iowa Lakes mission is "to provide opportunities for quality lifelong learning and promote economic development for our communities." The college's early vision was that students would not have to travel more than 25 miles to attend classes. Despite having campuses in all counties, Iowa Lakes offers courses through a variety of modalities, including online learning.

As with all other universities and colleges, Iowa Lakes was affected by COVID-19. The college closed its campuses in March 2020 due to the pandemic, with teaching and learning switching to virtual. Administrators' responsibilities shifted from regular duties to accommodate operational needs during the pandemic. Virtual faculty meetings increased the frequency of sharing best practices or providing training on technology. The college began offering virtual mental health services 24/7 to students and employees. Iowa Lakes adopted a hybrid approach to allow faculty and students to return to campus in the fall of 2020. Iowa Lakes initiated several practices during the pandemic that remain in use today.

Iowa Lakes has also undergone leadership shifts due to Cabinet-level retirements. After a national presidential search, the Board approved Scott Stokes as the new President of Iowa Lakes in July of 2022. The college hired two new Executive Deans for the Estherville and Emmetsburg Campuses. The college will experience more leadership changes over the next five years as more Cabinet members retire. Succession planning is in progress to prepare for the leadership transitions.

Iowa Lakes is dedicated to continuous improvement and offering high-quality education to its students and communities. Iowa Lakes' resilience and commitment to its stakeholders are exhibited in the enrollment growth during the 2022-2023 academic year. The college's graduation, success, and persistence rates exceed the state average.

1 - Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

2 - Integrity: Ethical & Responsible Conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

3 - Teaching & Learning: Quality, Resources & Support

The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

4 - Teaching & Learning: Evaluation & Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

5 - Institutional Effectiveness, Resources & Planning

The institution’s resources, structures, processes and planning are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.