College prepares for visit from Higher Learning Commission

Higher Learning Commission prepThe Board of Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College met Tuesday afternoon in Estherville and reviewed a wide variety of topics at their meeting – including receiving an update on a planned visit from representatives of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The visit highlights the academic advancements made at the college in recent years and is part of the re-accreditation of Iowa Lakes by the HLC.

Bob Leifeld, Vice President of Administration, introduced the team which is spearheading efforts. Sally Underwood, Barb Grandstaff, Jennie Knudson and Laura Hoffman are leading efforts which include gathering data on academics and reviewing ‘processes’ across the college.

Iowa Lakes Community College works with the Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP) through the HLC. Colleges go through the review process every 7 years to ensure that they uphold academic standards and can then qualify for federal financial aid for students.

One of the first steps is for Iowa Lakes to write an extensive Self-Study Report which reflects past practice, current processes as well as documents which contain required essential information.

The six categories of the evaluation include helping student learn; meeting student and other key stakeholder needs; valuing employees; planning and leading; knowledge management and resource stewardship; as well as quality overview.

Current Action projects which Iowa Lakes is working on include: recruitment and retention; compliance program structure; and the enhancement and use of technology to improve both teaching and learning.

A group of 3-6 team members from the HLC will visit Iowa Lakes Community College in March. The college has been accredited for more than 40 years.

Following that presentation, Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Business and Community Relations stepped to the podium and received approval from the Trustees to add another area business to the 260E Preliminary agreement the college prepares annually, which allows a firm in the Iowa Lakes region to be a part of this year’s bond sale.

In addition, Rogers told the Trustees that the priority awarding scholarship deadline is Feb. 1. Students can still apply for scholarships, yet the college will begin selecting recipients for Presidential, High School Dual Credit and Alumni Dependent awards on that date.

  • Another item of business involved Delaine Hiney, Executive Director of Facilities Management, who updated the Trustees on progress on college buildings.
  • Early retirement applications were presented by Kathy Muller, Executive Director of Human Resources. The Trustees accepted 10 early retirements. The retirements will be effective June 30, 2018.
  • Also during the meeting, the Trustees set the date of Feb. 20 for a public hearing on the published budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year.
  • In other business, the Trustees heard reports from fellow members on committees and councils; as well as other routine reports from staff.
  • The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, in Estherville.

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