NICC sets strategic priority of effective and efficient communication with constituents

At the November 17 Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Board of Trustees monthly meeting, members received an update on one of the College’s nine FY11-FY15 strategic priorities, “Foster a More Effective and Efficient Communication.”

In presentations to the Board of Trustees, Kristin Dietzel, NICC executive director of institutional effectiveness; Kathy Nacos-Burds, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs; and Rhonda Seibert, Calmar campus provost, discussed communication processes, publications, events and college emergency practices that inform and educate the College’s internal and external constituents.

The strategic priority focuses on: increasing readership of internal publications among faculty and staff; increasing the percentage of new visitors to the NICC web site,; continuing to increase web hits to new online services; and exceeding state Perkins participation and graduation rate targets for students enrolled in career and technical programs that are nontraditional for their gender. NICC is currently making positive progress or exceeding its goals for all measures.

Actions to achieve the objectives of the communication strategy include the College’s work with the National Alliance in Partnership Equity (NAPE) to assist with best practices to increase enrollment and success among male and female students in nontraditional programs. To address safety communication across the district, NICC continues to offer training to faculty and staff in Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE) procedures as a response to intruders on campus.

“ALICE involves training staff and students to be aware of their surroundings at all times,” said Seibert. The college has trained more than 90 staff members through intruder simulation exercises conducted with the Winneshiek County Sheriff Department, according to Seibert.

In her report, Dietzel also shared that NICC officials and a team of state legislators toured Dubuque Data Services November 12 to learn more about successful state and federally-funded training programs through NICC. “This training through NICC enabled Dubuque Data Services to expand its workforce, enhance workflow processes, boost sales and improve product quality,” Dietzel said.

Iowa lawmakers who met with Dubuque Data Services and NICC included Representative Chuck Isenhart (District 100), Senate Majority Leader Pam Jochum (District 50) and new Representative-Elect Abby Finkenauer (District 99).

In other trustee news, the Board approved the purchase of instructional equipment for the computer numerical control (CNC) machinist technician program at the Peosta campus. Awarded a bid for one electrical discharge machine was EDM Network of Sugar Grove, IL for $58,750. The unit will provide CNC students with leading edge skill sets unique to many facets of the machining industry, and students who work with the new technology will be highly desirable to northeast Iowa companies currently using the equipment.

The trustees authorized the college’s administration to begin working with Invision Architecture on a facility master planning process. The purpose of the planning process will be to coordinate facility planning with the technology planning that is currently underway, and to establish processes by which opportunities for the College's two campuses and seven centers can be identified, evaluated and, when appropriate, acted upon.

The Board approved a preliminary 260E Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training agreement with Monona Wire Corporation dba Commercial Vehicle Group for the creation of 13 new jobs with an estimated bond issuance value of $100,000. The company is working with NICC to provide new employee training programs for process engineers, customer service representatives, quoting cost analysts, material planning specialists, continuous improvement coordinators and housekeepers.

The Board also began the review of its policies, organized by Trustee Jim Anderson. The board policies encompassed seven domains: Governance, Administration, Human Resources, Students, Instruction, Business and Operational Procedure, and Community. Anderson led the review of the Governance policies, and the Board approved the recommended updates. In subsequent monthly board meetings, each of the other six policy domains will be reviewed.

After the meeting, trustees gathered with the NICC Foundation Board of Directors, NICC staff and faculty members, and guests to celebrate this year’s Peosta campus Hall of Fame alumni and retiree inductees and the induction of new members of the Legacy Society, a group of committed individuals who have chosen to make a lasting gift to the College. Peosta campus Hall of Fame inductees included Sue Balsamo of Dubuque, Dr. Katharine Pins of Eldridge and Sue Schneider of Dubuque. The recipient of the Outstanding Retiree Service Award from the Peosta campus is Rod Bakke of Dubuque.

The trustees approved the appointment of a new admissions representative at the Peosta campus, Angela Besler; Tama-Lea Lorensen, an organizational development and sales professional at the Town Clock Business Center in Dubuque; and Courtney Schultz, a career coach program manager, also at the Town Clock Business Center.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NICC Board of Trustees is at 3 p.m. December 15 at the Keystone Area Education Agency in Elkader.