NICC releases three-year strategic plan to focus on commitment to students, partners and communities

Fall semester at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) began August 20, and at the school's board of trustees meeting August 17, administrators updated the members on a FY16-18 strategic plan that will ensure continued success for NICC students, and community, education and business partners.
In a presentation to the trustees, Kristin Dietzel, NICC executive director of institutional effectiveness, outlined the five major areas of the strategic plan. “The new strategic plan represents the college's commitment to its communities and to serve its students and partners, invest resources wisely, make data-informed decisions and focus on measurable student success outcomes,” Dietzel explained.
These areas include the following:
Programming - to educate students through high-quality, innovative programming that leads to family-sustaining careers and meets workforce needs; Students - to increase enrollment, completion and successful placement of students in a career or additional education; Organization - to align the College’s faculty, staff, board of trustees and Foundation board of directors with the mission, values and strategic goals of the College; Community - to collaborate with new and existing partners in government, economic development, education and business; and Facilities and Technology - to provide technology and facilities that fulfill the mission of the College.
Sue Balsamo, NICC Foundation president, spoke to the board about the critical support scholarships provide for students each year and requested the trustees’ continued 100 percent participation in the Board of Trustees Scholarship annual fund drive.
In 2014-2015, the overall contributions of trustees, board members, NICC staff and faculty members, and donors awarded a total of $142,236 in scholarships to 256 students. Since 1984, more than $4.5 million has been awarded in NICC Foundation scholarships.
This financial and academic support for students is a continuing, integral focus of the college’s mission and has been since the college’s founding in 1966, according to Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., NICC president. To commemorate its 50th year of service and the creation of the community college system in Iowa, NICC is hosting the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees annual conference from February 21-23, 2016 at the Embassy Suites in Des Moines.
“Our celebration, ‘50 Years of Innovation,’ will be held near the state capitol, and the event includes keynote speakers, roundtable discussions, and the sharing of best practices implemented throughout the state,” Dr. Wee expressed. “This celebration is another opportunity to share our success stories with our legislators, and to discuss the many innovative things community colleges continue to do as we look toward our next 50 years.”
In advanced manufacturing news, Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., NICC vice president of Business and Community Solutions, reported to the trustees that the college was selected by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as a Sector of Excellence in Apprenticeships (SEAs) leader for the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Sector. This designation comes as a result of the college’s work with the DOL on competency-based apprenticeships in metal working. Randy Schofield, director of the Upper Mississippi Manufacturing Innovation Center at NICC, attended a DOL meeting August 6 in Detroit, MI to share information on the implementation strategy NICC used to create its apprenticeship program.
“Northeast Iowa Community College is the only college in Iowa and the only community college in the Midwest to have been invited to the conference,” Mihm-Herold said. “NICC discussed apprenticeship development with business leaders and U.S. Department of Labor officials.”
At the meeting, the trustees approved the college’s recommendation to award a bid for welding electrode, filler metal, and fuel and shielding gases for the NICC Welding program, which is offered for day and evening students at the Peosta campus. Superior Welding Supply Co. of Dubuque was awarded its bid of $43,570.50.
The annual purchasing process for these instructional supplies is vital for training students to enter high-demand, high-paying careers for advanced manufacturing companies in northeast Iowa.
In his president’s report, Dr. Wee shared information about an August 13 visit to the NICC Peosta campus made by nine staffers representing the offices of U.S. Representative Rod Blum, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and U.S. Senator Charles Grassley. The legislative staffers, along with officials from the City of Dubuque, toured the college’s new Additive Advanced Manufacturing Prototype (AAMP) Lab at NICC, which was constructed in part through federal Perkins grant and National Science Foundation funding.
NICC will hold an open house for the AAMP Lab October 14 from 1-3 p.m. The facility and its prototype manufacturing capabilities is the only one of its kind in the tri-state region, according to Wee. Students and local businesses will benefit from the lab and new technology.
In human resources news, Julie Huiskamp, Ph.D., NICC executive director of human resources, updated the board on an employee compensation and classification study currently underway. NICC has contracted with MGT of America, a national consulting firm based in Tallahassee, FL to gather and evaluate current employee job data, identify employee recruitment markets, conduct market salary surveys and develop updated pay and classification systems for all support staff, professional non-bargaining staff and non-teaching faculty members at NICC.
MGT of America will complete its study in February 2016 and offer recommendations to NICC for implementation strategies. The objective of the study is to create a market-based, equitable compensation plan, update job descriptions, document results, identify costs to implement the study’s recommendations and establish guidelines for ongoing compensation administration, according to Huiskamp.
The trustees also approved the appointment of Albert Dolan, Gas Utility Construction and Service program instructor at the Peosta campus, and Josh Shimek, Career Learning Link program and mentoring coach at the Calmar campus.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NICC Board of Trustees has been scheduled for September 21 in Peosta.

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