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The evolution of Iowa Valley Continuing Education

November 20, 2017
By Jacque Goodman - Vice Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

For years, Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE) was the place to go for personal enrichment classes such as dance and yoga. At one point in history we were the only game in town! Now, you don't even need to leave your home for these conveniences. In fact, you can live-stream this type of class for little to no cost. How about a cooking class? All you have to do is watch YouTube for that experience. And yes, it's FREE!

Technology is heavily responsible for the shifting in focus for most continuing education departments. The increasingly competitive markets have led to lower enrollments in courses and financial instability. The newer models have continuing education departments running like a business. We've had to be more strategic about our course offerings and services across the District. We simply don't have the resources to continue past business practices.

Through all these challenges, IVCE's commitment to our mission remains strong. We will continue to respond to diverse community needs and build partnerships. We will always strive to provide quality learning experiences and ensure student success. We just have to work smarter to keep all efforts moving forward.

Article Photos

Jacque Goodman

The real evolution has come from planning. IVCE must take a more strategic approach to accomplish the mission. What does that mean? Iowa Valley now develops a yearly business plan that aligns with the District's mission and the strategic plan. During this past year, our plan focused on serving the outlying communities. For six months, staff visited with community members in Tama and Hardin Counties, collecting information about challenges, partnerships, and programming. The whole experience laid the groundwork for reconnecting and rebuilding in areas that were underserved. It was important to take the time to listen to our customers and focus on programs/services about which they are passionate.

From that research, we incorporated several new initiatives into the IVCE business plan. A few of the initiatives are:

Partner with 3-4 businesses to expand internship and job shadowing opportunities in the area.

Fact Box

Iowa Valley's answers:

What are the adjustments in adult

and continuing education here?

By John Speer

Editor

jspeer@tamatoledonews.com

Based upon a survey conducted by Iowa Valley?Continuing Education conducted earlier this year and addressed in the accompanying article, The News-Herald asked for additional details. Answers were supplied by Jacque Goodwin, Vice Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education

Q: " We simply don't have the resources to continue past business practices." - Would you expand a bit on that- where is the funding now going- has funding been cut for these programs - Is it going in a different direction - or is there an overall budget cutback due to less available funding?

A: In CE, we rely heavily on tuition and fee revenue to operate. When classes are cancelled and enrollments are low, we see a reduction in revenue. While we do receive state general aid and some federal assistance to support the services we provide, it is not enough to sustain our operations. This has led to staff reductions or positions not being filled. Therefore by referring to not having the resources, I really am talking about both financial and human resources.

Q: Are adult - continuing education programs still to be offered as in the past at Marshalltown, Iowa Falls and Grinnell? (computer areas for example and required continuing ed. for professions as well as the hobby and entertainment courses.)

A: Yes, we still offer these programs throughout the district. The biggest obstacle with offering these programs is availability of instructors. We've even put out help wanted ads and get nothing.

Q: During your visit at the News-Herald Office at the beginnings of the survey you said some of the prior course offerings here were cancelled due to lack of participation. With the new ideas for the South Tama area- how will these be implemented- most interested in the retail business course series- is planning complete- will it be physically offered here and if so, where? Are any of previous course offerings here still to be made (example- antique appraisal or book group)? A: The new ideas for South Tama area will be coordinated by a committee of CE employees but will involve Tama County community members for planning. The planning for both the retail business series and community awareness series has just begun. The community awareness group is meeting today in fact. As of today, ISU Extension, South Tama Community Schools District, and the Tama-Toledo Chamber are all involved. We will be adding more partners in the near future. We believe we will all be more successful in our efforts if we work together. All programs will be physically offered in Tama / Toledo. Can we count on you to help us promote these events? The programs you listed above are not being offered but we are offering arts classes, beginning bridge and a couple of classes for those over 60 cosponsored by the State Bank of Toledo, the Community Foundation and Iowa Valley.

Q: Are there a few brief examples of "Last year we followed a business plan and proudly accomplished 83.3 percent of our goals. Through extensive planning, IVCE's programs and services in all areas of the District will change for the positive."

A: Our goals for FY 17 are below: (The last one we did not completely finished which is why we only achieved 83.3% of our goals) This was all done on top of everything else that we are responsible for. The FY 18 business plan includes the short-term goals in the Tama County report as well as overall operational goals. It's an aggressive plan but we don't want to let our community members down.

Create 1 Year business plan by August 24, 2016

Develop a CE Scorecard by December 20, 2016

Identify and document 5 core processes by March 10, 2017

processes

Create a plan for strategically developing and offering courses/programs/services

throughout the district by June 1, 2017

Develop one year marketing plan by December 1, 2016

Not completely finished: Streamline operations to free up programmers time to generate revenue by June 30, 2017

Develop a retail business course series to include conversational Spanish, customer service training, and diversity and cultural awareness.

Develop an outdoor summer series:

 
 

 

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