On Aug. 13, I addressed all Iowa Valley Community College District employees at our annual Staff Day event that we hold to "kick off" each new academic year. I entitled my state-of-the District address: "A Very Good Institution Getting Even Better through Continuous Quality Improvement." Why such a title? Because that is exactly what we are, and we have the data to support my claim.
On that day we took the opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, and I thought it was only appropriate to share some of the good news with the general public in my first Inside Education editorial for this year. Here are some highlights:
More than 70 percent of our employees are engaged in 25 different strategic plan initiatives;
Nearly 90 percent have an awareness of, and place a high value on, our continuous quality improvement model;
85 percent of our employees are very satisfied with the improvements made in our internal communications;
IVCCD was rated as one of Iowa's Top 25 mid-sized organizations to work in 2012 by the Des Moines Register;
Adult Literacy and Adult Basic Education programming demonstrated improvement in all measured areas, including performance improvement in math and reading;
IVCCD Nursing graduates (LPN and ADN) performed well above the state and national averages for Nursing Board passage rates for the last five years; and,
IVCCD ranked 1st out of the 15 Iowa community colleges for the percent of graduates who successfully transfer to 4-year colleges and universities, according to the Iowa Department of Education performance metrics.
In short, there were more measurable accomplishments than I could possibly list in this brief article not the least of which includes IVCCD staff assuming leadership roles with the Marshalltown Business Education Alliance initiative; the Orpheum Theater Center staff assuming a leadership role with the Not In Our Town anti-bullying campaign; and IVCCD faculty and staff engagement with a plethora of community service learning projects throughout the District.
For the last couple of years, I have often referred to the District's commitment to building a culture of continuous quality improvement. IVCCD is the only Iowa community college to adopt the rigorous Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence in Education, which requires that we stay true to our core values, mission, strategic plan, and a relentless pursuit to improve all areas of our organization. So what's the good news? IVCCD is a very good institution getting even better. And for those who still may doubt we can prove it!
Christopher Duree is chancellor of the Iowa Valley Community College District