When I asked my family to move to Muscatine, Iowa, about 450 miles from our last home in Michigan, they accepted the challenge of something new and unknown. My oldest daughter recently told me that she will have two homes when she grows up: one in Petoskey, on the shores of Lake Michigan (our former home town), and one in Muscatine. I think we have fully made the transition to Iowa!
An opportunity to work at Muscatine Community College drew us to the area. Community colleges are a major part of a community, and I see that evidenced in the relationships MCC has with community members and businesses. We do not exist for our own goals. We exist in and for the community, to advance joint goals, as they relate to education, training, economic development, and quality of life. I do believe in the power of education, and we work to empower all who attend MCC.
MCC has a strong history of community support. Many of you who are reading the Voice of Muscatine are alumni yourselves, have participated in our business training courses or know someone who attended MCC. I frequently meet people who have been students here. Occasionally, I hear “Even MCC demands the best of their students.” You bet. We expect that students give us their best as we are preparing them for the workforce or a university setting. Our instructors are highly qualified in their fields and have a passion for teaching. Students who choose to stay close to home, choose to save money and get a highly-marketable degree are making great choices!
What are we working on at MCC in 2016?
We are developing more partnerships with universities to provide bachelor’s degrees through our University Center.
We are strengthening our relationship with universities in China to encourage two-way faculty and student exchanges.
We are strengthening student support through supplemental instruction, the Writing Center and a redesign of developmental education.
We are partnering with “We Lead” in West Liberty to open a Regional Cultural and Learning Center to serve educational needs of residents.
We are continuing to offer over $300,000 in scholarships to students annually.
We are expanding our Learning Tree Preschool to be able to care for 2-year-old children.
We are celebrating our Agriculture program’s 50th anniversary.
We are updating our facilities and campus grounds to support student learning and engagement.
We are assessing community needs for new programs.
We will honor retirements of our long-time employees, Jan Phillips (music), Paul Wilts (welding), Marv Smith (Continuing Education/ Business Training), and Julie Lloyd (Administrative Assistant).
We moved to Muscatine at an exciting time, both for the community and the college: the Mississippi Drive Corridor project, the Merrell Hotel, the expansion of the Y, investments in local companies, such as Heinz, Kent Corporation and HNI, and a great Hawkeye season. We welcome your suggestions. How can MCC better serve the community? Drop me your thoughts at [email protected] or call 563-288-6004.