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Iowa Wesleyan joins financial partnership with SCC

IWU is first four-year university in Iowa Community College Consortium

On Jan. 12, 2021, Iowa Wesleyan University announced their partnership with Southeastern Community College to form the Southeast Iowa Higher Education Alliance. Iowa Wesleyan also joined the Iowa Community College Online Consortium in February. (Union File Photo)

MT. PLEASANT — Iowa Wesleyan made history this last year.

The private four-year university in Mt. Pleasant joined the ranks of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium to offer a wider range of programs to their students.

The college found itself entering a joint partnership with Southeastern Community College to help Iowa Wesleyan financially and administratively as well as partnering with them academically to form the Southeast Iowa Higher Education Alliance.

Iowa Wesleyan Joins the ICCOC

In February, Iowa Wesleyan announced the university would be joining the ranks of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium or the ICCOC. Iowa Wesleyan is the first four-year university to join the consortium.

Iowa Wesleyan President Chris Plunkett is excited about the opportunities it will provide students.

“This opportunity allows our students and faculty to have access to over $600,000 worth of technology applications that are currently not available to our campus community,” she said. “These include programs like a new integrated Iowa Wesleyan learning management system from Google Play Store and Apple App Store that will allow students to access their materials more directly on their digital devices through a single source, no matter where they are.”

Through the alliance students will be able to use the resources of the ICCOC and enroll in online classes thorough the service, allowing extended opportunities to students and giving them access to new programs.

As a Tier 4 Partner, Iowa Wesleyan will share resources with the consortium partner colleges.

The consortium was one of the first higher education consortia of its kind in the nation and continues to be a leader in providing quality online learning with a focus on student success.

'The addition of Iowa Wesleyan University to the ICCOC is a positive move for all involved and we look forward to the new opportunities this partnership will offer,” said Theresa Umscheid, the consortium’s executive director. “Iowa Wesleyan's focus on new and innovative ways to teach students at a distance fits well with the ICCOC's mission and overall strategic plan.”

Iowa Wesleyan, located in Mt. Pleasant, was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report for being in the top 200 best online bachelor's programs nationally, fourth in Iowa. It was ranked first in Iowa for its online undergraduate business administration degree.

Iowa Wesleyan and SCC

Iowa Wesleyan partnered with Southeastern Community college or SCC in January of this year to form the Southeast Iowa Higher Education Alliance or SIHEA that would link the two colleges and their resources.

However, the agreement keeps the institutions operating separately but with the help of the other.

This comes after Iowa Wesleyan announced that they were in financial despair in the summer of 2018. Ever since then Iowa Wesleyan has been looking for a partner to help share the financial and administrative burden they faced.

Iowa Welseyan President Chris Plunkett said the comprehensive agreement is what’s best for the university.

“This innovative model is the result of two years of comprehensive work,” said Plunkett. “Colleges and universities nationwide are struggling with decreased enrollment, skyrocketing costs and potential closures.”

Plunkett emphasized that it will grow the strength of both institutions in the agreement.

“Collectively, Iowa Wesleyan University and Southeastern Community College are coming together from a position of strength, and this partnership will secure and protect our bright future and the future of our students,” she added.

The agreement includes smooth academic pathways from SCC to Iowa Wesleyan as well as concurrent enrollment in classes for students at both institutions.

Through this model, a student could take college-level courses in high school and go on to complete an associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree all within the SIHEA system.

“Our two institutions are well-aligned, both strategically and operationally, to make SIHEA a successful partnership,” said Dr. Michael Ash, president of Southeastern Community College and newly appointed chancellor of SIHEA. “The opportunities that SIHEA students will have access to are tremendous, from seamless and affordable degree pathways to increased professional resources and support.”

Iowa Wesleyan University President Chris Plunkett is excited about the opportunities the partnership with Southeast Community College will provide students. (File)
Iowa Wesleyan University students walk to the student union for lunch in 2019. (File)