Iowa Ideas 2023

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Higher Education

An exploration of the learning experience from higher education.

    Small College Health

    Iowa Wesleyan’s closing at the end of May 2023 brought the challenges facing Iowa’s smaller colleges into plain sight. Four – including Wesleyan – asked the state to invest $48 million in ARPA funds to help the schools find financial footing. The stressors facing Iowa’s small colleges caught many by surprise. This discussion will look at what can or will need to happen to bring additional stability as well as the role the state or other funders should play in preserving campuses in Iowa’s smaller communities.

    October 12, 2023 at 10:10AM


    Meeting the needs of students

    Whether its COVID learning loss or needing to work while going to school, colleges are facing a challenge balancing affordability with being able to afford effective student supports – both in and out of the classroom. How are faculty at Iowa’s colleges and universities adjusting and how are colleges forecasting to address student needs while still working to manage costs?

    October 12, 2023 at 11:15AM


    Encouraging & Availability of learning at any age

    For those remaining in the job market, tech evolutions and global competition is pushing the need for lifelong learning. How well is Iowa supporting lifelong learning and upskilling and what needs to be done about providing opportunities for folks to return to school for certificates or other credentials later in life?

    October 12, 2023 at 1:20PM

    • Paul Sapp

    • Amy Lasack

    • Rob Denson


    Weighing the Investment of a College Degree

    While there’s been much energy put around creation of apprenticeships, it’s also framed much of the conversation with ‘or’ in front of college. This session will explore the connection between college and career and what may need to be done to balance the need to work while learning.

    October 12, 2023 at 2:25PM


    Balancing Intellectual diversity and polarization

    Navigating the seas of political polarization and culture war issues pose unique challenges for universities. What are the risks culture wars pose to Iowa’s colleges and universities and what impact could that have if students align with like-minded colleges or avoid states where majority party politics differ from their own?

    October 13, 2023 at 8:30AM

    • Jed Peterson


    Reimagining the delivery of higher education in Iowa

    Iowa’s colleges and universities have been working feverishly to create reciprocal agreements, accept transfer credits or get their degrees faster. But could Iowa colleges and universities go further – like dual enrollment or taking classes for credit across all schools simultaneously? How can Iowa leverage online, experiential and online learning and what will this mean for how students in Iowa go to college?

    October 13, 2023 at 9:40AM

    • Mark Nook


    Test Optional College Admissions

    The test-optional admission practice took off, with the majority of colleges admitting students based on class grades instead of things like the ACT. What has that meant for Iowa’s higher education institutions and will the tests remain optional? This topic will look at how college student bodies have changed, and whether the changes – some made out of necessity in COVID – will be permanent.

    October 13, 2023 at 10:45AM

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