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New Partnership Between Clarke University and Northeast Iowa Community College Creates an Innovative Dual Enrollment Structure

By Clarke News  |  January 23, 2020
Northeast Iowa Community College and Clarke University develop new partnership
Left to right: NICC Board of Trustees President Kenneth Reimer, NICC President Dr. Liang Chee Wee, Clarke President Dr. Thom D. Chesney, and Clarke Board of Trustees Chair Mary Rose Corrigan-Psihoyos.

Clarke University (Clarke) and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) are entering into a new partnership that will provide students with a streamlined pathway to a four-year degree while saving money and helping build the local workforce.

The partnership offers dual admission for students studying Nursing at NICC, as well as those who do not quite meet the admissions criteria of Clarke (e.g., grade point average, ACT/SAT score) and/or would be better served financially by starting at NICC. Students will receive full access to services, student life, and academic activities offered by both institutions. For example, students could live on the Clarke campus and have a four-year college experience while completing their transfer degree at NICC.

“NICC Today, CU Tomorrow,” is designed for students to complete their Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree at NICC, with the junior and senior year of the bachelor’s degree completed through Clarke in Dubuque. Transferring students will be awarded full credit for their AA or AS degree and be able to graduate from Clarke in two years through well-planned paths and majors. The articulated partnership is set to begin in the fall of 2020 and will guarantee Northeast Iowa Community College graduates junior status in seven major fields of study at Clarke: Business, Computer Information Systems, Education, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, and Sport Management. Students will earn either a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Clarke University. Additional majors are also under discussion.

NICC’s president, Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., and Clarke’s president, Thom D. Chesney, Ph.D., announced the partnership on Thursday, January 23, on the campus of Clarke University. The partnership is a result of several intentional conversations focused on making a bachelor’s degree accessible for students enrolled at NICC.

Current Clarke student Teri Kauffmann said, “My experience transferring to Clarke from NICC was amazing. My admissions counselors helped me with every step, answered all my questions, and made the switch very smooth. My professors have been great, everyone is helpful, and my academics have shown this was the right path for me. I am currently studying to earn my BSN at Clarke while working at Finley Hospital in the labor and delivery unit, all the while raising two small children with my husband. It was wonderful to attend NICC to take many of my prerequisites before coming to Clarke. It was cost-effective for me, and I was able to go at my own pace.”

Wee and Chesney are confident that this partnership will provide unique and emerging access between public and private higher education and ultimately help the Dubuque community grow and retain its own qualified workforce for a resilient, sustainable future.

“The new ‘NICC Today, CU Tomorrow’ partnership creates more opportunities for students to realize their dreams of a college degree. Through the collective efforts of Northeast Iowa Community College and Clarke University, students will receive the wrap-around advising, resources, and support they need for academic and career success in the Dubuque area,” expressed Wee.

Chesney said, “This collaboration is a remarkable example of what is possible when our leaders in higher education share a dedication to delivering superior, post-secondary education to all Iowans. ‘NICC Today, CU Tomorrow’ will open doors that too often are closed by the realities of life and the daily demands that can challenge and disrupt the pursuit of higher education.”

Chesney continued, “Dr. Wee and I strongly agree that despite their very different histories, structures, and funding models, our two institutions share far more similarities than differences, broadly overlapping missions and values, and a commitment to the common good. These partnerships and others that follow are much bigger than the two of us and our two institutions. We look forward to working together with other Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the City of Dubuque, the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (GDDC), employers, and not-for-profits to build upon the cornerstone that Clarke and NICC will lay together for an education and employment ecosystem that will have others saying, ‘Dubuque gets it right.’”

Read further details about the “NICC Today, CU Tomorrow” program and program offerings.

About Clarke University
Founded in 1843 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Clarke University is located near the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa. The University believes learning is lifelong and life-changing. Our community inspires intellectual curiosity, cultural engagement, professional preparedness, spiritual exploration, and a commitment to contributing to the common good in a global society. Academic offerings include over 50 undergraduate majors and minors, 10 pre-professional programs, and six graduate degree programs.

About Northeast Iowa Community College
Northeast Iowa Community College is a higher education institution serving eight counties in northeast Iowa and surrounding areas. Offering more than 66 programs of study in addition to online, customized business and industry training, short-term certificate options and adult education and literacy, NICC is committed to affordable, high-quality education and training to ensure the growth and vitality of northeast Iowa.