Ralph E. Reynolds, director of School of Education, with commencement speaker Rob Denson, president of DMACC and ISU Community College Leadership Program alum. Photo by Wyeth Lynch.
Ralph E. Reynolds, director of School of Education, with commencement speaker Rob Denson, president of DMACC and ISU Community College Leadership Program alum. Photo by Wyeth Lynch.

Program cultivates community college leaders

Though Iowa State stands as one of the nation’s oldest land-grant universities, Larry Ebbers has spent more than two decades helping it earn another distinction: Community College Central.

A University Professor of higher education, Ebbers has accelerated the development of two-year institutions throughout Iowa as head of Iowa State’s Community College Leadership Program. Under his direction, the program has helped cultivate nine of the state’s current community college presidents and roughly two-thirds of those colleges’ administrators.

“We started the program in cooperation with community college presidents, and part of the process is identifying leaders,” said Ebbers. “We look for people who are aspiring to leadership roles, and the community colleges have identified people who they think should be interested in those roles. They see the program as being a very important part of the succession planning process at their institutions.”

In addition to academic tracks that culminate in a certificate, master’s degree and doctorate, the program encompasses two leadership enterprises: the Leadership Institute for a New Century (LINC) and the Community College Leadership Initiative Consortium (CLIC). Founded in 1989, LINC fosters the advancement of women and minorities from entry- and mid-level positions to administrative roles at Iowa’s community colleges. According to Ebbers, more than 60 percent of its graduates have earned promotions upon completing the institute. He observed that LINC has evolved in tandem with the “changing face of Iowa and the nation,” citing the institute’s co-sponsorship of the Iowa Latino/a Education Initiative Conference in October of 2012.

As LINC has helped promote oft-overlooked demographics to such positions as vice president, provost, and dean, CLIC has ensured that these upper-echelon administrators grasp the opportunities and challenges arising from the rapidly shifting community college landscape. CLIC participants, in turn, have helped shape the consortium itself.

“We talk about the curriculum with them…because one of the things we stress is [translating] theory to practice,” said Ebbers, noting that this collaboration has also cemented Iowa State as the state’s top destination for community college transfer students.

“We’re very close with our students in the leadership programs, and they have a very positive image of Iowa State,” he said. “I think it’s become a wonderful partnership for both sides.”

Contacts

Larry Ebbers, University Professor, Iowa State University School of Education, 515-294-8067, lebbers@iastate.edu

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    Iowa State’s Community College Leadership Program has helped cultivate nine of the state’s current community college presidents.


  • “We’re very close with our students in the leadership programs, and they have a very positive image of Iowa State. I think it’s become a wonderful partnership for both sides.”

    Larry Ebbers