Top DMACC News Stories of 2020

Posted 12/23/2020

There were many positive stories across the College despite the pandemic.

  • ​A DMACC Nursing Instructor and a DMACC Emeritus Professor each go above and beyond to make a difference during the pandemic

  • DMACC President Rob Denson and DMACC Visiting Music Professor Simon Estes are honored for their significant accomplishments

  • Iowans and Iowa businesses make donations to DMACC construction projects

The coronavirus heavily impacted the lives of all of us in 2020. COVID-19 has changed how we lived our lives at home, at work and socialized with friends and loved ones. Those changes continue today. At DMACC, thousands of faculty, staff and students have had to pivot to online learning, participate in Zoom meetings and participate in virtual graduation ceremonies. COVID-19 related issues highlight some of the top DMACC stories of 2020.

“2020 will be a year we won’t soon forget,” said Rob Denson, DMACC President. “It was ​challenging, sometimes stressful with many changes that we have all had to adapt to. Not only for us, but colleges and universities across the country have faced similar hurdles this year. But I couldn’t be more proud of our faculty and staff for making the necessary changes to keep the Colleges operation running smoothly. And I’m so proud of each and every DMACC student for persevering and focused on their academic and career goals. These students, many soon to be graduates, will excel in the workplace because they already have the qualities and work ethic to succeed.”

Denson said while the students were away, the College has been busy building and renovating new facilities in preparation for their return this fall.

“Students will find a new and better DMACC when they return to in person classes this fall. The pandemic has allowed us to move faster on all of our construction projects,” noted Denson. “We’ve worked hard to improve the student experience both inside and outside the classroom. Our many construction projects show how we are investing in our students and the many communities that we serve.”

Here are some top DMACC stories of 2020:

  • A DMACC adjunct nursing instructor worked 19 consecutive 12-hour days battling COVID-19 in New York City during the height of the pandemic. Despite the long stressful hours, no breaks, living away from home and undergoing a lengthy decontamination every night, when Dr. Nicole Nichols was asked if she would do it again, she responded. “In a heartbeat!”

  • Another top DMACC story of the year was when DMACC Emeritus Industrial-Electro Mechanical Technology Professor Jack Thompson repurposed welding gear to make facemasks for St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll when personal protective equipment was in short supply.

  • Other COVID-related stories include DMACC waiving all online web-blended technology fees, DMACC guaranteeing students would receive a full refund if fall term classes were canceled due to COVID-19, DMACC cancelling spring break in 2021 for the first time in school history and delaying the start of spring semester credit classes one week.

  • In September, the DMACC Board of Trustees unanimously passed a Resolution of Appreciation, recognizing all DMACC faculty and staff for superior work in response to COVID-19, always putting students first.

  • There were many successes not related to the pandemic, too. DMACC President Rob Denson was named a “Sage Over 70” by DSM Magazine. Iowa native and DMACC Visiting Professor of Music, Dr. Simon Estes was among the first group of inductees in OPERA America’s newly created Opera Hall of Fame located in New York City. Some Des Moines firefighters created scholarships for black students to attend DMACC.

  • Significant construction projects are literally changing the landscape of DMACC Campuses. Thanks to a generous $250,000 donation from Boone, Iowa-based Fareway Corporation, the new Boone Campus Athletic complex will be called “Fareway Fieldhouse.”

  • The McLaughlin Family Companies, a Scranton, Iowa-based family owned company with 12 different industry-leading product lines, makes a $75,000 donation to the DMACC Foundation to be used for the DMACC Carroll Campus expansion project. The donation will specifically go to fund the new Welding Lab being built on the Carroll Campus.

  • Mark and Jill Oman, both University of Northern Iowa alumni, donated $1 million to the “UNI at DMACC” 2+2 program. The new 2+2 program is specifically designed for students to complete their first two years at DMACC, with the remaining two years completed online through UNI. Degree options include a Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) or Criminal Justice (BAS). The “UNI at DMACC” 2 + 2 program is located at the DMACC Urban Campus which is undergoing a 60,000 square foot STEM Center expansion and renovation project.

  • The partnership between DMACC and Subaru reached a milestone when a military veteran, Jared Szczepanski, became the first to complete DMACC’s Subaru-U program and is now a full-time automotive technician at Flagstaff (Arizona) Subaru. The Subaru-U program is located in the Karl Chevrolet Automotive Technology Center now being renovated on the Ankeny Campus.

  • A partnership between DMACC softball players and former elementary school girls led to something special this fall. Three former Sports Buddies signed national letters of intent to attend DMACC and play softball. Emily Ades, Zoey Hightshoe and Emma Dighton said they are looking forward to serving as friends, mentors and Sports Buddies to younger girls when they get on the Boone Campus next fall.

  • Help is on the way for some older students as well. DMACC has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide career and technical training to low-income 18-to-24 year-olds. The Workforce Training Academy-Young Adult Program (YAP) will help 80 people with a high school credential.

  • The DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy in Perry is helping prepare rural Iowa students for high-paying computer software technology jobs by starting a Computer Languages Academy. The Perry Center began a 30-credit, one-year diploma program in the high-demand, high-paying software development field in the fall semester.

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