Pathways to Education
The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) are entering into a new and historic partnership that will provide DMACC students with a streamlined pathway to a four-year degree—all while maintaining the convenience of the Des Moines location.
Known as “UNI at DMACC,” this new 2 + 2 program is designed for students to complete their first two years at DMACC, with the remaining two years completed through UNI without having to relocate to Cedar Falls.
Building on Our Success
As public institutions that share a commitment to expanding educational access, UNI and DMACC are well-positioned to partner on affordable, high-quality degree options for students. The two schools have collaborated on teacher education for more than 20 years, offering a 2+2 program at DMACC’s Carroll campus. Nearly 300 students have graduated from the program since 1995.
Given the increasing educational needs in Iowa and the strategic opportunities that exist in the Des Moines metro area, the time is right to expand this partnership.
Developed by UNI President Mark Nook and DMACC President Rob Denson, UNI at DMACC is the result of more than a year of conversations centering around how to make a bachelor’s degree more convenient for the 5,000 students enrolled at the DMACC Urban Campus.
- This partnership will include both academic programming and sharing of physical space.
- The program will begin in the fall of 2020, pending Board of Regents approval.
- Graduates will earn UNI’s bachelor of liberal studies (BLS) degree, which is designed to foster broad knowledge and skills employers desire, such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, information literacy and the ability to adapt.
UNI’s BLS is nationally recognized as a top program of its kind, and has seen increasing demand from students in the past five years. More than 200 UNI students are currently pursuing the BLS degree. Details about the UNI at DMACC program and program offerings can be found at belong.uni.edu/dmacc.
Fortifying Our Future
UNI at DMACC will expand opportunities for students attending the DMACC Urban Campus and other DMACC metro sites. Initially, courses will be offered in an online format with staff present to support students in all aspects of the program. The potential exists to include additional offerings in the future.
UNI will lead fundraising efforts to accommodate this new partnership:
- $5 million total fundraising goal
- $2.5 million will support capital needs at the DMACC Urban Campus
- $2.5 million will support programming and scholarships
UNI at DMACC will elevate educational attainment for all students, especially those historically underrepresented in higher education, such as racial/ethnic minorities and the new majority of college students which come from nontraditional backgrounds—i.e., they delayed enrollment in college following high school, work full-time, identify as a single parent or fall into other categories. More than 70 percent of enrolled postsecondary students are now considered nontraditional.
DMACC Urban is the first public majority-minority college campus in Iowa, with a 52 percent population of students of color, and the average age of its student body is 28. Many of these students are not able to relocate to continue their education. The partnership will allow these students to gain the advantages of a four-year degree without having to leave their jobs, families, and communities. The goals of UNI at DMACC also align with the governor’s Future Ready Iowa initiative, which aims to boost postsecondary education and training in Iowa’s workforce.
Join Us in Support
We invite the Des Moines community, the extended DMACC and Panther families, and all Iowans to join this partnership and support educational access for students. The true spirit of the UNI at DMACC initiative is the belief in the power of education to improve lives, and to help individuals reach their personal, professional and life goals.
Your gift to UNI at DMACC advances UNI’s strategic goal of retaining and graduating students. To give, contact Jim Jermier, president of the UNI Foundation, or Andrea Elliott, senior regional director of development at the UNI Foundation, at 319-273-6078.