(Council Bluffs) -- Iowa Western Community College's new president is reflecting on his first three months in office.
Dr. Daniel P. Kinney became the school's top administrator January 1st, following the retirement of his father, Dr. Dan Kinney, after 26 years in the position. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program, the younger Kinney says his first 100 days have been "amazing." He says most of his time has been spent listening and learning.
"I've tried to get out into the communities a little bit more," said Kinney. "Fortunately, there's a lot of people that want to talk to me on campus. I think the reason behind it is, we've got such amazing things happening here at Iowa Western that everybody wanted to share with me. So, I spent a lot of time listening to a lot our faculty, our staff, and they've got great ideas. Now, we've just got to get those ideas out of them, and make them happen out there."
One of Kinney's first major goals is to help revitalize Iowa Western's centers in Shenandoah, Atlantic and Harlan.
"We're in the middle of a task force that's working on that," he said. "I have another meeting later tomorrow (Thursday) in regards to that, putting some vision down to there. We really want to grow what we're doing with our centers to support the rural communities outside of Council Bluffs."
Overall enrollment at Iowa Western for the spring semester is down about 1% from that same time last year, when COVID-19 impacted the school and other learning institutions nationwide. Kinney says Iowa Western students and staff are still dealing with the pandemic. Many classes are still being conducted remotely. However, Kinney expects enrollment to rebound in the fall, when he hopes a state of normalcy returns to the college.
"Our faculty talk to me regularly," said Kinney, "when are we going to get back to more face-to-face classes? How can we do that? Our students are saying that. Everybody here really wants that. That's the learning environment I would say 90% of our students want. We're still going to have some students that aren't ready to be back in the classroom, even next fall. But, we're still going to have an option of learning for them."
Kinney gives the school's students and faculty high marks in coping and adapting to COVID-related conditions.
"There were no plans for us," he said. "I mean, we all had pandemic plans prior to last March--literally just a little over a year ago. But, you know, you get that plan out, and it's like, 'okay, that didn't quite work how we thought it would in planning.' So, overall, I'm giving us an 'A' on that one."
He adds most of Iowa Western's faculty have received COVID vaccinations, and shot clinics are being held for students, as well. You can hear the full interview with Dr. Daniel Kinney on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.