Institutional Effectiveness Data

The Kirkwood Community College Institutional Effectiveness team administers processes whereby the college engages in ongoing self-evaluation in order to measure achievements and outcomes as they relate to Kirkwood's mission.

Learn more about how the department can help with Process Improvement and application details for the Innovation Fund. 

Process Improvement

Process improvement is a systematic approach used to make incremental and breakthrough improvements in processes.

Process improvement can result in a faster, better, more efficient and/or cost-effective way to deliver products, services, and support to customers.

By examining a process with the objective of creating efficiencies that optimize the customer's value and experience, the college will gain speed of delivery and reduce risks to quality, thereby improving customer satisfaction.

As Kirkwood Community College continues to grow and change, our values of respect, diversity, excellence, and responsibility remain constant. To maintain that value of excellence we need to continually be identifying opportunities to examine and improve processes that contribute to such achievement and adapt to the ever changing educational landscape.

In doing so, it is important to simultaneously maintain flexibility to ensure new approaches can be incorporated as conditions change and to be user friendly to those who have to work within the system.

Institutional Effectiveness recognizes process improvement is a priority with the goal to make processes efficient – minimizing the resources used; to make processes effective – producing the desired results; and to facilitate successful implementation of process improvements.

  • Identifying and eliminating activities that add cost without adding value
  • Improving the flow of work processes
  • Improving the final product or service
  • Improving decision making based on sound data and reasoning
  • Aligning improvements with the college's mission, vision, and values
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement
  • Introduction of new systems, tools, regulations, etc. that impact work
  • Customer expectations are not being met
  • Changes in staff or absorption of additional work requiring more time
  • Employees do not understand the value of tasks being performed
  • Employees are chasing information
  • Work is getting lost or duplicated between department silos

Fulfilling our mission and meeting expectations require the engagement and active participation from all members of the Kirkwood community. You are vital to our success in helping the college fulfill its vision.

If you wish to gain additional knowledge about our process or want to discuss possibilities for improvement, please contact Megan Thole at

Request Process Improvement

Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund is designed to encourage and fund creativity, ingenuity, and new ideas that have potential to benefit at least one component of Kirkwood’s Learner Success Blueprint, including learner success, student experience, employee development, community impact, or operational excellence.

Financial support is offered in two ways

  1. Funding one- to three-year implementation projects that investigate and implement ideas initiated by faculty or staff.
  2. Funding one-time exploration projects for faculty or staff members to investigate whether an idea is feasible.

The annual fund allotment is $400,000 and can be divided between multiple proposals or given to one proposal. Unused funds from any fiscal year will be rolled into the fund for subsequent fiscal years. Cabinet has final authority to decide how the funds will be allocated.

Any faculty or staff member may submit a proposal. An individual may submit more than one proposal if each proposal is distinct.

A proposal must have the potential for a positive impact on at least one area of the Learners Success Blueprint and must provide an innovative way to fulfill one or more parts of Kirkwood’s mission.

The 2023 application will open on December 1, 2022 and close March 1, 2023. Application details will be available in MyHub starting December 1. In MyHub, click on Employee Links and search Innovation Fund.

  • The Innovation Fund is not accepting applications in 2023.

The following criteria are components of the rubric used to score each proposal. For the proposal to be recommended for Cabinet review, a minimum cut score, determined annually based on number of submissions and dollars available, must be met or surpassed.

  • Innovative
  • Proposal quality
  • Stakeholders and level of collaboration identified
  • Support of and alignment with the Learner Success Framework identified
  • Detailed action plan
  • Developed budget and timeline
  • Potential for growth and scalability
  • Sustainability
  • Process for dissemination of results verified

The application is an online process. The application is designed to assist the applicant in addressing elements in the Innovation Fund Rubric, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure each rubric element has been addressed. Attach any charts, graphs, or other supplemental materials in the appropriate section at the end of the application.

Nursing Preceptor Academy - Trisha Swartzendruber, Nursing

Kirkwood nursing students follow a preceptor in the hospital for 175 hours during the last semester of the nursing program. Due to a high turnover rate of nurses in the hospitals, often our preceptors have less than two years of experience. Some hospitals offer a preceptor course; however, information is not consistent between hospitals. We will explore what each of these courses offer and work with the facilities to develop a course in which all preceptors in the Eastern Iowa Corridor Region could participate.

English Language Learner (ELL) Health Pathway Course and Student Support Group - Kathryn Dolter, Nursing

English language proficiency is important to student success in pre-nursing and nursing theory, lab, and simulation-focused courses. This project will focus on the planning and implementation of an ELL Health Pathway Course and student support group to increase the number of English Language Learners who matriculate into the Nursing or Allied Health programs, who graduate from these programs, and who successfully pass the required licensure examination for their specialty.

Product Development Planning and Pilot - Stephanie Bredman, Continuing Education and Training

In August 2019, the Continuing Education and Training Services division designed and implemented a research and planning process called the Opportunity Identification Process (OIP). The investment in new product development is essential to the sustainability and relevance of the CE&TS division. CE&TS will use the Innovation Fund to build curriculum for the FY21 product pilot roll-out and to perform additional product and market research for three ideas for roll-out in FY22.

Kirkwood and 380 Express Partnership - Nick Borders, Iowa City Campus

The Kirkwood Community College and 380 Express partnership will provide subsidized transportation to the Cedar Rapids campus for Kirkwood students enrolled in career and technical education programs. The proposal supports Kirkwood’s need to offer greater assistance to our diverse student population and helps to promote equity within our community.

Career Counseling for Partner School Districts - Craig Stadtmueller, Jones County Regional Center

Students enrolling at JREC dual credit academies who have received little career exploration support struggle to decide their futures. The Kirkwood Career Services department has created an online course called CareerQuest, an individualized career exploration tool that takes students through a self-identification process resulting in their best fit career pathways which are tied directly with Kirkwood’s educational offerings. This project will modify the currently successful CareerQuest course and make it available to 8-12 grade students within our partnering school districts.

Start Here Stay Here – Angie Gillis and Amanda Humphrey, Social Science

Start Here Stay Here explores factors that lead to low matriculation between social science academies and three social science programs experiencing declining enrollment. The project will organize focus groups to understand academy students’ career and educational goals, and then connect those students to various Kirkwood resources to show that Kirkwood is a great option for them.

Activity-Based Costing Exploration – Casey Dunning, Finance

Activity-Based Costing intends to overhaul our existing financial data reporting methods to provide leadership with the program-level insights necessary to make fully informed, data-driven solutions about the College’s operations. Potential insights and advancements the Activity-Based Costing model could include analysis of financial margins for program level offerings, normalization of reporting across business units, facility utilization reports, and economic analysis of Kirkwood’s various instruction/course delivery methods.

Developing and Implementing a CBE Emergency Medical Technician Course – Katie Lyman, Health Occupations

The Emergency Medical Technician courses (8.5 credits) are currently offered exclusively as an in-person format, thereby restricting student access to designated class dates and times. To provide more inclusive curriculum offerings, an asynchronous approach will be developed and implemented. If approved, Kirkwood would be the first in the area to offer an asynchronous EMT course, which will lead to increased enrollment.

Industrial Sculpture Course: A Collaboration Between the Arts and Humanities and Industrial Technologies Departments – Christopher Gray, Arts and Humanities and Sam Stark, Industrial Technologies

An Industrial Sculpture Course meets the needs of both Industrial Technologies CTE and Liberal Arts students. Industrial Technologies CTE students often struggle to complete general education requirements and Liberal Arts students do not have an opportunity to learn some of the most basic foundational techniques for creating sculptures due to inadequacies of the space that sculpture is currently being taught. The project will explore the feasibility of running a welding and sculpture course concurrently to increase completion and enhance student experience.


More Questions?