UI officially takes over AIB College of Business

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UI officially takes over AIB College of Business

FILE - The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

FILE - The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Tom Jorgensen/University of iowa

FILE - The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

Tom Jorgensen/University of iowa

Tom Jorgensen/University of iowa

FILE - The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.

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By Zach Weigel

[email protected]

As of July 1, the former AIB College of Business campus in downtown Des Moines is now officially the Iowa Center for Higher Education.

Since being given the campus after AIB closed in 2015, the University of Iowa has been hard at work sorting through the details in preparation for the takeover.

At first, indications were that the campus could be run by all three regent universities, but Tom Rice, the academic director of the UI Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines, said they suspected all along that it might just be the UI running the campus.

“The hope is that all three schools might eventually offer degrees here, but it’s up to the other institutions,” he said.

Rice said he hopes the three regent schools will eventually be able to collaborate with each other so that students could interchange classes among the three institutions.

For now, however, he sees the AIB takeover as the perfect fit for the UI, he said. UI officials had looked to expand their presence in Des Moines, he noted.

“It just happened, and we’re going to start slow and figure out what’s best for the marketplace here,” he said. “There is demand in Des Moines, and it’ll be prudent to develop our programming methodically, thoughtfully, and gradually.”

Rice thinks that within five to seven years, there will be a significant UI presence in Des Moines.

This coming fall, the Education Center will start by offering five programs. Four undergraduate degrees in political science, enterprise leadership, sports and recreation management, and social work will be available in addition to a graduate social-work program.

“Only the social-work degree can be completed entirely at the Des Moines campus,” Rice said. “Other majors will offer two to three classes per semester.”

Nonetheless, he said, students will still be able to get degrees by mixing on-line classes with those offered in the classroom. Officials hope this will cater to nontraditional students.

Rice said nearly everything will be the same between the Des Moines campus and the Iowa City one with fees being the only exception.

“Tuition, curricular requirements, admissions standards, and expectations won’t change,” he said.

A report from Josh Lehman, the state Board of Regents’ senior communications director, said there were numerous advantages that the Des Moines center can offer.

The report addressed higher-education needs in the Des Moines metro area, stating, “The Des Moines metro area includes almost one-quarter of the state’s population … and lacks necessary baccalaureate programs.”

According to the report, the AIB takeover could help address some educational needs not available through existing institutions.

The report noted that the sports and recreation management major is one of the most popular at the UI, and the Des Moines campus will enable internship opportunities with such professional teams as the Iowa Cubs, Energy, and Wild. The enterprise-leadership program will also benefit from internships with businesses and consulting firms, and the political-science program can enjoy being closer to state lawmakers at the Statehouse.

Before the AIB takeover, the UI was involved in Des Moines, previously offering some classes and programs through the Pappajohn Education Center. Now, everything will be centralized at the Center for Education at the former AIB campus.

Sandra McGee, a UI clinical assistant professor of social work who has taught through the Pappajohn Education Center, said the UI has had a master’s social-work program in Des Moines for 50 years, but the bachelor’s program has only been started in the last five. She sees the change helping to grow the program, she said.

“The move is a great opportunity for the school in terms of growth, because moving to a campus setting will increase our visibility,” McGee said.

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