CLINTON — Clinton Community College President Karen Vickers has announced her retirement effective Dec. 31.
Vickers, whose announcement was made today, has served Eastern Iowa Community Colleges as president of Clinton Community College since 1996, providing vision, leadership and direction to the college’s credit and non-credit programs and student development services.
In addition, Vickers serves as the EICC’s vice chancellor for Student Development with responsibilities that include financial aid, records and registration, student activities and government, advising and athletics. She earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in Counseling from Western Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in Family Environment from Iowa State University.
“Karen has positively touched the lives of a countless number of students during her time at Clinton Community College,” said EICC Chancellor Don Doucette. “She has been a driving force not only for the college and EICC, but the entire Clinton community. On behalf of all of the students who have passed through the college’s doors, as well as the many faculty and staff with whom she has worked, I want to express my tremendous gratitude for all she has accomplished.”
Vickers joined Clinton Community College in 1984 as a career development counselor, bringing experience from Indian Hills Community College, where she directed the CETA Youth Programs and the Job Training Partnership Act. She served as a career development counselor and soon was named assistant dean for Adult and Community Education, where she expanded the GED programming to include DeWitt and Maquoketa. As dean of the college, Vickers initiated an alternative high school in cooperation with the local school system and developed articulation agreements with area high schools.
During her tenure as president, Vickers also served as vice chancellor for Academic Leadership, guiding instructional planning, offerings, and new program development that resulted in new programs. She chaired the faculty committee that developed the Quality Faculty Plan for EICC, facilitated faculty technology grants to encourage development of online courses and developed a new AS degree in pre-engineering.
In her role as vice chancellor of Student Development, Vickers’ efforts have resulted in a District-wide Advising Process, a new student intake and orientation process, additional services for military and veteran students, and new policies and procedures to address changing regulations in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
Since 1996, Clinton Community College has added new technologies such as the state-of-the-art Virtual and Nursing Labs, and has extended the use of technology to every classroom and wireless Internet access. As CCC president, Vickers spearheaded the local campaign for the successful passage of a $33 million capital bond referendum resulting in new facilities throughout, specifically construction of the new CCC Maquoketa Center, the addition of new chemistry and physics labs, and the refurbishment of the biology and microbiology labs, Student Success Center and Business Services area.
Under Vickers’ leadership, Clinton Community College has been recognized as one of Iowa’s Top Workplaces by the Des Moines Register since 2012. In 2016, the main campus was renovated and the CCC Library was refurbished resulting in a state-of-the-art hub for research and resources, a library available to all citizens throughout the service region.
Vickers established the annual Community College Month celebration. She has facilitated the establishment of a variety of new scholarships including the High School Equivalency Tuition Voucher program, which awards a three-credit course to each graduate of the HiSET program.
“Dr. Vickers’ vision, tireless commitment and leadership have made a dramatic positive impact on not only the lives of countless Clinton Community College students but to the residents of the greater Clinton metro area as well,” said EICC Trustee and Paul B. Sharar Foundation Board Chairman Bill Vetter.
In 2016, International Phi Theta Kappa honored Vickers with the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction. College presidents and campus CEOs are selected for this award on the basis of outstanding efforts given toward promoting the goals of Phi Theta Kappa. She has been named Community Leader of the Year by the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, Business Associate of the Year by the American Business Women Association and YWCA Woman of Achievement.
Vickers has served on many boards including the Clinton Regional Development Corporation, Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, Mercy Medical Center, US Bank, Iowa State University Extension Citizens Advisory Council, Community Action of Eastern Iowa Board, United Way of Clinton County, Jackson County Economic Alliance, City of Clinton Housing Authority, and the Clinton Community School District Facilities Planning Task Force. She is a member of Rotary International. In 2010, Clinton Community College was honored as the YWCA Business Leader of the Year.
Vickers and her husband, Dave, live in Clinton, and are the parents of two daughters and grandparents to one grandson.
Doucette said the college will begin the process of selecting Vickers’ successor in the coming weeks.