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Local

Newton DMACC provost hosting open house next week

DMACC Newton Campus Provost Joe DeHart meets with a culinary arts class Wednesday morning. DeHart 
will host an open house at the campus from 4 to 6 p.m. April 6 on the second-floor atrium.
DMACC Newton Campus Provost Joe DeHart meets with a culinary arts class Wednesday morning. DeHart will host an open house at the campus from 4 to 6 p.m. April 6 on the second-floor atrium.

Community members will get a chance to meet new DMACC Newton Campus Provost Joe DeHart next Thursday when he hosts a reception and open house at the college.

DeHart, who has been provost since January, said the event will provide people with the opportunity to not only meet him, but also get acquainted or reacquainted with the campus.

The new provost is not new to DMACC or to Newton. DeHart has been with DMACC for 15 years and served as the college’s executive director of institutional effectiveness. In that role, he worked with data analysis and strategic planning.

DeHart used a sports analogy to describe his position change. As executive director of institutional effectiveness, he was coaching from the booth. He was watching the game on the field and calling some plays, but he was more separated from the action. Provost allows him to get more involved with the physical game.

“I really saw this opportunity to get down on the field and talk with students, be involved with faculty,” he said. “Plus, a chance to contribute to my hometown. I grew up here. I raised my family here.”

DeHart, who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in education administration from Iowa State University, is a graduate of Newton High School. His family moved to Newton when he was five years old in 1970.

In his new role, DeHart said one of the challenges is keeping track of so many new faces and names. The DMACC community has been very supportive, he said.

The provost wants to grow enrollment at the Newton campus in two ways. First, he wants to appeal to students who plan on transferring somewhere else after their studies at DMACC. He said it’s a wise, money-saving choice for many students who plan to eventually move on to universities.

“We can really give them a quality education at an affordable price and keep their debt down,” DeHart said.

The other way DeHart wants to grow enrollment is through short-term programs, targeting people who may have demanding personal schedules due to family or other commitments. He said there are certain people, like single moms for example, who could benefit from certificate programs that take one semester to complete.

A two-year degree might be difficult, but people in those situations might have enough resources to get through one semester and have something that will be valuable in the workforce, he said.

DMACC has many students who stay for brief stints to secure the training they need, and DeHart embraces it. Those students may come back later for additional education, or they may not.

“Wherever those students are at, we provide an environment that is never a burnt bridge,” DeHart said. “That attitude of meeting the students where they’re at is important for a community college.”

DeHart will be joined by his family at next Thursday’s event. His wife, Rebecca DeHart, is a math professor at the Newton campus. Their four children all have a DMACC connection, too. Paul, David, Ryan and Reese have all either graduated from DMACC or are currently enrolled in one of the college’s many programs.

Contact Justin Jagler at 641-792-3121 ext 6532 or jjagler@newtondailynews.com

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