What’s in a name?

contributed photo The student activity entrance at Marshalltown Community College.

William Shakespeare famously asked “what is in a name?” During my three years at Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) I have been answering less profound name questions: What is a Chancellor? Why does Iowa Valley use so many different names including Iowa Valley, Marshalltown Community College (MCC), Ellsworth Community College (ECC) and Iowa Valley Continuing Education (IVCE)? How do I know when to use which name?

In addition to being a character from Star Wars (Chancellor Palpatine) or a world leader from Germany (Chancellor Olaf Scholz), the title is used on occasion in higher education. For nearly two decades, the leader of IVCCD has carried the title of chancellor. Last month, the Iowa Valley Board voted to return to the title of president. While my business cards will change, my work will not. Our goal is simply that students and the public will better understand the title of president.

As to why we use three different names, the answer is found in history. In the 1960s when the state of Iowa created the community college system, both MCC and ECC had already been serving their respective communities for decades. Both ECC and MCC were trail blazers in Iowa’s educational landscape, and we are proud of the rich history that accompanies these important names. Iowa Valley Community College District was the name selected to tie the rich traditions together and serves as our legal name.

One historical name that is changing is Iowa Valley Continuing Education. This team will now be called Business and Community Solutions because it better describes their work and impact today in our communities throughout the four-county region (Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek, and Tama).

But you don’t have to worry about using the right name, we answer to all, and we are proud of all our names and the history behind them. Just know that when you are served by any of us, you are served by all of us.

• ECC makes it possible for MCC to offer college credit agriculture classes to our area high schools.

• Iowa Valley Business and Community Solutions (formerly known as IVCE) teaches all of our Certified Nursing Assistant classes even though some students are “enrolled” at MCC or ECC.

• MCC welding faculty also teach for Business and Community Solutions and some of these classes are taught on the ECC campus and MCC has a satellite campus in Grinnell which is commonly known as Iowa Valley Grinnell.

You can call us whatever you want as long as you call us, email us or stop to see us. Our priority is fulfilling our mission to provide quality learning experiences, ensuring student success, partnering to address diverse community needs in an inclusive and respectful environment, and we need our community to accomplish this.


Kristie Fisher is the president of the

Iowa Valley Community College District.


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