U of I learning centers in Bettendorf, Davenport, may close

Two University of Iowa learning centers – one in Davenport and the other in Bettendorf – will close if the Iowa Board of Regents approves proposals on Feb. 28.

“It’s clear that the majority of working professional students prefer the convenience of online classes over driving, sometimes considerable distances and in uncertain weather conditions, to attend class in-person,” Amy Kristof-Brown, Dean of the Tippie College of Business, said Thursday in a statement to Our Quad Cities News. “We are fearless in serving student needs and being good stewards of state and student resources.”

University of Iowa
University of Iowa

“If the Board of Regents approves it next week, the location would close at the end of the semester, meaning those currently enrolled in courses in these programs would finish them, but there wouldn’t be any more students enrolled in classes after the spring term,” Josh Lehman, senior communications director for the Iowa Board of Regents, told Our Quad Cities News.

The proposal is to close the Birchwood Learning Center location, which offers a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) and Professional Master of Business Administration (MBA) through the Tippie College of Business (TCOB) and the Scott Community College Learning Center location, which offers a Master of Social Work, according to Board of Regents documents.

The Council of Provosts and Board office staff has reviewed the proposal and recommends approval, documents say.

Current MBA and MSBA students at Birchwood Learning Center will be able to complete coursework through online offerings at the pace of their choosing and with more flexibility, documents show.

“Given the number of students applying to the Birchwood Center was so low that it would not be feasible to offer courses at that site, beginning in summer 2022 students applying to Birchwood were offered the option of moving to an online learning center,” according to documents, which say there will be cost savings from no longer leasing space in Davenport.

The Scott Community College Learning Center was opened about 50 years ago as a part of the University of Iowa Master of Social Work (MSW)  to serve the educational needs of students and the community in the eastern part of the state. “At that time UI was the only MSW program serving Iowa, and the demand for qualified social workers necessitated the opening of this educational center. It was originally organized through the Quad-Cities Graduate Study Center, a consortium of 10 universities. When the Graduate Center closed, the program moved to Scott Community College where there was an office and classroom space.”

Two changes that impacted enrollment in the program were the closing of Marycrest University’s BA in Social Work program, which was a “feeder program” for this MSW program location, and the opening of St. Ambrose’s MSW program, which led to increased competition for students and practicum sites.

“There has been a decrease in applications to the learning center, while at the same time, the program is expanding the online MSW program due to increased demand. It is anticipated prospects in the region of Scott Community College will apply to the online program.”

In the last recruitment effort in spring 2021, 10 students applied to the Scott Community College Learning Center. All 10 students were offered admission, and eight accepted and enrolled in the online program. No students are currently enrolled at the Scott Community College Learning Center.

What is the Iowa Board of Regents?

Created by the Iowa General Assembly in 1909, the Iowa Board of Regents is a group of nine citizens who govern three public educational institutions in the state through policy making, coordination, and oversight, as provided by law. The board enhances the quality of life for Iowans by maintaining the educational quality, accessibility, and public service activities of Iowa’s three public universities – the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.

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