The University of Northern Iowa and DMACC 2+2 Elementary Education Program is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the largest student class in its history, part of a successful partnership that is expanding in Des Moines and beyond. 

The 2+2 Elementary Education Program, leading to a bachelor’s degree, is the longest-running partnership between a university and community college in the state and was created to help rural school districts overcome challenges finding suitable teaching candidates. “We’re providing rural districts that can have trouble attracting qualified candidates with teachers who are trained by the best teaching school in the state,” said Marc Renning, the program coordinator and an instructor with the College of Education.

The program was devised as a way to bridge the gap between nontraditional and/or place-bound students who were interested in becoming teachers. It combines two years of classes at DMACC followed by two years of upper-level coursework delivered by UNI through a combination of in-person, online and hybrid approaches.  

As a result of the program, UNI and DMACC have expanded the partnership to include UNI@DMACC. UNI staff will be located at DMACC's urban campus to provide support for several online degree completion programs designed for adult learners: the Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Managing Business and Organizations, and BAS in Criminal Justice, as well as a Chinese Studies certificate program.  

"This long-term partnership has allowed hundreds of Iowa students to benefit from attending one of the Midwest's top universities for educators without leaving home," said President Mark A. Nook. "We're proud of its success and we're excited to deepen our partnership in Des Moines. We want Iowans to have options and these programs help provide a high-quality, affordable education to more students across the state."

“Our partnership with UNI is an Iowa success story,” said Rob Denson, president of DMACC. “Over the years, our two institutions have helped thousands of students from multiple generations achieve their personal and career goals. Now, we’re expanding that collaboration for place-bound students in metro Des Moines and beyond. The UNI@DMACC partnership based at the DMACC Urban Campus is a model for student success. We’re eager to start serving a new and more diverse generation of students.”