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Old 01-12-2008, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Arizona
19 posts, read 67,910 times
Reputation: 11

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Hello,

This is my first post on these forums!

I currently work in the field of Student Affairs in Higher Education, and am looking to change colleges (and geographical regions) soon. I have always heard such great things about Iowa and its small liberal arts colleges in rural settings -- Grinell, Central, Buena Vista, Cornell, Luther, Dordt, etc. -- and am drawn to them both professionally and personally.

I'm young -- not yet 30, love to be in small- to mid-sized towns, and am looking to start a small-town, old-fashioned American dream family soon where I can make a difference in the lives of college students.

I have only driven along I-80 through Iowa and I think I was in Dubuque at some point, so I'm not really sure what towns, schools to look at first. What advice would you have for somebody like me?

I appreciate any/all responses!

Thanks so much!
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,835,529 times
Reputation: 451
I'm puzzled by the lack of responses to your question. Maybe people need a little more information about what kind of environment you're looking to work and live in before they make a suggestion.

A few questions:
1. How are you defining small and mid-sized towns. For example, would Dubuque be too big for you?

2. What kind of college are you looking to work in? Do you prefer a more conservative school or a liberal one, more secular or religious? Intellectual or down-to-earth?

There are so many colleges in Eastern Iowa, and they're all so different, that it's hard to pick one without a little more idea what you're going for.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:02 AM
 
520 posts, read 2,354,196 times
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william penn university is in the town of oskaloosa. i've been there once, its a nice, small town, about an hour from des moines.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:13 PM
 
3 posts, read 14,410 times
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The small towns in Iowa that have colleges are for the most part very nice, often having cultural advantages and vibrant business districts. There are, of course differences depending on location, the relative liberalism or conservatism of the communities, and cultural and historical heritage associated with them.

Decorah - I went to undergrad at Luther. It's located in one of the most scenic areas of the state, and it has a proud Norwegian heritage. It is a quaint, historic small town of about 8,000 people. It's main drawback is its relative isolation from larger metropolitan areas.

Pella - (Central College) Town with Dutch heritage, also very neat community. It is situated fairly close to Des Moines.

Storm Lake - (Buena Vista College) Pretty nice lake town in northwest Iowa. It is also fairly isolated from larger cities.

Grinnell - (Grinnell College) Farming community in central Iowa, about halfway between Iowa City and Des Moines.

Mt. Vernon - (Cornell College) Beautiful historical community. It is smaller than most, but it is very close to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Quiet community.

Sioux Center - (Dordt College) Fast-growing community in northwest Iowa. It is a clean community, but lacks the historical and cultural advantages that many of the other small towns with colleges possess.

Oskaloosa - (William Penn) No real personal experience with this community.

Dubuque - (University of Dubuque, Loras, Clarke) A larger community (56,000), but has three small liberal arts colleges. Has been economically depressed, but is experienceing a resurgeance and has made great capital improvements over the last few years. Historically significant and situated in a beautiful landscape along the Mississippi.

Waverly (Wartburg) - Nice community in NE Iowa. Close proximity to Cedar Falls and Waterloo.

Orange City (Northwestern) - Neat Dutch community in northwest Iowa, close to Sioux Center. Dutch Heritage plays a significant role in the community. Sioux City is the closest larger city (about 40 miles)

Fayette (Upper Iowa University) - Very small NE Iowa community.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:28 PM
 
3,376 posts, read 12,360,176 times
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I think also, in terms of culture that comes with a college town, it would be nice for you to be near Iowa City. IC is what I think of as a "college town" however it sounds like you are wanting something smaller. but - it's always nice to be nearby so you can easily drive over if there is ever a festival, book signing, restaurant, museum, etc that you'd like to visit.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Arizona
19 posts, read 67,910 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpHawkeye View Post
I'm puzzled by the lack of responses to your question. Maybe people need a little more information about what kind of environment you're looking to work and live in before they make a suggestion.

A few questions:
1. How are you defining small and mid-sized towns. For example, would Dubuque be too big for you?

2. What kind of college are you looking to work in? Do you prefer a more conservative school or a liberal one, more secular or religious? Intellectual or down-to-earth?

There are so many colleges in Eastern Iowa, and they're all so different, that it's hard to pick one without a little more idea what you're going for.
1. When I think of small towns, I think of a town smaller than 20,000 folks. However, I don't want to be completely isolated. That's why Pella (looks like it is close to Des Moines) or Storm Lake (looks like it is relatively close to Sioux City and Sioux Falls) seem intriguing. I'd like to be, you know, within an hour or so of a big city -- like the QC or Des Moines or IA City.

2. I attended a small, Christian liberal arts college. I'm more conservative myself but really would be open to anything where there is a sense of community and the development of successful students.

Maybe that clears things up a bit!

Thank you all!
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,835,529 times
Reputation: 451
Hmm...that helps narrow it down a bit!

I think Central in Pella would be your best bet. Central's one of the best colleges in the state, it's church affiliated (can't remember which one exactly, though) and fairly conservative. Great language programs there with a big emphasis on study abroad. Pella's a great town--clean, safe, close to Des Moines and Lake Red Rock. People in Pella can be a little stand off-ish though, and have some reputation for being clique driven--not sure if that extends to the college community.

I'd also look at Dubuque. It might be a little big for you, but it does have three good colleges and seems to be a tight-knit community with a lot of history and good growth (town and college) over the last few years.

One you might want to also consider is Drake in Des Moines. Drake is a great mid-sized college with a lot going for it right now. They've done a lot of building lately, and there's a lot of improvement in the neighborhood around the college as well. It's got a great reputation, a good sports community, and a lot of local support. Des Moines isn't a small town by any standards, but you could commute.
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
1,744 posts, read 6,782,477 times
Reputation: 1215
I'd also suggest Simpson in Indianola. I don't know much about the school except me and some friends of mine went down to a bar around the campus a few years ago to chase tail (to no avail) and in 1995 I saw the Violent Femmes there and got hit on by a drunk frat boy who thought I was a girl with a shaved head (I was 14 at the time).

Indianola is kind of a cool little town. It's technically not a suburb of Des Moines, but it's about 15 miles away. Most of it is pretty nice, it offers all the normal shopping and things one usually wants (grocery stores, Wal-Mart, movie theaters,etc) and has a pretty decent downtown square with stores, coffee houses, restaurants and so-on.
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Old 01-20-2008, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Dubuque Metro, Iowa
209 posts, read 1,026,404 times
Reputation: 119
Waverly has Wartburg College, which is a pretty campus, I think Waverly is almost 9,000 now.
Grinnell has Grinnell College, and it is a wonderful campus, great for a city and college so small.
Cedar Rapids has Mount Mercy College, maybe it is in Marion, either way it is a very small campus in a suburban area, and is pretty, CR is about 130,000, Mar., 38,000.
Indianola has Simpson College, which is not anything too special, but the town itself is very nice, I believe Indianola is almost 15,000.
Clinton has Ashford University, located in the heart of the city, and only walking distance from the Mississippi River, three-five blocks, Ashford is a nice campus... Clinton may be a little big, though, with a population approaching 30,000.
DUBUQUE has several nice universities. We have a Wartburg Theological Seminary, Loras College, which on the bluff overlooks the city beautifully, Clarke College, not too far away, used to be an all girls college, Loras all boys, now they are not, but anyway Clarke College, in my opinion is the most beautiful campus in Dubuque. The you have University of Dubuque on University Avenue, it is a fine campus, not anything too special, but I have heard great things about it.

----There are several more I am sure--but these are the best ones I could think of.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Arizona
19 posts, read 67,910 times
Reputation: 11
Default Original poster here ...

Thanks for all of the information! I've been looking at some of the websites, and everything looks great. So far Central College looks like my favorite, but Dubuque seems to have a good reputation and some cool opportunities.
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