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Nursing Program Receives National Recognition

Itasca Community College’s Lynette How has received national recognition by being appointed to serve on two accreditation committees by the National League for Nursing, Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN-CNEA).

How has been an Itasca Community College faculty member for 10 years and the Director of the Practical nursing program for the last 6 years. Prior to that, she served as an RN in both hospital and clinic settings. She has also served on and was recently reappointed to the Minnesota Board of Nursing for a 4-year term after successfully contributing a partial 2-year term in 2021. Lynette brings a unique approach to her work at ICC and feels passionate about program assessment, curriculum design, quality improvement initiatives, and building strong relationships with both students and colleagues as the foundation of their success.

How will serve two different appointments for the NLN-CNEA. First, she joins colleagues from all over the country to evaluate and assist other nursing programs in the accreditation process and ensure their programs meet quality standards. Second, she will serve on the NLN’s Evaluation Committee, which reviews evaluator applications, implements training programs for those involved in the accreditation process, oversees performance of evaluation teams and accreditation review committee members, reviews annual reports, and prepares a summary of findings for the Board of Commissioners.

ICC Provost, Dr. Bart Johnson, stated “I am excited for Lynette and for rural community colleges to have her perspective and experience being utilized at both the Minnesota Board of Nursing and with the accreditation committee. Her voice is very important for both rural nursing education and rural healthcare facilities.”

Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review

Coach Umlauf Recognized at National Tournament

The Vikings wrestling team had some historic numbers having the highest retention/eligibility rate in the country from first semester to second going 20 for 20. They had the highest team GPA in program history. Additionally, they had the highest number of community service hours.

Athletically, they had a program history high 8 national qualifiers of the 10 entrants, and head wrestling coach Joe Umlauf was recognized as the National Coach of the Year.

Source: The Guillotine

ICC's Greathouse Lead Nation in Sacks, Goes Division I

No football player recorded as many sacks as Ja’Sion Greathouse last year.

The star defensive end for Itasca Community College recorded an exceptional 20.5 sacks in only nine games. He also recorded 55 tackles and 34 solo tackles, as well as three fumble recoveries, including one returned fumble for a touchdown.

His performance led to him being named NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Greathouse’s football career is just beginning to blossom, but his journey to Itasca Community College was a difficult one.

As a high school student in Chicago, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker/defensive end showed immense potential on the football field, but all was not well. His home life was unstable, and as a result, Greathouse needed to set his education and football career aside.

The path back to the football field, however, wasn’t easy. He had to overcome an extraordinary amount of adversity to get where he is today.

Greathouse started his football career in the eighth grade with Chicago’s Fosco Park Chargers. By his sophomore year, he began to catch the eye of Division I college football programs.

At the time, Greathouse was living with his grandmother. When he was 17 years old, his grandmother passed away. The loss affected him greatly.

With nowhere to go, Greathouse joined the Air Force when he was 17 years old. Although it provided the stability and direction he needed, he couldn’t help but think he could be more productive elsewhere.

He decided to move back to Chicago where he stayed with his grandfather. It was there he began training intensely with the goal of playing college football.

Jason Hosey, a coach at Westinghouse College Prep in Chicago, saw Greathouse’s potential and advised him to play junior college football. He believed it was the best path to realize his goals and eventually play for an NCAA Division I college football program.

Greathouse began to reach out to football coaches at different schools. One day while browsing Twitter, Greathouse came across Itasca Community College, home of the little-known Vikings football team and located in the small town of Grand Rapids, Minn. The Vikings are an NJCAA team and play in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference.

After speaking with the team’s coaches he was soon signed to play for the Vikings in the 2020 season. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the entire season.

That October, Greathouse suffered yet another devastating setback. While in Miami, Greathouse was riding a personal watercraft when he hit an island while trying to turn. His friends told him he flew 10-13 feet in the air before landing on a rock. When he awoke, he had a broken back and was unable to move.

He was taken to a hospital in Miami where doctors said he was millimeters away from being paralyzed. He stayed at the hospital in Miami for nearly a month, unable to stand up or even feed himself. Thankfully, he was alive and on his way to a full recovery.

When he was finally able to return home to Chicago, he immediately began training again. His trainers at WIN Perfomance in Highland Park, Ill., were cautious but also amazed his ability to bounce back from a catastrophic injury.

When he reported to Vikings football camp in August 2021, he was ready to go. He told his coaches he wanted to record at least 17 sacks.

“They told me that if I wanted to make it out, I had to be first team all conference. I had to be different. I had to stand out,” Greathouse said.

In his first game, he recorded one sack.

By the second game against Vermilion, he had the most dominant performance of his career, recording 5.5 sacks, three tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries, and one touchdown.

“I wasn’t going to be denied,” he said.

Greathouse finished the year as the national leader with 20.5 sacks in only nine games. Due to a COVID-19 cancellation, Itasca Community College did not get to play its final game of the season, the MCAC Championship against M State Fergus Falls that was scheduled for Nov. 7, 2022.

Despite the cancellation, Greathouse came within striking distance of setting the all-time single season record, which was set by Butler’s Markus White in 2007. That year, Butler collected an astonishing 24.5 sacks.

“His talent is rare. He was on track to break the national record. He wasn’t able to get that done, but I believe he would have done it,” ICC Defensive Coordinator Michael Francis Bey said.

Eventually, all his hard work paid off. This February, Greathouse became the first player in ICC history to sign with a Division I college football team.

On National Signing Day on Feb. 2, Greathouse announced his decision to attend Southern University and play for new head coach Eric Dooley.

Now that Greathouse accomplished his goal of signing with a Division I football team, he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. His ultimate dream is to get drafted into the National Football League. He believes he can make that dream a reality in two years time.

“I know what I’m capable of and I know that I’m focused,” Greathouse said. “I know that I can do things right.”

His former coaches believe he has what it takes to make it to the NFL.

“He’s been an amazing athlete since the first day I met him his sophomore year,” Coach Hosey said. “He’s just scratched the surface.”

Coach Francis-Bey said he’s happy to see Greathouse take a step up in his football career.

“He had a skill set that not a lot of guys have. We’ve definitely enjoyed having him in Grand Rapids,” Francis-Bey said. “He could’ve gone anywhere else in the world and he decided to take chance on us.”

Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review (Ben Karkela)

GRACE House Supply Drive a Success

The Itasca Community College Psychology Club once again partnered with ICC Student Support Services to sponsor a supply drive for GRACE House. This year’s effort benefitted from an additional sponsor, the “Northern Stellas.” The Northern Stellas is a charitable organization that strives to empower women by helping them find their strengths and potential. They collaborate to provide support to individuals and/or organizations in the community.

The Northern Stellas, along with employees and students on the ICC campus, donated needed goods as well as cash to GRACE House.

GRACE House is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, temporary shelter for people who are experiencing homelessness. As Itasca County’s only homeless shelter, GRACE House typically serves more than 200 individuals and children each year.

Donations to GRACE House can be made on-line, by mail, or in person. For more information, visit www.gracehousemn.org or call 218-326-2790.

Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review

Elementary Education Program: St. Scholastica at ICC

The College of St. Scholastica announces the launch of an Elementary Education Degree Completion program at Itasca Community College (ICC). This bachelor of science degree will provide students with the knowledge, skills and disposition required to be successful in a variety of elementary education settings.

The program will be offered in a blended format of online and in-person courses two evenings per week and one Saturday per month. Additionally, the program will allow students the opportunity to gain valuable in-classroom experience beginning their first semester.

Through the articulation between ICC’s Class Act Pre-Education Program and St. Scholastica, students are able to seamlessly transfer and complete their bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in two years if all prerequisites are met.

"I was blessed to be a part of The College of St. Scholastica community," said Taylor Mundis. "I gained great career experience in my field while getting taught by hospitable and caring professors. I am grateful to have received my teaching education from St. Scholastica."
The Elementary Education Degree Completion program has been offered by the College since 2014 and courses are taught by qualified local instructors with classroom experience. At $425 per credit, the program is highly affordable.


For more information, visit css.edu/ELED.

St. Scholastica is a 109-year-old private, independent college founded in the Catholic Benedictine tradition. It is nationally recognized for quality and value. It has been named the top Minnesota college for economic mobility, and U.S. News & World Report includes it on its Best National Universities and Top Performers on Social Mobility lists. The College is ranked on Money magazine's “Best Colleges for your Money ” list, Princeton Review’s 2020 list of Best Midwestern Colleges, and Forbes’ Top Colleges list. The Center for First-Generation Student Success has named St. Scholastica one of the top 80 colleges in the country for commitment to first-generation students. CSS currently offers a BS in Management at ICC. Learn more at css.edu.

Itasca Receives Hunger Free Campus Designation

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Itasca Community College Student Senate led the college in an effort to become a hunger-free campus. This important designation means that the college is committed to ensuring that no student goes hungry. The Hunger Free Campus designation was awarded by the statewide student association, LeadMN. Itasca was one of 16 colleges in Minnesota that received the designation.

Factors that contributed to this achievement include: have an established food pantry on campus, provide information to students on food assistance programs in the community (such as SNAP), have an emergency assistance grant for students in need, establish a Hunger Task Force, and host an awareness event regarding food insecurity.

The Student Senate worked hard to meet all these goals. More information about the Hunger Free Campus campaign can be found here.

Food insecurity is a real problem for people everywhere. If you are an ICC student and you are experiencing food insecurity, please call or text 218-308-8570 to be connected to resources.

Award Winning Teaching in a One of a Kind Program

Pictured above: ICC’s Applied Psychology/Human Services faculty, left to right: Jackie MacPherson, PhD; Marlo Gangi, M.A. & Jenny Wettersten, M.A., L.P.

On October 2, 2020, Dr. Willie Garrett, President of the Minnesota Psychological Association, presented Jenny Wettersten, MA, LP with the Outstanding Teaching of Psychology in Community/Two-Year Colleges Award. The award recognizes a faculty member who brings a special quality or commitment to working with psychology students in the community college/two-year college setting, with specific focus on demonstrated influence in interesting students in the field of psychology and effectiveness in the classroom.

In nominating Jenny for this award, her colleagues and students stated “In a nutshell, what makes Jenny an outstanding educator is her passion for psychology, enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and investment in promoting students’ transformation academically, personally, and professionally … her teaching style emphasizes academic rigor, she excels at connecting with her students, connecting her students with one another, and connecting students with the material they are learning.”

Willie Garrett, MS, LP, CEAP, Ed.D -- President, Minnesota Psychological Association

Willie Garrett, MS, LP, CEAP, Ed.D
President, Minnesota Psychological Association

In congratulating Jenny, Dr. Bart Johnson, Provost of ICC, stated “This award is well deserved. ICC and our community are extremely fortunate to have Jenny in our Applied Psychology/Human Services program. Along with her colleagues, Jenny brings a wealth of clinical/counseling experience into the classroom, which combined with her passion and highly-effective teaching strategies provides an outstanding learning experience for ICC students.”

ICC’s Applied Psychology/Human Services program is one of a kind; those interested in learning more about the program or ICC in general are encouraged to contact jenny.wettersten@itascacc.edu or kayley.schoonmaker@itascacc.edu.

​Finding the Fun, Even in Difficult Times

The COVID-19 situation has brought with it many challenges in higher education. One prominent area – Student Life. Where we used to pack the Bowling Alley or the Roller Rink, we can no longer during these times. With challenge comes opportunity. Itasca Community College does not back down from a challenge, or an opportunity!

The Fall of 2020 will be a semester to remember. We will remember the way our community came together – even as we were forced to stand apart. We will remember the smiles in our eyes – as our mouths were hidden behind masks. We will remember how we flipped the script on Student Life.

The Student Life Department has truly reimagined campus activities. With a mixture of virtual activities and “socially-distanced” events, it has been a fun and exciting semester already. Events that have taken place include: virtual game night; drive-thru BBQ; virtual meditation sessions; drive-in movie; socially-distanced bike rides, kayak trips, and nature walks; a visit from the KONA Ice Truck; an outdoor ping pong tournament; a trap shooting event, and more. Events that are to come include: virtual caricature drawings, socially-distanced “Popcorn & Paint” night, virtual BINGO, trip to the Pumpkin Patch, trip to Mt. Itasca, virtual Family Feud game show night, DIY snow globe crafts, and more.

Student Life Director, Kayley Schoonmaker, talks about this shift: “I’m impressed at how resilient, understanding, patient, and FUN our students are. They just rolled with it. I was worried at first about turnout for these new events, however every event has been a success so far and it’s truly been one of the most fun semesters I’ve had. We will be doing some of these events for years to come.”

Second year student from Georgia, Jordan Huntington, has been on all of the bike rides so far. We asked Jordan his thoughts on this activity: “The bike rides were a nice exercise that I was able to do with my friends. It helped make things feel normal again.” Tia Tracy, a local PSEO student, has been to almost all the events this year and says: "I’ve been able to learn more about ICC, my classmates, make new friends, and make great memories. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to go to these events and I highly recommend going to any event that ICC hosts!"

We will persist. We will get through to the other side of this. And when we get there, we will have new and creative tools at our disposal. For more information on the Department of Student Life, including upcoming events, please visit the Student Life Webpage.

A message to our community regarding George Floyd

We see you. We care about you. We are here for you. Inclusion and equity are of the utmost importance to Itasca Community College. Racism, or any other form of discrimination, are simply not tolerated by ICC. Our hearts are heavy for the communities impacted most by the events happening around the country.

If you need a safe place to process your grief, anger, sadness, or anything else, please know that we have a caring team here to listen. Please call us at 218-322-2320 to schedule an appointment with a counselor, who can be there for you, and also refer you to other resources in the community.

A Statement from Chancellor Malhotra

"My heart is heavy for communities today. We are all impacted by the death of Mr. Floyd. For those promoted by grief and anger, who are working peacefully to effect change in our communities, remember the Minnesota State community is with you. My thoughts go out to also the residents impacted by the unrest. Times like these require unity and strong resolve. We must work together to strengthen our connection and commit all of our efforts to addressing longstanding societal ills and help create places we not only take pride in, but where we can all feel safe, valued, and respected."

Devinder Malhotra, Chancellor
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities