NICC and UIU sign Bridge to Success partnership

Following a brief program Tuesday, January 23, at Upper Iowa University's Fayette Campus, Upper Iowa University President Dr. William R. Duffy (left) and Northeast Iowa Community College President Dr. Liang Chee Wee display the signed letter of understanding to create a new Bridge to Success partnership that will benefit first-year college students.

Upper Iowa University and Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) leaders signed a Letter of Understanding on Tuesday, January 23, that will create a new Bridge to Success Program for first-year college students. The four-year private university and community college agreement, which begins this fall, is unique in the state of Iowa.

Through the Bridge to Success Program, first-year students who have not met entrance requirements for Upper Iowa University will enroll as Northeast Iowa Community College students. While attending classes at Upper Iowa University, the students will complete general education requirements, enhance their college-ready skills and complete college credits that fully transfer to Upper Iowa University. Students in the cohort will live on the University’s Fayette Campus, receive academic and advising services from both institutions, and attend classes taught by visiting NICC faculty.

Upon successful completion of the Bridge to Success pathway, students will continue their education at Upper Iowa University to earn a four-year baccalaureate degree and then advance their education further or begin their professional careers.

“We are here today to celebrate what we believe is the first partnership of its kind between a four-year university and a community college in the state of Iowa, and likely far beyond,” Upper Iowa University President Dr. William R. Duffy said. “The Bridge to Success partnership is another example of how public, private, two-year and four-year institutions can combine their talents, resources and programs to provide students and our communities a quality, affordable, accessible and seamless education that will subsequently enhance overall economic development in the communities we serve.”

Upper Iowa University President Dr. William R. Duffy (left) welcomes Northeast Iowa Community College President Dr. Liang Chee Wee to the podium during a brief presentation announcing the institutions’ creation of a Bridge to Success program.

In addition to receiving an excellent education, Duffy said that the students will receive writing and tutoring assistance from UIU staff. Most important, graduates of this program will depart UIU realizing they received a quality education from both NICC and UIU, and their degrees and experiences inside and outside of the classroom will be the foundation for future success.

As students complete transferable course credit to Upper Iowa University, they will enjoy many amenities and benefits, including student residential life, campus living, events and resources, according to NICC President Dr. Liang Chee Wee. Dr. Wee praised the unique quality of the Upper Iowa University partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College and its innovative approach to helping students to reach their college and career objectives.

“On behalf of all Northeast Iowa Community College students, I thank President Duffy, and his administration, faculty and staff at Upper Iowa University, for their collaborative work in developing this unique partnership in the state of Iowa. The Bridge to Success Program is truly visionary and innovative for both institutions,” Dr. Wee expressed. “Through the Bridge to Success, our students will complete academic requirements for entrance to Upper Iowa University, earning fully transferable credits, while fully immersed in the college experience at Upper Iowa. The advising and wrap-around support services that both institutions will provide for these students, and the personal connection each student will make while living on the University’s Fayette Campus, will help students to achieve their academic, four-year college goals and career objectives.”

Presidents Duffy and Wee also highlighted the new partnership’s beneficial impact on regional economic development by encouraging students in the region to stay in Iowa, stay in college, pursue local careers and contribute to the regional economy of northeast Iowa after graduation.

For more information about Upper Iowa University and NICC, visit and

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