Don Doucette, Chancellor of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC), will retire on July 1, 2022, at the end of his current employment contract, after an 11-year tenure, according to a Wednesday release.

The EICC Board of Trustees plans to conduct a national search for his successor.

“Doucette has taken the college [EICC] to the next level of performance excellence,” said EICC board president Robert Gallagher. “He has accomplished everything we asked him to do. As a result of his leadership, through both good and challenging times, EICC is a stronger and more capable institution.”

Doucette began his career in education as a high school English teacher in 1973. He discovered a passion for community colleges while in graduate school—attracted to their promise to provide access to higher education to all, no matter their family, economic, demographic or educational background, the release said.

Before joining EICC in July 2011, he served in leadership roles at community colleges in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana and did pioneering work with The League for Innovation in the Community College. He is also one of the founders of a technical college in Les Cayes, Haiti.

Doucette’s understanding of the importance of education began at an early age. Raised in a Polish immigrant household in Salem, Mass., he and his two sisters were the first in their family to attend college.

“There was never any question about whether we were going to college,” said Doucette. “My parents understood that higher education was the key to a better life and the way out of the leather tanneries and shoe factories where my grandparents’ and parents’ generations toiled. My family was an example of the American dream, so it was only natural that I would find my life’s work in community colleges, which have long been known as American dream colleges.”

Don Doucette will retire after 11 years leading Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.

Doucette counts as his most significant contribution to EICC with the development of a cooperative approach among the three colleges (Scott, Clinton and Muscatine community colleges), leveraging institutional resources. 

“We are an effective and efficient institution, capable of delivering high-quality education and student services, anywhere in our eight-county service area,” he said. “We have strong technical systems and expertise, and can meet the needs of our students, businesses and communities on very short notice.”

EICC has 22 school districts in service area

He also takes great satisfaction in partnerships EICC has with the 22 school districts in its service area.

“We work very closely with the college to prepare high school students for success both in college and in careers,” said Mike Zimmer, director of secondary education for Pleasant Valley Community School District. “Sometimes it seems we have a K-14 educational system in our region because of EICC, which is very good for our students.”

Other notable accomplishments during Doucette’s tenure as chancellor include a student graduation rate that has doubled in 10 years, passage of a $40 million bond referendum to expand career and technical education facilities and programming with a 74 percent voter approval, and the establishment of the Scott Community College Urban Campus in downtown Davenport.

Gallagher noted that EICC has a reputation that will attract top-tier candidates for the chancellor’s position.

“Doucette leaves behind a legacy of success and highly talented faculty and staff, who I am confident will take EICC to the next level,” he said. “I am confident we will have an outstanding pool of candidates.”

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