Campus News

College announces UNI 2+2 music partnership

Kirkwood Community College recently partnered with the University of Northern Iowa to create a 2+2 music program.

At Kirkwood, interest in the music program is increasing. The program includes more than 35 students each year, and 150 students from all programs at the college who participate in ensembles. 

Noah DeVore, a second-year music student at Kirkwood, plans to transfer to UNI. “My biggest reason for wanting to go to UNI after Kirkwood is because of their Music Education program. I have a few friends doing the same thing, and they always talk about how great it is,” he said. 

DeVore is involved in the instrumental Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band, and has participated in Kirkwood’s musicals for the past two years.  

Kirkwood Director of Vocal Activities Dr. Fred Kiser played a significant role in the new partnership with UNI. “I was one of the prime motivators behind it. It’s something we’ve actually been trying to do for a number of years,” Kiser said.  

The program at UNI will allow students who have earned their Associate of Applied Arts in music to then earn their Bachelor of Arts in Music.  

“All of the credits in the Associate of Applied Arts degree transfer to the University of Northern Iowa as long as the student follows coursework laid out in the transfer agreement,” according to Jennifer Cunningham, dean of Arts & Humanities at Kirkwood. 

Cunningham added that she also expects the increase in interest in the music program at Kirkwood to continue with UNI adding this new agreement. 

Requirements for students planning to transfer include a grade point average (GPA) of 2.25 for 24-59 credits and a GPA of 2.00 for students who have earned 60 or more credits. Students must complete an online application, send in their transcripts and pay a $40 fee.  

Kirkwood’s music program holds transfer agreements with the University of Iowa, Coe College and UNI. 

Additional colleges have also been in contact with Kirkwood and are looking to partner in the future, according to Kiser. “Other colleges are now interested in partnering with us because our students are academically strong. Reputation is a big piece of this, and a lot of it comes from Kirkwood student success,” he said.

In addition to Kirkwood’s positive music reputation, starting in the Fall of 2024, Kirkwood has hired a new full-time instrumental music professor from California, Christopher Navarette. He will take the position of current Jazz Ensemble Director and Professor, Blake Shaw, and Concert Band Director, Kelli Swehla. 

DeVore said he believes this will be a milestone for Kirkwood music. “I definitely think this is an affordable option to really know if you want to go into the music field. The faculty at Kirkwood are also very knowledgeable and supportive of all of the students,” he added. DeVore plans to build his own band program after graduating from the UNI with a degree in Music Education. 

For more information about both programs, visit, and 

Categories: Campus News, Local News, News