Iowa Walking College


The Iowa Walking College is a six-month educational program, where fellows explore ways to improve walkability around the state through online and face-to-face interaction. 

Applications for 2019 are now closed and our fellows have been chosen. Applications for the next class will open in early 2020.

Who should apply?

Each year, Iowa Walking College Fellowships are awarded to community change agents working alone, in organizations, or in professions such as public health, development, planning, transportation, economic development or education, who demonstrate: 

  • A passion for making their communities more walkable and livable, and a vision for what that would look like;
  • A desire to develop a network of peer mentors and learn to advocate more effectively for walkable community policies and funding; 
  • A willingness to invest personal time and energy in making Iowa communities walkable. 

Iowa Walking College alumni go on to implement a variety of projects within their own communities. Here are some success stories from 2017 fellows.

Learning objectives:

  1. Identify the cross-cutting co-benefits of walking and walkable communities
  2. Evaluate the built environment and identify features of walkable design
  3. Communicate effectively and build trusting relationships
  4. Understand effective ways to engage city leaders
  5. Identify potential funding sources for local infrastructure planning and projects
  6. Engage others, facilitate discussions about walkability, and create a community vision
  7. Describe crisis management tools that can be used during community planning or meetings

Skills fellows will acquire:

The curriculum has been designed to nurture the development of the “hard” and “soft” skills that are necessary to become effective change agents.

“Hard” skills include:

  • The science behind the benefits of walking;
  • Ability to evaluate the built environment, master the public policy process, and understand how projects can be funded with local, state, and federal dollars;
  • Knowledge in specific campaign areas, such as access to transit and Safe Routes to School.

“Soft” skills include:

  • Communications, relationships, and building trust;
  • Fostering a local advocacy movement with diverse stakeholders;
  • Engaging effectively with decision-makers.

2019 Iowa Walking College timeline?

  • Registration Opens: January 21, 2019
  • Registration Closes: March 1, 2019
  • Notification of Iowa Walking College Fellowship Awards: March 18, 2019
  • Deadline for Fellows to accept award: March 25, 2019
  • Fellows announced via press release and social media: April 1, 2019

‚ÄčInstructional Program Timeline

  • April 9, 2019 – 11:00am- 12:00 Virtual Meeting
  • May 15, 2019- 9:00am-4:00pm live workshop (Ames, Iowa)
  • June 20, 2019- 9:00am – 4:00pm live workshop (Ames, Iowa)
  • July 11, 2019 – 1:00pm-3:00pm Virtual Meeting
  • September 5, 2019- 9:00am-4:00pm live workshop (Ames, Iowa)

Course Expectations

  • Commit 10-15 hours/per month to the 6-month program
  • Complete all study assignments and assignments
  • Prepare for and participate fully in all discussion forums
  • An program fee of $100 is required upon acceptance into the program to cover administrative costs

Please note: In addition to applying to the Iowa Walking College, Iowans are also eligible to apply to the National Walking College. Additional information is available at       

In partnership with: 

America Walks    Des Moines Area MPO    Iowa Bicycle CoalitionIowa DOTIowa Economic Development Authority Trees Forever  IA Department of Public Health  American Heart Association    Iowa Cancer Consortium    Iowa Public Health Association    Capital Crossroads     Greater Des Moines Partnership   Urban Land Institute Iowa    AARP    Iowa APA INHF