Iowa Walking College

Presented by AARP

The Iowa Walking College is an interactive and no cost, six-month program to explore ways to improve walkability around the state through online and face-to-face interaction.  

Each year, Iowa Walking College Fellowships are awarded to community change agents working alone, in organizations, or in professions such as public health, 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 training. 

The application period for the 2017 Iowa Walking College has closed. 

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 Iowa Walking College Fellows will Aquire

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.

What is the 2017 Iowa Walking College Timeline?

  • Application Timeline: February 8 – March 10, 2017
  • Notification of Iowa Walking College Fellowship Awards: late March

Instructional Program Timeline

  • May 2, 2017  - Iowa Healthiest State Annual Conference in Ames (recommended)
  • May 3, 2017 - Modules 1-2 
  • June 1-30, 2017 - Module 3 via Google Group 
  • July 1-31, 2017 - Module 4 via Google Group 
  • August 2017 - Modules 5-6 (date and location TBD) 
  • September 13-15, 2017 - National Walking Summit in St. Paul, MN 
  • October 15, 2017 - Final Reflection due via Google Group 

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 video-interactive discussion forums
  • Attend National Walking Summit in St. Paul, MN (funding assistance will be provided for Fellows who complete ALL modules)

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

Click here for FAQ           Click for Iowa Walking College Course Curriculum

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