The Electronics Maintenance program was first offered in the fall term of 1967 as a sister program to the Industrial Electronics program. Both programs were initially housed in Center Two in West Des Moines and then relocated to the newly constructed Ankeny Campus in 1969.
One combined electronics faculty staffed both programs (see names in Industrial Electronics History). Tom Dunsmore chaired the program until the mid-1980s when Leonard Bowdre was appointed Chair. Faculty members John Arbuckle, John Hill, Jerry Corrigan and Dennis Branigan initially taught most of the classes in this program.
The one-year program focused on practical skills that would develop a technician who could apply maintenance and repair skills in industrial settings or service shops. The program was independent of the two-year industrial electronics program with no common curriculum. The target enrollment was 16 students.
This program description is from the initial college catalogue:
The Electronics Maintenance curriculum is designed to prepare the student for entry level positions as an electronics service technician. The service technician is responsible for the maintenance of electronic systems. Areas of emphasis are consumer products, serving in color TB, radio, etc. and industrial devices such as magnetic contactors, mechanical and static switches.
A major challenge for the program was securing specialized testing and service equipment. Additionally, the program purpose was not readily understood initially by prospective students which required faculty to visit with each student to determine which of the two electronic programs was most appropriate based on their interests and skills.
The initial role and purpose of the program was carried out for several years with the focus on trouble shooting electronics problems in industry. It then evolved into television analysis and repair, with the majority of graduates gaining jobs in this area. Ultimately the need for the program declined as electronics moved to solid state which resulted in fewer television repairs and was discontinued in 1998.
Initially the industrial electronics advisory committee assisted in curriculum development, student recruitment and placement, and program promotion for both programs. Later, when the program committees were separated the members on the electronics maintenance program were either appliance dealers or individuals who owned television repair shops. The Electronic Maintenance Advisory Committee consisted of representatives from the businesses including Traviss Television and Audio, Stodgill Appliance, Don's TV-Perry, Bowdre TV, and the CWA (Communication Workers of America).