This week I started a new position at Indiana’s state-wide community college. Ivy Tech Community College has over 20 campuses around Indiana and is the largest single community college in the U.S., with over 100,000 students enrolled. Through prudent leadership and innovation in delivery of high-quality academic programs to some of Indiana’s most under-served residents, Ivy Tech has become a national leader in a number of areas.
Why did I make this move? My last position, at an urban research university, was full of interesting challenges and one that I had a good deal of success with. My colleagues were bright and energetic, and together we launched very successful new professional program that prepares physician assistants for lives of excellence and service. But what I missed was student interaction and the feeling that I was making a difference with students who needed my help the most.
Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette is a place where students of all types and preparations can find caring, high-quality faculty and staff that understand that life doesn’t always follow a linear pathway from high school to college to career. Our students have complicated lives, and even so they deserve the opportunity and the support required to successfully navigate the curriculum of higher education, both public (as in a course syllabus and program requirements) and hidden (as in the norms, values, and expectations of an institution).
Moving to Ivy Tech will certainly be a change of culture and a change of pace. From a large, urban research campus to a small, leafy oasis where the faculty and staff live the mission of access and success every day. This is one post of an occasional series on my experiences with this transition and I look forward to sharing with you!
My new position involves coordinating the region’s efforts in enrolling high school students in dual credit coursework that occurs at the local high school and/or at the Lafayette campus, as well as working with the schools to provide faculty to teach dual credit courses in their buildings as needed. In recent years my predecessor has done yeoman’s work, along with a few colleagues, in expanding these incredibly valuable opportunities to a greater number of students. As I take over this position, my hope is to build on the strengths of the office and to expand our reach, but to also deepen it to include a more diverse set of students that have traditionally been underserved and to ensure that these students are aware of the excellent value that an Ivy Tech education offers post-graduation.
I am sure there will be bumps in the road and some hard lessons to learn, but I am up for the challenge and am building a great network of support on campus so that we can continue to tell the Ivy Tech story and bring the office to even greater levels of success.
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