Decade of changes at Ivy Tech began with opening of new campus

Our opinion
September 5, 2012

Ivy Tech Community College’s celebration of 10 years in a new building centers not so much on bricks and mortar as on a total transformation of an educational asset.

The changes in the Bloomington campus since the building on Daniels Way opened Aug. 14, 2002, can be shown dramatically in numbers. That starts with enrollment, which has grown from 2,663 students then, to 6,200 students this fall.

But opportunities for those students have grown as fast as the enrollment itself.

Twenty-four new associate degrees have been added in the last decade, many of which have begun to serve a changing economy in south-central Indiana. An example of that is the state’s only accredited associate degree program in radiation therapy, which was prompted by the needs of what was then the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute (now the IU Health Proton Therapy Center). Degrees in hospitality helped train workers for the French Lick-West Baden hotel renovations, and biotechnology helped fill jobs in the life sciences sector.

According to information released by the college, in 2001-2002, 34 Ivy Tech-Bloomington students transferred 498 credit hours to a four-year university, while eight years later — the most recent data available — 1,149 Ivy Tech-Bloomington students transferred 18,342 credit hours to a four-year university.

In 2002, Ivy Tech-Bloomington students received $24,000 in scholarships. That number had grown to $147,879 in 2011.

A lot more numbers could be cited.

But the story of the last decade for Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus doesn’t end there.

Before the new building and new Chancellor John Whikehart brought new possibilities, energy and vision to Ivy Tech, it was a nice educational option if you could find it in the shadow of Indiana University. Let’s just say it had a low profile.

It has burst from the shadows in a number of ways. It is not IU, of course, but it is a partner with the world-class research university in many ways. Eight associate degrees now seamlessly transfer there. Some Ivy Tech students live in IU residence halls when they start school, then transfer to IU in growing numbers. Credit hour transfer numbers above refer predominantly to IU.

Robust student life exists at Ivy Tech, making the experience much more than the commuter college stereotype of old. Clubs abound, and civic engagement permeates the college through alternative spring break trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Virginia; service learning courses and volunteerism; and the O’Bannon Institute for Civic Engagement, which since 2004 has brought high-powered national speakers to campus.

In 10 years, the college’s Bloomington campus has gone, essentially, from a good alternative for vocational training and work force development to a comprehensive community college with expanding academic programs and an active and proud student body dedicated to community service. It has strong continuing education programs, and continues to respond to the needs of area businesses and industries.

Besides all that, Ivy Tech Community College has an important seat at the table when the community’s and region’s present and future are the topics.

The opening of the 10-year-old building on the west side of town sparked all these changes that deserve celebration today.

An Ivy Tech student works in a staircase lounge overlooking the plaza at the school’s main building in Bloomington Tuesday. The building, named for Steve and Connie Ferguson, will be rededicated Wednesday to celebrate its 10th anniversary. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2012


About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.