On October 23, Dr. Tammy L. Cooper became dean of two schools at Ivy Tech Community College - Indianapolis, the School of Business, Logistics, and Supply Chain (SBLSC) and the School of Public Affairs and Social Services (SPASS).
Prior to her appointment, Dr. Cooper served as the program chair for business administration and instructed BUSN 101 courses for the Indiana Women’s Prison. She first joined Ivy Tech in 2016 as a business administration adjunct. Dr. Cooper became a full-time business administration faculty member the following year.
Dr. Cooper earned a B.S. in organizational management from Wilberforce University, an M.S. in strategic management from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a DBA in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Ivy Tech puts the spotlight on the SBLSC in December, and Ivy Tech Indianapolis is excited to shine a light on its newly appointed dean. To learn more about Dr. Cooper, we sat down with her to hear more about her leadership experience, her top priorities for the school, and why she calls herself the “campus paparazzi.”
Tell us a bit about your background.
Before Ivy Tech, I was employed in enrollment management at the University of Dayton, then Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. I served as the senior vice president's executive assistant and an adjunct faculty member. I participated in campus diversity programming, professional development, and the lecture series. I also volunteered at campus and community events. I had the opportunity to work with amazing administrators, faculty, staff, and students.
I am passionate about education and enjoy encouraging others to pursue their educational goals and dreams! My core values align with the core values of the College: student-centered, faculty and staff-focused, diversity and integrity!
What first drew you to higher education?
Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up! I loved learning and attending school. I had some of the most amazing teachers while attending Indianapolis Public Schools.
Being an educator is my dream job. I absolutely love being on a college campus because there is always something great happening, and you can always learn something new. I am also a first-generation college student in my immediate family. Working in higher education has allowed me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and work in a diverse environment.
We know you are one of Ivy Tech's biggest cheerleaders! What is it about the College that makes you proud to be part of its faculty?
I love being on the Indy campus of Ivy Tech! The best part is that we are one of the largest community colleges! That is a BIG deal!
I love promoting the great programs that we offer at Ivy Tech. Working at Ivy Tech as a faculty member has allowed me to meet some awesome students. I have truly enjoyed teaching, advising, and helping students achieve their educational goals and dreams. Go, Team Ivy!
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is a mix of servant and transformational leadership. I believe in leading by example and treating others fairly and with respect.
Leadership is about improving processes, listening to my team, and finding time to celebrate success. I am passionate about encouraging my team to be innovative, do research, identify challenges, and implement changes!
I also believe in being inclusive and implementing teachable moments that foster a sense of belonging. It is also important to actively listen to student and team concerns! I believe in listening with an open mind but, most importantly, being available to offer solutions that make us better and celebrate our BIG WINS!
What is your strategic vision for Ivy Tech Indianapolis' SBLSC?
My strategic vision is to support chairs, faculty, and staff, improve standard processes, and celebrate student accomplishments. I am committed to assisting and successfully retaining current students and promoting degree and certificate programs.
I am excited to share that plans are underway for an Inaugural Student Leadership Conference in 2024! I want to help prepare our students to be exceptional leaders when they graduate from Ivy Tech. I am also exploring options to relaunch "Weekend College" at the Indy campus! There are great opportunities to offer more classes on the weekend for busy parents and professionals. Last semester, we offered the “Introduction to Business” class on a Saturday, and two classes filled quickly to capacity. I am excited about this amazing opportunity, and I look forward to supporting our team in any way that I can.
What advice do you have for new and current students?
My advice to new and current students is to stay focused on your educational goals, be disciplined, manage your time, and dress like you are already in your dream job. Build relationships with your instructors and campus staff; find the person that you enjoy talking to and who believes in YOU!
Most importantly, remember that education offers you the freedom to manifest your goals and dreams.
When it comes to the future of education, particularly for business programs, what’s on your mind?
We must continue to raise the bar by offering classes that provide students with flexibility, support, and a clear path to the next great Ivy Tech credential! Education is changing by the minute, so it is necessary to continue to improve our processes and eliminate barriers that affect students, faculty, and staff. I am confident that we need to be innovative in how we promote our programs and certificates. We must challenge our students to think critically and strategically solve real-world problems. I value the expertise of the chairs, faculty, adjunct faculty, and staff as we embrace new initiatives.
Retaining students, faculty, and staff is a top priority for me! I look forward to scheduling listening sessions with our teams and students because they have the strongest voice and can provide valuable feedback.
Beyond work, what’s something you’re passionate about or really enjoy doing?
I am passionate about student engagement and success and organizing events with a purpose that helps others to be better. For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to organize a “Sock Drive” for IvyCares! We plan to do this again this year to help our students and families.
I love lifelong learning, traveling to the beach, cooking, and spending time with my family. I believe in the power of positivity and helping others grow personally and professionally. I love listening to live music and comedy! The Jazz Kitchen is one of my favorite spots in Indy!
I am a photographer by trade, and I love shooting photos of families and nature. I enjoy snapping photos on campus, at conferences, and in the Indy community. I am the “campus paparazzi!”
I am passionate about encouraging my students, faculty, and staff to increase their daily water intake! I love to dance, so I am launching a line dance team to promote wellness and exercise at Ivy Tech! I am excited about this, and I look forward to dancing with my colleagues!
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.