Ivy Tech Community College Northeast board hears goals to increase student retention and meet workforce demands

Ivy Tech Community College. (News- Sentinel.com file photo)

Criminal justice jobs are a bit scarce in the community now, so students likely should be looking into a specialty such as cybersecurity.

That’s an example of how Ivy Tech Community College should be helping students in fields with low demand, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast regional trustees were told Monday. The trustees, representing the Fort Wayne, Wabash and Warsaw campuses, heard the college’s strategic plan Monday at the Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd.

Enrollment has been declining at community colleges across the nation in recent years after enrollment boomed during the recession, 2007-12. Now with the economy doing better, some employers can’t find workers. Ivy Tech is looking at how it can attract and retain students and get them into high-demand fields.

Andy Bowne, senior vice president/chief operating officer for Ivy Tech, presented “Our Communities. Your College. Pathways for student success and a stronger Indiana” that described seven 5-year goals that Ivy Tech will begin implementing next year.

The goals are:

*Student success: Making sure that students are completing their two-year programs and Ivy Tech is increasing both fall to spring retention and fall to fall retention.

*Recruitment and enrollment: Looking at 3 to 5 percent growth per year in part by attracting adults who may not have college experience through organizations that serve them, enrolling high school students through dual credit programs, and showcasing benefits of certificates to working adults.

*Completion: Making sure students are advised about their education goals and choose Ivy Tech if they haven’t been successful in a four-year school through reverse transfers.

*Workforce: Ensure campuses focus on high-wage, high-demand jobs. Some areas, such as manufacturing, are high-demand. Others, such as nursing, are high demand but Ivy Tech is at capacity for students.

*Employee: Keep talented employees and recruit others.

*Financial: Find more revenue and have 180 days in reserves. Right now the Fort Wayne campus is at 49 days. Retaining students will help with this. The system is also looking to eliminate 1 million square feet of its 6.5 million square feet of space.

*Community: Includes working with community leaders and creating a survey to see if the campus is meeting community needs.

“It’s about completion and post-completion,” whether students go into the workforce or continue at a four-year college, Bowne told the board.

Not every campus can fulfill all the 7 goals with 4 strategies under each, which total 28 strategies, he said.

“It’s about retention, not about lowering standards,” Bowne said.

In other news:

* Fort Wayne’s Carroll Hall will be demolished as part of renovation work on Harshman Hall, said Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier. Renovations at Harshman will actually provide an extra 8,000 square feet of space, she said.

* Ivy Tech is looking to sell its Wabash building that it bought for $1 in 1995. The boiler is original to the building and the $200,000 investment needed doesn’t make sense with the enrollment there, Mosier said.

*The Fort Wayne campus has raised 95 percent of its 10-year campaign goal of $46.9 million. It has $44.52 million and is expected to exceed its goal by the campaign’s end in 2020.

*The school’s Titan baseball team will begin its season with a game Feb. 27 in Ohio. Its first home game will be March 6 at Shoaff Park. The school does not have its own baseball field. The team finished 12-0-1 in its inaugural season last year.