The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 30, 2019 1:00 am

At 50, Ivy Tech still meeting local needs

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Ivy Tech Community College's list of programs includes a technology focus in automotive, precision agriculture equipment and robotics, and numerous other subjects.

In health care, surgical technology, medical imaging and diagnostic medical sonography are among the study choices. Even in the business category, there's a technology influence. 

The college, which this fall is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Fort Wayne, offers 55 academic programs and more than 150 credential options.

“We develop in-demand programs, like cyber security, which is expected to grow 28% by 2026,” Ivy Tech says in a profile on its website.

The local college is part of a statewide educational institution that offers more than 1,000 online courses. Several degree programs, ranging from information technology support to software development, can be completed entirely via the internet.

Not all of its programs are technology focused, but Ivy Tech is certainly part of an evolution. The college is constantly shaping and refining its offerings to meet the needs of students and employers.

The institution opened as Indiana Vocational Technical College, located on the third floor of the old Concordia High School in September 1969. It started with 130 students. Today it boasts more than 16,000. More than 75% of its students live and work in northeast Indiana after graduation.

“We're excited about our 50th,” Ivy Tech Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier said during a telephone interview. “We've come a long way. We're excited about what the next 10 to 15 might hold.”

Mosier became chancellor of the local campus in 2010, the same year local and state leaders gathered on the north campus on St. Joe Road to help Ivy Tech dedicate the 107,000-square-foot Steel Dynamics Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center.

“I know that we have changed our curriculum significantly over the past 10 years,” Mosier said.

But the moves are always a calculated. Ivy Tech has employer advisory committees for every program.

“A lot of it has to do with really staying in contact with employers,” Mosier said, “because employers can then tell us what skills or advanced skills they need in the workforce.”

The college also offers professional development for faculty, where they can keep abreast of changes and trends in their disciplines by attending various conferences.

Ivy Tech has been increasing the number of short-term certificates, providing students the information and skills needed to get into the workforce more quickly, but continue their education and training, Mosier said.

The technological shifts that are affecting most every sector have generally been positive on education, she said, creating efficiencies and more options for the flow of information.

“Sometimes we can curse the computer, and email and the internet, but it really does make things more efficient,” Mosier said.

Along with efficiencies, Ivy Tech still prides itself in providing hands-on experiences that can make job candidates more valuable. Employers, other donors and even federal funds can help with equipment and technology needs, Mosier said, allowing the college to make purchases “from the wish list” of faculty who want to enhance the academic programs.

Though change can be uncomfortable for some, the staff at Ivy Tech generally embraces it, Mosier said.

Some may have worked in a particular field but not had exposure to the equipment and technology that make corporate America hum today, Mosier said. But staff members with good teaching approaches and a willingness to learn or “skill up,” as Mosier said, are valued.

“They're lifelong learners,” she said.

At a glance

Ivy Tech's program and enrollment growth

• The college opened in 1969 with 131 students and two instructors, who taught the only two programs: Drafting Technology and Secretarial Technology.

• In fall 1970, a diversity of noncredit educational services were offered: Wastewater Treatment, Insurance Underwriting, Parliamentary Procedure, Psychobernetics, Food Service, Metallurgy, Legal Secretary Fundamentals, Blueprint Reading, Rapid Writing, and Heat Treatment.

• In 1971-72, the college enrolled a total of 1,393 credit students, and 643 noncredit students.

• In fall 1987, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne enrolled 2,582 students.

• By the early 1990s, there were four schools: Division of Business, Division of Human Services and Health Technologies, Division of Applied Sciences and Technologies, and Division of General Education and Support Services.

• Those four schools offered 22 degree programs: Accounting, Administrative Office Technology (formerly Secretarial Sciences), Business Administration, Computer Informational Systems, Hospitality Administration, Childhood Development, Medical Assistant, Mental Health Rehabilitation Technology, Applied Fire Science Technology, Automated Manufacturing Technology, Automotive Service Technology, Building Construction

• In fall 1991, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne hit record enrollment with 3,756 students.

• In fall 2002, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne enrolled 5,773 students, another record year at that point.

• Now enrolls about 16,000 students annually in more than 50 academic programs with seven different schools. 

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