Plan in works for administrative stucture of newly merged Ivy Tech regions

2013-05-21T14:38:00Z 2013-05-22T06:58:03Z Plan in works for administrative stucture of newly merged Ivy Tech regionsChelsea Schneider Kirk, (219) 933-3241

A plan for the administrative structure of the north central and northwest regions of Ivy Tech Community College is in the works, with a draft expected to be complete by early June.

Ivy Tech Community College announced in April the administrative merger of the two regions, now overseen by Chancellor Thomas Coley. Coley told The Times on Tuesday he hopes to tie the draft into the next Ivy Tech Community College State Board of Trustees meeting slated for June 5 and 6 in Indianapolis.

Coley said the merger will serve as a model for the state.

“People are looking across the state as to how this is going to take its shape and form,” Coley said. “There is an expectation there will be additional consolidations.”

Under consideration is creating vice chancellor/dean positions for the Gary and South Bend Ivy Tech campuses.

“I see the function of vice chancellor/dean being much more chief administrative orientated than they presently are,” Coley said. “Essentially be the day-to-day face of the region in their particular area.”

The merger comes as Ivy Tech is dealing with a $40 million funding gap, given shifts in state funding and enrollment in the past five years. Though the college is experiencing a decline in enrollment as the economy improves, the number of students coming to Ivy Tech still remains at a record level compared to pre-2007 figures, Coley said.

Coley said the cost savings of merging the administrative functions of the two regions still is being determined, though he doesn't expect consolidation to make up the entire amount.

To bridge the gap, the college is exploring how it expends resources for scheduling classes and using its faculty and has made greater efficiencies in contracting for services.

“All of those things are on the table to make sure we are maximizing our use of funding,” Coley said. “When you look at the per-student funding level, we are not there. One of the things, particularly here in the northwest (region), there's interest in communities wanting Ivy Tech to expand in their areas. We certainly want to do that but can't add overhead and cost.”

Ivy Tech and Indiana University Northwest are working on a potential project to construct a new building along the Broadway corridor in Gary to jointly use, Coley said.

Hammond officials have expressed interest in Ivy Tech providing dual credit courses in the community. Lowell school officials are speaking with Ivy Tech to provide a technology-driven curriculum aimed at preparing future steelworkers, Coley said.

Coley said since taking over the helm of the northwest region, he's visited the steel mills and the Port of Indiana to better understand how the college can prepare students in the community. Coley was named interim chancellor of the northwest region in December.

“There's such variety here,” Coley said. “What I hope is that we will be able to develop more regionalism in what we do. I think there's an opportunity for synergy.”

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