Carven Thomas appointed to Ivy Tech-Bloomington Regional Board of Trustees

June 27, 2013

Carven Thomas appointed to Ivy Tech-Bloomington Regional Board of Trustees 

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus welcomes Carven Thomas, General Electric employee and President and Business Manager of the IBEW Local 2249 to its Regional Board of Trustees. The State Board of Trustees formally appointed Thomas to a three-year term at its meeting in Ft. Wayne, Ind. on June 6, 2013.

“When GE announced its plant closing a few years ago, Carven was instrumental in creating a partnership with Ivy Tech-Bloomington to set up a resource center for displaced workers,” Chancellor John Whikehart said. “We look forward to Carven’s service and the perspective he will bring to our regional board.”

Thomas has been employed by General Electric for 26 years and is serving his third term as the President and Business Manager of the IBEW Local 2249. He served as a member of the City Plan Commission appointed by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, and he currently serves as a member of the YMCA Board. Thomas has also been a featured speaker at Indiana University Kelley School of Business for the last four years. Thomas graduated from Bloomington North High School in 1982. He and his wife, Lisa, has been married for 26 years and have three daughters, Rachel, 25, Nicole, 22, and Carli, 8.

Connie Ferguson, Chair of the Regional Board of Trustees, and Dr. James Touloukian, Secretary of the Regional Board of Trustees, were also re-appointed to three-year terms. The Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington Regional Board is Connie Ferguson, Judge Frank Nardi, Dr. James Touloukian, Jerry Lambrecht, Gary Chaplin, Geoffrey Grodner, and Carven Thomas.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College ( is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.


Expansion of Ivy Tech necessary

Our opinion

Expansion of Ivy Tech necessary

The Herald-Times
June 27, 2013

Recent comments by Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder suggesting the college may need to close as many as 20 of its locations statewide has put the Bloomington campus in an awkward position.

Legislators will no doubt ask: Why should Ivy Tech be expanding in Bloomington when it’s shutting facilities elsewhere to save money?

Fortunately, State Budget Committee Chairman Tim Brown seems to understand why. He told the H-T’s Mike Leonard this week that the concerns of the statewide Ivy Tech system and the Bloomington campus space needs are “like comparing apples and maybe walnuts.”

He said: “(I)f the Bloomington area can in their presentation to us provide good justification for their space needs and capital project, that is something we’ll consider separately from other issues.”

The Bloomington campus has been growing steadily and now needs to lease space outside of the main Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building at a cost of $460,000 a year. Expanding the main building will be a wise investment.

While prospects are still good, based on Brown’s comments, former state budget committee chairman Rep. Luke Kenley showed why concern is valid. He said he wants to get a full picture of Ivy Tech’s financial situation, because “you can’t just build new buildings and operate them when you’re running a deficit.”

Understood. But it would be unwise to let shortcomings elsewhere in the community college system overshadow the record or block the legitimate needs of the Bloomington campus. Enrollment outgrew the academic facility years ago. The phase two expansion project is needed and should move forward.

Copyright: 2013

Ivy Tech hopes for OK to expand in Bloomington

Ivy Tech hopes for OK to expand in Bloomington

Elsewhere in the state, community college campuses are closing

By Mike Leonard
331-4368 |
June 26, 2013

The recent news that Ivy Tech Community College is considering the closure of as many as 20 of its smaller locations statewide caused consternation on the Bloomington campus — and not because anyone thinks Bloomington would be targeted.

The opposite holds true, actually. With enrollment that rocketed from 2,600 to 6,800 in just over a decade, Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart’s concern is that financial troubles affecting the 14-region state system could again delay the $20 million construction project to increase the size of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building from 80,000 square feet to a 148,000-square-foot facility.

The addition would add some operating costs to the Bloomington campus but also erase the $460,000 the campus pays annually in leased space because the Ferguson building long ago exceeded its capacity.

Whikehart said his level of anxiety decreased last week after the Indiana Higher Education Commission followed up on legislative approval for the project by giving the green light to Bloomington’s phase two expansion without comment. “This is farther along in the process than we’ve ever been,” Whikehart said this week. “It’s been on the approval list for seven years but it’s never made it past the commission, so that’s a hopeful sign.”

State Budget Committee

The final step in the process is approval by the five-person State Budget Committee, which meets next on July 10. Committee Chairman Tim Brown said on Tuesday that financial and other concerns across the Ivy Tech system and Bloomington’s space needs are “like comparing apples and maybe walnuts.”

Brown, who also is the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the Indiana House of Representatives, said there are enrollment concerns in some parts of the state and a degree completion rate that needs to be examined. “But if the Bloomington area can in their presentation to us provide good justification for their space needs and capital project, that is something we’ll consider separately from other issues,” said Brown, a Republican from Crawfordsville. “They’re in the budget. The money can be appropriated. There’s a process to be followed, and we’re doing just that.”

Former budget committee chairman and current member Rep. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, was more cautious. “I can’t speak for everybody on the budget committee, but I think we need to have a pretty good review with the state Ivy Tech with operating and capital project plans,” he said Tuesday. “It may be to their benefit to go ahead with their plans in Bloomington, but we need to get the air cleared on these other issues. They say they have a $68 million operating deficit. You can’t just build new buildings and operate them when you’re running a deficit. We need to understand how this is going to work.”

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder said earlier this month that the statewide system is operating with a $68 million funding deficit and that is why the college is boosting tuition by $5 a semester and considering the closure of smaller learning centers that operate out of leased space. Ivy Tech’s 14 regions include 72 sites statewide where various classes and programs operate.

Less funding per student

Whikehart said he believes the term “deficit” is being misused. “Our funding has continued to lag behind, in terms of how rapidly we’ve grown and what we were told we’d receive with the original enrollment growth formula,” he said. “Our campus is receiving less money per student than we were when we were at the Westbury location (prior to opening the current westside location in 2002).”

In 2001, Ivy Tech Bloomington received $1,638 in state support for each full-time-equivalent student, making up 61 percent of its budget. In the current, 2012-13 fiscal year, the campus is receiving $709 per student from the state, and the revenue mix has flipped from 61 percent state-supported to 27 percent.

“This is what President Snyder is referring to when he described a deficit or gap,” Whikehart said. “And we get no credit whatsoever for preparing students for a four-year baccalaureate degree, which I very much consider success. Sixty percent of our students come here fully intending to transfer, and we put them on the path to success in achieving that goal. That is not recognized in the state performance funding formula.”

State wants more grads

The Bloomington chancellor said he has no problem at all with the state’s stated goal of raising its percentage of citizens with at least a two-year degree from the current 33 percent — below the national average of 38 percent — to 60 percent by 2025. He supports it.

“The problem is, we have these ambitious goals, and we’re not willing to pay for them,” Whikehart said. “You can’t keep decreasing the state contribution to the schools and expect us to deliver a quality education and do it without increasing costs.”

Whikehart said the problems go deeper than the investment in higher education.

“I know where the students are that are going to get us to 60 percent. They just finished second grade. If we can’t help them figure out how to access higher education, they can’t be in that group of graduates in 2025,” he said.

“I can understand how cutting taxes is an attractive tool to create a friendly business climate, but on the other hand, how do we get to that 60 percent attainment rate and have that educated work force that business wants if we don’t invest in education? We have policy issues that are in conflict.”

Whether Ivy Tech Bloomington gets approval for its building expansion — and knocks nearly a half-million dollars a year off its lease obligations — is anyone’s guess at this point. But the State Budget Committee’s Kenley said approval by the higher education commission is no rubber stamp.

“We just need to check signals to see what the whole situation is with Ivy Tech,” Kenley said. “My guess is we won’t have any answers on this until October or November — at the earliest.”

Bloomington Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart greets students on the morning of the first day of classes in this Aug. 22, 2011, photo. Monty Howell | Herald-Times

John Whikehart

Copyright: 2013

Computers help Ivy Tech campers with jewelry design

Computers help Ivy Tech campers with jewelry design

Camp blends artistic abilities with science, technology, engineering and mathematics

By April Toler
331-4353 |
June 25, 2013

Sitting in a computer lab at Ivy Tech Community College, Lucy Anderson worked diligently to complete a 3-D design of a keychain.

A couple of days into last week’s SUCCESSorize camp, the 12-year-old was on a roll, having already created a ring and two pendants — one resembling Mickey Mouse, the other marked with a V for volleyball.

“I think it’s really fun,” she said. “I like how (the computer program) Rhino is very new and then it’s really cool that these (volunteers) get to help you. The first day it was kind of hard because I didn’t really get it, but now I’m getting the hang of it.”

About nine girls, between sixth and eighth grade, took part in last week’s SUCCESSorize camp hosted by Ivy Tech.

Throughout the week, campers tapped into both their artistic abilities and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, concepts by creating jewelry using Rhinoceros computer software.

Their designs were then printed into actual products, which the students then painted.

Developed three years ago, the camp aims at encouraging young females to explore science and engineering, while also having fun.

“We’ve always tried to recruit women into science, technology, engineering and math areas,” said Kirk Barnes, dean of Ivy Tech’s School of Technology. “I think a lot of the perception we needed to change is that you can use science and technology, engineering concepts but you can use it in a way that’s fun for girls, too. It’s not just rockets and race cars.”

In addition to creating their own jewelry, each camper was also responsible for creating their own business plan that included how they would sell and market their jewelry.

The entrepreneurial side of things is something Joyce Poling, assistant to the chancellor for community engagement, said many artists find a hard time grasping.

“One thing we find particularly in this community, we have a lot of artists, and often they love their art but they don’t like to think about the business part of it,” Poling said. “We often have them come into the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship to talk about how I love what I’m doing but how do I earn a living?”

Although creating jewelry is fun, it’s the business aspect that initially attracted Sophie Whikehart to the camp.

This was the second year Sophie, 12, attended SUCCESSorize. Creator of “Neptunian Designs,” Sophie’s designs this year were inspired by the sea.

“It’s really cool because basically you can design anything and then it will just print it out, which is cool,” she said as she put the finishing touches on a narwhal pendant.

Like many of her fellow campers, although creating jewelry is fun, it was the idea of using a computer to do so that seemed to really impress them.

“I think that it makes it more exciting to know you are doing it in a different way than just piecing things together to create jewelry,” Sophie said. “So I definitely like doing it on the computer.”

There are currently spots available in three upcoming Ivy Tech camps: Girls Camp of Rock, Ivy Arts for Kids, and the Youth Musical Theater Ensemble. For more information, visit

Ivy Biz 1
Margaret Comentale (left) and Sophie Whikehart work on their jewelry during a College For Kids class at Ivy Tech. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

Ivy Biz 2
Margaret Comentale carefully paints a ring during a College For Kids class at Ivy Tech. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

Ivy Biz 3
Joy Bhattacharya takes a close view of her pendents as she paints them during a College For Kids class at Ivy Tech. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2013

Efficiency workshop helps Bloomington community with building management

Efficiency workshop helps Bloomington community with building management

By Rick Seltzer
331-4243 |
June 6, 2013

It was an innocuous enough squiggly line at first glance: A graph of a building’s electricity use splashed across screens at Bloomington’s City Hall Wednesday.

Innocuous enough, that is, until a second look revealed electricity consumption spiking at midnight.

“What this shows is something was very wrong at Twin Lakes Recreation Center,” said Jacqui Bauer, the city’s sustainability coordinator. “What we determined based on this dashboard data was that our mechanical systems were 12 hours off.”

Bloomington discovered the problem at Twin Lakes — one of the city’s biggest users of electricity and gas — about a year ago, according to Bauer. It fixed the problem, but Bauer used the incident to show the power of tracking facilities’ operations.

Such data tracking was the central theme of an Efficient Facilities workshop the city hosted Wednesday along with Ivy Tech Community College. The workshop was aimed at those who own or manage buildings.

“It’s a type of profession without a lot of social aspects built into it,” Bauer said. “They all know so much, and letting them share things with each other is a great opportunity.”

The workshop drew a range of attendees. They included representatives from CFC Properties, Indiana University, Ivy Tech, the Bloomington firm Sustainability Dashboard LLC, Monroe County, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Some graduates of Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs also attended.

Data tracking options range from monthly utility tracking to larger-scale options including integrated software and hardware systems, attendees heard. Looking at data can lead companies and organizations to save energy, money and staff time, according to Bauer.

Facility managers who look at data can detect when problems occur, said Barry Collins, Bloomington’s facilities management coordinator. For instance, a spike in water use can demonstrate a leaking pipe or stuck-open valve.

Data tracking can also help managers find the most effective ways to make their buildings more efficient, Collins said.

“Sit down and look at your facility before trying to change things,” he said. “Know what your facility can do.”

Wednesday’s facilities workshop wasn’t the first in Bloomington — smaller meetings have been taking place quarterly. But this week’s get-together, which drew about 20 people, was the largest in a year, according to Bauer.

Ivy Tech Corporate College, which focuses on professional education and development, was looking for feedback from roundtable attendees. It wants to know types of training that would be useful for facilities managers, according to Katrinka Schroeder, corporate college account executive in Bloomington.

“The corporate college is all about employing skills to make companies more productive,” she said. “And that’s what we’re doing here.”

Copyright: 2013

2013 high school class the last to graduate under Bloomington New Tech name

2013 high school class the last to graduate under Bloomington New Tech name

By April Toler
331-4353 |
June 1, 2013

Standing in her cap and gown, Elizabeth Canada was confident that being a part of Bloomington New Tech High School has prepared her for her future.

“I don’t think I would have had the same experience at North or South or any other school,” Canada said. “Everything about New Tech (I’ll miss). I’m just so thankful.”

Canada is one of 36 New Tech students to graduate this year, 31 of whom participated in the school’s commencement ceremony Friday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

Carson Martin was named New Tech’s valedictorian.

The 2013 class is the last class who will graduate under the New Tech name. In August, the school will become the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, A New Technology High School.

Although small in size, the class at New Tech made many accomplishments this year, which were highlighted by principal Bruce Colston.

Those accomplishments include 52 percent of graduates receiving a Core 40 diploma; 46 percent receiving a Core 40 diploma with academic honors; 108 college courses completed; 324 college credits earned; five mid-year graduates and three early graduates; and two students who were admitted to the National Technical Honor Society.

New to the school, Colston has spent less than a year with this year’s graduating class. But they have left a lasting impression on him.

“One impression I do have of you is that you are a class of unique individuals,” he said. “You came to New Tech seeking new educational experiences. You are leaving having carved out a path that is uniquely your own.”

In addition to receiving praise from Colston, the graduates also received praise from commencement speaker John Whikehart, chancellor of Ivy Tech Bloomington.

The high school and Ivy Tech have worked closely together to provide college credit opportunities for New Tech students.

“Make no mistake about it. You, the students, made New Tech a success,” he said.

For Clark Ackerman, who graduated in three years, New Tech allowed him to make lifelong friends and to work closely with his teachers and school staff.

Those friends, coupled with the knowledge and skills he learned at New Tech, will be what he takes away from his high school experience as he heads into the future.

“(I’ll miss) just the things I learned, like public speaking, working in groups, collaborating,” he said. “I’m going to always keep that with me, and I’m going to remember the friends and people I’ve met at this school.”

New Tech High School senior Bradley William Bridges holds his diploma in his lap Friday during commencement at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The 2013 class is the last to graduate under the New Tech name. Rabi Abonour | Herald-Times

Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart delivers the commencement address Friday at the Bloomington New Tech High School graduation. Rabi Abonour | Herald-Times

Bloomington New Tech High School senior Carson Martin delivers a speech Friday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Martin was named valedictorian of the 2013 class. Rabi Abonour | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2013