Ivy Tech restructuring won’t affect Bloomington — for now

The Herald-Times
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:00 am

By Jon Blau 331-4266 | jblau@heraldt.com

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus will remain mostly unaffected by the community college’s plan to fold several other campuses into broader regions — for now.

In what Ivy Tech is calling “the most substantial organizational changes” at the community college in its 50 years, the number of chancellors statewide will decrease from 13 to 11 and other administrative reductions will follow. For instance, the Columbus campus will combine with the Southeast region, consolidating administrative staffs from both to run campus locations in Columbus, Franklin, Batesville, Lawrenceburg and Madison.

According to Ivy Tech spokesman Jeff Fanter, these cuts will allow the community college system to meet Gov. Mike Pence’s goal of cutting 2 percent out of state institutions’ budgets in the second half of 2014, which amounts to about $4 million for Ivy Tech. Despite a reduction in chancellors, there will still be 14 regional representatives to the college’s state board of trustees.

It was decided during the trustees meeting Monday, which was conducted via teleconference, that Bloomington will remain its own region with its own chancellor. But Fanter cautioned against labeling Bloomington as off-limits for future changes, because the board asked Ivy Tech’s leadership to look at other realignment options to “ensure continued efficiencies across the state.”

“Leadership will continue to look at the current regional structure and work with local regional boards to determine if any further adjustments should be made,” Fanter said via email.

He also said it was too early to tell how many administrative positions would be lost by the regional realignment.

Brad Thurmond, the vice chancellor of academic affairs in Bloomington, has been named interim chancellor since John Whikehart announced his retirement, effective Jan. 15, and subsequent move to City Hall as Bloomington’s deputy mayor. Under the new administrative structure, there no longer will be vice chancellors. Vice chancellors will become “college presidents” in the new model, reporting to the regional chancellors, with their roles focused on community outreach.

Whikehart was one of three chancellors at Ivy Tech who either retired or moved to another position. Former Richmond Chancellor Steven Tincher became vice president for the business and public services division in Indianapolis, and the Richmond and Connersville campuses became combined with Anderson, Marion, Muncie and New Castle into the East Central region, which is already led by Chancellor Andrew Bowne. James Helms retired as chancellor of the Southeast region.

In April 2013, Ivy Tech had its first round of consolidation by putting Chancellor Thomas Coley in charge of both the North Central and Northwest regions, including East Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Michigan City, Elkhart, South Bend and Warsaw. Ivy Tech officials believe further consolidation will allow the college to meet its goal for cuts and allow the system to hire more academic advisers.

A constant complaint of Ivy Tech’s is that its funding per student has lagged behind other state institutions. According to Ivy Tech, its funding per full-time student has dropped from $3,248 to $2,543 between 2006 and 2012. Late in 2013, the community college announced a new academic structure, which will help offset a student-adviser ratio of 1,200 to 1 by allowing students to enroll in meta-majors and “self-advise” via an online, automated system.

 

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