News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 20, 2014

Keeping them ‘on track’

Ivy Tech boosts efforts to draw students back to campus

TERRE HAUTE — Keeping students on track to earn a degree is receiving more effort than ever, the Ivy Tech Community College regional board of trustees learned Friday.

“Almost on a daily basis, we are hearing about the importance of student retention. Keeping students on track,” said Chancellor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “We have redoubled our efforts at both the Terre Haute and Evansville campuses.”

The goal is to increase student retention by 5 percent. To do that, a call campaign has been put in place to have faculty and advisers call students to encourage them to continue taking classes toward their degree.

Creating a nurturing climate where faculty and staff stay in touch with students will help keep students on track, Weinzapfel said.

Leah Allman, vice chancellor for student affairs, said that work and finances are the common theme that Ivy Tech students cite as conflicting with their continuing education.

The three-year graduation rate for the Wabash Valley region — which includes Terre Haute and Evansville — is 9 percent, Weinzapfel said.

He pointed out that unlike traditional four-year universities, Ivy Tech students include many people seeking only a class or two to be certified for their job, or people are who attending part-time with a long-term goal of achieving their associate’s degree.

The six-year success rate for the Wabash Valley Region is 48 percent, while the statewide success rate is 51 percent.

Campus president Lea Anne Crooks said the plan to contact students about enrolling for fall classes went into place June 9. Followup calls are made by the academic advisory center. As the result of one evening of calls made, more than 50 students made appointments to meet with their adviser to sign up for fall classes, she said.

Allman also reported that an express enrollment center is a new approach and has been rolled out on a trial basis. Located near the financial aid office, the “one-stop shop” allows students to take care of all of their enrollment needs in one location rather than having to travel from office to office.

Among other business, the regional board:

• Approved a resolution to replace two failing air conditioning units at a cost of about $216,000.

• Heard that early enrollment is a big initiative to get high school students on board so they can earn dual credit for classes at Ivy Tech.

• Welcomed new member Mick Newport to the board, and bid farewell to outgoing board chairman Ken Baker.

The next meeting of the regional board is set for Sept. 19.

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