Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

June 15, 2014

MARCUS: Ivy Tech may hold keys to Indiana's future

Now that Ivy Tech’s physical empire has been built, with a branch in almost every county, it’s time to determine what role that institution will play in providing education for Hoosiers.

Once upon a time, Ivy Tech was a vocational extension of high school and a second chance for those who required remediation of reading, writing and arithmetic skills. But that has changed. Today, Ivy Tech also offers more advanced technical training as well as a pathway to higher education.

There is, however, a trend across the nation (as reported in USA Today, June 5, 2014) for community colleges to become four-year, bachelor degree-granting institutions. Does this mean, over time, Ivy Tech’s many locations will augment their offerings to include sports and other studies comparable with those now available at Ball State, Indiana, Indiana State, IPFW, IUE, IUK, IUN, IUPUI, IUPUI-C, IUSB, IUSE, Purdue, PUC, PUNC and Southern Indiana?

Academic offerings may start small, but as with children, they often grow in size and complexity without adding depth. Thus, programs move from certificates to degrees, and degrees to higher degrees, until we have doctorates in the legal and anthropological aspects of 16th century medical management of mites.

It’s easy to see how this can happen. More areas of study (and who is to say that sports are not an entire universe of study?) mean more faculty, support staff, and facilities. Ah, facilities: construction contracts for friends of legislators.

Four-year programs need students. Why not out-of-state students, even foreign students? They can pay higher tuition fees to support the programs and occupy student housing. This works for our major campuses and already has been emulated at smaller locations.

The lust for learning by students is not as great as the lust for living large by administrators.

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