Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 28, 2013

MARK HEINIG: Strange days, changing leadership in Hoosierland

Will Pence, Daniels survive transition and be effective?

What an unu-sual time in Indiana! Despite a huge Republican election victory, our current governor and his predecessor both face difficulties. Although neither has yet demonstrated credibility as a leader in his new role, Mike Pence may be closer to achieving it as governor than Mitch Daniels is as Purdue University’s new president.

One of Pence’s first proposals was a tax cut. Because Republicans control the Legislature, it’s surprising he only got about half the amount he requested. Now he worries about how Ivy Tech uses its state funding and demands the city of Gary submit a plan to reduce violence before he sends the state police to help control the violence occurring there right now!

To relieve Pence’s anxiety he should realize many Ivy Tech students are nontraditional. They are older, have jobs or hope to get them, and often support families. I have taught nontraditional students. They are very different from high school students.

One important difference is maturity. Nontraditional students aren’t adolescents. They’re adults. They are highly motivated, have clear goals and work hard to achieve them. It doesn’t matter if they need more time to earn a degree or if they ever earn one at all. It only matters that they leave college with knowledge and skills that improve their employment opportunities.

A diploma is merely a piece of paper. It may help you get a job, but keeping it depends upon your knowledge, skills and work ethic. Whenever I interviewed for a new job, the interviewer was more interested in my past job performance than my college transcript.

Interviewers at other colleges have similar interests. I did admissions work for one in Kentucky. Employers were eager to hire our students, and they even offered some of them immediate employment at excellent wages. Those students often left before graduating. Dropping out of college to accept a good job offer is success, not failure! I can’t prove Indiana employers make similar offers, but why wouldn’t they?

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