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Ivy Tech trustees hear money woes,
prep for re-accreditation

By Nicole Brooks | 331-4232 | |

December 14, 2008

As Ivy Tech administrators prepare for a crucial yet standard re-accreditation process, money troubles lurk around the corner.

The community college’s State Board of Trustees met on the Bloomington campus Thursday and got prepped for upcoming peer reviews from Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools teams visiting Ivy Tech campuses — but first heard from their treasurer.

“It is a significant reduction,” Robert Holmes told the 14-member board, including Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder, in describing state funds that could come Ivy Tech’s way in the upcoming two-year state budget. The college’s request for state funds totaling $41 million in 2009-2010 and an additional $10 million the following year could look more like $8.4 million in 2009-2010 and $14 million the following year, Holmes said.

And those figures were discussed before Friday, when Gov. Mitch Daniels announced a projected revenue shortfall of $935 million for fiscal year 2009, prompting Daniels to put in place cost-saving measures. These include a salary freeze for state employees and budget cuts in many agencies, and higher education budget cuts are imminent. How those cuts will affect Ivy Tech’s 23 campuses is an unknown.

The financial gloom comes as Ivy Tech surpasses Indiana University to become the state’s largest public post-secondary institution, with 120,447 students in the 2007-2008 academic year, compared to IU’s 118,952 students, statewide. Snyder noted at the trustees meeting that 40 percent of all black students enrolled in college in Indiana attend Ivy Tech.

Diversity of faculty to match the student body was one weakness at Ivy Tech discussed at the meeting in preparation for the re-accreditation process. Other areas Ivy Tech will focus on are the full-time to part-time faculty ratio, including an over-reliance on adjunct professors, and retaining students.

Ivy Tech last went through the re-accreditation process 10 years ago. It is a process any institution of higher education would go through to be re-accredited — in Ivy Tech’s case, for another 10 years. Evaluation teams will visit Ivy Tech campuses around the state Jan. 26-28, Feb. 9-11 and March 2-4.

“Accreditors have become much more future-oriented. How are you positioning yourself for the future?” Rebecca Nickoli, vice president for workforce and economic development, asked the trustees during an overview of what to expect during the re-accreditation process. It may be six months from the last Higher Learning Commission team visit to a campus before their final decision regarding re-accreditation is known, Nickoli said.