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Column: Ivy Tech has reason to be proud on 50th anniversary

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Ivy Tech Community College is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. We’re certainly proud of our heritage — but equally proud of how far we’ve come as an institution.

Ivy Tech has grown to become the largest singly accredited community college in the nation. We are the largest post-secondary institution in the state.

More freshmen are enrolled at Ivy Tech (18,564) than at Indiana University Bloomington (4,695), Purdue University West Lafayette (3,434), Ball State University (3,159), Indiana State University (3,175) and IUPUI (3,106) combined. Forty-one percent of the state’s freshman class is enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College.

In addition to providing the front door to higher education, through which students can earn an associate degree for less than half the cost of the first two years at most universities and then continue to work toward a bachelor’s degree at the university of their choice, Ivy Tech also provides educational instruction of the highest quality.

I am proud of our faculty. Many hold doctorates in their respective fields. All other full-time faculty teaching our freshman- and sophomore-level classes are required to hold no less than a master’s degree in the field in which they teach. Our adjunct professors possess full academic credentials and also work in their fields. This provides students an opportunity to learn from professionals currently in the workforce.

The evidence of high quality is incontrovertible. For example, Ivy Tech’s registered nurse students complete a two-year associate of science degree, then sit for the same licensure exam four-year nursing program graduates take.

Columbus nursing graduates passed this exam at a rate of 96 percent in the first quarter and 98 percent in the second. These are among the very highest marks in the state, including those from four-year universities. Columbus surgical technology graduates passed their licensure exam at a rate of 100 percent for the second straight year.

In order to provide students with an education with credits that transfer, institutions must be accredited. Ivy Tech is accredited by the North Central Association, which oversees accreditation of colleges and universities in 19 states.

The process of attaining and maintaining accreditation is rigorous. As a result of the high quality of instruction at Ivy Tech and the fact that its programs are accredited, the state’s research universities all accept Ivy Tech credits and continue to partner with us to create even more pathways for Ivy Tech graduates who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees and further their education.

The School of Art and Design holds program accreditation from one of the most stringent and prestigious bodies in academia, the National Association for Schools of Art and Design. Our program is one of only seven other community colleges in the nation to receive this accreditation.

Our paramedic science program was the very first in south central Indiana and among Ivy Tech’s 14 regions to receive recognition from its accrediting body, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

We are equally proud of our students and graduates.

Research has shown that Ivy Tech graduates who transfer as juniors to universities are more successful than those who started at the university as freshmen. Our graduates have gone on to become knowledgeable and dedicated leaders in their fields. Last year, more than 800 area residents transferred university credit from Ivy Tech in Columbus, a number that nearly doubles every year.

Our sister institutions have come to realize that the rigor at Ivy Tech is no less than that that students would experience at their university. Our students handle the same responsibilities as do their students — they write research papers, attend lectures, run experiments, give speeches and do homework. They also create friendships, have fun, learn from one another, participate in clubs, play intramural sports and develop a love for Ivy Tech.

It should be no secret that Ivy Tech is the most affordable college in Indiana. But offering a more affordable education doesn’t equate to offering a lower quality education.

Our mission is to offer a high quality education at an affordable price for individuals in our service area. We have striven to do just that and believe that we have succeeded. We look forward to continuing to do so.

John Hogan is chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College at Columbus.

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