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Editorial: Ivy Tech needs to keep local focus as it grows

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Ivy Tech Community College is in transition, and that change will be felt particularly in the Franklin and Columbus regions.

The local region is being merged with the Southeast region of Batesville, Lawrenceburg and Madison. If this change brings efficiencies and cost savings to the college, both locally and statewide, then all Hoosiers will benefit, as the college is public and tax-supported.

There are programmatic changes possible. Courses and majors offered at one site could be expanded to others. In particular, courses and certifications related to the skills needed in technologically sophisticated manufacturing should benefit students and companies across southeast Indiana.

But there is always a degree of uncertainty that comes with a major administrative change like this. In particular, will the Columbus/Franklin region be less well-equipped to serve the needs of students and industries in this area?

So it is reassuring that Steven Combs has been named interim chancellor of the Columbus/Franklin region and will help lay the groundwork for the merger. He previously was vice chancellor of academic affairs for the local region. That familiarity will help immensely with keeping the region informed about what’s happening and keeping the sites involved in the process.

It’s good to see that Ivy Tech named someone already on the local staff to serve in this important capacity.

We aren’t expecting special treatment, just attention to local needs.

The larger Ivy Tech grows, the greater the challenge of keeping the focus on the needs of its core constituents — Hoosier business and industry and the students themselves.

By dividing the state into regions, the college sought to keep that focus as close to the source as possible. It is our hope that the local focus won’t be lost when the region is enlarged, but it is heartening to have someone with intimate knowledge of the local situation helping the college steer a path into this new arrangement.

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