Ivy Tech Community College faculty convene for largest summit in college’s history

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 1,400 full-time faculty members convened last week for Ivy Tech Community College’s largest-ever faculty summit. For the first time, all full-time faculty teaching at Ivy Tech came together on the same day for a professional development event.

The two-day event, dubbed the Discipline Dialogues, was modeled from the Majors Meetings that have been occurring in the state of Utah for more than 15 years.  The first day provided skill development and idea sharing among and between faculty teaching in similar academic programs.  A second professional development day, developed by and focused within each of Ivy Tech’s 14 regions, included professional development activities specifically determined by regional academic leadership.

“Ivy Tech Community College has one of the lowest percentages of full-time faculty members amongst community college in the country, so our full-time faculty members are critical to student success,” said Thomas J. Snyder, President of Ivy Tech.  “We feel it’s important to invest resources in our faculty, and bringing these teams together helps us build upon best practices in order to impact the success of our students.”

In addition to professional development opportunities, faculty members brainstormed ideas for improving student success and curriculum development.  They shared their experiences in the use of open educational resources, better techniques to measure the depth and breadth of student knowledge, and building relationship with employers.

“Despite all of the collaboration our faculty engage in, they continue to place a lot of value on the opportunity to work with each other to improve student success,”  said Dr. Marcus Kolb, Assistant Vice President for Assessment and Academic Policy of Ivy Tech and convener of the Discipline Dialogues.  “The freedom to attack issues that they find most crucial made this a unique opportunity that we hope to make an annual event.”

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Indiana Small Business Development Center Partners with Ivy Tech Bloomington to open new South Central ISBDC Office

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) has announced a new partnership, effective today with Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus, who will serve as the regional host for the newly re-established South Central ISBDC office.

“We could not be more pleased to have a partner in Ivy Tech to host the South Central ISBDC office to localize and expand on the current assistance available for small businesses in the region,” noted ISBDC State Director Jacob Schpok.

The ISBDC offers entrepreneurs expert guidance and a comprehensive network of resources for little to no cost. Services provided include one-on-one consulting, strategic planning, market research and loan assistance.

“Ivy Tech is committed to entrepreneurship education,” said Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “The Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship was established at Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus in 2010 to provide practical tools and resources for students, individuals, and the community. Our new partnership with the South Central ISBDC office will enable us to serve even more entrepreneurs, and provide students and small business owners with expanded resources.”

Leading the local ISBDC office will be Troy Phelps, who currently serves as a Business Advisor for the West Central ISBDC, but is already located in the Bloomington area. Phelps has counseled with over 300 local businesses, specializing in accounting, but also brings significant experience in the banking, medical and insurance industries. His entrepreneurial experience includes starting two businesses of his own and he understands firsthand the challenges of owning a business. In addition, through a partnership with Ivy Tech, Phelps instructed QuickBooks classes for several semesters and is a certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor.

“Ivy Tech and the South Central ISBDC complement each other and form a natural partnership to help entrepreneurs,” said Ivy Tech’s Executive Director of the Cook Center for Entrepreneurship Steve Bryant. “Ivy Tech offers academic programs and consulting services that complement the services that the South Central ISBDC office provides. Our startups and small business owners will be more efficiently served under this new regional partnership.”

To celebrate the new south central office, an open house is planned for Thursday, August 13 from 4:30-6:00pm at:  

Ivy Tech Cook Center for Entrepreneurship
2088 South Liberty Drive, Suite 114
Bloomington, Indiana 47403
(812) 345-9395          

ISBDC services will be delivered to the following counties:  Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange and Washington. 

In addition to state and federal funding sources, the Bloomington ISBDC receives funding support through partnerships with Indiana University, the City of Bloomington, and Monroe County.

Ivy Tech Community College receives stable outlook and improved AA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, AA bond rating from Fitch

College achieves savings of $3.3 million on current refinancing and in excess of $5 million in debt savings since 2012

INDIANAPOLIS— Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has assigned an AA long-term rating to the Trustees of Ivy Tech Community College’s series T student fee bonds and affirmed its AA long-term and underlying ratings on Ivy Tech’s outstanding bonds with a stable outlook for all bonds.  Standard and Poor’s upgraded Ivy Tech’s rating in January from AA- to AA for long-term and underlying ratings.

Fitch Ratings assigned an AA rating with a stable outlook on approximately $28.1 million of the Trustees of Ivy Tech Community College Student Fee Bonds, Series T.  In addition, Fitch affirms the AA rating on approximately $263.4 million of outstanding Student Fee Revenue Bonds.

The Series T bonds sold via a negotiated sale last week through JP Morgan Securities.  The proceeds will refund a portion of series K Student Fee Bonds that originally funded campus projects in Madison, Marion and Valparaiso and pay associated costs of issuance.

“Through sound financial management practices, we have been able to deliver savings to the taxpayers of the state through this refinancing of more than $3.3 million or 11 percent of the refunded debt,” said Chris Ruhl, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel for Ivy Tech. “This deal was marked by strong investor demand for College bonds with orders exceeding supply by $50 million.”

The Series T refinancing increases the amount of cumulative savings through debt refunding by the College since 2012 to over $5 million.

“The rating reflects our view of Ivy Tech’s fundamental credit strengths including its strong operating income trends, highlighted by healthy surpluses recorded consistently for the past several years, growing financial resource rations, and robust state appropriations,” said Standard and Poor’s credit analyst Shivani Singh.  “It also reflects Ivy Tech’s enterprise profile strengths, including its position as the largest single accreditation community college system in the U.S. and strong management team with good fiscal planning and policy in place.”

The AA rating from Fitch reflects Ivy Tech’s sound market position, increased state appropriations budgeted through Fiscal 2017, and healthy financial profile overall.  Counterbalancing factors include exposure to fluctuations in federal funding for Pell grants and a moderate debt burden.

Standard and Poor’s noted that Ivy Tech has continued solid state support from Indiana representing 36 percent of Ivy Tech’s fiscal 2014 adjusting operating revenues; strong financial performance with consistent operating surpluses on a full accrual basis with proven expense flexibility to manage enrollment fluctuations; good fundraising history with good progress toward a $500 million campaign underway; adequate financial resources for the rating category with adjusted unrestricted net assets equal to 52.6 percent of adjusted operating expenses at 94.9 percent pro-forma debt as of June 30, 2014; and support of debt services on about 88 percent of total debt from state fee-replacement appropriations.

Fitch noted that Ivy Tech’s operating margin has been solidly positive over the past five years, reflecting steadily growing levels of state appropriations and prudent financial management in the midst of downward enrollment trends.  Annual operating surpluses have contributed to significant gains in the college’s unencumbered financial resources, which provide for satisfactory coverage of long-term debt and softer, though still adequate, coverage of operating expenses.

Ivy Tech’s steady operating performance was also noted by Fitch with the college consistently generating positive operation margins, averaging 6.9 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, including 5.8 percent in the most recent year.  Fiscal year 2014 resulted in an operating surplus despite a year-over-year decline in total full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.