Ivy Tech is now part of Nationwide Nanotechnology Network

SOUTH BEND– Ivy Tech Community College recently received word that their South Bend campus’s Nanotechnology Program was awarded a $165,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a Nanotechnology Application and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network teaching site hub in partnership with Penn State University.  
The South Bend campus’s Central Midwest NACK Network Site will serve not only the state’s other Ivy Tech campuses, but will also accept students from other colleges, including outside the state.
“This teaching model will have a major impact on our regional economy,” said Thomas G. Coley, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s North Central Region.  “Michiana employers are looking for qualified workers and they typically don’t require a specific state residency. Additionally, advanced technology companies will be attracted to the Michiana area where there is a growing supply of well qualified and trained technicians ready to enter their workforce. We’re very excited to launch the NACK Network teaching site and help our region thrive.”
According to Abdollah Aghdasi, Nanotechnology Program chair, the new model offers an intensive semester of 18 academic credits of Nanotechnology courses in 10 weeks and will start in the summer of 2013.  The program will have room for 20 students.  
“We’re working out details, but it’s likely that students will be in class eight hours a day, Monday through Friday,” said Aghdasi.  “But the payoff is that the students’ key courses are delivered in a condensed format which will help them complete their program more efficiently.”
Ideally, this intensive semester will be a capstone, or final, semester for Nanotechnology students, but Aghdasi sees additional potential for the NACK model.  
“Our intent is to work with degree-seeking students and we inform them about the opportunity of completing a bachelor’s degree at Purdue University North Central after they have completed their Ivy Tech nanotechnology degree. But the intensive semester very thoroughly provides the basic knowledge needed for nanotechnology technicians.  We will discuss the possibilities with every student who has an interest in the program.”
As the dean of Ivy Tech’s School of Technology and School of Applied Science and Engineering, one of David Brinkruff’s goals is to increase the number of work-ready graduates coming out of his schools.  He sees the NACK model supporting that goal.
“The intensive capstone semester prepares students for the new manufacturing model,” Brinkruff said.  “After full semesters of chemistry, physics and the other classes that students take as part of their degree program, the NACK model allows them to practically apply all that they’ve learned and transition very smoothly into the workplace.”
Ivy Tech plans to offer the first NACK intensive semester over the summer because they anticipate drawing students from throughout the state and felt that housing options might be easier for students to find in the summer.  The college is currently investigating housing possibilities for Ivy Tech students at other local residential colleges.  
Ivy Tech’s South Bend campus is one of only seven NACK sites in the United States and Puerto Rico.  With the exception of Penn State’s site, all the sites are community colleges in collaboration with local universities.  Ivy Tech’s collaborative partner is the University of Notre Dame.
Students who would like additional information about either the NACK model or the Nanotechnology program should contact Abdollah Aghdasi (aaghdasi@ivytech.edu) at 574-289-7001, ext. 6355.
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.

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