Ivy Tech Community College Innovation Day winner announced

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College hosted its first Innovation Day challenge, where more than 140 pitch letters were received from faculty, staff and students on innovative ways to improve student success. Sixty were invited to submit an application for consideration, and from those applications 20 were selected to make a presentation to a panel of judges on Monday.

Rene Hankins, executive director of outreach, Terre Haute, was announced as the winner with the concept “Premier College and Career Academies.” Hankins, along with a regional team, describe that their idea would entail regions working with local high schools and industry to build academic pathways geared toward high-wage, high-demand jobs, and supply their local workforce with students that hold a 30-credit hour Technical Certificate. Students would begin this process in their sophomore or junior year by taking dual credit courses in a pathway that leads to the credential and a well-paying job.

Hankins’ region will receive $25,000 for funding to implement the concept and will present the winning submission at Ivy Tech’s Student Success Summit at the end of March.

“I was so impressed with the passion and innovation we saw with all of the presentations. There was such dedication on ensuring the success of our students with a real focus on what efforts can be taken to retain more students and at the same time enroll additional new students,”  Ivy Tech State Board of Trustee, and Innovation Day judge Michael Dora said.

The only student led group, led by Wendy Ndichu, Lafayette, pitched their second place idea “Get a Grip,” where students can receive help toward academic success through student-based mentorship. An additional second place win was awarded to Bernice Britt, North Central, for the submission “Second Chance Program,” an effort to assist students with the entire process of filing and seeking an expungement without meeting in person. These regions will each receive $5,000 to begin implementation of their initiatives.

Third place went to Sabrina Vary, Lafayette, for the submission “Small Business Academy” where businesses and students pair to utilize college resources, and learn the nuances and realities of a small business. The region will receive $2,500 for implementation.

The panel of judges included:

  • Ellen Quigley, vice president of programs for Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation
  • Michael Dora, chairman of the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees
  • Teresa Lubbers, commissioner of higher education for the State of Indiana
  • William Nonte, chief of staff/chief financial officer for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development
  • Pat Rose, vice president of philanthropy, for USA Funds

About Ivy Tech Community College

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.

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