Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

October 1, 2012

Nearly 12 IHCC courses see double-digit student increases

Daily Iowegian

OTTUMWA — Indian Hills Community College has announced a fall enrollment of 4,885 students.  College officials point out there are nearly a dozen academic programs that have double-digit percentage increases in students over last year’s numbers.

Two of the largest jumps in enrollment are in the Manufacturing Technology area of the Advanced Technology Division where Renewable Energy and Robotics/Automation have shown healthy increases.

That division also boasts significantly higher student numbers in Computer Software Development, Computer Networks and Security and Culinary Arts.

“We are encouraged by the big increases we have seen in some of our technology programs,” said Tom Rubel, executive dean of Regional Economic Advancement at IHCC.  “That entire division is focused on getting students a quality education and out into the workforce in two years or less.

“We continue to get the message from our business and industry partners that they have job openings that require a skill set that we can provide.  We are working hard to prepare students who can help fill that workforce shortage.”

Kelly Conrad, dean of Student Services, said the college is excited about the number of students living on-campus, both in Ottumwa and on the Centerville campus.

“Our residence halls on the Ottumwa campus have nearly 500 students and we have a waiting list for students who want to live in the residence hall in Centerville,” said Conrad.

Academic programs in the Health Occupations Division that saw sizeable increases in students this fall are the Paramedic program as well as Therapeutic Massage and Occupational Therapist Assistant, and the Associate Degree Nursing online program.

“We have over one hundred more students in our high school programs,” pointed out Karen Swanson, director of High School Programs at IHCC.  She added, “And we are encouraged that the number of students taking courses in which they get both high school and IHCC credit continues to grow.”

A new Fairfield Area Career Academy opened this fall in Fairfield to join the Keokuk County Career Academy in Sigourney, the Mahaska County Career Academy in Oskaloosa and the Rathbun Area Career Academy in Centerville.  The academies were initiated through a partnership between IHCC and high schools in those communities in which high school juniors and seniors are able to earn college credit by enrolling in career-focused courses.  Those courses differ in each of the academies.  

Indian Hills continues to stress student engagement, Conrad said, and one way that is being done is through the 44 students clubs and organizations at IHCC.  Hundreds of students are involved in those groups, which are visible both on campus and in the community.  And scholarships are available for students in the clubs and organizations.

The IHCC dean said a strong retention effort is still a priority at the college.  

“We have put a great deal of time and energy into a college-wide retention plan,” Conrad said.  “It involves a number of different departments, including our academic division and student services staff.”