By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian
---- — Tuesday afternoon more than 30 people attended a reception at the Indian Hills Community College Centerville campus to meet the college’s new president, Dr. Marlene Sprouse.
Sprouse is only the fourth IHCC president. She follows in the footsteps of Dr. Jim Lindenmayer, who served 11 years as the IHCC president until his recent retirement.
Sprouse as a student attended IHCC Centerville and at one time she was the college’s dean.
“This is my home area, the entire 10-county area,” Sprouse said. “But in particular you know that my heart belongs to the Centerville-Seymour-Corydon area. So I’m really pleased to be here tonight.”
Sprouse midway through the 90 minute reception narrated a Powerpoint presentation that talked about enrollment, credentials awarded and projects planned for the Centerville IHCC campus.
Enrollment for IHCC overall peaked in 2009-2010 at between 5,000 and 6,000 students. Since then, enrollment has dropped by 18 percent to the point where they have less than 5,000 students.
The enrollment decline is compounded by the loss of 4,000 school age children in the 10-county area IHCC serves, Sprouse said, meaning they have a smaller pool to draw from to engage potential college students. The student pool has been consistently declining since 1998, Sprouse said.
“And we have many fewer school age children in our 10-county area then we did in those years previous,” Sprouse said. “
On a positive note, Sprouse said Appanoose County’s three school districts have added six school age children to the mix.
“So in the county you have not lost dramatically at least this year,” Sprouse said.
And another positive, Sprouse said, was the 17 year enrollment trend for IHCC is up 36.3 percent while population has declined by 2.2 percent.
The IHCC Centerville campus has never topped 500 students, according to a Powerpoint slide presented by Sprouse. Centerville’s 2012 enrollment was between 350 and 400.
IHCC ranks high when it comes to awarding credentials among the 15 community colleges in Iowa, Sprouse said. IHCC ranked fourth in arts and science; third in manufacturing; and first in transportation and health sciences.
“In fact, we graduate more nurses than anybody in the state,” Sprouse said, adding the Centerville campus offers an associate nursing degree.
Following the presentation, Sprouse talked to the Daily Iowegian about the planned building projects for the IHCC Centerville campus. Not all of the projects are finalized or have a timeline, Sprouse said, but they do include a new academic building, interior and exterior work on the multi-purpose building, exterior work on other campus buildings and the creation of a sustainable agricultural program and facility.
Sprouse’s Powerpoint presentation touched on projects and initiatives IHCC has planned to include streamlining the education process, creating pathways to help students and veterans and the continuation of regional economic advancement.
Sprouse has been with IHCC for 13 years. She has 33 years of education experience and has worked as a teacher, principal and now president.