by Kevin Pink
Information Director, Indian Hills Community College
We’re open! That’s the message from Indian Hills Community College as the college nears the midpoint of the current summer term.
“Our mantra is ‘Indian Hills is open and ready to serve our students and communities,’” said IHCC president Dr. Marlene Sprouse. In an email to the college community, Sprouse said the summer “has us offering coursework in a variety of alternative formats: online, Zoom, virtual labs, and face-to-face labs. Many courses are using a combination of two or more of these formats.”
With the summer term moving along well, so far, Indian Hills administrators have been busy trying to figure out what the fall term, which begins August 31, will look like. There is uncertainty about how COVID-19 will affect fall enrollment and college officials promise they will be working right up to the first day of classes to ensure they can bring students and faculty back to a safe, learning environment.
Dr. Matt Thompson, Executive Vice President, said additional student services staff will return to campus July 7 to assist students. Admissions, advisors, and financial aid and OneStop staff will be available starting then to meet with new and returning students. Thompson added that campus tours will resume in July with prospective students once again being able to enter academic buildings to see classrooms and labs. He encouraged students planning to attend Indian Hills in the fall to contact the OneStop office by phone (641-683-5262) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a campus visit or begin the enrollment process.
Faculty will continue to be creative and innovative in finding ways to teach course content to help students succeed, according to Thompson. “We will offer a combination of delivery methods for the fall term,” he said, “and we recommend new students apply and register as soon as possible to reserve a seat in a face-to-face class or live virtual learning course.”
While continuing to follow guidance issued by the CDC to provide student safety, Thompson explained Indian Hills will remain committed to preparing students for the workforce or college transfer. “We know students and families are facing uncertain times so the college’s faculty and staff are ready to help change the lives of area residents through education,” he added.
Indian Hills received federal funds as part of the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist students with expenses caused by the disruption of college operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. IHCC still has some of those funds available and students with questions about their eligibility to receive the funds should contact OneStop. Those with a need, but who don’t qualify for federal funds, may still qualify for emergency funds through the college and the Indian Hills Foundation.
The pandemic wasn’t able to stop construction on the Ottumwa or Centerville campuses this spring. In Centerville, ground was broken recently for a practice facility for the new men’s and women’s wrestling program. And a major remodel of the fitness facility and locker room in the Multipurpose Building is nearly finished. The exterior of the building is also getting a new look.
Chief Financial Officer Michael Lee is overseeing all of the construction work and said a major effort to renovate the dining facility on the Ottumwa campus is going very well. “We are about two weeks ahead of schedule,” Lee said of that project whose completion is slated to coincide with the start of the fall term. “The new store front is in place, drywall has been hung, wall and floor tile are being installed and the new freezer and cooler are in place,” Lee said. He added the kitchen equipment is beginning to be delivered and prepped for installation.
Resurfacing of roadways and parking lots will complete the summertime work in Ottumwa.
All of the Indian Hills administrators emphasized they are ready to accept the challenges the fall term will bring and excited about how everyone – students, faculty and staff – will adapt to a new academic year that won’t look like anything Indian Hills has seen in more than 50 years.
(This is a regular column provided by Indian Hills Community College)