A Publication of WTVP

As I finish my fifth year of service at ICC, I thought it appropriate to reflect on some of what’s been happening “on my watch.”

Perhaps the most notable change is the addition of the North campus. This achievement is testament to what the combined efforts of business leaders, legislators, faculty, staff, and students can do. The community told us that we needed a north location. Rep. David Leitch saw an opportunity to help us and shepherded the acquisition of the north facilities through the general assembly, governor’s office, and other governmental agencies. Central Management Services Director Paul Campbell, assisted by Sen. George Shadid, helped the deal come to fruition. Now ICC has 250,000 square feet and 64 acres to expand in many instructional areas. More than 3,000 students attend the ICC North campus.

Our district covers more than 2,300 square miles, which means long commutes for students residing beyond the tri-county area. With the addition of WoodView Commons as the student residential option, students now can live on campus and still enjoy the benefits of a community college education. The facility has 330 beds and is more than 80 percent occupied this year.

Other facility projects completed during the past five years include the addition of modern greenhouses to the Landscape Horticulture Lab, the 75,000-square-foot expansion of the Agriculture Industrial Technology building, a 45,000-square-foot Technology Center, and a 16,000-square-foot Career Center that will open in April 2006. The most important result of the added space and resources is that student enrollment has grown from 10,000 in 2001 to more than 13,000 in 2005.

But change hasn’t simply come in bricks and mortar. We’ve adopted Interest Based Bargaining for negotiating with the faculty and carpenters unions, as well as 6 Sigma for managing improved processes and systems. Two years ago, we completed a wage audit that allowed us to write more than 200 new job descriptions and adjust wages for our classified and professional support staff. All of these involved the participation of many employees, students, and community members. They’ve reinforced that our college is indeed a community college, in which many kinds of communities have a voice.

It’s been an exciting, challenging, interesting, and rewarding five years. But we’re only just beginning. What’s on the horizon? A quality-based approach to accreditation; formalized service orientation to meet the needs of both our internal and external “customers”; expansion of our Professional Development Institute; continuous upgrades for our grounds, facilities, and safety/security; new programs in homeland security; and hopefully a new Student Events Center with child care facilities, an expanded fitness center, increased space for recreational activities, and a location for on-campus commencement.

I’m fortunate to have a supportive community, legislators willing to help us, business leaders who believe in our mission, outstanding faculty focused on teaching and learning, and staff who really care. But I’m especially grateful to our students, who daily remind me of a lesson from Michelangelo: “Ancora Comparo—I am still learning.” IBI