Statewide Notes from CAOC meeting 4_12_2021 & Town Hall 4_9_2021

The CAOC meets on Mondays at 11:30 a.m. in what’s known as the “weekly huddle.” Here are the items from the meeting on 04.12.21, as well as my notes from the Statewide Town Hall on 04.09.21.

CAOC HUDDLE (04.12.21)

  1. The college anticipates that we will continue to observe the current social distancing requirements into the Fall 2021 term. There may be updated CDC guidelines released this summer regarding colleges and social distancing, but that’s currently unknown.
  2. The “free textbook trial” platform is shutting down April 15. No extension of that service is possible. The college anticipates the Inclusive Tuition program going into effect this fall, so that will provide a solution for getting students their books at the start of class, but the issue will affect the Summer 2021 term. The college is working directly with major publishers to have a workaround for this summer. Cengage Unlimited will not be affected for obvious reasons.
  3. Sue did not go over the Return to Campus survey results with chancellors on their Monday morning call, so the CAOC did not go over them either. That information will be released, but the new date is unclear.

STATEWIDE TOWN HALL (04.09.21)

  1. Budget and Funding
    1. The Indiana House and Indiana Senate are expected to pass a funding increase for Ivy Tech when they approve the state’s budget, but the increase will likely not include requested capital projects for East Chicago and Fort Wayne.
    2. Between CARES, CRRSSA, and the American Rescue Plan, Ivy Tech will have received approximately $283.3 million. Of that, $140 million will be distributed to students to pay for educational or emergency costs. The college expects to disperse $35 million to students this fall, $35 million to students in Spring 2022, and $7 million to students in Summer 2022.
    3. The college will use some of the funding to support a safe return to campus, including fitting rooms for the Learn Anywhere modality, tech for remote work, and converting desktops into laptops.
  1. Surveys for Return to Campus
    1. Approximately 6,500 students completed the survey about returning to campus. Highlights:
      1. 73% say they were moderately/very satisfied with online and virtual learning
      1. 50% say they would prefer to take a mix of face-to-face and virtual/online courses going forward
      1. 33% say they would prefer to take virtual/online courses going forward
      1. 17% say they would prefer to take only face-to-face courses going forward
  1. There was no pre-Covid data to compare these numbers to, but Kara reported she is “very confident if we had done this a few years ago, the number wanting face-to-face only would have been much, much higher.”
  2. The data can be broken down by campus, but not by program. Programmatic information may be added the next time we survey students.
  3. The result of the student return to campus survey will be “directional.” Kara acknowledged the survey is not a perfectly representative sample of our students, but it’s good information. Senior leadership also acknowledged an online survey may not have captured those not taking classes at the moment because they don’t want to take virtual/online courses and may not have captured those who wouldn’t be inclined to take an online survey.
  4. More than 3,500 faculty and staff (more than half) took the return to campus survey. Highlights:
    1. Approximately 90% said they were moderately or very effective working remotely
    1. Approximately 75% would like additional flexibility for some form of working remotely in the future
  1. Sue shared that the college is “thinking very seriously about what that would look like.” Last week the board of trustees were “generally supportive of changes,” but also made clear that “we must put students first and ensure the college is not just doing what is convenient for us.”
  2. The change management team will be convening groups to draft policies. Sue expects that by early June there will be a clearer view for work location and other changes.
  1. Updated Service Areas
    1. Effective July 1, 2021, the service areas for the college’s campuses will be updated.
    2. This update is relatively minor. The college will reexamine the service areas every three years. Decisions about updating service areas will be based on where students live, economic relationships between counties, physical relationships between counties, prior service history, changes to industry and travel patterns, and population trends.
    3. Any communication about changes will be handled by campus chancellors.
  1. Volunteer Hour Benefit
    1. Sara Morris, the new Assistant Vice President, Employee Benefits and Experience, shared information her March 25 email on the college’s policy on 8 hours of paid time off for volunteer work and community service.  An FAQ on the policy is available here: — http://employeetraining.ivytech.edu/VCEFAQ/VCETimeOffFAQ.pdf
    2. Specific questions can be addressed to Sara (slmorris@ivytech.edu)
  1. Vaccinations and Public Safety
    1. In the Q&A, senior leadership answered questions about the college’s decision not to require students to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
    2. Sue reiterated that Ivy Tech is Indiana’s “open access college”: “We want to reduce barriers to students. We will encourage vaccinations … but it would be very difficult for to [require] and not negatively impact the students who want to come here.” She said the college seeks to do what is the “right thing on balance for everyone.”
    3. Kara said: “We often talk in higher education circles about college-ready students … We have to be a student-ready college, and that means adapting to who our students are and what they’re ready to do. We know in Indiana that some of our students, for many reasons, are not ready to get a vaccine yet.”
    4. Kyle Giles, the executive director of public safety and emergency preparedness, cited on-campus living conditions at other Indiana colleges and universities as a factor in their decision to require vaccinations of their students.
    5. Ivy Tech is still following CDC recommendations for higher education and is still adhering to six feet of social distancing instead of three feet, as many K-12 institutions are now doing.

Anthony J. Sams
Professor of English | Department Chair
Ivy Tech Community College Sellersburg

(812) 246-3301 ext. 4221

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