Ivy Tech launching new school, degrees in August

EVANSVILLE - For the past year, Ivy Tech Community College has prepared to launch at locations across the state a new school focused on computing and specialized degrees within the field.

This fall, students can start taking classes within Ivy Tech’s School of Computing and Informatics. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education recently approved seven new programs for the school, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

Locally, at Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest, students may earn degrees in Cyber Security-Information Assurance, Server Administration, Software Development and Informatics. The remaining programs that will be offered at other Ivy Tech sites, and may be available online to local students, are Database Management and Administration, Information Technology Support and Network Infrastructure.

The Computer Science program was initially offered in 2012 and will also be a part of the School of Computing and Informatics.

Mary Ann Sellars, Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest vice chancellor of academic affairs, said the central office has already sent some new equipment for the new programs, including computer carts and servers that students will work on. Sellars said officials are developing the new curriculum using the most up-to-date equipment and best practices for the four specific pathways.

“I think there was a feeling within Ivy Tech that because there are so many growing fields within the computer sciences, that it was important for us to address that as a college,” Sellars said. “And to really look at ways that we could better serve the businesses and industries in our community and help them secure the employees they need to carry out the functions associated with new technologies that we are using every day in the workplace.”

Jonathan Weinzapfel, Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest chancellor, said officials expect significant job growth over the next eight years in each of the areas that will be offered at the Evansville campus. So it makes sense, Weinzapfel said, to provide these programs so there is a skilled workforce ready to fill these jobs.

Over the next eight years, according to the Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI), a 26.9 percent increase in jobs is expected to occur for Cyber Security-Information Assurance; a 21.9 percent increase in jobs is expected for Informatics; 21.6 percent increase in jobs is expected for Server Administration; and 43.4 percent increase is expected for Software Development.

“There are jobs out there, we just have to make sure that we are creating opportunities for young people so that they can work in those fields,” Weinzapfel said.

A business and industry IT task force provided development guidance and endorsement of the programs, Ivy Tech officials said. Degrees and certificates will be part of the curriculum; and pathways will be available for students to transfer to a four-year university.

Danette Coughlan, Ivy Tech-Southwest program chair for Computing and Informatics, said general computing skills are integral in almost every employment opportunity, and jobs involving the computing field are becoming increasingly specialized. Coughlan said these programs will “better align the students’ academic paths with future employment.”

Sellars said one of the largest growing areas within the U.S. is health informatics and meeting the legal requirement when it comes to keeping electronic medical records.

And Weinzapfel said Ivy Tech’s new informatics program is a “direct tie in” to Indiana University’s new Downtown medical campus. Some of these new programs will be house in that facility when it is completed in 2017, Weinzapfel said.

“The partnership that has been developed around the IU medical facility really brings all of the area educational institutions together really to focus on health care planning,” he said. “And as we look to the future, providing this informatics program for the field of health care is one of those ways that we fill the job needs.”

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