Ivy Tech Terre Haute Opens New Center of Excellence for Precision Ag

Students interested in careers in precision agriculture equipment technology or diesel technology now have the opportunity to pursue certificates, technical certificates or associate of applied science degrees at the  Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus.

The facility celebrated its opening and ribbon cutting today (Aug. 8). The Center of Excellence for Ivy Tech’s Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology program includes a 26,000 sq. ft. laboratory space housing a wide variety of agricultural equipment like tractors, combines, planters, spreaders, and drones, all incorporated with precision technologies for hands-on education for students. It also includes Diesel Technology equipment and training, and lecture and computer lab space for both programs.

Lea Anne Crooks, chancellor of Ivy Tech Terre Haute, said excitement for the programs and the new facility is high at Ivy Tech. Students from throughout the area, and even well beyond have shown interest, she said, adding that the Center of Excellence would not have been a reality had it not been for the many who have provided funding. “Thank you to those who have made this happen like our top donors which include the Economic Development Administration (EDA), Vigo County Redevelopment Commission, Bane Welker Equipment LLC, the United States Department of Agriculture, Waltrin Truck Repair, and the Harlan Family.”

Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech Community College, said she is aware of many of the advances in precision agriculture, from her time as secretary of agriculture and rural affairs overseeing the State Department of Agriculture when she was Lieutenant Governor.

Ellspermann said she was pleased to announce the Terre Haute campus as the Center of Excellence for Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology in Indiana. “This Center will immediately meet the workforce development needs of not only the Terre Haute service area and the entire state – but also the entire region.” She added that there are only five sub-baccalaureate programs in the nation, and Ivy Tech’s Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology Center of Excellence is one of them.

Senator Joe Donnelly, current member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said this program and new lab space is going to be the start of “so many great jobs for years to come.

“I was proud to be able to help kick start this with support during the EDA grant application. Now the beneficiaries (of the funding) will be the workforce,” he indicated.

“This is the future, and this is also the present. You’ve hit a grand slam on this one.”

Dennis Feldenaur with the EDA, said he believes the EDA is moving in the right direction now with how to resource economic development. “They are looking at ‘how do we get regional, local, and state governments to work together?’” Feldenaur said the $1.2 million matching grant Ivy Tech received was part of this initiative. “Here in Central Indiana we see a lot of agriculture needing to look to the future to be more competitive,” he said. He pointed out that precision technologies at Ivy Tech are a way to “capitalize on this growth and be a focal point to make a competitive workforce, and the EDA is here to support these kinds of projects.”

Renovation of this warehouse space in the rear of Ivy Tech’s Technical Learning Achievement Building, located in the Industrial Park at 1650 E. Industrial Drive, began in late January 2018.

According to David Will, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Science, at the Center of Excellence, students can earn one or more of the following stackable degrees:

Technical Certificates

Agriculture Equipment Service Technician
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Precision Agriculture Specialist
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Precision Agriculture Technician
(34 credit hours = 3 semesters)

Associate of Applied Science
(60 credit hours = 5 semesters)

Ellspermann said these technical certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees uniquely prepare students for career fields currently in high demand with over 3000 job openings predicted annually through 2020. She added that Terre Haute is a great location in Indiana to have this Center of Excellence, as it is in the middle of the Corn Belt, and near major transportation systems.

The need for new agriculture training is great. Indiana is seeing an increase in the average age of its farm workers from 49 in 1950 to now approaching the age of 60. U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that farm output over roughly that same period of time increased 2.7 times.

The aging workforce forecasts the need for an influx of workers to take over both traditional and emerging roles in the sector. Research has also show the need to individuals to repair this precision equipment; and for those in retail to have the knowledge for sales and consulting, Will said.

“Precision Ag takes advantage of the available technology,” Will said. “One example is a farmer using technology to identify the bests fertility treatment and planting depth for each soil type, then applying that knowledge using variable rate planting and spraying equipment and techniques to maximize the yield.”

He said the industry needs both farmers and those in agricultural careers in consulting, sales, and service. Will said that the impact of this new facility and the growth of the Precision Ag program at Ivy tech will mean workforce development for the Wabash Valley.

He identified numerous partners in this process including Randy Pigg from Pigg Implement in Sullivan, who was at the forefront of sharing the future of agriculture and the skills required in his organization with Ivy Tech administrators and faculty many years ago.  “That same message was reinforced with every interaction with industry,” Will said. “Phil Bane and the folks at Bane-Welker Equipment worked with us on their original ‘Red Program’ which was foundational curriculum for our Ag Technician program.

An industry survey went out to more than 360 businesses in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The overwhelming response provided the momentum to continue toward the precision agriculture education, “because 86% of the respondents indicated they would hire an additional 3-4 precision ag technicians within the next five years.”

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation which helped to fund much of the Diesel Technology equipment, echoed Will’s thoughts regarding the need. “It has been fascinating to watch how technology has progressed over the years both in precision ag and diesel technology,” he said.

Will said that many similar systems are shared between Precision Ag and Diesel Technology – and the facility has the large overhead doors and open spaces needed for students to do the hands-on work on Heavy Duty trucks.

Degrees and credentials offered in Diesel Technology include:


Advanced Diesel Electronics Controls
(18 credit hours = 2 semesters)

Truck Chassis Systems
(18 credit hours = 2 semesters)

Technical Certificates

Diesel Heavy Truck Technology Technical Certificate
(34 credit hours = 2-3 semesters)

Associate of Applied Science
(60 credit hours = 5 semesters)

“Acquiring the resources to fund such a unique program and facility was and continues to be vitally important,” Will said.  “Acquiring representation through the Economic Development Administration was critical in making today a reality. This EDA grant is the first of its kind to Ivy Tech.

“This project collaborated with local industry, the Federal Government, support from local and state government agencies, and post-secondary education to provide academic programming required to support industry demand and provide Hoosier’s a career path to raise a family and stay in their communities.  This project truly exemplifies putting community back in Community College.”

For additional information about the programs, go to www.ivytech.edu/precision-agriculture and www.ivytech.edu/diesel-tech

To learn more about giving to Ivy Tech’s Foundation in support of this initiative, go to 812-298-2410

Ivy Tech Terre Haute Opens New Center of Excellence for Precision Ag

Ivy Tech Shows Off Renovations in Progress for Precision Ag and Diesel Labs

The words and phrases, “wow,” and “It’s so bright,” and “this is huge!” could be heard exclaimed on April 11 as members of the public, business leaders, local farmers, and current and prospective students to Ivy Tech Community College, had a chance to see the renovation work taking place on Ivy Tech’s newest laboratory space.

Nearly 100 individuals toured the new Precision Agriculture and Heavy Duty Diesel Equipment Technology Laboratory now being renovated in the rear of the former Doughmaker’s Building (now Ivy Tech’s TechLAB), located in the south Industrial Park in Terre Haute.

The facility, owned by Ivy Tech, has its nursing program located in the front half of the building – and the rear of the facility is a 26,000 square foot former warehouse, which by fall will be the new lab space for all of Ivy Tech’s Precision Ag and Diesel students.

“I was really quite impressed with what I saw,” said Mars Harlan local farmer and owner of Burch Harlan Farms in Prairietown. “All of this equipment is getting more and more complicated. We need people who are qualified and have the skills to work on them. I can’t wait to see the finished product.”

Construction began in the TechLAB on January 24, 2018.  C.H Garmong and Son Inc. is the general contractor.  Their goal is the complete the project by June 11, 2018, for Ivy Tech to move in and begin operating classes Fall 2018. The 26,000 s20180411_111909q. ft. facility will use the latest technology in exhaust, equipment, and facilities infrastructure.

Lea Anne Crooks, Ivy Tech Terre Haute Chancellor, said that conversations about these programs have been a point of discussion since about 2006. In 2014, talks and illustrations of the need arose again. “Because Precision Agriculture is an emerging field, there was not a lot of data available, so Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus did research to discover where the needs exist,” Crooks said.

An industry survey was developed and sent to 362 implement dealers and contract service providers throughout Indiana and found large support for programs of this nature. Among the returns, 90% of the respondents currently employ 3 Precision Ag technicians per each of their sites; 87% expect to hire technicians over the next 3-5 years’ and 78% expressed interest in hosting Ivy Tech students as interns, said David Will, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science.

The Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology degree was approved in the spring of 2015. Will said the program is the first of its kind within the Ivy Tech system.  There are only 4-5 post-secondary universities throughout the country offering specific Precision Ag degrees.

 “The funding for the project is multi-faceted,” said Rachel Mullinnix, executive director for Resource Development at Ivy Tech.  Ivy Tech received a $1.2M grant from the Economic Development Administration in 2016 for the renovation that provides the facilities and equipment to provide the necessary education in Precision Agriculture.  “The EDA provided us with the funding to begin the renovation process but much is still needed to ensure that students will have the proper equipment,” she explained.

Anyone interested in seeing the facility and learning more about the programs should contact Mullinnix, at 812-298-2410 or email rmullinnix@ivytech.edu.

Ivy Tech Shows Off Renovations in Progress for Precision Ag and Diesel Labs

Ivy Tech Plans Precision Ag Open House April 11

What is next regarding farming in the Wabash Valley, will be a point of discussion and illustration at an open house at Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute Campus on Wednesday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to noon.

The public is invited to this free Open House to explain the Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology and Heavy Duty Diesel Technology Programs and to showcase the renovation taking place at the Learning Achievement Building at 1650 E. Industrial Drive, Terre Haute.

“Ivy Tech gained approval to offer this program in 2015 from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education,” Chancellor Lea Anne Crooks said.  “Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology complements the agriculture, electronics, computer technology and diesel technology programs offered through Ivy Tech and we will be providing students with the skills needed to serve the needs of not only of the Wabash Valley, but also the emerging needs of this field throughout the nation.”

In April 2017, Ivy Tech received a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to retrofit the building to be used for the program. And now, we are in the midst of a capital campaign to raise money for the equipment needs of the program, Crooks added.

The need for new agriculture training is great. Indiana has seen a large increase in the average age of its farm workers, and workforce forecasts show the need for an influx of workers to take over both traditional and emerging roles in the sector. Ivy Tech Terre Haute is committed to training this next generation of farm workers by teaching the skills necessary for a successful career.

Precision Agriculture is an approach to farm management that uses information technology to ensure that crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity, ensuring profitability, sustainability and environmental protection.

Ivy Tech is offering three different Technical Certificates, as well as an Associate of Applied Science Degree. They include: Agriculture Equipment Service Technician (TC); Precision Agriculture Specialist (TC); Precision Agriculture Technician (TC); and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Those attending the event on April 11 will get a sneak peek at the new lab space being developed for the Precision Ag and Heavy Truck Diesel Technology Programs, as well as see the program in action, tour classes, and hear about the new direction of the field.

RSVPs go to Kathy Cooper at 812-298-2450 or kcooper125@ivytech.edu


Ivy Tech Plans Precision Ag Open House April 11

5-Year Strategic Plan Launches

Ivy Tech Community College has kicked off its new five-year strategic plan: “Our Communities. Your College. Pathways for Student Success and a Stronger Indiana.” The plan’s vision is for Ivy Tech students to earn 50,000 high-quality certifications, certificates, and degrees per year aligned with workforce needs.

The plan aligns with Indiana’s goal to equip 60 percent of the workforce with a high-value, post-secondary degree or credential by 2025. Through achievement of this goal, the College will help increase Hoosier per capita income and support the transformation of the state’s advanced industries economy.

“Indiana is home to some of the world’s largest, most innovative corporations—not to mention countless ambitious smaller companies and start-ups,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “And all of them share a common need: well-trained, skilled workers.”

The plan development covered 18 months, including a restructure of the College, comprehensive fact finding conducted internally and externally, including thousands of faculty, staff, students and statewide stakeholders.

“Our plan compliments the work of those with whom we collaborate including the Commission for Higher Education, Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Chamber and industry groups, Strada Education Network, Lilly Endowment, and Lumina, to name a few,” Ellspermann said. “We are committed to aligning with those who have similar goals and are dedicated to Hoosier prosperity of employers, individuals, and the state.

The plan is comprised of seven goals, with detailed strategies and tactics accompanying each goal, and metrics to ensure success:

  • Goal 1 – Student Success: Ensure every student persists towards their educational objective.
  • Goal 2 – Recruitment and Enrollment: Recruit and enroll Hoosiers from every demographic into high-demand/high-wage career pathways.
  • Goal 3 – Completion: Students earn 50,000 high quality certificates, certifications, and degrees annually.
  • Goal 4 – Workforce: Students are placed into and succeed in high-demand, high-wage jobs.
  • Goal 5 – Employee: Become known as a great place to work.
  • Goal 6 – Financial: Ensure the institution has sufficient financial resources to achieve our mission.
  • Goal 7 – Community: Effectively engage with and serve our unique communities.

Strategies focused on student success include initiatives through improved technology, structured scheduling, eight week classes, and improved academic advising. Recruitment strategies include targeted outreach to adult workers, as well as high school students with no post-secondary plans. Completion strategies include reverse transfer, expanding the Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP), and more short-term, industry-focused certificates. Completion strategies are centered on “right-program, right-place, right-size” in each community and focused career development into high-demand, high-wage jobs.

“We are committed to putting more ‘community’ in community college,” Ellspermann continues. “To quote one of our own employees, ‘community’ is our middle name, and I look forward to seeing Ivy Tech become the workforce development and higher education engine our communities need to ensure long-term Hoosier prosperity.”

5-Year Strategic Plan Launches

Express Enrollment Day Dec 7 and Dec 9 at Ivy Tech Terre Haute

Terre Haute, IN- Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute will host Express Enrollment Days, on Thursday, December 7, and Saturday, December 9, for individuals interested in enrolling in classes for spring 2018. The free event is designed to assist interested individuals in completing the enrollment process, potentially, all in one day!

The event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ivy Tech’s main campus, 8000 S. Education Drive, in Terre Haute.

At the event students will have the opportunity to:

  • Complete the FAFSA or have their financial aid questions answered.  Also, students can learn more about aid such as grants, scholarships and loans.
  • Complete their FYIvy
  • Determine what assessments may be needed to enroll.
  • Meet with an academic advisor.
  • Register for classes.
  • Find out about orientation.

Here is what students should bring to Express Enrollment:

  • Government issued ID
  • Tax information for 2015 (if filing a 2017-18 FAFSA-Ivy Tech code 009917)
  • Tax information for 2016 (if filing a 2018-19 FAFSA-Ivy Tech code 009917)
  • SAT/ACT/PSAT scores or High School and/or College Transcripts – whichever applies, to meet assessment requirement
  • An idea of what he/she would like to study

If a student doesn’t have any of the above materials to meet the assessment requirement, he/she should arrive before 11 a.m., bring photo ID, and plan to take ACCUPLACER. Learn more about assessment at IvyTech.edu/assessment.

For more information and to RSVP, visit IvyTech.edu/EEDay.

Express Enrollment Day Dec 7 and Dec 9 at Ivy Tech Terre Haute

Ivy Tech Terre Haute to offer ServSafe Course

Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute will begin its next ServSafe certification class on December 7, 2017. The ServSafe class takes place over two, four-hour sessions and will be offered at the Parke County Learning Center in Rockville.

The Indiana Code 410 IAC 7-22 requires mandatory certification of at least one person who oversees food safety operations within each establishment. Ivy Tech Community College offers an instructor-led certification training course to prepare individuals to take and pass the multiple-choice exam. Students will receive a ServSafe certificate, recognition from the International Food Safety Council and permanent registration in the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s national registry. The ServSafe certification is valid for a five-year period.

Below are the dates and time of the upcoming certification class:

December 7 & 14        5 p.m. – 9 p.m.            Parke County Learning Center519 N. Lincoln Road, Rockville

To sign up or for additional information, contact Amy Akers at (812) 298-2485 or aakers@ivytech.edu.

Ivy Tech Terre Haute to offer ServSafe Course

International communications expert to speak at SMWC and Ivy Tech

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Ivy Tech Community College — Terre Haute will welcome David Mould, author, international consultant and retired educator to both campuses as part of the celebrations for International Education Week, Nov. 13-17.

The presentations will bring global perspectives to the Wabash Valley and highlight the realities and rewards of living, studying and working abroad. Mould will be at SMWC 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Woods Student Center, Rooney Library, and at Ivy Tech 11 a.m. Nov. 16 in the Community Room. The events are free and open to the public.

“International Education Week provides an opportunity for students to learn about other cultures, the global economy and how to become better global citizens,” said Scott M. Powell, Ph.D., associate professor and global studies coordinator at Ivy Tech and sociology instructor for Woods Online. “Educating oneself about the world not only increases knowledge and awareness of important issues of our time but also prepares students for a career in an increasingly interconnected world.”

Born in the United Kingdom, Mould worked as a newspaper and TV journalist before moving to the United States in 1978.  He retired from Ohio University in Athens in 2010 after a 30-year academic career. He has traveled to more than 40 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa and currently works as a communications consultant and freelance writer. He has directed grant-funded projects for the U.S. Department of State, USAID, UNESCO and UNICEF. His first book on travel, history and culture, Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia, was published in 2016 by the Ohio University Press; his second, Monsoon Postcards: Indian Ocean Journeys, will be published in 2018.

Mould’s first book chronicling his travels to the remote, diverse and strategically vital region of Central Asia — which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — is the subject of the interactive presentation at SMWC. Mould will read excerpts from his book, show images and artifacts from the region and share stories about ordinary citizens — teachers, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, cab-drivers and market sellers — to learn about their history, culture and struggle to survive in the post-Soviet era.

“This is a great opportunity for us to learn about this little known part of the world and its people,” said Dianne Frances D. Powell, co-organizer of the event at SMWC. “An event like this can deepen our understanding of cultures outside ours, promote diversity and increase cross-cultural understanding.”

During an informal presentation at Ivy Tech, Mould will discuss the skills and attitudes students need to prepare for overseas experiences. He will reflect on 20 years of experience working abroad as a teacher, trainer, consultant and researcher, as well as supervisor of undergraduate and graduate students on grant-funded international projects that required flexibility and cross-cultural sensitivity.

Mould’s presentations are sponsored by the SMWC Office of Campus Life and Ivy Tech Terre Haute’s Student Life Office and Global Studies Council.

A joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, International Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange. It is a nationwide effort by the two federal agencies to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

International communications expert to speak at SMWC and Ivy Tech