Indiana rewards high performance to higher education

Jud Fisher talks about education initiatives at higher ed gathering

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Ivy Tech Community College beat out other state universities on performance based funding provided by the state.

 While Teresa Lubbers, Indiana's higher education commissioner, said the funding performance is not a race, the indicators show that better graduation rates and helping more at risk students pays off for higher education advocates.

 Ivy Tech received a 7 percent hike in state funding, making its share $200 million. Indiana's Bloomington campus saw a 4.9 percent hike for $184 million.

Ball State came in at 2.1 percent or $122 million and Purdue at West Lafayette saw no increase but gets more at $244 million.

The funding indicators include look at overall degrees and degree on time besides those granted for at-risk or students' success at remedial reading and math.

Student retention also is a factor besides the number of science, technology, engineering and math degrees.

 That was some of the highlights of the Indiana Commission on Higher Education that has been on the Ball State campus for last two days

Another was the summer change in leadership on the commission from Jud Fisher, president and CEO of Ball Brothers Foundation to Indianapolis lawyer Dennis Bland director for the Center of Leadership Development.

In his last time as commissioner chairman, Fisher talked about what he did to help education through his family's foundation.

As every aspect of education undergoes reflecting, Fisher said the focus should be bridging the continuum of lifelong education together more smoothly.

Society should prepare children to be ready for kindergarten so they can read by the third grade, Fisher said. Then the work should prepare children for career pathways through higher education and other options.

 Some of the examples Fisher used were the B-5 program in Muncie for early childhood education and the MP3 that stresses reading by the third grade. Others were a work program for teenagers, honor's program support for college and money for excellence in teaching.

Fisher said the foundation's support for education employed many common sense applications that were sometimes overlooked.

And some advice Fisher offered to the commission was more of that common sense approach to learn early and often and decide results on teaching and not tests.

Don't change things just for the sake of changing things, Fisher said, besides use the things that work and apply them regardless of credit. Most important, evolve when necessary.

Fisher's experience as a caretaker of a family trust contrasted with Bland, a lawyer in Indianapolis, who was a son of sharecroppers and was the first member of his family to graduate from college.

Bland emphasized the need to make higher education affordable and accessible as he directs an inner city leadership and education group for minority youth.






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