Steward of place: Engaging our communities
Tomorrow’s Teachers program
The School of Education partnered with four north central Indiana school districts to combat a growing teacher shortage, by preparing high school students to enter the profession.
The Tomorrow’s Teachers program began in fall 2018 at Kokomo, Logansport, Western, and Caston high schools, with IU Kokomo faculty teaching dual credit classes on site. Ten participating students enrolled in the School of Education after graduating from high school in spring 2019.
“Tomorrow’s Teachers gives us an opportunity to help students who have an interest in this profession to confirm it is their desired career path before college,” said School of Education Dean Leah Nellis. “We will give them both hands-on experiences and coursework in their own school, so if it is what they want to do, they will have a good start before graduating from high school.”
The program meets a critical need, as an October 2017 survey of Indiana school superintendents found 94 percent of 141 school districts have a teacher shortage, up 2 percent from 2016.
Participating districts hope to address their own shortages by growing their own future teachers with this program.
“They hope to build relationships with these potential educators, and perhaps have incentives for them to come back to work as teachers in the future,” she said. “We think it will have an impact on addressing the shortages in the districts that participate.”
Nellis added that the program also helps with teacher retention, which is also a growing issue statewide. Indiana’s average retention rate for educators is 82 percent, according to a national study by the Learning Policy Institute.
The Center for Community Engagement
The Center for Community Engagement is a campus-wide resource to connect IU Kokomo faculty, staff, and students with businesses, non-profits, and community-based organizations throughout our service region, and to be a central point of contact for community members.
Our engagement focuses on creating campus and community partnerships and collaborations that are reciprocal and mutually beneficial, through teaching, research and service. A few examples of these partnerships include financial literacy workshop at the Carver Community Center by business faculty; leading visits to the campus art gallery by students enrolled in the Clinton County Summer Kids Workshops; and hosting about 200 robotics students for the Rover League Championships .
The Center connects the community to expert university faculty, and resources that address local and regional needs, including college readiness initiatives, regional economic development, entrepreneurship, arts development, and community health.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles M.B.A. Cohort
IU Kokomo assists Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US) in developing its own future leaders, partnering with local leadership to offer a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) cohort program.
About 30 FCA US enrolled in the program, with class once a week and additional time in online instruction. The cohort will progress through to completion together.
Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke said expanding IU Kokomo’s relationship with FCA US will benefit the region. “This is a great corporate-university partnership,” she said. “One of our main goals is to continually assess the area’s educational needs and engage and provide opportunities for people who want to advance their education.”
Jason Lewis, human resources manager for FCA US, said the curriculum, faculty, and price played a role in choosing IU Kokomo for the M.B.A. program. He appreciates the opportunity to develop talent within the company, with a convenient schedule.
“We encourage employee development at all levels, especially those motivated to further their careers,” he said. “But finding the time to take classes is a big consideration, and sometimes a deterrent, for working adults. We appreciate that IU Kokomo is willing to work with us to make it convenient for our employees to pursue an advanced degree.”
Student Brayden Lucas looked forward to moving up within the company because of the opportunity.
“A lot of the jobs I’m interested in require a master’s degree,” said Lucas, a maintenance supervisor at Indiana Transmission Plant 1. “This opportunity is local, and FCA US was willing to work with the schedule, which will make it easier to complete. This should open a lot of doors to new opportunities for me.”
IU Kokomo and FCA US have a long-established partnership, with many students completing internships and having other opportunities provided by the company, according to Gloria Preece, director of the M.B.A. and Master of Public Management programs.
“We value our relationship with FCA US and this has been a great opportunity for us to expand that relationship as a member of the community,” she said.