City hosts education assembly

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education will meet today in Columbus for the first time.

Commissioners, who travel for about half their monthly meetings, will meet from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Columbus Learning Center. They also have a 9 a.m. working session to begin their day in Columbus.

The commission is a 14-member public body created in 1971 to define the missions of Indiana’s public colleges and universities, plan and coordinate the state’s postsecondary education system, and ensure that Indiana’s higher education system is aligned to meet the needs of students and the state. It approves academic programs, university capital projects and takes up other business items as needed.

In its Columbus meeting, the commission — led by former State Sen. Teresa Lubbers since 2009 — will vote on whether to approve a $60 million capital project to construct the new Agriculture and Life Sciences Facility on Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus. The Purdue board of trustees approved the capital project last month. Wilson said she expects the commissioners to approve the project as well.

The commission also will vote on a $20 million capital project to construct the Center for Science, Engineering and Mathematics on the Vincennes University campus. That project was already approved by the General Assembly and the governor, so the commission’s vote is the final stamp of approval, communications director Stephanie Wilson said.

Another item on the agenda is a discussion about competency-based degree programs. Wilson said this learning model would allow students to advance through their education based on the mastery of their skills.

“It’s not about the number of hours you’re sitting in a chair,” Wilson said. “It’s about the number of skills you can demonstrate through work assessments and projects.”

With many different competency-based degree models, Wilson said, the commission will learn about the various options.

Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Monthly commission meeting

When: 1-3 p.m. today.

Where: Columbus Learning Center, Room 1000, open to public.

Commission working session

9 to 11:30 a.m. today

Where: Columbus Learning Center, Room CC 176

Information: Stephanie Wilson at 260-705-8007, SWilson@che.in.gov

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.