Administrator named chancellor at Columbus school

An Ivy Tech Community College administrator known for his love of technology has been named the chancellor at the Columbus campus.

Steven Combs, who has served as campus president since 2015, will direct the Columbus campus in a new role that is part of a restructuring of campus-level leadership across the Ivy Tech system.

The job of campus president is being phased out, as is the former organizational structure of having the college’s Columbus and southeast regions reporting to a single, shared chancellor, Ivy Tech officials said. Instead, Columbus will be considered a self-sustaining campus under Combs’ leadership.

“I am humbly honored to serve as chancellor of the Columbus campus and look forward to building on our strong relationships within our outstanding community,” Combs said in a press release Thursday. “Our partnerships within the community will continue to grow as we align our programs with the needs of our area’s workforce.”

In his role as president, Combs has been known by the more than 3,000-member student body as an administrator who describes himself as a geek at heart. He writes a blog about emerging technology, reviewing some of the newest gadgets, electronics and apps, with advice on what works in the tech world.

Combs has worked with educational initiatives including the iGrad student success program, which provides mentors to local high school students to improve the local graduation rate. He led the expansion of the program from Bartholomew County to Jennings and Jackson counties.

Combs has also continued to teach while serving in an administrative role, a course instructor for a Purdue Polytechnic Tech 120 course which is all about design and technology.

One of his first tasks as chancellor will be to build his leadership team on the Columbus campus, he said. The restructuring is also creating opportunities for the campus to find organizational cost-savings through shared services throughout the campus system, another area of focus.

Combs began his Ivy Tech career in 1993 as a professor on the Evansville campus and in 2010 was hired as dean and professor in the School of Applied Science and Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech’s Lafayette campus. He moved to Columbus in 2012 to serve as the region’s vice chancellor of academic affairs, becoming campus president in 2015 and serving in that role until now.

About Steven Combs

Age: 52

New position: Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus

Former positions:

  • President of Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus
  • Vice chancellor for academic affairs, Ivy Tech Community College, Columbus/Franklin region
  • Dean and professor for the School of Applied Science and Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech Community College – Lafayette
  • Department chair and professor of advanced manufacturing technology at Ivy Tech Community College – Evansville

Education:

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial education and a doctorate in higher education — administration and leadership. Areas of expertise include advanced manufacturing, industrial technology, mechanical design technology, robotics, web programming, computer-aided design and technical graphics.

In the military:

27-year military veteran, beginning as an airman in the U.S. Air Force as an automatic flight control specialist. He served from 1987 to 2011 in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired as a major in the Adjutant General Corps. Served as Chief of Command and Control for the U.S. Transportation Command and Chief of Policy and Plans for Joint Task Force-Alaska.

Awards:

Outstanding Faculty Award from the National Association of Industrial Technology, and the President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction from Ivy Tech.

Memberships:

Columbus Sunrise Rotary, Columbus Economic Development Board, Columbus Education Coalition, Reserve Officer’s Association and Association of the Century.

Family:

Lives in Columbus with his wife, Nikki A. Combs, an adjunct psychology faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUC.

Blog:

Combs writes a technology blog at stevencombs.com/

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.