To remain viable and competitive, most all organizations occasionally go through some form of restructuring. Ivy Tech is no exception, and the college is currently in the midst of significant reorganization. While transformation can be unsettling and stressful because of the uncertainties, it can also be viewed as a time when new opportunities will emerge.
By the end of the spring 2014 academic term, 10 faculty and three staff members had taken advantage of the college’s early retirement package at the Columbus/Franklin Region. These retirees were our colleagues, mentors and friends for many years. They touched our lives and the lives of many students. That is their legacy and their gift to tomorrow’s leaders at Ivy Tech and beyond.
The contributions of these retirees, and the many before them, have built a strong foundation upon which the college’s future will continue to thrive. Certainly, the retirement of so many talented people in a short amount of time can create a temporary gap in knowledge and expertise. During their tenure, though, they shared with colleagues their wisdom and their commitment to students, so a part of each of them remains with all of us.
With so many retirements locally and statewide, change at the college is inevitable. Change is a part of life, and the best way to cope with change is to embrace it. Change can bring forth opportunities and challenges, and the more we accept these, the better prepared we are to handle both.
One of the greatest challenges associated with change is attitude. A positive attitude can go a long way in making smooth transitions for a better future. During rapid times of change we must acknowledge and accept that there may be some bumps along the way. These bumps in the road are usually short-lived and can lead to bigger and better things.
Change is essential for rejuvenation. Complacency is the easy road to take, but it does not allow for innovation and growth.
Change often provides opportunities to seek out new perspectives from multiple resources. Change can be empowering as the status quo is set aside to make room for new ideas and new ways of thinking. This in turn can lead to something entirely new or to finding a new way of doing something.
In academia, we can look to those we serve as examples of how change can have positive outcomes. Nearly every day people are evaluating their lives, and many make a change that involves starting college or returning to college to complete a degree or credential. Are they apprehensive about embarking on this life-changing transition? Absolutely! Yet they know this momentous change can bring forth a brighter future for them and their family.
That is why Ivy Tech is changing, too. Change is part of the Ivy Tech culture, and it is prominent in the college’s vision: “Changing lives/Making Indiana great.” The college’s reorganization is intended to create a brighter future for the institute and for the students it serves.
When change is embraced, the opportunities seem limitless, especially in an educational environment where growth through transformation is cultivated and valued.
Jo Ann Hallawell, M.S. M.A. (ABD), is associate professor of English, interim Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Department Chair English & Communications at Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus.