Ivy Tech Community College is moving to an automated system to advise students about what classes they need each semester and eliminating their ability to enroll as "undecided" in an effort to help more students graduate or transfer to a four-year school.
Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder said the new structure, which will take effect next fall, addresses a shortage of advisers and the need to create a "degree map" for students under a new state law.
Students who enroll under the new system will be required to choose a "meta-major" to begin completing prerequisites for two- or four-year degrees, The Herald-Times reported. Those include liberal arts, health sciences or science, technology, engineering and math, called "STEM," for short.
Students who want to get into a four-year college can work through their sophomore year of accounting, criminal justice or pre-engineering or can sign-up under the liberal arts major and complete the "general education transfer core." The 30 credits are certified to transfer to schools across the state.
Ivy Tech officials say the changes address the new state law but also deal with shifts in the community college system, which has seen the number of students grow while the number of advisers has lagged. Snyder said Ivy Tech has one adviser per 1,200 students, so the automated system will allow students to "self-advise" as they go through their Ivy Tech studies.
Students will still meet initially with an adviser when they first enroll.
The new academic model also eliminates college algebra as a prerequisite for many majors and replaces it with something more applicable to students' chosen field.
Snyder said the new system is designed to "ease the burden" on adult students who often take classes on a transfer track instead of those that work toward a two-year degree. He said those taking unnecessary classes often have more difficulty reaching their goals because of time constraints at home.
"They aren't likely to finish with children, two jobs and the hurdles that come with that," Snyder said.