Florida system considering Ivy Tech president for leadership post

July 10, 2009

Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder is one of 13 candidates being considered for the position of chancellor of the State University System of Florida.

A search committee will meet Monday to select candidates to be interviewed July 17. A recommendation from the committee and an appointment by the system’s Board of Governors is expected to be made the same day.

The State University System oversees Florida’s 11 public universities. The frontrunner to lead it is thought to be former Florida Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, who served under former Gov. Jeb Bush. Brogan currently is president of Florida Atlantic University.

Snyder has notified Ivy Tech’s Board of Trustees of the Florida system’s interest.

“He is honored to be a part of this process and feels his candidacy is certainly an indication of the increased national prominence of Ivy Tech Community College,” the school said in a statement this morning. “He continues to be fully focused on the challenges and opportunities here at Ivy Tech and within the state of Indiana.”

Snyder became Ivy Tech’s president in March 2007. The Anderson native spent six years in the U.S. Air Force as a second lieutenant and 20 years at Anderson-based auto-parts maker Remy International Inc., where he ascended to CEO.

His lack of educational experience, however, drew criticism from some who favored Carol D’Amico, who at the time served as Ivy Tech’s executive vice president. She resigned a few months later after being passed over for the president’s job and now is an adviser to the Indiana Department of Education.

Ivy Tech’s enrollment has surged in recent years, partly due to unemployed workers seeking to further their education. Administrators formed a study committee in the spring to figure out how the school can cope with its growing enrollment amid budget limitations.

Officials are worried the school may not be able to accommodate the increasing crush of students. Summer-class enrollment is up 33 percent over last year.

Ivy Tech is proposing tuition increases of about 4.9 percent in each of the next two years. The Commission for Higher Education had recommended that tuition rise no more than 4 percent.

Tuition rates typically are set in May, but colleges and universities had to wait until lawmakers passed a new, two-year state budget June 30 — the last day of the fiscal year — to know how much money they would get from the state. The budget cut higher education operating costs, but federal stimulus money will be used to replace lost revenue, essentially keeping funding at previous levels.

Ivy Tech will conduct a public hearing on the proposed fees July 16. If trustees approve the proposed tuition increase, full-time students taking 15 credit hours a semester would pay about $3,100 a year in tuition, instead of the previous rate of about $2,900 a year.

More than 120,000 students take classes each year at the college’s 23 statewide campuses.


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