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Indian HIlls’ President talks the positives of 2020, and mission for 2021

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:00 AM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Indian Hills Community College’s President, Dr. Matt Thompson, says the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on education.

“We’ve by and large done education the same way for over 100 years in the US. So with virtual learning opportunities we’ve been able to advance in the last 9 months probably 5 to 10 years.”

As President of Indian Hills Community College, Dr. Matt Thompson’s year end review looks back at a tumultuous year, but one full of opportunity.

He says, “with the pandemic we’ve just started to look at education differently. And certainly we’ve opened up to more virtual learning to allow more access.” Accessibility is a focus of the college, and they’re looking at having apprenticeships and workshop with virtual options.

Or with concurrent enrollment. Dr. Thompson tells me high school students enrolled in Indian Hills courses saved $1,649,520 in Wapello County alone. That’s because the school districts pay for the students’ classes. It saves a family, on average, around $3,000.

Dr. Thompson says “families being able to have that access and to be able to allow students to begin course work is really beneficial to those families. It saves the students and their families money and hopefully makes education a lot more affordable.”

And with 86% of graduates staying in the region, Dr. Thompson says he wants to use the college to elevate the 10-county area.

“The biggest picture is the economic vitality of our region. And being a resource as a college to the communities that we serve. And identifying ways that we can support families and businesses.”

Things like partnering with businesses, offering social enrichment, and they’re even looking at hosting a vaccination clinic for the county in February.

Dr. Thompson says continuing to help the community is “a real focus that we have moving into 2021 and beyond.”

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