Kevin Cook of Bloomfield is in his 20th year of teaching composition and humanities courses on the Indian Hills Centerville Campus. Specifically, he teaches writing, speech, literature, ethics, and philosophy.

He has also taken on the responsibility of teaching concurrent, dual-credit courses to high school students at Moulton-Udell, Moravia, Wayne County, and Seymour, many of them virtually.

“I have a good blend of classes,” he said, “and IHCC is a wonderful place to work.”

However, Cook does not claim that his facilities on the Centerville Campus are wonderful.

“The buildings we work in are temporary buildings that are now 50 years old,” he said. “The maintenance has been kept up as well as possible, but these buildings were not intended to be 50-year-old buildings.”

Cook said if the November bond referendum passes, academic classroom improvements will be phased in.

The first building will be dedicated to workforce development — welding, industrial maintenance, and the trades.

The second phase of the campus updates will be moving classes out of the numerous temporary buildings and into a new academic building.

“This building will be more centralized and more efficient for faculty and students,” he said. “What I like about Hills is we adapt to student needs. We are nimble about meeting those needs and work with the landscape we currently have.”

Cook’s job is focused on working with those students who will be transferring to four-year colleges and universities. “At IHCC, we are all about the classroom. Instructors are not required to publish and we do not have TAs (teaching assistants). We have a veteran teaching staff,” he said.

Cook said the bond referendum would also provide updated technology for virtual concurrent courses in all high schools in the 10 counties served by Indian Hills. “A commitment to virtual classrooms is necessary for instructors to connect with students in a meaningful way,” he said. “This plan is forward looking. It is not just for my generation.”

Commenting on ongoing plans to upgrade IHCC facilities, Cook says, “This (current) plan is by far the most purposeful and most focused plan. It ties into the mission of the college.

“The first plan was more about image than substance,” Cook said. “This plan has been thoroughly thought through. I think we have done a good job of assessing our needs.

“There is a piece in this plan that helps all of us,” he said. “My teaching focus is on the four-year path, but (the upgrades) will also strongly benefit those who are on a purposeful career path.”

Cook also reflected on the value of an Indian Hills’ education and why the 10-county area should support the school in its mission and its need for upgraded facilities.

“I think there is a need for this pathway (passing the referendum),” Cook said. “Our enrollment is increasing, and community colleges tend to be more responsive than four-year colleges (to student needs and trends).

“Statistics show the Gen Z-ers are going to be job hoppers. Many will have lots of jobs, and with a good education and skill set, they will be equipped to change jobs.

“If the bond passes, it will benefit these students in their learning and also benefit the economics of the region.”

Cook reminds Davis Countians, “You are surrounded by IHCC students and instructors. You can’t walk around this community without seeing the benefit of IHCC.

“If we don’t adapt and respond, our community will fall behind. We really need this (the campus improvements) for our workforce and our students.

“IHCC is one of the best community colleges if not the best in the system. It’s also one of the best bargains financially.

“The impact of Indian Hills is not just learning but economic development.

“I believe in IHCC,” Cook said. “It’s nice to work at a place that shares your values. We want to prepare students for the workforce and help them be ready to go into the world.”

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Dr. Matt Thompson, President of Indian Hills Community College, will host a community forum at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at SIEC to discuss the bond referendum and answer the public’s questions. See article and ad on the forum on pages ? and ? in this week’s Democrat.