What the Inver Hills president wants to do with the college

A lawyer at the head

I’ve had a chance to talk with President Tim Wynes.

Good interview – low key, but engaged and with a sense of humor.

Seems to make sense, considering his background.

  • Chancellor, Iowa Valley Community College District
  • Executive dean of governmental affairs, grants and college research and director of development, Indian Hills Community College
  • General counsel and director of the Division of Legal Services, Missouri Department of Social Services (under Gov. Mel Carnahan)
  • Faculty member and assistant professor of clinical law and clinic director, University of Missouri School of Law

 

What makes Inver Hills different from other campuses?

“The buildings share a common architecture. It has a small-private-college feel to it with its central mall through the middle. There aren’t many buildings, but everything connects. It looks almost like a ski chalet. And there are at least 40 clubs on campus, which is odd for a commuter campus.”

What would you like to change?

“We’re probably the best-kept secret in Dakota county. I’d like to connect more with high school students. We don’t do nearly enough to communicate with that 3.0, 21 ACT student. They kind of find us by accident. It’s tough for us to penetrate (that segment of the student population.) We’ve commissioned a survey of 300 high school students to see what they know about our college, so we’ll see. But we need more direct mail, phone calls, direct presence.

How the college connects with the community is one of the things I want to work on. We have a good business community, but because of where we’re located, people drive in and out. We could have much stronger relationship. We have high schools – there’s one right down the street — but we could be more synergized with them, working with them. The biggest obstacle is that we’re a commuter school.”

What are your biggest priorities for the next three years?

1) Assessment. We need to properly identify where need to be placed. We’ve already restructured orientation and admissions, and we have better assessment tools now. Even if we can shore up just one or two issues, that would really help us. It would cut down on the amount of developmental/remedial education we’d have to provide.

2) Careers. We’re focusing on helping students make next step as they approach graduation – go into a career or transfer to a four-year institution.  We’ve got an early-alert system to keep track of students and keep them on track for graduation, and are working on orientation and advising. We just got a grant for students in need, and we can give them more financial aid if they commit to stay on track.

3) Fiscal stability. Our administration is lean and in good shape, but with the state cutbacks, we’re seeing a slight drop in income. Getting students to go full-time is important. It’s good for them, and more efficient for us.

4) Easing the path for vets. We want veterans to be able to take their military training and transfer that into the fulfillment of academic requirements. They’ve already put their life on hold enough as it is.

5) Helping students prepare for college. We’re working with th Burnsville school district to make sure students come out better prepared for college. How can we work with students before they’re our students? If we can do that well, we can cut down on the number of inefficiencies.