INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College President Tom Snyder is stepping down next year after leading the statewide system since 2007.
The college's Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a transition contract for the 72-year-old Snyder under which he will retire in 2016.
Details on searching for a replacement to head up the 90,000-student system will be announced in the coming weeks, Ivy Tech board Chairwoman Paula Hughes told WFYI-FM (http://bit.ly/1UHdDgV ).
"Tom has been a tremendous force for good at Ivy Tech," Hughes said. "We have really moved, progressed forward by leaps and bounds during his tenure. It's going to be big shoes to fill."
Hughes said it's essential that the school's next leader continue to bridge the academic and business worlds and find a way to maintain the statewide network of more than 30 campuses with certificate and associate degree programs.
Snyder was president of Anderson-based auto-parts supplier Remy International Inc. before becoming Ivy Tech's top administrator two years after it took over running the state's community college program. Snyder's previous Ivy Tech contract was extended in 2012 until mid-2017.
Ivy Tech has faced questions over low graduation rates and a 25 percent enrollment drop over the past three years. That prompted state legislators this year to put the college's construction plans on hold and direct the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to review and possible restructure Ivy Tech programs with low graduation rates.
Snyder has blamed the graduation rate troubles on the school having mostly part-time students, with thousands transferring to four-year colleges without completing Ivy Tech degree programs.
State reports show 5.2 percent of full-time Ivy Tech students complete an associate degree within two years, with 27.7 percent finishing within six years. For part-time students, 2.1 percent graduate within two years and 20.8 percent do so in six years.
Before its recent decline, Ivy Tech had seen an enrollment boom of about 70 percent in seven years, reaching a peak of some 110,000 students attending at least part time in the fall of 2011.
Snyder said much of the drop since then has come from older students being unable to afford tuition and taking available jobs.