Growth continues at Vincennes University

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October 03, 2017

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VINCENNES, Ind. - John Stachura, Vincennes, was unanimously re-elected to his third term as chair of the Vincennes University Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on Monday. Stachura has served on the VU Board since 2006.

Stachura is vice president and general manager of Solar Sources Underground LLC, Petersburg. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1972 from the Indiana State University School of Business, Stachura began a lifelong career working in every facet of the mining industry.

“I want to thank the trustees for putting their faith in me. A lot of good things have happened, not necessarily because of me, but rather because of the staff and faculty. We’ve opened Updike Hall, Kimmell Park, and the mock mine at the Gibson County Center. I’m very proud to be part of that,” Stachura said.

The annual meeting marked the last official duty for student trustee Drew Brown, Muncie, who completed his one-year term. Brown received an associate degree in Conservation Law Enforcement in 2016 and will complete a bachelor’s degree at VU in Homeland Security this spring. Last spring he received the Indiana Award for Excellence in Indianapolis.

“I knew that I had to give back to the school that had given me the opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to do that than to become a member of the Board of Trustees? I have been part of a lot of decisions that will affect generations of student to come. It is very heartwarming and rewarding,” Brown said.

Brown said service will continue to be his focus when he graduates from VU this spring. “This January I will be applying with the U.S. Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., and hope to obtain a federal law enforcement position to start my career. Any way I can give back to the people of this great country is something that I look forward to, and with what I’ve learned at VU I think they have given me the tools to be able to do that,” Brown said.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence appointed Brown, a 2014 graduate of Delta High School, as the 2016-17 student member of VU’s Board of Trustees last year. Brown’s campus activities include service as vice president of the Student Government Association, president of LeaderCorps, secretary of the Bass Fishing Club, public information officer for the Conservation Law Club, and intern for the Center for Career and Employer Relations. He also served as a counselor at the Karl E. Kelly Memorial Youth Camp. He is a lifetime member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

In other business, Tim Hale, chair of VU’s Diesel Technology program, made a report to the Board outlining plans to expand enrollment from the current 82 students to a projected 214 students by 2020. The plan includes VU’s new Technology Apprentice Program, a partnership launched this fall with Cummins Inc.

VU’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment facility is already equipped with an extensive collection of Cummins diesel engines and equipment that will be used to train Cummins apprentices from across the country. The inaugural group of 13 students began August 21; the second group of 16 apprentice students will start in July 2018, followed by another group of 16 more in October 2018. The program will reach capacity in two-and-a-half years with 90 students per year enrolled at VU.

Over the course of the four-year program, Cummins apprentices will spend the equivalent of two years at VU where they will learn how to build and maintain Cummins diesel engines. When the students complete the program, they will have earned an associate degree in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology and will be Cummins-certified in engines, with options to pursue careers in power generation, marine, high horsepower, or service operations.

“We are also looking at introducing some certificate program completion options. Surveying our advisory committees, they have told us there are jobs for these students,” Hale said. Two certificate programs would be introduced initially, perhaps including short-term summer session training,” Hale said.

Combined with additional student growth in the John Deere and Precision Farming programs, projections are that 214 students will be enrolled in the facility by 2020. “We will be a little crowded but I understand we are planning an expansion to allow for additional growth,” Hale said. Trustees toured the Diesel and Heavy Equipment facility following the meeting.

In other business, the Board of Trustees,

* Heard a report about a new University marketing campaign from Kristi Deetz, senior director of External Relations, and Jennifer Houchins, creative director of University Marketing. Following much research, “Focused Quality Education” is the theme that will drive marketing for the University.

* Approved a revision to the University’s Alcohol Policy that included new facilities and streamlined procedures.

* Approved revisions to the by-laws of the Professional Staff Congress.