INDIANAPOLIS – As it establishes its first campus outside Indiana and plans ongoing growth, Indiana Business College is changing its name to Harrison College.
The 107-year-old institution once known for its business-focused curriculum today offers more than 30 degree programs in five schools of study. In fact, of the approximately 5,000 students enrolled statewide and online, more than half are pursuing a major other than business.
Students can learn in a classroom or online environment and earn bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, diplomas and certificates in Health Sciences, Veterinary Technology, Information Technology, Criminal Justice and Business. In addition, the school operates The Chef’s Academy adjacent to its main campus on East Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis.
“For more than a century, we have sought to offer the education and training that workers need and employers expect,” said Ken Konesco, president and CEO of the college since 1986. “We’re making the name change and expanding to continue that tradition, focusing not just on the needs of today’s challenging environment, but on the needs of the future workplace as well.”
Recruiting for Harrison College’s new Columbus, Ohio, campus began this spring, with classes starting in the fall. At the same time, the college is expecting continued growth at its 14 established campuses and online – and eyeing expansion to other states – in response to increased need driven by the current economic downturn, shifting needs of the workplace and operational changes at the college.
Enrollment by new students has grown by 58 percent from April 2008 to April 2009.
“Even before the current downturn, we were seeing an increase in the number of students looking to us as a means to advance their careers,” Konesco said.
In 2008 and 2009, the college has started new programs in nursing, hospitality management, veterinary technology and more. In addition, it restructured its credit-hour requirement for all full-time students and adjusted its curriculum structure to be more student-focused.
“In the last 18 months, we’ve experienced more change than the previous 10 years combined,” said Konesco.
Harrison College was founded in 1902 as Marion Business College by Charles Cring, a former educator who saw that a diversifying economy needed trained workers. Shorthand, typing and penmanship were some of the skills taught. By 1913, the college had established multiple campuses throughout the state and changed its name to Indiana Business College.
From the beginning, Cring focused on fundamental principles that still apply at the college today: Offer students value for their investment, prepare students to compete for good-paying careers, offer lifetime employment assistance to alumni, and reward employees and hire talented teachers and managers.
Over the years, the college strategically added academic programs to fill gaps in the workplace. In the mid-’90s, for example, Harrison College started a medical program to help meet the increased need for healthcare workers. More recently, in response to the ever-increasing demand for convenient and flexible quality education, online programs were added in 2004. Enrollment in online studies has grown exponentially – from 30 students in 2005 to more than 1,000.
“We are actively seeking to grow, not for growth’s sake, but because we know that we’re meeting a true need in the communities we serve,” said Marc Konesco, vice president of marketing and enrollment. “We’ve spent 18 months honing our operations and refining our programs so we can provide needed education and training to even more students.”
Harrison College’s mission is driven by student-centered education and individualized attention. Throughout their Harrison College experience, students receive one-on-one support from enrollment representatives, financial aid analysts, faculty and staff. Plus, a robust career services staff helps students identify their skills and interests, and assists with resume writing and interviewing skills. Those services are available for the students’ lifetimes, not just upon graduation.
Harrison College has 12 Indiana campuses – in Anderson, Columbus, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis (downtown, east and northwest), Lafayette, Marion, Muncie and Terre Haute – plus The Chef’s Academy in Indianapolis, the new campus in Columbus, Ohio, and online. Its schedules and programs accommodate varying needs.
The rationale behind the new name is simple. “We wanted a name that more accurately describes what the college has become as we no longer are only business or only in Indiana,” said Marc Konesco. “The name Harrison represents a history, a heritage and leadership in the state of Indiana, and it provides a foundation that we plan to build on for the future and achieve even greater things for the school and its students in the years to come.”
Harrison College is a nationally accredited institution dedicated to excellence in higher learning. Harrison provides contemporary career education in a learning environment where students receive individualized support, care and respect. For more information, visit www.harrison.edu.