IWU Kokomo to be Kokomo Thriving Center

·2 min read

Jul. 27—Indiana Wesleyan University will offer substance abuse, leadership and life coaching classes this fall at its regional Kokomo campus.

IWU disclosed further details earlier this month after announcing in early 2022 it was revamping its 10 satellite campuses to better align with community needs.

The needs identified for the Kokomo area included substance abuse training, life skills and career options.

The Kokomo campus will operate under a new name — the Kokomo Thriving Center.

New offerings include what IWU is calling "stackable credentials," which can lead to a certificate and a degree.

The classes are geared toward those already working in their field, such as substance abuse counseling or life coaching, but they can also be put toward a degree. For example, completing all four seminars on addictions counseling earns an attendee three credits toward a bachelor's degree in the same subject.

Seminars are aligned with IWU curriculum.

IWU is offering the same model for life coaching, as well.

"I think for leaders, these skills are invaluable," Theresa Veach, assistant professor at IWU, said during a community presentation on Zoom. "We set you up for success to be a life coach."

Hybrid options for bachelor's degrees in addiction counseling and life coaching are part of the revamped regional campus that are also available.

Cultivating relationships with community leaders, nonprofits and churches is a key focus of the Kokomo Thriving Center.

IWU struck a partnership with Leadership Kokomo, a local nonprofit that helps people develop leadership skills.

Leadership Kokomo is a joint venture between the city of Kokomo, Ivy Tech Community College and the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. More than 150 small businesses, corporations and nonprofit organizations have had participants in the program, according to Leadership Kokomo's website.

Completion of Leadership Kokomo will net participants three graduate-level credit hours at Indiana Wesleyan.

"Indiana Wesleyan is going to come alongside and strengthen the project," said Liz Kerns, director of venture development at Kokomo Thriving Center. "We're all on the same team. We all want what's best for Kokomo."

Veach said the aim of IWU's regional campus revamp is to take the university away from the ivory tower and into the community.

To bolster connections in Kokomo, the Kokomo Thriving Center will partner nonprofits and churches with three hours of professional development training. This is coined the Thriving Together Initiative.

IWU will also host monthly nonprofit and faith leader meetups starting in August. Both are meant to facilitate conversations, among nonprofit organizations and churches, about what is going on and working in their communities.

The first nonprofit meeting is tentatively set for 9 a.m. Aug. 18. The first Faith Leader Community Conversation is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 25.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.