Forty-one faculty and staff members from the University of Southern Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College, University of Evansville, and Vincennes University boarded a motor coach on August 9 to visit Indiana regional businesses for tours and presentations for the seventh annual Day on the Bus event.
Sponsored by Old National Bank, the event gave participants a glimpse at the inner workings of regional industries and an opportunity to identify potential research projects, network with peers, and learn how to prepare students for the workforce.
At the start of their journey, participants met at Old National Bank where they were welcomed by Dr. Mark Bernhard, associate provost for Outreach and Engagement at USI.
“Day on the Bus is a multi-university partnership that brings together companies and faculty with the goal of hearing from leaders and learning what is valuable to the community, what are they looking for in terms of students, and how to prepare their future employees,” Bernhard said.
After Bernhard’s welcome, John Claybon, senior vice president at Old National Bank, gave an economic and market overview of the company.
“Schools in this area do a tremendous job of educating young people to make them employable,” said Claybon.
From Old National Bank, participants traveled to Kimball International in Jasper. Representatives gave tours of their showroom, test lab, and research and design center. In the showroom, the group got to test out Kimball’s furnishing products and learn about some of the places products are used, such as hotels, doctors’ offices, and universities.
Kimball president and CEO Jim Thyen spoke to the group about Kimball’s guiding principles, which include their customers, people, citizenship, and profits. He also commented on what faculty could do to prepare students for the future.
“I would encourage educators to teach their students to be effective problem solvers,” said Thyen. “Teach them to apply their problem solving in a win-win, collaborative approach.”
The next stop took participants to Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus where Eric Snow, director of special events and projects, gave the group a “behind-the-scenes” tour of Holiday World facilities.
After the tour, Pat Koch, director of values, gave a presentation on the history of Holiday World and how the company has maintained its integrity throughout many challenges.
“Young people have so many lessons to learn, and unless we teach them, they’re not going to learn them,” said Koch.
To conclude the day, participants were debriefed and surveyed while riding the bus back to Old National Bank.
“Everything the leaders have said today are the same things I’ve been telling my students and helps solidify it,” said Charles Granger, professor of horticulture at Vincennes University. “Day on the Bus gets the school year started off right.”
To learn more about Day on the Bus, contact USI’s Center for Applied Research and Economic Development at 812/461-5442.
Faculty and staff from USI, Ivy Tech Community College, University of Evansville, and Vincennes University visited three regional businesses on August 9 for the annual Day on the Bus event.