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IPFW closing center for Warsaw students

IPFW will close its 10-year-old center in Warsaw effective at the end of the month, university officials announced Wednesday.

When the center opened its doors in 2003, students needed a place to take their classes either with an in-person instructor or through closed-circuit television, but advancements in technology have expanded the university’s ability to reach students wherever they are, the university said.

IPFW has seen an enrollment shift to using interactive video conferencing at the center, which provides a real-time link to the Fort Wayne campus. IPFW can stream or broadcast current interactive video-conferencing Fort Wayne classes live or on-demand to students’ mobile devices, eliminating the need for students to travel to a central location.

“Students report online learning helps them stay enrolled, keep their scholarships, and graduate sooner. It removes barriers and helps students manage work and family obligations, even when they travel for internship and study-abroad programs,” said Deb Conklin, IPFW executive director of the Division of Continuing Studies. “As a result, a physical center is no longer serving the study patterns of our students. IPFW intends to focus resources on growing online and alternate delivery options for accelerated and special class schedules.”

Despite the closure of the center, IPFW is committed to continue its relationship in the area, Chancellor Vicky Carwein said.

“We will maintain our membership in the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, take part in related higher education planning, continue research, consulting, and customized corporate training services through our Offices of Engagement and Corporate Training. We will also seek input from community leaders regarding other needed services during the current IPFW strategic planning process,” Carwein said in a written statement.

IPFW will also take steps to help make the transition a smooth one for students.

The university will help students currently enrolled in summer and fall classes at the center to arrange schedule alternatives, and students will be exempt from additional charges in changing to online courses. Face-to-face courses with a minimum enrollment will be provided at an alternate location.

The center offers corporate training courses as well as credit and noncredit courses.