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New Leadership

Mote selected as new president of
Ivy Tech’s Madison campus

She has spent time learning about
the community’s needs

(December 2014) – Just two months ago, Kathleen Mote, J. D., was juggling the demands of two jobs, a full-time academic position and a part-time job as deputy prosecutor. Now the 34-year-old attorney is one month into her new position as president of Ivy Tech Community College’s Madison, Ind., campus.
A slim, blonde and engaging woman, she prefers that people call her “Katie.”
Instead of fully moving into her sunny office and hanging all the pictures, she has spent the past month talking with “partners in the community” and listening to their needs. “Talking and listening are paramount goals,” she said. Her short-term goals are to meet with business and industry, schools, and staff and faculty of Ivy Tech itself. 

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

A lawyer and deputy prosecutor, Kathleen Mote previously worked as an associate professor of criminal law at Ivy Tech Community College’s regional campus system.

Mote tours industries and asks questions about what they need now and how Ivy Tech can help them. In the next few years, there will be a “huge need for young people to be prepared to step into production jobs,” she said, noting the current local workforce will start to retire in the next few years.
In her tours of local industry, she said she has been impressed with the level of high technology, skilled jobs that are available in this community. Her conversations with community partners have been “exciting and ongoing.”
By August 2015, Mote says she hopes that Ivy Tech’s partnerships with schools will enable high school students to:
• Earn a Transfer General Education Technical Certificate of up to 30 credit hours, which is equal to one year of college credit;
• Or work toward an associate degree. If doing this, the high school student will be  halfway there with 30 hours completed before graduating from high school;
• Or earn credentials to build skills for high tech jobs and the ever-changing work forces. 
Mote says she frequently hears people express this message, which she repeated with passion: “We are at a unique moment in the community where we are willing to do this. We have to do for our own children, to be competitive, to keep them here, to raise their families here. Everyone I talked to has said the same thing.”
The community has warmly embraced Mote. “It is reassuring and exciting how receptive everyone has been,” she said.
Rather than being confronted by surprises, she has found validation in her goals and beliefs that hard-working people in the community “can’t wait to move forward.” She defines “community” broadly, encompassing the Madison Campus and Jefferson County, as well as neighboring counties in both Indiana and Kentucky.
Mote and her husband, D.J., the county’s chief deputy prosecutor, are deeply involved with activities of Pope John Elementary School. For fun, they do stuff with their children, Hunter, 6, and James 3.
“We go to the library and to Clifty (Falls State Park), and I like to cook,” Mote said. Recently, they held Thanksgiving for family and friends. Mote likes to exercise, and D.J., an avid runner, just completed his second marathon.
In the community, Mote serves on the School Commission for Prince of Peace Catholic School and the advisory board of the Madison Correctional Facility. She is a volunteer at the Children’s Advocacy Center for Southeastern Indiana and a member of the Fraternal Order of Police “Stacks of Power” Lodge 28, Madison.
A native of central Indiana, Mote graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish. She dreamed of becoming an immigration lawyer. A self-professed girl from a small Catholic high school, she set off for Madrid, Spain, to study for six months at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She felt some trepidation.
Aside from having her children, however, she described it as “the best time of my life – just the learning, the traveling, even then, the grand dreams of wanting to do public service work.”
On reflection, Mote said she thinks she should have gone to Mexico instead of Spain to study Spanish because of regional differences with the language. However, she realizes she has not strayed far from her initial dreams of doing public service work. Public education and the community college system are near and dear to her heart. As another example, she mentioned work of the Indiana Christian Legal Clinic. Attorneys with that clinic go The Clearinghouse in Madison once a month for the “Ask A Lawyer” program and give legal advice free for people who need it. The Clearinghouse is a nonprofit organization that provides many services to those in need.
Continuing toward her goal of becoming a lawyer, Mote was a visiting student at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. In 2005 she earned her Juris Doctor from the Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington. She served as deputy prosecuting attorney in Jackson County. Eight years ago, the Motes moved to Madison to work with Chad Lewis, Jefferson County Prosecutor. She was deputy prosecuting attorney in Jefferson County from 2013-2014.
Her career with Ivy Tech started as an adjunct professor of general education in 2009. She became assistant professor and chair of the regional Criminal Justice program in 2011. In 2014, she was promoted to associate professor.
In a short tour of Ivy Tech, she talked about the many ways the Community College system goes out of its way to help students in non-traditional ways with tutoring, loans and other needs. Ivy Tech-Madison has almost 1,000 students and about 180 staff and faculty.

“We can be so much more than we are,” she said, adding that Ivy Tech is in the unique situation of being a hub. It has a great opportunity to reach out and connect with Jefferson County and other rural partners in Indiana and Kentucky.

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