The SIU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposed academic reorganization and have appointed John M. Dunn as interim chancellor for the Carbondale campus.
In regards to academic reorganization, there is a concern that student voices are not being heard and that the reorganization cannot succeed without the support of students, Brione Lockett, SIUC student trustee, said.
“If you really care how this reorg goes based about the outcome of this vote, then a lot more students would be up here in support of it,” Lockett said.
Both Lockett and Trustee Randal Thomas voted in favor of the reorganization, despite speaking against it during Wednesday’s working session and today’s public commentary.
During public commentary, Scott Ishman, Interim Dean for the College of Science, said while there are uncertainties associated with the reorganization, there are uncertainties associated with any change.
“The only certainty that we know here, regarding SIU Carbondale, is that if we continue knowing what we do, and how we do it without change, the situations we are facing will not improve,” Ishman said. “Right now we have the opportunity to change.”
The Board is voting to abolish all academic departments despite opposition from all faculty and student constituency groups, Jonathan Flowers, a visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Worcester University and former GPSC president, said.
“The Board is voting to dismantle [the] current academic structure in favor of an untried and untested model without finding a solution to the functioning of the academic units of the interim,” Flowers said.
Kathleen Chwalisz, co-chair of the SIUC Faculty Senate Budget Committee, said endorsing change for Carbondale should be a no-brainer.
“Our campus is being held back by a structure that was created and grown when we were a much larger institution – at a time when the educational desires of students were very different,” Chwalisz said.
Dianah McGreehan, President of Graduate Students United, quoted Interim President J. Kevin Dorsey’s comments about how the reorganization affects students.
At a recent Campus Conversation event Dorsey said the reorganization would not impact students or faculty much at all.
If it were true, the reorganization will have no impact on faculty and students besides ‘changing doors’ as President Dorsey stated, McGreehan said.
“Change is hard,” McGreehan said. “Particularly when those responsible for change disregard the input from those have to abide by such change and take an assuming stance to know what is best for us.”
McGreehan said the campus community should have been consulted in the decision of who was appointed Interim Chancellor.
“We do expect the present Board of Trustees and the appointee to be dedicated to a greater dialogue and input from this campus community in any and all campus affairs moving forward,” McGreehan said.
John M. Dunn, who most recently served as president to Western Michigan University, is set to begin January 1, 2019 and will be paid $375,000 per year, according to the released board agenda.
Dunn previously served as provost to the Carbondale campus until his departure July 2007 to become president of Western Michigan University.
He retired last year and will be serving in the role as interim chancellor until a permanent chancellor is chosen by the board after a national search.
In other board business, Rae Goldsmith, SIUC Spokeswoman, will be filling in the roll of Interim Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations with an annual salary of $170,000 effective January 1, 2019. She will continue to work as the head of university communications.
The board also approved honorary degrees for Thanu Kulachol, Melissa McCarthy and Charles Neblett. Richard Blaudow, Jim and Vicki Blair are to be recognized with Distinguished Service awards during the May 2019 commencement ceremonies.
Staff reporter Kallie Cox can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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