Two finalists take last step toward SIU Chancellor position - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Two finalists take last step toward SIU Chancellor position

Susan M. Ford, acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at SIU. Susan M. Ford, acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at SIU.
Sabah U. Randhawa, executive vice president and provost at Oregon State University. Sabah U. Randhawa, executive vice president and provost at Oregon State University.
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Two people vying for the job as head of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus, met with the SIU Board of Trustees Wednesday.

Susan M. Ford, acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at SIU, and Sabah U. Randhawa, executive vice president and provost at Oregon State University, each met with trustees for about two hours, said SIU President Randy Dunn.

“Trustees asked to have the opportunity to meet with final candidates as a last step in the search process,” Dunn said.

The interviews took place in the Stone Center on campus.

Randhawa spoke with members of the SIU Board of Trustees at 10 a.m. Ford's interview took place in the afternoon hours.

With the current budget issues the school could be facing, Sabah Randhawa mentioned that it's a resolution that will not happen overnight. He says some of the key plans of implementing change are creating regional and global relationships, philanthropy and student success.

“I think the numbers here, at least in terms of the standards – retention rates, graduation rates, I would like to see them a lot higher than what they are today," Randhawa said.

Randhawa said at Oregon State University, some of the accomplishments have been a 50 percent enrollment increase in the past five to six years, and the profile of the student body has changed dramatically.

"Underrepresented minorities from 13 to 22 percent, international from four to 11 and we get about four percent of all high achieving students from the state of Oregon coming to OSU."

Randhawa says his biggest accomplishment would have to be changing the institution from a local land-grant institution to a premiere research university. He said what really attracted him about Southern Illinois university was that potential.

Ford said one of the main visions she has for the university is maintaining and building the quality of education for students.

“I think that's really important," Ford said. "I think if we have a future as an institution in higher education, it is to be an institution that provides a quality education to the students we have here.”

Ford says in order to provide that quality at SIU's campus, there needs to be an improvement of advisement, a sense of spirit at SIU, and support and encouragement to faculty.

Ford has worked with SIU for the past 36 years, and says serving different roles in the past such as department chair, dean of the graduate school and now acting provost, she says she has quite a few accomplishments.

"I'd like to think that I've helped a lot with different programs as they've reshaped their programs to be more responsive to student needs and to be more appealing to the 21st century student in order to get students through faster and onto successful careers," Ford said.  "Also as provost, we've been working very hard to streamline the bureaucracy so that it is easier and smoother for programs to move forward to getting things done."

Ford and Randhawa were among four finalists who spent several days on campus interviewing for the position. Two other finalists either withdrew their bids or were eliminated from the search.

Communications officer, Rae Goldsmith says a final decision is suspected to be made by the end of the week.
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