CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University Carbondale Interim Chancellor, Brad Colwell delivered his State of the University address at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, in Student Center Ballroom D.
Last year, President Randy Dunn gave his State of the System address, heavily discussing the state budget impasse and its impact on SIU's campuses.
After nearly a year as Interim Chancellor, Colwell echoed Dunn's address.
Colwell addressed not only the extreme stress the university is under after budget issues in the state of Illinois, he also touched on enrollment management, student academic experience, student experience in general at SIU-C, diversity and inclusion, and regional engagement.
Colwell discussed the options SIU-C has in terms of financial stability. He urged the need to minimize all avenues of spending on campus, emphasizing that every dollar counts.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, the university cut $21 million in permanent cuts.
Colwell also discussed how attractive SIU-C is to potential students. Adding the university is working to not only attract new students, but retain current ones. One avenue Colwell mentioned, was making the physical campus more attractive, including the removal of the "unsightly blue barracks on east campus."
"Here are the two-year goals we have set for fall 2018: increasing new freshman and transfer student enrollment by at least 10 percent each, increasing graduate enrollment by 10 percent, and increasing retention of first-time freshmen to 70 percent, up from this year's rate of 64.3 percent," Collwell said during his speech.
Colwell spoke about SIU-C's goal to remain a top research based university, pointing to the increase in external research funding to $76.5 million.
In an effort to build on the student experience, Colwell mentioned the launch of a "Saluki Spirit Campaign" as well as a food pantry to assist students, as well as focusing on student safety by conducting a "campus climate survey."
For Diversity and Inclusion, Colwell mentioned the appointment of a campus-wide diversity council to look at the development of a diversity plan to campus, which Colwell mentioned was near completion.
The university is also focusing on community engagement through building strong relationships with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and city officials like Mayor Mike Henry.