Vision 2025: Plan to restructure, revitalize SIUC

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno wants to revitalize the school's academic programs and he calls it "Vision 2025."

Montemagno took the helm of the Carbondale campus on August 15, 2017.

During his State of the University address on September 26, Montemagno addressed his plans for academic reorganization.

"But I want to be clear that academic reorganization itself is not about eliminating programs, faculty or staff, but about creating new scholarly communities that will lead to innovation in teaching and knowledge creation," Montemagno said.

Since 2015, the university reportedly lost 50 percent of its freshman class. The 2017-2018 school year showed a nine percent drop in enrollment which equates to a $9.4 million loss in revenue.

On Oct. 19, the chancellor released a draft proposal on revitalizing academic programs in an effort to attract new students. After getting feedback from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, a second draft was released on Nov. 17.

CLICK HERE to see the entire Nov. 17 draft proposal.

Montemagno has proposed streamlining the number of administrative positions which would mean eliminating the role of department chair. There are also several college and departmental changes that are outlined here.

Right now, there are programs offered through 42 academic departments which are organized under eight colleges and the schools of law and medicine. Under the current proposal, the programs would fall under five colleges and 18 schools, including the schools of law and medicine. Montemagno said the new structure will reduce administrative costs.

The finalized structure will be released in spring 2018. Montemagno hopes to have the new structure implemented on July 1, the new fiscal year.

In response to numerous questions regarding their position on the ongoing reorganization at the SIU Carbondale campus, SIU System Board of Trustees Chair Amy Sholar and System President Randy Dunn released the following statement:

As the search for a new Carbondale chancellor began, the board and the leadership of the SIU System were clear that we needed to find the type of leader who would “move the needle.” The need for a reinvigorated and viable business model that would grow enrollment and provide financial sustainability, while building upon its long and storied history, was first and foremost in our collective thinking. As someone rightly suggested at the time, we needed a leader who would offer a bold, visionary plan that combined those things everyone in the campus community agreed needed improvement with the best of our existing campus operation to lead SIU Carbondale into the next 50 years.

Chancellor Montemagno has delivered an academic reorganization plan that would certainly change the way the campus operates as it introduces new ideas into what the future might be for SIUC. And while its various aspects have sparked a vigorous debate, everyone, including the two of us, has agreed to the fact that something must take place to change the trajectory of the campus. Everyone we encounter has further accepted that we need to move with deliberate dispatch to provide a roadmap to achieve necessary changes the campus must undertake—not just for its success, but for its survival in an ever-changing, hyper-competitive higher education marketplace. 

The Chancellor’s proposal, as mandated by campus, system, and state policy, is under its required period of review by the faculty, as well as the larger campus community.  We wholeheartedly support every individual and group’s right to provide comment, analysis, data, and other research as they offer their positions on how these changes might impact their university. We also keenly recognize that this cannot be a long and drawn out process; neither does the applicable policy language require a lengthy period for the mandated review.

In the end, this plan, as with any that might have been proposed, will not result in a “be all, end all” solution. We fully understand that. But we must also remember that any plan moving forward is a means to an end—in this case to positively impact student enrollment, campus fiscal health, and the university’s continuing service to the region.  The final plan that comes to fruition must guide SIUC to those goals, as it likewise shows itself capable of standing the test of time.

We are proud of the passion that has been ignited on all sides of the reorganization question, because it shows a huge community cares about SIU and wants it to succeed. We want the campus to understand we are supportive of Chancellor Montemagno in this important endeavor as we all desire to see the Carbondale campus find its footing once again in those areas where we were once strong…and excel even more in those areas where we lead the state and nation. We know it can be done.

Finally, we want to offer a few words to Carbondale’s sister campuses in the SIU System, in Edwardsville and Springfield. Please know that while we are focusing on SIUC in this statement, we are in no way turning our attention from each one of you whose dedication and hard work make your institutions equal partners in the distinctiveness and richness that is SIU. The challenges faced by one campus impact the whole system and for us to be stronger together, we must ensure that we are strong individually. As this reorganization plan continues to unfold and take shape, we are grateful for the support you constantly demonstrate to your fellow SIU family members.

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