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SIU Board Meeting: Future planning, leadership changes, posthumous degrees

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Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University

SIU leaders are putting the finishing touches on strategic plans at the system and campus levels, and on Thursday, the system's trustees heard how those plans fit into a statewide picture.

Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro presented her own organization's strategic plan - which focuses on equity, sustainability, and growth. She says individual colleges and universities are crucial to the success of the state.

"We really recognize that the challenge of the next decade is to focus on creating these broad, sustainable, and equitable paths to a prosperous future for everyone in the state. To do that, we really need a higher education system that reinforces equity, sustainability, and growth. We believe that is the picture of a thriving Illinois."

SIU's strategic planning has focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion - as well as how those ideals will support student success, outreach, and academic excellence.

The university's strategic plan is expected to be approved early next year - the proposed plan is available at the system website. SIU Carbondale leaders expect to have their own campus plan complete next spring.

Trustees approved the appointment of James Minor as the next Edwardsville campus chancellor.

Minor's experience includes leadership positions in the California State University system, as well as at the U.S. Department of Education. He says as he prepares to start his new position, he's impressed with the symmetry in goals and initiatives between the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses.

"So much of it is focused on retention and degree completion, preserving affordability, and impact and outreach across the region and across th state. I think that those are the right priorities for SIUE."

Retiring Chancellor Randy Pembrook calls Minor a "dynamic individual," and says he's looking forward to working with him on the transition.

"I'm really excited that Dr. Minor's coming - for so many reasons. I look forward to working with him."

Minor's four-year contract calls for an annual salary of $340,000. He's scheduled to start on March first of next year.

SIU Carbondale will award posthumous degrees to the four students whose lives were lost this semester.

Chancellor Austin Lane says the campus is working with the families of Keeshanna Jackson, Joseph Ermel, Jacob Jurinek, and Daniel Lobo to decide how best to honor their students. He says it's a part of the healing process on the campus.

"You know, we're devastated that we lost our students. We're trying to work through that as a campus community, trying to work through that in the best way we can, knowing that we're all in the grieving stage at this point."

Lane says counseling services remain available for students who need them, and campus leaders are working to help each student deal with their needs on an individual basis.

Jennifer Fuller joined Capitol News Illinois in July 2023 as the organization’s broadcast director. She will oversee the launch and operations of CNI’s new broadcast division.

Contact Jennifer Fuller at jfuller@capitolnewsillinois.com
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