New President

General Campus News, Updates, Discussion
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Neckerchief
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Yesterday’s Board of Trustees meeting was notable for a number of reasons, including the resignation of president Jack Thomas. Lost in that story was the fact that the board passed a deficit budget for 2019-2020, and the fact that enrollment is not stabilizing as we had been led to believe, but in fact is continuing to decline.

So, where do we go from here? What qualities do we look for in a new president? The future of WIU may be at stake.
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sealhall74
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Qualities of a new President? One who is realistic. Stabilize the enrollment and accept the fact that this may be as good as it gets, give or take a thousand here or there. Rebrand the university not as the place which offers something for everyone but instead places an emphasis on a traditional liberal arts education, one which prepares students for the challenges of tomorrow. Reinstate the Philosophy program - we need outside of the box thinkers in this world. Make one course in that department mandatory for ALL students. You may say this is just FYE 100 all over again. Wrong, it is much much broader than that. Make one course in all of the major liberal arts areas (arts, philosophy, religious studies, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences) mandatory for all students. It might be sufficient that these courses meet only once a week but that is OK. We need to find some common ground that all students can share in. In the old days, showing up at the big football game was it. That does not cut it today but hopefully, alll students sharing the same classroom experiences will help develop the relationships that will carry over to the athletic and other campus events as well.
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Neckfansince71
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Well heck Neckerchief, if you have smaller freshmen classes taking the place of larger senior classes, total enrollment will drop naturally. But I have heard good things about this freshmen class and it's numbers. We maybe down a bit in the Fall, but I expect the size of the freshmen class to stabilize or increase. If it does, they better shout it from every mountain. ;) jc
rocki
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I still think we need to put laser focus on the areas Western has traditionally excelled in - teaching, LEJA, and physics as examples.
wiu712
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WIU Board Chairperson Talks About Presidential Separation Agreement.
From Tri-States Public Radio, WIUM-FM:
https://www.tspr.org/post/wiu-board-cha ... -agreement

Editorial: Board takes first step in turning Western Illinois around.
From the Moline Dispatch - Rock Island Argus:
https://qconline.com/opinion/editorial/ ... 5b025.html
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sealhall74
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Two things are certain.

1) Jack wont be finding employment paying him more than 350K in the next 2 years.

2) Its Christmas in June with that clause letting him come back in 2 years and teach one course for 300K.

But maybe Jack will hit the lottery jackpot and let us off the hook. :lol:
If Jimmy V was a programmer like me, he would have said it like this: while (!(succeed = try()));
wiu712
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A recent editorial in the Moline Dispatch-Rock Island Argus contrasted how Western and Eastern differed in their response to the budget impasse and enrollment decline:

"More than a third of WIU's student population -- 40 percent -- has disappeared from the Macomb campus since 2008. While far smaller, the 9 percent drop at the Moline campus is every bit as disappointing because WIU-QC was expected to serve 3,000 students when it opened its doors; that's well more than twice the 1,267 students it served in 2018.

We can't help but think, however, that the situation wouldn't be quite so dire today if WIU leaders had begun immediately to create an aggressive battle plan for attacking a problem far more severe than many of those leaders were willing to admit.

Worried union leaders and staff at Western turned to Springfield in desperation. There was no help to be had.

That isn't going to change no matter how much union and higher-education leaders plead for the state to restore funding lost by cuts and a costly budget impasse. Any "bailout" must come from higher-ed leaders who take responsibility for finding their own solutions.

Illinois offers a few examples of schools that have made real strides in turning around their own fortunes. They include Eastern Illinois University, a small downstate university that also had lost a third of its student population. It did more than shake its head over the crisis; it got to work on an aggressive reorganization and recruitment plan. Today, undergrad enrollment is up 7.1 percent and freshmen enrollment is up an impressive 24.5 percent. It isn't out of the woods, but there's hope for a long-term recovery.

The overriding message of EIU's rise and WIU's decline is that if Western is to thrive, administrators, the university board, faculty and staff, and the Q-C and Macomb communities must join together and begin immediately to create an aggressive plan to make both campuses thrive.

Leading that task will be the new board members appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to engineer WIU's renaissance.

Greg Aguilar of the Quad Cities Chamber was chosen to lead it by new members Erik Dolieslager of Quincy, Kisha Lang of Maywood, Nick Padgett of Chicago, Polly Radosh of Good Hope, Doug Shaw of Peoria and Jackie Thompson of Macomb, and holdover student board member Justin Brown.

Pritzker has tasked them with revitalizing student recruitment and outreach, investing in core programs, improving and building Western's brand throughout Illinois, and strengthening relationships with the university’s communities.

Pritzker is right. If WIU is to thrive, it must do a better job of going where the students are to sell a university that still has a great deal to offer and needs to find a way to offer even more. WIU also must have administrators in place who are eager to embrace the challenge and have the skills to do so.

As EIU discovered, community investment also will play an important part. That includes a Q-C region that boasts more than a quarter of a million people and is fertile ground for recruitment. A good way to begin is to throw open the boardroom doors and give community leaders a chance to help craft an effective plan to make it happen.

And, importantly, those efforts must begin today. The future of WIU depends upon it."
Last edited by wiu712 on Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Neckfansince71
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Article is well written and absolutely on target. Always better to be pro-active than reactive. We could not afford to have the administration tread water any longer. ;) jc
LeatherCy
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:52 pm

I agree 100%. We need to find out how EIU did it. Did they hire a marketing team or PR agency. If can be done in Charleston it sure as hell can be done at The Harvard on the La Moine!!
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Tere North
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The article starts off with the real problem

"The most alarming thing about the 10-year 35 percent drop in enrollment at Western Illinois University is the absence of an urgent, comprehensive plan to reverse it."

Far too many years of ignoring, excusing, and blaming anyone but ourselves. With a new Provost/Acting President, we need an entirely new senior administration, the past having failed so horribly.

https://qconline.com/opinion/editorial/ ... b32e1.htmlhttps://qconline.com/opinion/editorial/ ... b32e1.html
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