Blackburn to offer valedictorian, salutatorian scholarship

Blackburn College in Carlinville is offering high school valedictorians and salutatorians up to five years of tuition free.

In a release, the school said it will be offer the free years — worth about $100,000 per student — to valedictorians and salutatorians from across the country.

Students who accept the tuition-free education will be requird to participate in the Blackburn Work Program, live on campus and maintain a 3.2 cumulative grade point average.

More information about the scholarship program is available on the school’s website.

11:23 pm |

Commentary: The state’s no good, very bad year

5:43 am |

46 cited after state finds 6,400 acres baited for deer hunts

5:42 am |

Getting in the holiday spirit

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November 18, 2017 at 10:24PM

Blackburn to offer valedictorian, salutatorian scholarship

SIU-C Chancellor Releases Draft #2 Of Restructuring Plan.

Southern Illinois University Chancellor Carlo Montemagno has released the second draft of his proposal to revitalize academic programs at the university.

Montemagno says he has received feedback on his first draft from faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members and from that feedback he has made a few changes.

Some changes include the School of Integrated Biological Sciences changing to the School of Biological Sciences with programs taught by School of Medicine Faculty. Anatomy has been removed from this school and Zoology has been added.

There is a proposal to start a School of Sustainability and Earth Sciences with future programs in Ecology and in Fisheries and Wildlife Management.

But one issue the Chancellor has not budged on, is the elimination of the word “department.” Instead, the term would be replaced with “division,” and along with that change, department chairs will be eliminated. However, he says he’s open to finding a way to return to the departments in the future.

The Faculty Senate and Graduate Council will formally weigh in on the proposal before a final version is released in the spring.

To take a look at the entire proposal, visit:

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November 17, 2017 at 06:37PM

SIU-C Chancellor Releases Draft #2 Of Restructuring Plan.

Thomas resumes Brown Bag dialogue

Thomas resumes Brown Bag dialogue

Matthew Armour, Courier Staff

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With aspirations to keep communication open amongst faculty, staff and students, Western Illinois University president Jack Thomas hosted his second Brown Bag Lunch Conversation, promoting an open forum and honest communication within the Western community.

 “Brown Bag conversations provide us with another informal opportunity to communicate,” Thomas said. “I invited members of our University community, as well as our local community, to bring their lunch to the Brattain Lounge on Nov. 15 and enjoy a casual hour of conversation and fellowship.” 

 The theme for this week’s Brown Bag conversations was communication and a desire to create a partnership between the University union and administration in regards to financial reporting.

 “I was wondering if it would be possible for representatives from the Union and the Administration to meet ahead of time to present a set of generally agreed upon figures that would be informative to faculty members,“ said English professor Bill Knox.

 Thomas responded, agreeing that faculty members play a pivotal role at the university and will be essential during budget negotiations.

“I’m sure we can, I don’t see any problem in doing that,” Thomas said. “We had our budget director come to the faculty senate to talk about the budget, who has also come to those sessions in the Union, which is the faculty union, and the university administration and presented them financial figures before.”

 Moving forward, another topic of discussion that Thomas spearheaded was the financial reserve and how to properly distribute the money.

“There were times when the state did not come through with funding. Every institution, every business should have a reserve,” Thomas said. “We had it in place so we could float the state. There were times before the budget impasse that the state didn’t come through. We had to use that reserve.

 According to Thomas, the nature of his Brown Bag dialogues is to inform the general public and concerned members of the community and allow self-expression. Thomas also stressed the importance of payroll and how detrimental it is to the University’s reputation when payroll is not met.

“We have an obligation to meet payroll, and when you do not meet payroll, that really says a whole lot about your institution,” Thomas said “If you don’t get a paycheck then these people are going to be all out and so you have to make payroll.” 

 La’India Cooper, President of the Black Student Association raised questions about student attendance and enrollment at Western.

 “My biggest concern as being a student here is future enrollment is looking as far as numbers because I feel like if numbers go up as far as enrollment, everyone can get a raise,” Cooper said. “This question lead to a general discussion of bringing welcome receptions and trying to attract more students to campus ahead of the FAFSA opening October 1.

 If you have a question or concern about something within the Western Illinois community, come visit President Thomas and his Brown bag lunch discussions in the Union’s Brattain Lounge.

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November 17, 2017 at 12:31PM

Thomas resumes Brown Bag dialogue

SXU professor earns research grant

How did city planners play a role in using new school construction to create residential segregation, especially in southern cities that once had substantially mixed-race housing patterns? Because of the close connection between school location and the housing market, school site selection preserved residential segregation long after the courts declared racial zoning unconstitutional, often with devastating consequences for inner-city neighborhoods.

One St. Xavier University (SXU) professor’s research investigates the implications of racial zoning in southern cities from the 1920s to the present. Dr. Karen Benjamin, associate professor of history, was recently awarded a $43,917 grant from the Spencer Foundation to fund her research and allow her to travel to three southern states to complete her research.

“This project developed out of my dissertation research on the intersection between segregationist policies and curriculum reform in southern cities during the 1920s,” said Benjamin. “While reading through manuscript collections at Duke University, I found a letter written by an African-American woman accusing the Raleigh school board of attempting to segregate African-American residents through school site selection. This serendipitous discovery led to an article in the Journal of Urban History (2012) that analyzes the role that the Raleigh school board played in creating residential segregation in that city.”

Her research project, “City Planners and the use of School Sites to Impose Racial Zoning on Southern Cities before WWII,” explores the close collaboration between city planners and school boards before 1930 and its effects on the field of residential segregation. Through her research grant, Benjamin will travel to Dallas, Austin, Birmingham and Raleigh to collect data.

“This study examines how city planners encouraged the location of modern schools in new residential developments to facilitate the population shift of white residents to racially restricted suburbs,” said Benjamin. “Simultaneously, modern schools built “deep” within areas set aside for African-American development facilitated the population shift of African-American residents to emerging ghettos. Thus, school site selection allowed planners to impose unofficial racial zones long after the courts affirmed their illegality. These efforts led to increased residential segregation well before federal housing policies began subsidizing white America’s flight to the suburbs and concentrating public housing in the urban core.”

Aside from her duties as a professor, Benjamin is also the social science education coordinator and the director of African-American studies. Many of her courses and programs have been centered on race and its meaning in society. Additionally, Benjamin received SXU’s Excellence in Teaching Award earlier this year.

“An active research agenda also helps me develop new courses with high impact learning opportunities such as U.S. Urban and Suburban History, Ghetto Formation in Twentieth-Century Chicago, and Southern Slavery, Southern Freedom,” said Benjamin. “In these courses, my scholarship helps me teach from a fresh perspective and provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Most importantly, it allows me to model what it means to be a scholar.”

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November 14, 2017 at 11:45AM

SXU professor earns research grant

NIU Board of Trustees to vote on new CFO on Thursday

DeKALB – Sarah McGill, an associate vice president at Northwestern University, is expected to become Northern Illinois University’s new chief financial officer, pending a vote during Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

NIU President Lisa Freeman recently announced the selection.

“I appreciate the importance of staying true to the institutional culture and values while preparing for the challenges and opportunities of the future,” McGill said to NIU Today. “I have always been a big believer in transparency and open communication, as well as actively engaging with the university community and board of trustees.”

Acting CFO Lawrence Pinkelton has assumed the role since the retirement of Alan Phillips.

The executive search firm Witt/Kieffer was hired to assist in finding Phillips’ replacement. Phillips had been with the university since March 2015, and his annual salary was $245,000.

If approved, McGill will fill her new role in January.

McGill has been with Northwestern since 2012, where she served as senior associated dean of the graduate school, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Before that, she spent six years at the University of Chicago, where she served as executive director for enrollment and chief of staff to the vice president for administration and CFO.

McGill earned her master’s degree in business from Cardinal Stritch University and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.

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via Daily Chronicle

November 13, 2017 at 05:01PM

NIU Board of Trustees to vote on new CFO on Thursday

Students give free haircuts

CHARLESTON — Students in Lake Land College’s cosmetology program provided haircuts to veterans on Tuesday at the Lifespan Center in Charleston, in celebration of Veterans Month.

Students Emma Kull, Effingham; Marissa Morris, Martinsville; Andrea Doedtman, Effingham; and Carlin Nuzzo, Sullivan; joined cosmetology clinical instructor Kristine Marler, Atwood, in providing the free haircuts.

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November 13, 2017 at 01:19AM

Students give free haircuts

Point/Counterpoint: Tuition rates

On Oct. 19, the Board of Trustees approved a domestic rate structure that will make out-of-state tuition equal to in-state starting fall 2018.

Reduced tuition will not save enrollment

Maddi Smith 

To combat low enrollment, NIU matched the out-of-state tuition rate to the in-state tuition, hoping to draw more out-of-state students to the university. While it’s smart NIU’s thinking creatively about the drastic 5 percent drop in enrollment since 2016, targeting out-out-state students isn’t the most effective solution. The domestic rate structure was approved Oct. 19 by the Board of Trustees.

For the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters, the “Select Midwest States” out-of-state tuition for full-time students, 12 credit hours or more, was $13,251, $6,635 per semester. Students that do not come from these select states, or who are international students pay, an out-of-state tuition rate of $9,465 per semester, $18,931 for the year, according to NIU’s Office of the Bursar’s undergraduate tuition and fees page.

However starting next year, NIU will match out-of-state tuition to in-state, allowing all students to pay the same amount regardless of residency. For 2017, the in-state tuition rate for full time students was $9,465.60 per year, under half the cost of out-of-state tuition.

Despite the 3 percent increase in freshman enrollment and 2 percent increase in the College of Law, NIU’s total numbers dropped from 19,015 students last fall to 18,042 students in 2017, a decrease of 5.12 percent. Total enrollment is comprised of 13,454 undergraduate students, 4,319 graduate students and 269 law students, according to an Oct. 26 Northern Star article.

Illinois is comprised of 11 public universities spread throughout, which all directly compete with NIU for enrollment. NIU’s tuition rate is near the top of the list in terms of price point compared to other Illinois public universities.

Under 5 percent of total undergraduate students are from out-of-state, meaning that the majority of students are from Illinois, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Because of this, it’s plausible that readjusting the in-state tuition to better compete with other state universities would entice more Illinois students to attend NIU.

Since most of NIU’s students are from Illinois, it makes more sense to change the recruitment demographic. Rather than focusing on out-of-state students, who are a minority on campus, the university should reach-out to in-state students by offering more inexpensive and competitive pricing on tuition, let alone housing and other fees. By widening the demographic, NIU has a greater chance of actually recruiting students and won’t have to compete with universities in other states, since 72 percent of students attend universities in their home states, according to a 2014 Going Away to College study by Niche Ink.

It doesn’t make sense for NIU to focus its recruitment efforts on such a small population when there are actions they can take to combat the enrollment deficit in more effective ways. While getting rid of the out-of-state tuition price will probably have a small impact on enrollment, the changes to enrollment won’t be drastic, seeing as only 28 percent of students venture out-of-state for college, according to the information provided by Niche Ink.

Equalizing tuition was commendable move

Maddie Steen

NIU enrollment may have a good chance of a future increase since out-of-state students will receive the same tuition rate as in-state students.

“We want students nationwide to experience our unique brand of hands-on, engaged learning, and we believe elimination of this cost barrier will help us attract more students from across the country,” acting President Lisa Freeman said in an Oct. 19 press release.

Considering under 5 percent of NIU’s students currently pay out-of-state tuition, that number is not enough to even have a difference in tuition price; if only 4 percent of students are paying more, we might as well make it fair to them. Making tuition equal to all is undoubtedly righteous.

There are 42,000 out-of-state students that were already interested in attending NIU before the tuition price drop, according to Fall 2017 Out-of-State Prospects data provided by Sol Jensen Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications vice president.

With tuition being equal for all, the chance of these 42,000 prospect students coming to NIU becomes greater than them attending a college that does not offer a comparable out-of-state tuition rate. The administration seems to want to become attractive to out-of-state students and it has accomplished that, but it should not forget between 2000 and 2014, 64 percent of freshman students left Illinois to attend college, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

While changing the price for out-of-state students could benefit enrollment, Illinois is slowly dying which leads me to believe that we should also be focusing on in-state students if we want to save ourselves. If NIU would have thought to offer in-state students a lower tuition as incentive to stay in Illinois and help our economy while still charging a modest premium for those out-of-state, enrollment could have increased quicker than it will because of only out-of-state tuition being lowered.

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November 13, 2017 at 06:28AM

Point/Counterpoint: Tuition rates