SIU board chairwoman blasts colleagues attempting to replace president

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The chairwoman of the Southern Illinois University board fired back at two trustees who are seeking to oust President Randy Dunn, calling the move a “power play” and contending that the pair has no authority to act on Dunn’s employment status on their own.

The board’s vice chairman, J. Phil Gilbert, and secretary, Joel Sambursky, unexpectedly on Wednesday convened a meeting of the board’s executive committee — made up of them and Chairwoman Amy Sholar — for Friday to consider two items: putting Dunn on administrative leave and appointing an acting president.

Sambursky said board policy allows the executive committee to take rapid action on behalf of the full board in times of urgency, but he has declined to specify his reasoning for seeking to replace Dunn on such short notice, saying only that it was a personnel issue. Sambursky also said some “additional information” had come to light necessitating the meeting but he would not elaborate.

Sholar, in a lengthy statement released Thursday, contends the meeting is an overreach of the committee’s powers and any decision made there would be invalid.

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June 7, 2018 at 05:00PM

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SIU board chairwoman blasts colleagues attempting to replace president

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

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Rick Pearson is joined by the Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and Democratic State Rep. Chris Welch of Hillside on higher education stability. Chris discusses the continued problems that plague the state’s colleges and universities as a result of the 2 year state budget impasse and the possibility of a long-term fix.

http://serve.castfire.com/audio/3497499/3497499_2018-04-29-095539.64kmono.mp3?ad_params=zones%3DPreroll%7Cstation_id%3D3784.mp3


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April 29, 2018 at 09:03AM

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

https://ift.tt/2HBBgNa

Rick Pearson is joined by the Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and Democratic State Rep. Chris Welch of Hillside on higher education stability. Chris discusses the continued problems that plague the state’s colleges and universities as a result of the 2 year state budget impasse and the possibility of a long-term fix.

http://serve.castfire.com/audio/3497499/3497499_2018-04-29-095539.64kmono.mp3?ad_params=zones%3DPreroll%7Cstation_id%3D3784.mp3


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April 29, 2018 at 09:03AM

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

https://ift.tt/2HBBgNa

Rick Pearson is joined by the Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee and Democratic State Rep. Chris Welch of Hillside on higher education stability. Chris discusses the continued problems that plague the state’s colleges and universities as a result of the 2 year state budget impasse and the possibility of a long-term fix.

http://serve.castfire.com/audio/3497499/3497499_2018-04-29-095539.64kmono.mp3?ad_params=zones%3DPreroll%7Cstation_id%3D3784.mp3


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April 29, 2018 at 09:03AM

What is in store for the future of higher education in Illinois?

Guest View: Investment needed to improve higher education in Illinois

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The Democratic and Republican primaries are over, thankfully, for many of us. But as the candidates transition into a new gear of spending and inundating us with numbers and claims about each other, we should be closely watching what’s happening to our state’s higher education system.

We cannot escape the reality facing Illinois: People are leaving, in droves. The more our political leaders fight, the more uncertainty and angst is created, and the easier it is for talented workers and their families to find somewhere else to call home.

The same holds true for our college and university students, and sadly, it has for some time. As our state grinds further into fiscal disaster, what’s left behind is a sad tale of exodus:

* In 2002, 29 percent of our college-going high school graduates enrolled out of state. By 2016, that number had grown to 46 percent — nearly half of eligible Illinois high school grads choosing to go anywhere but Illinois for college.

* In 2011, almost 880,000 students were enrolled in Illinois higher education. Just five years later, in 2016, that number had dropped by 100,000 students, or nearly a 12 percent drop.

Why are our college students fleeing? Higher education critics, from policymakers to parents, will claim the cost is too high and our campuses haven’t adapted quickly enough to our ever-evolving economy. One other important number is critically important here: Once adjusted for inflation, state funding for higher education operations (not including pensions) has dropped by $1 billion over the last 15 years.

We cannot pretend that a significant disinvestment in our crown jewel of higher education has not contributed to the challenges of cost, innovation and, most important, a growing perception that students can fare better elsewhere. These draconian cuts, to both student aid and institutions, have created a de facto policy that encouraged our best and brightest to leave. And with every student that leaves — almost 170,000 of them over that five-year period — it should be no surprise that our Illinois higher education rankings slipped from the top to the middle of the pack.

Understand the practical and wide-reaching effects of the exodus of college students. Many college-aged students who do come here from other states for their degrees are just visiting. We don’t have the warm weather of Florida, or the mountain hiking of Colorado, or the lure that other states can offer. So if we cannot keep our students here, and we lose others who graduate and head back home, where will we get our next generation of nurses and doctors, classroom teachers, and skilled engineers to plan our roads and infrastructure?

Our high-quality system of community colleges and public and private universities provide many wonderful choices for Illinois residents now, guides them through completing a degree at nationally high rate, and could do so much more if state government embraced the possibilities instead of thwarting them. The 2.5-year budget stalemate, where higher education was a primary victim, provided a window into the harm done to our students and our institutions.

Illinois colleges and universities employ 175,000 Illinoisans and produce an annual economic benefit of $50 billion, far more return on the state’s investment of less than $2 billion. Our campuses outperform virtually any other area of state investment because of outside private and federal investment, further driven by the high priority businesses place on developing and utilizing a skilled workforce when they invest and locate here.

We need a statewide comprehensive road map for improving higher education that recognizes we have helped create this problem, and can only turn it around through real investment and improved performance. I’m encouraged a bipartisan group of legislators has come together to work on this road map. My challenge to all of our leaders is to make higher education a priority on the campaign trail and at the Capitol, and not just a talking point in the latest ad buy.

Dave Tretter is president of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities.

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April 10, 2018 at 08:16PM

Guest View: Investment needed to improve higher education in Illinois

Higher Ed Awaits Budget Decision

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Higher education leaders are watching Springfield closely, as lawmakers consider what to do about next year’s budget. Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn says there are lots of political options on the table. "You hear discussion that maybe there could be a full budget bill, and then the governor would have to decide what he wants to do with that," Dunn said. "Would the governor once again veto a bill that he doesn’t like, as he heads into a re-election? I don’t know." Dunn says there is talk of a possible six-month budget that would get the state through the November election, and would require lawmakers to pass another spending bill mid-year. “That would be, maybe not the worst outcome in the world," he said. "I know no one wants to have that as the first go-to, but better something for six months than nothing else." He says after a two-year stalemate that ended last year, it’s critical to maintain funding for higher education going forward.

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March 28, 2018 at 07:16AM

Higher Ed Awaits Budget Decision

Our college students are leaving Illinois in big numbers

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Megan Carmean was one of the 31,477.

In 2016, the Leonore native left home to go away to college in Iowa. That same year, the number of Illinois residents enrolled in an out-of-state four-year institution was 31,477, the Illinois Board of Higher Education reports.

That number was 16,987 students in 2000. Illinois had the second greatest net loss of residents to other states’ colleges in 2016, the board reports.

Carmean, a sophomore, is studying nursing at Luther College in Iowa. She said she enjoys Iowa more than Illinois, and is not sure if she’ll come back after college.

“I like it up here as far as the atmosphere,” she said.

It depends on the job offers she gets after graduation, but she plans on staying around her current area, and she realizes that’s two years away.

When Mike Phillips went to college in the 1980s, it was much cheaper to stay in Illinois, the Illinois Valley Community College instructor said.

Phillips is on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Council, so he’s aware of how many students are leaving the state.

Cost is an issue

Addison Lijewski, a 2015 La Salle-Peru Township High School graduate, applied to the University of Missouri on a whim, but she said she ended up falling in love with the college.

And guess what? It was cheaper for her to attend the Missouri college as an out-of-state resident than it was for her to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Illinois resident.

Now that she’s a Missouri resident, her tuition, roughly $11,000, is cheaper than any four-year public Illinois college, according to CollegeIllinois.org.

Cost is a huge factor when it comes to these students leaving Illinois, Phillips said.

Students have the perception it’s no more or less expensive to attend an out-of-state college, Phillips said.

“These out-of-state universities have been actively recruiting Illinois students,” he said, referring to programs such as the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which gives students discounts to certain colleges.

St. Bede Academy senior Maggie Daluga was offered academic scholarships that will cut the tuition in half for both the colleges she’s considering: Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta or the University of Pittsburgh, the Princeton resident said.

She said her tuition at either college will be cheaper than it would be at the U. of I.

State problems create issues

Although the two-year budget impasse had immediate and longtime consequences, IVCC worked toward making sure students knew the college supported them. said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran.

When MAP grant funding from the state was uncertain, IVCC was one of a handful of community colleges to cover the costs for students, he said.

It will be a long time before the state can recover, but he said he’s optimistic for the future.

Rumors of colleges closing from the state budget stalemate, may have deterred students from staying in Illinois, Phillips said.

When students are searching for colleges to attend, they’re not going to attend a college they heard might possibly close, he said.

What problems come from them leaving?

There’s no data to support this, but Phillips said he worries that if a student is already thinking about going to Iowa instead of Illinois State University, the student probably wonders, ‘why should I go to IVCC?’

IVCC’s credits transfer just fine out of state, he said.

Many of the students who leave to get their four-year degree outside the state don’t come back, he said.

JP Perona, a 2012 St. Bede graduate from La Salle, said he recently was offered a job in Chicago, but he doesn’t see himself returning to live in the Illinois Valley. Perona attended the University of San Diego in California.

If we want our economy to grow, we’ve got to grow colleges because these institutions provide an economic base, Phillips said.

There’s a correlation between colleges losing financial support and seeing students leave the state, and keeping students in Illinois is an investment in the state’s future, he said.

When asked if this vast number of students leaving will have an effect on the local economy, La Salle-Peru Township High School superintendent Steven Wrobleski said this could affect our ability to find a qualified workforce, and he also mentioned “brain drain,” which is when educated or highly trained people leave particular areas.

Are there ways to combat the issue?

The council Phillips is on talks about fixing the problem, but the issue comes down to getting college funding back from the state, he said.

Many local students who left Illinois said their major or specific program they entered into was a deciding factor. Does state funding have anything do with this?

“As funding has been cut, universities have had to cut back on programs. Generally, they cut the size of programs,” Phillips said.

When programs get smaller, they are less able to market themselves and can have less appeal to students, which is difficult to change if funding stays low, he said.

“It results in the impression that programs do not exist, when, in many cases, they are just very small,” he said.

High schools look out for students

“Whatever is best for them, that’s what we want,” said St. Bede guidance director Theresa Bernabei.

The school looks out for what is best academically and financially for students.

“Our role in preparing and planning for college is to help students find what they consider to be the best fit for them academically, socially, emotionally, etc.” said Andy Berlinski, principal at Princeton High School.

Ali Braboy can be reached at (815) 220-6931 and countyreporter@newstrib.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_PutnamCo.







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March 22, 2018 at 10:24AM

Our college students are leaving Illinois in big numbers