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Following are answers to frequently asked questions. New questions and answers will be added periodically.

Academic Reorganization

Why should we reorganize our academic programs and structure?

SIU’s academic programs and structure remain largely unchanged in a changing higher education marketplace. To revitalize our programs in order to attract students, we need to better align programs that relate to each other in order to create opportunities for greater collaboration among students and faculty. We should also add new programs in high demand areas, reinforce essential and strong programs, and end programs that are weaker and attracting fewer students.

Will academic reorganization affect a student’s ability to complete the program in which he or she is enrolled? For example, will students have to worry about having to take different core classes they may not have needed in their previous school?

Requirements for current students will remain the same; they will be able to continue their current programs through graduation based on the requirements specified in the Undergraduate or Graduate Catalog as of the date they enrolled in the program. We will ensure that we deliver on our commitments to students enrolled in every program.

How will academic reorganization affect students?

By bringing faculty and students who have similar programs and interests together in newly aligned schools, we hope to create greater synergy and new opportunities for experiential, hands-on learning. Restructuring will also allow us to make sure that students have access to our most experienced faculty, many of whom currently hold administrative roles that keep them from teaching and research.

How will the academic structure change?

The university currently has programs offered through 42 academic departments organized under eight colleges and the schools of law and medicine. A new structure would bring the programs currently housed in academic departments under five colleges and 18 schools, including the schools of law and medicine.  (See draft of college and school structure.) Departments as they currently exist today will be eliminated as programs are brought together under the new schools. A new structure will reduce administrative costs and build synergy that will reinvigorate our academic programs.

Is the draft structure to be released final?

No. It is intended to be a “straw man” proposal to generate discussion and feedback.

How does/will academic reorganization lead to administrative savings?

Savings of approximately $2.3 million will be generated with the elimination of department chair and some associate dean positions as well as a reduction in the number of deans. Each school would have a director who would receive a stipend for the additional responsibilities that would be covered by the savings, making the estimated net savings approximately $2.3 million.

How will that savings be used?

Savings will be reinvested in current essential and strong programs that have opportunity for expansion and in new programs.

Will positions be eliminated as a result of the reorganization?

No. 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.

What is the timeline for implementation?

A top-level draft of colleges and schools is available now. A full draft proposal, including academic programs under each school, will be shared with the campus community on Thursday, Oct. 19, via an open forum from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. It will be added to this website after the forum. Feedback will be collected in the weeks ahead. The plan will be finalized in the spring semester for implementation July 1, 2018, the new fiscal year.

How will feedback be collected?

All feedback is welcome and encouraged. The chancellor’s office will work with the Faculty Senate and Graduate Counsil to receive feedback through formal mechanisms. In addition, feedback will be gathered at meetings as well as through an online feedback form.

Why does this need to happen so quickly?

The sooner we get things in place, the sooner we can generate administrative savings to reinvest and stem enrollment decline, which affects revenue and our ability to invest in programs and people.

How will academic reorganization help stem enrollment decline?

Our academic programs will be stronger due to the synergy and knowledge created by cross-disciplinary collaboration. Stronger programs will attract strong students. It will also free resources needed to reinforce and add programs to meet student demand and need. Finally, better aligning programs under schools will make it easier for prospective students to find what they are looking for and see more career paths, and we will be better able to market programs to students based on their interests.

Will there be new programs?

The proposal will include ideas for new programs that might be appealing to both faculty and students. Ultimately, decisions about whether to move these or other programs forward will rest with the faculty in the school.

Will programs be eliminated?

The draft proposal will include the elimination of some programs. It’s important to note that while a program may be eliminated, the courses that made up the programs, as well as the faculty who teach them, are likely to remain as long as enrollment supports them.

Academic Advisement

Will centralized advisement mean that a student will have a different advisor each time I go to advisement?

No.  Advisors will still be embedded in academic units to provide straight-forward advice regarding the selection of a major, adherence to degree requirements and student services.  Unless flexibility is needed for a student or an advisor position, a student can reasonably expect to have the same advisor from freshman year to graduation.  The relationship between student and advisor is important to student success.  

Enrollment Management

What is the rationale for hiring an associate chancellor for enrollment management?

Faced with declining enrollment, SIU needs to identify leadership to oversee and coordinate student recruitment efforts, which are currently divided among several units as well as the academic colleges. Enrollment management leadership positions are common at colleges and universities given the critical nature of recruiting and enrolling students. The last time SIU had a full-time enrollment management leader was in 2011. Since then, the role has been covered on a part-time basis by the provost.

What is the timeline for having the position filled?

The search will be launched shortly. We anticipate having an individual on board during the spring semester.

University College

Will we continue to offer UCOL 101?

This course has a proven track record of helping our first year students adjust to campus life.  It is integrated into every major.  It will continue to be offered.  In fact, we look forward to it evolving into a better course through assessment and continuous improvement.