July 6, 2020

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Greetings, SIU Faculty and Staff.

As the new chancellor of SIU Carbondale, I am honored to join a strong community that has come together to address overwhelming challenges over the last few months. I have paid close attention to your collective work, noted your commitment to students, and talked with and heard from many of you. Everything I have witnessed tells me I have come to the right place.

I said during my interview that I view myself as a servant leader. My job is to help you do your jobs as effectively as possible so we can fulfill our mission. This means that my first responsibility as a new chancellor is to listen to everyone who has a stake in SIU’s future, including students, faculty and staff, alumni, friends, community members and other partners. What are your hopes for the university? What can we do better? What can we do to help you, as faculty and staff, be successful?

I will spend much of the fall semester on a listening-learning tour getting to know the campus community. While most of the tour will be virtual by necessity, I will welcome all input – whether it comes in person or through a videoconference, email or phone call. My goal as we move forward is to share what I learn as we begin to engage the university community in a larger discussion about our future. In the spring, we will begin working on a 10-year strategic plan that will serve as a roadmap for achieving goals that we will define as a community. The strategic planning process will be transparent and inclusive. The resulting plan will have clear, measurable goals.

Along the way, I will be communicating frequently to ensure transparency. I have expanded the voices at the cabinet level and established a leadership council that includes deans and representatives of campus constituency groups so that everyone has the opportunity to raise issues and ideas. Members of the leadership council will also be charged with making sure their constituents are informed and engaged. Finally, I have appointed a task force to fulfill President Mahony’s charge that we open the conversation and take meaningful steps to ensure that all members of our community are afforded equity and justice.

Based on what I have seen you accomplish since March, I can’t wait to see what will happen when we work together on our plan for the future. I am grateful to President Mahony and the Board of Trustees for giving me this opportunity, and I am thankful to all those I met through the interview process and since my appointment. Your thoughtfulness, insightful questions and comments, and words of welcome are valued.

I look forward to hearing from you as I listen and learn.


Chancellor Austin A. Lane