Past Event

Café Society: The Future of Southern Illinois University

Note: This topic is intended for the Carbondale, ILlocation only.

Chicago and Oak Park area locations will not meet this week (October 10th – 13th). We invite all Chicago and Oak Park Café Society participants to attend the City-Wide Café Society: Sympathy for the Censor with Jamie Kalven on October 11th at 5:30p at the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum.

Southern Illinois University (SIU) has gone through a lot of changes in the past decade. After a period in the late 1990s when the university weathered Halloween riots and the hiring and firing of a Chancellor, there was a sigh of relief whenWalter Wendler was hired as chancellor. Few could argue that Wendler was not serious about changing the direction of SIU, and there was indeed an air of optimism during his first few months at the job. Few doubted his qualifications and his commitment to leading SIU into the 21st century. And very quickly he demonstrated that commitment, expressing his plans and vision for SIU, particularly with the Southern 150 plan.

The Southern 150 plan outlines the strategic plan for the future of SIU through 2019. The major focus of the plan is to make SIU one of the top research institutions in the US and give the campus a major face lift. Initially there was some enthusiasm for the program, but very quickly the criticisms started to bubble up. Concerns quickly arose that the program was unrealistic, that it overly emphasized more research-focused disciplines over more traditional academic disciplines and that it was going to become way too costly for the student demographic that SIU has traditionally attracted.

However, Walter Wendler’s desire to begin to implement the Southern 150 plan has been hampered by events and politics at SIU. The threat of a faculty strike, tuition increases, and even world events have often put Wendler’s tenure as chancellor in a precarious position, where his leadership has been questioned by faculty, students, and other administrators.

Now, the Southern 150 plan is under attack again. Accusations have been made that parts of the document were plagiarized.

Given all of these events, what is the future of SIU and the Southern 150 plan? Will SIU continue to serve the kind of students they have traditionally served? What kind of institution will SIU become?

Join us this week to talk about the future of SIU and its impact on the region.

Suggested Readings:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.