Dean decisions continue during fiscal deficit

Six colleges at the university will gain new leadership this fall, and while three have annouced new deans, the rest continue in the final stages of bringing new administrators on board.

Mickey Latour has been named dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, John Warwick as the dean of the College of Engineering and Laurie Achenbach will assume the interim dean position for the College of Science in August. The College of Applied Sciences and Arts, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, and College of Education and Human Services are still nearing dean decisions.

Provost John Nicklow said John Benshoff, interim dean for the College of Education and Human Services, will retire, leaving
the university in the decision-making phase for a permanent dean.

Graphic by the Daily Egyptian

Nicklow said the College of Applied Sciences and Arts is in the final stages of naming a permanent dean.

The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts is also in the decision-making phase for an interim dean to replace dean Gary Kolb, who will also retire.

Despite the hiring freeze that has been in effect for approximately three or four years, Nicklow said a dean position is not one that can be left vacant.

He said when dean searches are underway, the university strives to at least have an interim in place to lead the college.

Achenbach said although tight fiscal times will present challenges for the university and its mission, she looks forward to what is presented by the changing economic environment.

“We must fully realize the opportunities that these challenges represent,” she said. “Most importantly, we must work together as a college to define our future and reach our goals.”

Because all the colleges on campus are complex and have numerous programs, working together as a university can be similar to a juggling act, Chancellor Rita Cheng said.

“Even in this financial situation, if you don’t have stable leadership in a dean, not much functions very well because the fiscal authority isn’t assigned, creating a lot of problems,” she said.

With the State of Illinois still
$65.5 million in debt to SIUC for FY12 as of May 18, juggling the operations of the university, such as hiring, may prove to be difficult.

As of Monday morning, Nicklow said the state was still discussing significant cuts, and as Cheng mentioned at the May 8 Faculty Senate meeting, the likelihood of filling all vacant positions is slim.

Three dean searches had to be
conducted because of retirements at SIUC, likely because of potential changes in
he state’s pension reform, which would require universities statewide to pay all pension.

Nicklow said many of the faculty and staff are examining whether staying another year or two is beneficial and if not, they’re seeking retirement. The total number of retirements is unknown until the fiscal year ends June 30.

“In a way it provides us with an opportunity and it forces us to take a close look at the efficiency of the organizations here,” Nicklow said. “We’ll have to look at where we can share some activities, restructure, and in some cases, only fill key positions.”

Nicklow said all positions would be examined critically and it is unclear which ones might be most prone to vacancy.

The budget changes put into effect by Illinois have made SIUC, like several public universities, reevaluate and consider restructuring, Nicklow said.

“We’ve done some good work on looking at academic and non-academic programs and seeing where we might do things more efficiently, where we can share services, and how we can take advantage of any opportunity to increase cost effectiveness,” Nicklow said.


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About Tiffany Blanchette

Senior at SIUC majoring in photojournalism and zoology. Can be easily reached at or 618-536-3311 ext. 254.

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