Chancellor candidate Kenneth Evans talks future of SIU, enrollment and diversity

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

Kenneth Evans, a candidate for the chancellor position at SIU and president of Lamar University, talked about his plan for the university in a virtual chancellor candidate forum on April 23.

According to his CV, Evans has held administrative and teaching positions at several universities, including University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri-Columbia, Arizona State University, University of Colorado-Boulder and California State University. 

(See more:  Kenneth Evans CV)

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SIU held virtual forums last week and this week for all three chancellor candidates: Kenneth Evans, Austin Lane and Susan Stapleton. 

(See more: Chancellor candidate Austin Lane speaks to SIU community at forum)

(See more: Chancellor candidate Susan Stapleton speaks to SIU community at open forum)

Evans said the main goals of his vision for SIU are to increase diversity and inclusion amongst faculty and students, rebuild the doctoral programs, boost enrollment and improve employee morale. 

Evans said there is a wide variety of diversity in the student body at Lamar University, including a large number of blind and hearing impaired students and he hopes to see more diversity at SIU. 

He also said he helped to boost participation in study abroad programs when he was employed with other universities.

“It is important for us to be an all-inclusive campus,” Evans said. “In every institution I’ve been at since Arizona State, I have increased the size of study abroad participation minimally four fold.”

Evans said he feels it is important to have a very diverse faculty on college campuses and he has encouraged diversity in doctoral programs at other universities during his time there. 

In his plan for research and doctoral education, Evans said he wants to build an infrastructure where students can create collaborative environments. 

He also said graduate programs play a vital role in the culture of discovery within a university. 

Evans also said he believes it is important to establish and build relationships with alumni. 

“I think the winning formula with alumni is always about building relationships and having value propositions of things we are doing on campus that they can resonate with,” Evans said. 

In his forum, Evans also included plans for improving the development of the university, including creating a community of giving. 

“I think people feel good about the impact they are having and you need to help them see that,” Evans said. “There needs to be ways the campus continuously engages in making that possible.” 

Evans also talked about how athletics are a valuable contribution to a college institution and said athletics are a way to connect the community. 

“There is a new reality that is happening in athletics [and that is] all of us are struggling financially,” Evans said. “The NCAA needs to be working more closely with universities to find better ways to make the athletic programs at universities successful.”

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached via email at [email protected]

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