Administrative postition to be filled externally

By Gus Bode

Provost John Nicklow says he hopes to fill an administrative position that has been vacant for one year by the start of fall semester.

The position, assistant provost and chief information officer, would manage multiple technology information systems such as e-mail, phone systems, course management and Banner, the student services system.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said once someone fills the CIO position, SIUC has a greater chance to be ahead of the curve rather than catching up with trends in higher education.


“We need someone really connected nationally to the trends in higher education so that we’re not reacting but planning ahead with technology improvements and cost savings,” she said. “We need someone to come in who’s had experience in higher education or in a large non-profit organization to lead the campus forward.”

Cheng said having a CIO is vital and would also assist the university’s efforts to improve distance education and accommodating students who would prefer online courses.

“All of our student learning relies on an infrastructure of technology that sometimes people don’t think of,” she said. “We’ve limped along this year but … a chief information officer, a lead technology person in an institution as complicated and as large as SIU, is really a very vital position.”

The last person who held the position under the title of director of information technology, Frank Scobby, retired in 2010. He was appointed in August 2008 and retired two years later, which left the position vacant.

The average salary for a chief information officer in Illinois is $78,379 to $210,545 according to PayScale, a website that compares salaries in the global market. Scobby ranked 72 on SIUC’s Top 100 Salary List in 2010 with an annual salary of $138,592.

Associate Provost Susan Logue said whoever fills the position should expect a similar but higher salary than Scobby, depending on his or her qualifications.

Conducting a nationwide search would ensure the position is filled by someone with the proper expertise, Nicklow said. He said the position is becoming common at institutions.


Although there are some expenses associated with searches for administrative, faculty and director positions, Nicklow said the cost of not having somebody in this position is far higher.

Cheng said most searches conducted for administrative, faculty and director positions have been nationwide, including those for the deans of the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. The first search for a new provost was nationwide, but the second was conducted internally, she said.

Logue said expenses to conduct searches such as this one vary greatly and depend on advertisement costs. The cost of advertisement could be several hundred dollars to $1,000 depending on the publication, she said.

“I think what we’re trying to do is handle this as economically as possible but still get the exposure through advertising we need to get through a pool of applicants,” Logue said.

Logue said SIUC is advertising in national journals such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and other key areas that would attract applicants with the right qualifications.

She said she believes a search’s biggest expenses are travel and lodging.

“If we’re flying someone in from another state, it’s probably going to cost us $300, $400 (for the flight),” she said. “A couple of nights in a hotel in Carbondale is not very expensive, but the flights are what would be the most expensive.”

Logue said the only cost associated with search committee members is their time and effort. Members are not paid extra to serve on the committee, she said.

“Another cost you don’t see is the time and effort the search committee puts in by reviewing all of the search materials, preparing for the interviews and conducting interviews. That takes quite a bit of time,” Logue said.

Cheng said despite the various costs to conduct a nationwide search, it’s not out of the ordinary and she believes the person with proper qualifications will not be found within the university.