DOD funding explains SIU’s militarized university ranking

While SIU lacks a fleet of tanks, one study shows the university’s military ties.

A recent study from Vice News ranked SIU as the 23rd most militarized university in the U.S. and said military relations at universities has been on the rise since 9/11.

One explanation for the university’s ranking is the amount of financial support Department of Defense for research and the 28 off-campus programs on military bases, said University Spokesperson Rae Goldsmith.


SIU’s extended campus has programs for students serving on military bases in states across America, with many in Illinois but others as far as California.

“We have been active on military bases and supportive of veterans on our campus for many, many years,” Goldsmith said. “It’s actually a point of pride for us.”

Vice News reported a total of nearly $1.5 million in Department of Defense research and development funding to SIU; however, the figure reported by Vice is ambiguous as it does not state the time period in which the amount pertains to. 

Kathleen Campbell, an audiology professor researcher in the School of Medicine, was granted $2.5 million by the Department of Defense in 2013. Additionally, Brandon Cox, a pharmacology professor at the School of Medicine received nearly $1.5 million in September from the Department of Defense in hearing-loss research. 

In total, Campbell said the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and other sources have granted her more than $11 million to research drug and noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss is a major concern for troops in the military because it frequently affects them.

“[Noise-induced hearing loss] is the most expensive and the most common disability in our troops,” Campbell said. 

Campbell is developing an oral drug that could treat the effects of noise-induced hearing loss and is working on having it approved by the Food and Drug Administration.


Goldsmith also said programs offered at the university such as cyber-security may attract graduates to military or government-related jobs. The Southern Illinois Collegiate Cyber Co-op scholarship is funded by the National Security Agency and grants 14 one-time scholarships at $1,000 each to SIU students.

Vice reported the school ranks 26th in producing top-secret clearance level scientists and engineers. 

Of the total student population, 5 percent of students at the university use a GI Bill, a veteran benefit, to cover tuition, according to Vice.

Vice also cited the school’s military ROTC program and the Department of Homeland Security as other related government affiliations. The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies as a a national Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. 

“We have a commitment, a long-standing commitment, to serve veterans and duty military,” Goldsmith said. “We are offering relevant academic programs just like we do for every other group of students we serve.”

Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3325