Board of Trustees meet to fill administration roles

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Not only is the chancellor search ongoing for SIUC, but President Randy Dunn and the Board of Trustees must also find a replacement for the Edwardsville campus.

Randall Thomas, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, said Dunn is tasked with finding an interim chancellor on a two year term for the Carbondale campus.

“We directed the president that, as a board, we are not re-entering the pool of the nationwide search, we just left that pool,” Thomas said at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.


The position was hoped to be filled by Sabah Randhawa, provost and executive vice president of Oregon State University. However, Randhawa withdrew his candidacy June 8 because of the economic state of Illinois.

The interim chancellor position is not without precedent, Dunn said, which has been done at SIUC for 20 years.

“There’s quite a bit of significant work backed up behind the dam that may not be bad for a two year interim [chancellor] to come in and take on and create some strong underpinnings and strengthen the campus to get back into the search into the ’16-’17 year, and have things well in place for whomever would come into the permanent role at that time,” he said.

Dunn said the search is not restricted to internal candidates, and would like to have someone named at the start of the fall semester Aug. 23.

“That’s what I’m shooting for, although the clock is ticking pretty quickly,” he said.

Dunn has served the duties of president and chancellor since the previous interim chancellor, Paul Sarvela, passed away in November 2014. Sarvela was appointed to interim chancellor in July 2014.

With that position being open for seven months, there is now another opening at chancellor. 


Julie Furst-Bowe announced her resignation as chancellor at SIUE in June, effective Aug. 14.

Thomas said Dunn is looking to hire an interim chancellor at Edwardsville on a one year term. Dunn said he hopes to find that person before Furst-Bowe takes over as vice president of instruction at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisc. Aug. 17.

But those are not the only administrative positions left to fill.

Randall Thomas, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, announced Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey is stepping down as dean of the School of Medicine in December. Dorsey has served as dean since 2002 and will stay on staff as a professor.

Instead of taking on all of these projects at once, Dunn and the Board will deal with them one at a time.

Thomas said they look to fill these positions in a logical sequence from dean of the medical school, to SIUE chancellor, to SIUC chancellor, in order to bring stability to the system.

One of the factors Dunn said was backing up the dam was enrollment.

He said the 10-day numbers for summer enrollment were down more than 7 percent, or more than 6,700 students. Even though this appears to be a bad thing, Dunn said there is a silver lining. He projects the university will make a profit from the summer session after the course list was decreased.

Despite gaining 65 students in fall 2014, Dunn said the university lost nearly $3.5 million. He expects another increase in students for fall 2015.

Another major issue facing incoming leadership is the financial state of Illinois.

A proposed budget, approved by the General Assembly last month, would have cut state funding to SIU by 8.6 percent. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the budget and Senate democrats were unable to garner enough votes to override it. Gov. Rauner proposed a 31 percent cut to Illinois universities in February, which would be a $44 million reduction in funding to SIU.  

Dunn said scenarios are in place should the number rise above 8.6 percent.

“We have a set of prioritized lists, that, if we have to deal with a number beyond the 8.6 [percent], we’ll be able to turn those switches on,” he said. “We don’t want to. It will hurt our campuses, but… everyone across all of the locations has worked to be ready to respond to what we get put in front of us. Not to say it won’t be without pain – It won’t be. But we’re not going to sit there wandering what to do when this budget closes.”