Daily Egyptian

Cuts could split Continuing Education

By Shawn Bowen, @ShawnBowen_DE

Continuing Education and Outreach, an on-campus department that focuses on the Carbondale community, joins a long list of SIU divisions that could be significantly altered if Gov. Bruce Rauner’s state budget proposal is passed.

From summertime aviation camps to online technology classes, Continuing Education and Outreach provides non-university students, or those who are not enrolled in courses for credits, with programs to continue their educations.   

Rauner’s proposed budget would cut 31.5 percent, or $44 million, in state funding from Carbondale’s campus.

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In preparation for the possible cut, SIU President Randy Dunn asked self-supporting departments to indicate what effect a 50 percent cut in state funding would have on their departments.

Kathy Smith, a coordinator for Continuing Education and Outreach, said there have been discussions about re-distributing the staff if the budget proposal passes, but nothing is official.

She said if the staff was re-distributed, they would continue to work the way they do now, but would be working under the umbrella of a different department.

“For example, if some of us would move over to the Student Center, then the Student Center would take on the staff and have to figure out how to pay for the staff,” Smith said. “And then the revenue that they would generate through the activities they create would then be credited to the Student Center.”

Smith said the revenue generated by the department is enough to cover operating costs, but not all of the department’s salaries. State funding is needed to fill the gap.

“Being an auxiliary, this office’s main goal has always been to be self-sustaining — to make enough money for operating costs as well as salaries — that’s easier said than done,” Smith said.

Karen Stallman, Continuing Education and Outreach director, said in an email she is not anticipating staff cuts. She said if significant funding is cut from her department, it plans to increase the number of programs it offers, creating more revenue and lessening the burden of the cuts.

“That’s always in the back of our minds,” Smith said. “What else can we do? What else can we offer that can generate some money and what can we do that is going to generate significant money?”

The best way the department can generate additional revenue is by offering more non-credit online courses, Smith said. It currently offers courses on SAT and ACT preparation, Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, among others. Classes cost $94 and last six weeks.

Smith said although the department has no direct effect on students currently enrolled at the university, the relationship the department creates between parents and the university during summer camps is important to a healthy SIU.

Along with camps and non-credit classes, the department also helps to coordinate many of the conferences that take place on campus.

Continuing Education and Outreach is located in the Student Center. Its phone number is 618-536-7751.

Shawn Bowen can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311  

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