Some students say they welcome chancellor’s academic reorganization


Dylan Nelson

Chancellor Carlo Montemagno listens to questions about his strawman plan for academic reorganization at the university Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in the Student Center Auditorium. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

By Cory Ray

Though many have expressed concerns over Chancellor Carlo Montemagno’s academic reorganization plan, some students believe their programs are being structured in a way that will promote student success.

The restructuring reduces the current eight colleges to five and eliminates academic departments and their chairs. It also proposes the addition of a School of Homeland Security with a police academy.

Nathan Bryan, a senior from Troy studying criminology and criminal justice, said the addition of a police academy would allow the school to better train future law enforcement officers.


“That will increase our knowledge of the field before we get to the field,” he said.

He said research has shown the more educated a police officer is, the less likely they are to act violently toward civilians.

Additionally, Bryan said it will make SIU graduates more attractive to police departments while also weeding out those who are not fit for the job before they can begin working in the field.

“A lot of people when they graduate — even though they went to a four year university and got a bachelor’s degree — still don’t have a realistic interpretation of what the job will entail,” Bryan said.

Although he thinks of himself as knowledgeable, Bryan said he believes his preparation would have been more complete if he had been through a police academy before his upcoming May graduation.

“Anything that increases our education and makes us more aware of what we are getting ourselves into, can only — if it stays true — increase the caliber of police coming out of SIU,” he said.

Meanwhile, some students have criticized Montemagno’s decision to implement a police academy while potentially removing the Africana studies major.


“A school where you’re bringing in a police academy but not putting as much focus on Africana studies is only perpetuating what we’re fighting against,” Daniel Drummer, a sophomore from Chicago studying hospitality and tourism administration, said at an Oct. 25 open campus forum.

Alaina Boudreau, a senior from Kankakee studying rehabilitation services, said she looks forward to her program becoming a part of the proposed College of Health and Human Services.

She said she’s mainly excited about the opportunity for more resources that could be provided through a college containing related programs.

“It gives people the opportunity to collaborate with majors that have to do with each other,” she said.

Right now, her program is a part of the Rehabilitation Institute in the College of Education and Human Services, and Boudreau said she’s often questioned why she’s in the education college.

“I think it would make a lot more sense for us to be under an umbrella specifically for human resources,” she said.

Boudreau, also a campus tour guide, said she’s noticed confusion even from prospective students when she tells them what college her major is in.

Though she will graduate in May, she said she plans to stay in Carbondale and be active in reorganization.

“I think it does help the students to be in a more open place to collaborate with each other,” she said.

Sarah Stipp, a senior from Champaign studying sports administration, is also currently in the College of Education and Human Services and said she welcomes a change.

Under Montemagno’s current proposal, sports administration would be in the College of Business and Analytics.

“I’d always questioned why it wasn’t more toward the business side,” she said.

Because Stipp said she has to take many business classes already, so she believes the transition from the Department of Kinesiology is a logical one.

She said students in her major will benefit from being surrounded by other students they already see in the classes they take.

Although she understands kinesiology is tied to some aspect of sports administration, she said being in a business college would be more relevant for the administration side of her career path.

Boudreau said her biggest concern is how new students will transition once a restructuring system is implemented in the fall.

“I do feel for this incoming freshman class because it’s going to be a lot of getting used to what’s happening,” Boudreau said.

Boudreau  said she’s also seen concern and confusion from current students regarding the chancellor’s proposal, but she believes the university must undergo change.

At last week’s open forum, some questioned Montemagno’s quick actions and said he did not understand the university like those who had been here for years; Boudreau, however, said Montemagno has to implement ideas quickly.

“I think it’s important to come in and show, ‘Hey, I’m going to work for this. We are changing. We are going to figure it out,’” she said.

For Stipp, she said she understands why students can be concerned, but she said the first draft of the plan is a good jumping point for future revisions.

“We need to start somewhere, and I think this is a good starting point,” she said. “We can always work to make it better.”

Staff writer Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_de.

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