Letter from the Dean
Dear friends and Saluki family,
Among the joys of academic life are the regular cycling of the semesters. At the start of each, life begins anew, hope arises with all the freshness of new enterprises taken on and new journeys commenced. We rush into the new semester with the gusto of kids charging onto untrodden snow. As the semester moves toward its end, a deep nostalgia comes over us for what is passing, for the students who are moving on, and for the closing of a chapter. But at the end of each semester, we immediately turn our thoughts to the next one, just over the horizon. The trials and triumphs of the old behind us, we look with hope to the one ahead. So go the cycles of academic life.
This semester, in its way, has been no different. And yet…And yet.
Paraphrasing Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, I can certainly say, it was the worst of semesters, and it was the best of semesters. I will not dwell on our troubles for long. It is no secret that Illinois, Higher Education in Illinois, and SIU have been through some pretty rough times in the past few years. Our college has felt the crisis in three very tangible ways: 1) loss of faculty and staff, without the possibility of replacements; 2) significant budget cuts; and 3) declining enrollments (although we have fared better than the rest of the university). Suffice it to say that none of these were the fault of the Business School. We’ve been sucking it up and looking to the future. Enough said!
BUT THEN! But then…amid all of the gloom, we’ve got a lot to crow about! A lot of really good things have been happening. Here’s just a partial list:
- Our wonderfully loyal and generous alum have given over $4 million to their college in the current campaign. Thank you!
- Our recently repurposed Pontikes Center for Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence now has a Board of Advisors, with the top analytics people from Nike, Edward Jones, Caterpillar, Boeing, the CME Group, and Presence Health. The director of the Pontikes Center, Professor Jim Nelson, convened the first Board meeting in October.
- Our new Chancellor, Carl Montemagno, unveiled a plan to restructure the university. In that plan, our college is likely to gain a number of complimentary units (see his plan here for details). These additions will play a critical role in differentiating us.
- Thanks to a specifically-directed gift from a generous and loyal alum, we will be sending around 50 of our students on a 2-day career trip to Chicago.
- Our college is well along with its pivot into Analytics. We will offer the first Analytics class in our online MBA program in the spring. Right behind that, our plan is to integrate the online MBA Analytics backwards into our other programs. In line with this pivot, our college will, in the near future, change its name to the College of Business and Analytics.
- Our Saluki Student Investment Fund, under the wise and able guidance of Dr. Timothy Marlow, continues to beat the market! He and the team are traveling to Chicago before Christmas for a number of business visits, including one with the Pritzker Group!
All-in-all, we end the year with more hope and clarity than we began it. Our plans for the future are ambitious and energizing. Thank you for your loyalty, your generosity and your commitment. I wish you my very wishes for the Holiday Season.