Letter from the Dean | SIU College of Business and Analytics

Southern Illinois University



Letter from the Dean

It Was the Best of Times, and it was the Worst of Times

Dickens begins his timeless classic, A Tale of Two Cities, with the following:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was…[very much] like the present period...”

In these famous opening lines, Dickens compares his own late Victorian age to the age of the French Revolution. His point was that every age tends to think its own times either very much better or worse than those that went before. Dickens concludes that if evaluated fairly, the good points against the good and the bad points against the bad that all ages stack up pretty much equally. He makes a fair point, and one to keep in mind when thinking about the state of the world today. We can choose to focus on the good or the bad. There’s never been a time in history when there wasn’t plenty of ammunition on either side to choose from.

In this end-of-semester note to our College family, I choose to focus on the good things surrounding us. Here are some great things your University and College have achieved and experienced this semester:

  • Fall 2020 incoming freshman class was up 31% over Fall 2019’s incoming freshman class. To put this in perspective, nationwide incoming freshman classes were down an average of 16%
  • Building on that huge Fall 2020 freshman class, at 37 weeks out from the beginning of Fall 2021, University admissions are up 19.8%!
  • Reflecting the same trend, but bettering it, your College’s Fall 2021 admissions are up 57%!
  • Retention is a key metric used in higher education to measure how many of the students enrolled in a given Fall semester return to enroll the following Fall semester. As such, retention is an indicator of how well an institution is at helping students tackle their various challenges. Healthy retention is the foundation to building enrollment. In Fall 2015, the College’s undergraduate retention was 75.5%. In Fall 2019, it rose to an astonishing 87.3%! This incredible increase reflects the absolutely outstanding behind-the-scenes work done by the College’s Student Services.
  • Both College and University came through an on-campus Fall 2020 semester, during COVID, with surprisingly moderate numbers of students, faculty, and staff testing positive. A testimony to our summer planning, our staff, and faculty, and most importantly, to our amazing students.
  • The College’s Analytics and online MAcc programs are now up and running!
  • We officially welcomed the Economics, Hospitality, and Public Administration programs to the College.

Finally, I’d like to ask you to consider a gift to the CoBA Emergency Scholarship Fund to help those CoBA students struggling to return for the spring semester. Although we may be separated by social distancing, we remain together in spirit.

Terry Clark