Letter from the Dean
“…It’s been a long cold lonely winter…[but] Here Comes the Sun…”
My first two years as dean were rough: the worst budget crisis in Illinois history, two years without a state appropriation, Illinois high school students fleeing out of state, declining enrollment, the loss of nine tenure track faculty and nine staff members to retirements/resignations with only four non-tenure track adjuncts and one staff hire to off-set. It has been a long cold lonely winter. However, as I see it, here comes the sun! Here are some of the telltale signs the sun is coming out:
- Despite turmoil at the top, the chancellor’s reorganization is on-target and making significant progress. In the not-too-distant future, the College of Business will welcome the Hospitality and Tourism, Public Administration, Economics, Sports Administration and IST programs.
- Although our college’s move into Analytics began more than a year before Chancellor Montemagno arrived, he quickly rolled our initiative into his initiative to reorganize the university. Our Analytics pivot is now a key part of the chancellor’s reformulation of SIU.
- In line with the Analytics initiative, I was recently informed that we could begin searches for three tenure track faculty lines. Now, three faculty lines may not sound like much (I asked for a lot more!), but that amounts to 12 percent of all lines allocated across the entire university. These lines are specifically designated for us to staff-up and roll-out our Analytics programs. Analytics-centered curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels are complete and moving through the appropriate approval maze.
- We have engaged in significant corporate relationship-building with Caterpillar, Edward Jones, CME Group, Nike, Amazon, STATS, Boeing, Caesars Entertainment, Presence Health and others. Our purpose with these and all future corporations is threefold: first, to reconnect with individual SIU alum; second, to aid in building-out our repurposed Pontikes Center for Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence and third, to develop strategic alliances to foster student internships and employment opportunities.
- One of my biggest worries through the budget crisis was the possible decline in our reputation. Recent efforts to (re)enhance our reputation include:
- Inauguration of the Gary N. Parrish Lecture Series and Award Ceremony. Thanks to the generosity of the Parrish family this endowment allows us to bring in world-class speakers, and to use the occasion to also honor local business leaders. This year’s inaugural speaker was Anil Menon, global president of the Cisco Smart+Connected Communities. Our Southern Illinois business leader honorees were Gary Parrish (posthumously), Barbara Parrish Ahlers, Walker’s Bluff founder Cynde Bunch, Dennis Burd of Northwestern Mutual, Rodney Cabaness and Shad Zimbro of Black Diamond Harley Davidson and Carbondale business and community legend John Cherry.
- A board of senior corporate advisors for the Pontikes Center was assembled. It includes executives from Boeing, Nike, Edward Jones, CME Group, Caterpillar and Presence Health, with more to come.
- Our Emerging Saluki Leader Award is gaining strength and momentum under the very able leadership of advisory board members John Heakin and Allen Schmale. This year we inducted three new honorees:
- Nicole Cundiff, Associate Professor and Chair, Business Administration Program, University of Alaska
- Clayton Pryor, Director, Workforce Development Advocate Health Care
- Ranie Atwood Verby, Financial Advisor, Moneta Group
In spring of 2019, we will induct the next class of Emerging Saluki Leader Award winners. Stay tuned for news on this event.
- Also, this spring we inducted five of illustrious College of Business alumni into our Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is the highest honor our college bestows. This year our inductees were:
- Penny Clancy, Vice President of Human Resources, Sentinel Technologies, Inc.
- Latasha Randle Gillespie, Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion Amazon
- Harvey N. Michaels, Principal, Deloitte Consulting
- Heather C. Paquette, Managing Partner, KPMG, LLP
- Ron G. Wienstroer, Partner, Moneta Group
In closing, let me again quote George Harrison, whose words seem so very appropriate at this time:
“Here comes the sun…the smiles are returning to the faces…It seems like years since it’s been here, but I say it’s all right…here comes the sun”