Montemagno at open forum

Southern Illinois University Chancellor Carlo Montemagno hosts an open forum in the Student Center Auditorium on Oct. 19. 

CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno rolled out the second draft of his academic restructuring plan Friday.

In a video posted to the chancellor’s website, Montemagno said the revised plan reflects feedback his office has received from faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and others since the first-draft proposal was unveiled Oct. 19.

Under the new draft, the core elements of the restructuring remain the same: all departments will be eliminated, and programs will be housed in newly created colleges and schools.

Montemagno addressed the SIUC faculty’s unease about the elimination of departments and department chairs.

“I have been a department chair myself, and I know that it is hard work. I understand the importance of maintaining disciplinary identity around academic programs,” Montemagno said.

But the university’s current structure does not support change, he said.

“We are spending too much time and money on administration and not enough time on teaching and research,” the chancellor said.

To eliminate the role of department chairs, the university must retire the term “department” in order to comply with collective bargaining agreements. But Montemagno said departments might be reimagined as “divisions.”

“Unfortunately, no proposals for a workable alternative to the proposed administrative structure have come forward. I welcome those who are opposed to this path to help illuminate another way,” he said.

The bulk of Friday’s announcement consisted of changes to the placement of programs. The proposed five colleges include the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; the College of Business and Analytics; the College of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Applied Technology; the College of Health and Human Services; and the College of Social Sciences, Humanities, Media and Arts.

One of the more striking changes is the placement of the newly proposed School of Homeland Security in the College of Social Sciences, Humanities, Media and Arts.

The School of Homeland Security will include Criminology and Criminal Justice, Fire Safety Management, Information Systems Technology, Political Science, Paralegal Studies and Pre-Law. Three new programs will also be housed in the school: Public Safety Institute (previously referred to as a “police academy”), Cybersecurity and Forensic Sciences.

“First, we are persuaded by the argument that criminology and criminal justice, as well as aspects of the other programs in the school, are founded in the social sciences," Montemagno said of the school's placement. "Further, we see great opportunities here to align the work of the school with other programs in the college, including multicultural programs."

Montemagno said the school “could position SIU as a national leader in preparing culturally competent law enforcement professionals.”

“As I am out and about meeting with potential donors and funding agencies, there is a great deal of enthusiasm for this concept and for the school in general, given the prospects for jobs after graduation,” he said.

Information Systems Technology is placed within the school to “build on our strengths in cybersecurity,” he said.

The School of Integrated Biological Sciences is now simply the School of Biological Sciences, with four programs taught by School of Medicine faculty. The School of Physical Sciences has been renamed the School of Computer and Physical Sciences.

The School of Social Sciences and Multicultural Studies will house Communications Studies, Anthropology, Linguistics, Psychology, Sociology and Africana Studies. (Montemagno recently announced that the decision to cut the Africana Studies major, handed down in the Financial Sustainability Plan presented to the Board of Trustees in July, will be deferred for a year.)

The Graduate Council and Faculty Senate will formally weigh in on the second draft before a final version of the plan is released in the spring.

The chancellor hopes to implement the changes July 1, 2018.

The full proposed academic structure can be found at www.chancellor.siu.edu.

janis.esch@thesouthern.com

618-351-5082

On Twitter: @janis_eschSI

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Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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