April 12, 2017
Dean’s Corner - Spring 2017
My message for our spring 2017 issue is two-fold: our financial challenges are increasing while our college continues to excel.
In the fall 2016 edition of Vector, I wrote about the College of Engineering budget cut for FY17 that amounted to a 12% reduction in State (technically State appropriated funds plus on-campus tuition) funding. Recently, Dr. Randy Dunn (SIU’s President) announced that SIU Carbondale would need to further reduce our State budget by $30M for FY18 (a 16% reduction from FY17). As of today, it remains unclear as to exactly how this additional reduction will translate into the FY18 budget for our college. What I can promise you is that the College of Engineering will continue to strategically implement imposed reductions to the maximum extent possible.
Everyone generally likes the word “strategic” until it is time to actually be strategic. Strategic for our college means that we must adapt to lower staffing levels by identifying things we can do without, while improving the quality of our academic programs. Strategic means that we must align our increasingly limited resources to degree programs that are highly valued by employers and today’s students. A positive example of such strategic alignment is our present search for a new assistant professor in biomedical engineering that will support our college offering a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering beginning in fall 2018. This new degree will be of high quality and should attract a different suite of students to our college.
While our budget may continue to decrease into FY18, our college faculty are significantly increasing the level of extramurally funded research (40% increase from FY15 to FY16). While our State budget remains uncertain, our Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are becoming more entrepreneurial in raising external funds while continuing to place above much larger engineering colleges in national/international competitions. Our alums have also ramped up their financial support to our college while continuing to provide inspiration by example (e.g., mentoring our present students). Again, it really does come down to quality individuals who work collaboratively towards a shared vision.
I hope you find the four stories presented in this edition of Vector truly inspirational. I also hope that you will see themes of dedication and accomplishment. No complaints or excuses; just get it done! This determined spirit will allow our college to emerge from the budgetary challenges as a stronger and more vibrant institution, a college that our students, staff, faculty, and alums can be prideful of building. GO DAWGS!!!