New interim SIU chancellor plans to focus on enrollment, reorgan - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

New interim SIU chancellor plans to focus on enrollment, reorganization

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The new man in charge of SIU Carbondale says he's focused on enrollment and finalizing the reorganization effort.

John Dunn returns to SIU after years of falling enrollment, political squabbles and a massive plan to overhaul the academic programs.

He left in 2007 to become president of Western Michigan University, and he came out of retirement to help SIU move past those issues.

Dunn spent five years as an administrator, including a stint as interim chancellor from 2006 to 2007.

Dunn said he's fond of Carbondale and wants to help the university get through a tough stretch.

"(I have) certainly been troubled a bit by the situation in Carbondale and I'm not sure how much help or support I can provide," Dunn said. "But I think interim president (Dr. Kevin) Dorsey is doing a very good job. I think he needs some help and some support."

Dunn said improving enrollment is his top priority.

"That's so critical to the bottom line in terms of your budget but it's also critical for the region," Dunn said.

Dunn believes part of the problem with enrollment is keeping the students they have, especially the younger students.

"That's all about trying to make sure the students understand that faculty, your administrators, your chancellor, everyone is really behind them," Dunn said. "Our goal and our responsibility is to help them do everything we can to be successful."

Dunn said the reorganization effort SIU trustees approved Thursday should help the retention issue.

He said he looks forward to working with staff and faculty while trying to get the plan across the finish line.

"I'm confident that through good conversations, discussions, that we can mitigate if there's any strong opposition and do our part to help make the plan work," Dunn said.

And Dunn says having the trust of the faculty is vital to everything he does moving forward.

John Dunn will make a base salary of $375,000 per year with up to $27,000 in housing and relocation benefits.

His term ends whenever SIU hires a permanent chancellor or December 2020, whichever happens first.

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