CARBONDALE, Ill. — The chancellor of Southern Illinois University wants to eliminate academic departments and department heads amid plummeting enrollment and deteriorating finances.
Chancellor Carlo Montemagno announced his plan earlier this month. He said it would move related areas of study under the same roofs and foster easier collaboration. The chancellor said eliminating department heads would also save the university $2.3 million annually.
“I have been a department chair myself, and I know that it is hard work,” Montemagno said. “I understand the importance of maintaining disciplinary identity around academic programs.”
Montemagno said the university is currently spending too much university funding and time on administration, “and not enough time on teaching and research.” .
Montemagno said his plan aims to save money, but he also sees the reorganization as an opportunity to make the university’s academic offerings more attractive to prospective students.
Some faculty members support the plan, saying reorganization is long overdue. Opponents have said eliminating departments will unleash complications.
“I think if things can be done in a productive manner, it can be good,” said James MacLean, an associate professor of physiology in the school of medicine. “But if this is done inappropriately and it causes faculty to be disgruntled and look elsewhere, that’s not good for us.”
Montemagno hopes to implement the changes by July 2018.