I attended a Open Forum with new SIU Chancellor, Carlo Montemagno, yesterday afternoon.
It was held in one of the large auditoriums, on campus, and it was packed…with standing room only.
Many of the attendees were curious about the chancellor’s plan to rebuild the academic structure of the University.
Others, were fearful of loosing their jobs in the process of reducing the number of colleges from eight to five.
Yet, others, were upset with the plans of changing of Departments to Schools and removing Chairs of Departments and replacing them with faculty elected Directors.
The chancellor answered questions patiently…and remarked that as regarding enrollment…we must do something now and that we could not afford to wait another year.
Dr. Montemagno, noted that the freshman class is half the size that it was, less than five years ago.
He noted, quite correctly, that what we are currently doing is not working.
I am on a diet. I have been on diets…before.
During the middle of the last decade…I lost 93 pounds. I changed my eating habits…I thought for life.
We humans do not like change!
Life is the inculcation of both bad habits and good habits.
The changing of a bad habit is painful and takes time.
For instance…we eat for a variety of reasons…most of which are not related to health or hunger. Perhaps we are bored and eating is entertainment. Perhaps we are stressed and eating is a temporary panacea.
Perhaps it a special occasion…and we want to celebrate…with what else…food!
Have you ever moved from one home to another home? It is traumatic. The last time we moved…it took us a couple of years to unpack…everything.
When I retired, almost seven years ago, it took at least a year to become accustomed to retirement.
And, so, I applauded the new chancellor for having the courage of implementing a forceful re-organization of the academic structure in search of a workable plan for our great University.
Former President Franklin Roosevelt called for New Deal for the American people and we are all the beneficiaries of the programs that this change brought about.
Former President John Kennedy said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country.’ This clarion call produced a deluge of public service including the Peace Corps.
Former Southern Illinois University President Delyte Morris came to SIU-Normal in 1948. He made many changes…and we are all the better for it.