Field trip

Earlier this month, six faculty members took a field trip to Arizona State University to learn first-hand about the transition of many of its departments into schools.

There, at the invitation of ASU President Michael Crow, they met with academic and administrative leaders to gain a better understanding of the possibilities and the process – what worked and what didn’t.

As you may know, Arizona State underwent a major academic reorganization that included the creation of schools from groups of academic departments, not unlike the process we are engaged in at SIU Carbondale. Academic reorganization with a focus on interdisciplinary engagement was a significant component of ASU’s recent growth and success, as outlined in the book Designing the New American University by President Crow and William Dabars.

Seeing is believing

I’m grateful for the willingness of our delegation’s members  – Craiz Anz, Michael Eichholz, Derek Fisher, Scott Ishman, Christina McIntyre and Mandara Savage – to invest the time to learn from their colleagues at Arizona State. They returned from the trip eager to share what they learned and are currently planning to reach out to meet with groups of faculty and staff across campus.

By understanding how another institution managed its own evolution, we can see that change is doable and success is achievable. I know that not everything that worked at ASU will work here, but I believe we have talented and visionary faculty and staff who can adapt lessons learned to our own campus. In fact, I believe that our success at SIU will depend as much on attitude and creativity as it does on process and hard work.

Thank you to President Crow and everyone at Arizona State for helping us see what’s possible.

Author: Carlo Montemagno

Carlo Montemagno is chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more about him at