The Illinois Board of Higher Education’s approval of a nursing program at SIU Carbondale is a major achievement. It speaks not only to the hard work for which we are known, but also to many of our priorities. Here are a few:
Enrollment: We anticipate that the nursing program will enroll 300 students by its fourth year – a significant, definable boost tied to a single new program. Nursing is just one strategy among many, but it clearly demonstrates our ability to take bold steps to address enrollment over time.
Community and region: Strong communities require strong health care to serve, attract and retain their members. The nursing program will address a critical need across the region, reinforcing our commitment to the economic well-being of Southern Illinois. The university also benefits as we work to attract faculty and staff wanting to make sure they have access to quality health care.
Partnership: The nursing program did not happen based on the university’s interest alone. Southern Illinois Healthcare, under the exceptional leadership of President and CEO Rex Budde, was a key advocate for the program – and also a key investor. Other health care and community leaders spoke out or wrote letters on behalf of the program. I have no doubt that this outpouring of support was a major factor in the program’s approval. I am deeply grateful.
Persistence: The approval of the nursing program by the IBHE was a near-final step in a long and sometimes challenging process that involved our faculty, the community, the president, the Board of Trustees, the IBHE and others. The process required a lot of attention to detail as well as patience and determination – both Saluki attributes that we are known for at SIU. I would especially like to commend Interim Provost Meera Komarraju and Scott Collins, director of the School of Health Sciences, for their diligence and hard work.
Other newly approved programs
The IBHE also approved three other programs that will yield enrollment and benefit the region. Two are also in health care: a doctorate in physical therapy and a doctorate in occupational therapy. The third is in business analytics.
All of these programs are in high demand fields. They will attract students to SIU and serve significant needs in our region and beyond.
I’m very proud that we are moving forward to be entrepreneurial in our thinking and to adapt our program offerings to address the needs and interests of students and our greater global society. This gives me even more confidence in our strong future as a leading doctoral research institution.