The System Connection - May 2, 2018

President's Column


For this final column of the academic year, I’m going to take the opportunity to update you briefly on two sets of bills that we’ve talked about here before – bills which hold large implications for the future of SIU. 

The first bills to review are the package of three filed immediately following the April Board of Trustees meetings nearly three weeks ago, in response to a proposed reallocation of about $5.1 million in the general revenue fund (GRF) appropriation from SIUC to SIUE for Fiscal Year 2019 only – pending development of a comprehensive funding formula to drive the appropriations split for FY20 and beyond. 

Most of you reading this will recall the substance of the three bills, but they are listed again below. Each was introduced by a different House member from the Metro East and the primary sponsors are listed with each bill: 

HB 1292 (J. Hoffman) – Creates two separate universities, SIU at Carbondale and SIU at Edwardsville       

HB 1293 (M. Bristow) – Abolishes the current Board of Trustees and reconstitutes a new SIU BOT           

HB 1294 (K. Stuart) – Designates that the GRF state appropriation will be divided equally between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses

This past Friday, April 27, was the deadline for a bill to pass out of the originating legislative chamber (in this case the House) to allow time before the scheduled adjournment of session on May 31 to work its way through the other legislative body (in this case the Senate). These three bills were not called for vote and, as such, now remain in the House where they were introduced. Generally, if a bill has not met the deadline to move over to the other chamber, it doesn’t advance. 

Nonetheless, we’ll want to continue to monitor all three bills in the days ahead. Here’s why: bills that are still being negotiated can, at a later date, have the deadline for passage extended to allow more time for talks to continue. Also, any bill can be reintroduced as an amendment on other legislation. At this point, these bills have not been posted with extended deadlines, but information as of yesterday (Tuesday) suggests that negotiations remain ongoing with the possibility existing that any or all could find a way onto other bills. 

While I would rate the chance of passage for these three proposals as unlikely at this juncture – the situation does give meaning to an old maxim heard throughout legislative chambers all over the country: a bill is never really dead.

Which is a good segue to talk a bit next about SB 888 – the legislation introduced in 2017 that would grant authority for Illinois’ community colleges to award their first baccalaureate degrees...those being in nursing with an RN-to-BSN completion degree.   

Many of you will remember that last year, SIU joined a broad coalition of public and private four-year colleges and universities to successfully oppose this bill. With the fastest growing nursing program in our state – and with articulation agreements at numerous community colleges, as well as corporate partnerships with multiple healthcare networks – the SIUE School of Nursing has been setting a strong example in educating the next generation of nursing professionals. So last spring, SB 888 did not muster sufficient votes to pass out of the Senate Higher Education Committee. 

But the bill was indeed not dead – and came back in amended form this year, passing out of the same committee yesterday in a way that opens the door a crack to this concept.

This most recent legislative proposal is actually localized to a single community college – Lewis and Clark in Godfrey, part of the Metro East region – and is intended to serve as a pilot program. (The lead sponsor for 888 is Sen. Andy Manar, whose legislative district includes the college.) 

Communication shared among the community college presidents that was forwarded to us at SIU would indicate they see this as a first step to allow them “to gather data used to strengthen our argument and will be instrumental in advancing our efforts at a later point” to expand the ability of community colleges to grant other bachelor’s degrees. Of course, this is not a new push in Illinois – and about half the states nationally afford their community colleges the ability to grant the baccalaureate in certain fields.

The revised bill is not yet law as it now moves to a full vote in the state Senate. We will keep advocating for the continuation of partnerships which the universities have created as a model for meeting identified workforce needs. However, this latest action no doubt moves Illinois one step closer to crossing the Rubicon of community colleges having this degree-granting authority. 

We’ll provide separate updates on these bills as warranted through the end of May, and beyond if needed.

As I usually note in this last missive for the year, and as we all look in the rear-view mirror at 2017-18, I hope each of you can take some satisfaction in personal and collective accomplishments that are individually rewarding, while advancing the larger cause of SIU. The challenges in front of us have not abated – though some are different than what we faced a year ago, coming onto two years without a state budget or even spending authority to access monies generated from state grants or federal pass-through dollars.

Yes, what lies ahead may well be of a different type and scope. But everywhere SIU flies its flag, we will continue to prepare our students for successful lives; deliver vital services to our 66-county region, as well as the state as a whole; and develop solutions for the issues that face us. Repeating a line I’ve used many times before: this is what great universities do.

For those on an extended hiatus until fall...have a safe and enjoyable summer. For all of us 12-monthers...make sure to take some time to enjoy the days ahead and recharge with family and friends. I look forward to talking with you back in this space once again on Aug. 29.

Randy Dunn

Recent Movement on DACA

Homeland Security

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia took action last week that gives some renewed hope to the approximately 50 students at SIU who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

A judge from the D.C. District issued a ruling on April 24 that ordered the federal government to continue the DACA protections, both for current registrants whose DACA status was set to expire as well as for new applicants who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. It should be noted, however, the order is subject to a 90-day stay, to grant the government three months to provide additional evidence and rationale for ending the DACA program before the order potentially takes full effect. Other federal judges – in California (in a case brought by the University of California) and New York – had previously blocked the Trump Administration’s rollback of DACA on similar grounds, though those rulings only mandated the government resume accepting applications for currently enrolled DACA registrants.

Nearly 40 national higher education associations – numerous of which the SIU System or our campuses belong to – sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security prior to the ruling calling for the timely processing of renewal applications for DACA, focusing particularly on those students whose registrations have recently expired or will expire in the coming days and weeks. We’ll follow developments with this over the summer months and provide a status update when the Connection returns this fall.

Discussion with City Colleges

Dunn and Salgado

SIU President Randy Dunn met with Chancellor Juan Salgado of the City Colleges of Chicago at CCC’s downtown administration building on Monday of this week.

The meeting focused generally on ways to build transfer enrollments from all seven colleges for the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses, and specifically on avenues to take better advantage of the STAR scholarship program for students entering City Colleges from the Chicago Public Schools. Beginning a year ago, students who graduate from CPS with a 3.0 GPA and who test completion-ready in math and English are able to pursue an associate’s degree at any of the City Colleges at no cost, including free textbooks. In addition, CCC supports a vibrant STAR Scholars Transfer Partners program with numerous four-year institutions in Chicagoland and beyond.    

City Colleges of Chicago is one of the largest community college systems in the nation, with more than 4,000 faculty and staff serving more than 80,000 students annually at seven colleges and five satellite sites.

The System Connection Goes on Summer Hiatus

Faces of SIU

Andrew Yochum

Andrew Yochum, doctor of osteopathic medicine, came to SIU’s Family and Community Medicine program to complete his family medicine residency from 2004-2007 and was so impressed with the program he returned to the Carbondale site as a member of the faculty in 2012.

He’s currently the Osteopathic Program director for the dually accredited SIU Family Medicine Residency Program. His work includes supervising and teaching residents and medical students, preparing them to become the type of physicians patients seek to provide their healthcare. Just last month Andy was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor.

He also makes hospital rounds and sees patients in his continuity clinic. And, he’s the director of osteopathic student medical education for the core students stationed in Carbondale from his alma mater, Andrew Taylor Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

SIU School of Medicine Students attend their first year of classes on the Carbondale campus before completing their final three years at the SOM in Springfield and then wrap up their training with residencies lasting anywhere from 3-8 years. Each year about 70 medical students graduate from the SOM and begin their residencies at various locations before becoming physicians in locales all over the world. But it all begins under the guidance of Andy and our other dedicated faculty members.

Andy says “being able to have a positive influence on the future of primary health care in Southern Illinois” is the most enjoyable aspect of his work.

Growing up in a rural community in southwest Indiana, his childhood ambition was to be a farmer, like his father. But by junior high, Andy knew he wanted to be a physician. Now, he’s able to provide care to individual patients and play a vital role in preparing future physicians to do likewise.

SIU’s Family and Community Medicine program in Carbondale earned national recognition in April as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of quality in health care. Level 3 status is the highest ranking the organization offers. This is the third time the site has earned NCQA recognition.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home model, utilized by SIU’s Carbondale SOM program, is a special care model that puts patients first by building better relationships between them and their clinical care teams. The result is improved and timely patient care, reduced costs, an enhanced patient experience and improved staff satisfaction. SIU’s program, which is affiliated with Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, provides comprehensive family care, including specialized gynecology, pediatric and geriatric care, during about 17,000 patient visits each year.

Andy is one of 10 faculty physicians, who along with resident physicians, physician assistants, and other specialized medical/social work professionals and support staff, serve patients of all backgrounds from a wide geographic region.

Andy’s work, both in the classroom and in the examining room, has earned him praises from students, patients and those who practice with him.

“Dr. Yochum is dynamic as he uses the holistic principles from his foundation of osteopathic training to not only treat his patients but in delivering comprehensive medial teaching of students, physician assistants and residents,” said Dr. Quincy Scott, SIU Family Medicine-Carbondale program director.

We appreciate your commitment to our students, your patients, and our university, Andy!

Other Voices in HIED

Foreign Policy:
The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America

The Washington Post:
Op Ed: Higher education must clean out its ‘front porch’

Race and gender biases appear in online education