SIU-Carbondale's new chancellor says he's ready to tackle the challenges faced by the University.
Carlos Montemagno will officially start his new job on August 15th. He met with the media Monday in Carbondale.
One of the biggest challenges facing SIU-C is a declining student enrollment. Montemagno says the school must highlight its ability to offer a world-class education and be more intimate about it than at a much larger school, such as the University of Illinois.
"You'll come to a place where students know their professors, where the professors know their students, where the students have the same breadth of opportunities that they would have there. They have an experience, which is more akin to an upper level private institution, but at a public school price that's available and accessible for all."
Montemagno says Illinois approving a budget deal does not change the fact that SIU-C still needs to reallocate resources to meet the needs of the University moving forward.
"You will see that almost all of the performance metrics of the University have been in either stable or in steady decline since 1996. So, it's been a slow decline. The budget issue just caused a big panic at the very, very end. It was like an impulse function."
Montemagno says within the next two weeks, a website and email blast will be sent to SIU-C students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders to find out what they perceive the school will be in about eight years.
"We're going to have a series of questions and we're going to frame the thoughts on, if you were to start off and going to come back, you're going to go to Canada, and you're going to come back in 2025, what would you like to see SIU be?"
Montemagno says he understands the tremendous financial challenges faced by the University. But, the self-professed eternal optimist says resources don't define your vision or your success...they define the path you take to achieve it.
"I have led organizations that have faced just as dire financial circumstances and was able to make them be successful."
The SIU Board of Trustees last week approved hiring Montemagno as the new Carbondale chancellor.