WSIU InFocus

WSIU takes a closer look at issues around the region. From arts and entertainment, to science and nature, the environment, politics, and other topics people are talking about.

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If you were a soldier in World War II, a furlough was something to look forward to. It was a sanctioned leave of absence from your normal duties, a chance to relax and go have some fun. In today's economy, the word furlough has lost some of its luster. It still connotes time off, but without pay.

Tomorrow, Jeff Brownfield, who represents university civil service employees, will appear before the General Assembly's rules committee to ask lawmakers to approve a measure allowing state schools to require employees to take as many as 15 days off without pay.

Thousands of former coal workers and dependents who worked for now-bankrupt coal companies could lose their health insurance at the end of the year if Congress does not pass legislation to fund it.

Retirees in southern Illinois say losing their health insurance would amount to a broken promise from the coal companies that would have devastating effects to their well-being. Without Congressional action, Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s promise to repeal of the Affordable Care Act makes the retirees’ coverage alternatives uncertain.

Monica Tichenor / WSIU Public Broadcasting

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Interim Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Director Jak Tichenor about the ramifications of Election 2016 in Illinois.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Interim SIUC Chancellor Brad Colwell about budget projections and graduation rates for this episode of WSIU InFocus.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with "Expanding Your Horizons" Chair Kathleen Pericak-Spector.

Voters in Jackson County will be asked next week whether they support a sales tax increase to help fund public schools.

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with retiring Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Director David Yepsen.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

The Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Land Management is an SIU Carbondale alumnus, and he says his beginnings in southern Illinois helped shape his career.

WSIU InFocus: SIUC Campus Lake Reclamation

Oct 26, 2016
Jim Eagleston, WSIU

SIU's Campus Lake may finally be on the mend after over five years of suffering from toxic algae. WSIU's Erin Frey has the story.

SIU Athletics

Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding, including athletics.

Former SIU coach and administrator Charlotte West served as a consultant soon after the law passed. WSIU's Brad Palmer sat down with West as she prepares to deliver a presentation tonight on the Carbondale campus entitled, "The Power of Title IX."

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Randy Dunn for his October InFocus segment.


SIU's debate coach gives Hillary Clinton an A-minus, and Donald Trump an F for their third and final Presidential debate.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Leigh Turner, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics and School of Public Health.

Improving The Forest, By Removing Trees

Oct 14, 2016
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The Illinois Department of Conservation, in cooperation with various conservation partners, is conducting a program designed to increase the number of Oak and Hickory trees in a small section of the Trail of Tears State Forest in western Union County.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Melissa Jackson, a co-coordinator of "A Walk for Freedom," which aims to raise awareness of human trafficking in southern Illinois.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with interim SIUC Chancellor Brad Colwell about the challenges that lie ahead thanks to a stop-gap state funding measure that only covers half the fiscal year's expenses.

When the new legislative session begins in January, someone new will represent the 58th Senate District in Illinois. Each candidate for the office thinks they have what it takes to bring change to Springfield.


The two major party candidates squared off Tuesday in their one and only face-to-face debate. WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Saluki Debate Director Todd Graham about his thoughts on how Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence performed.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Women's Club member Fran Becque about the opportunities available through the group.


WSIU's Brad Palmer talks with SIU-Carbondale Debate Coach and CNN contributor Todd Graham about how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did in Monday night's first presidential debate.

Randy Dunn

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Randy Dunn.

Ahead of a special screening, WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Associate Professor Grant Miller about education trends, and what the future will look like.


WSIU's Brad Palmer interviews former Saluki and 2016 Team USA Summer Olympian Deanna Price.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller interviews Interim SIUC Chancellor Brad Colwell.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller interviews Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Morton-Kenney Lecturer Carol Marin.

When it comes to school funding, Illinois has been ranked as the worst in the country because our system is so inequitable. Basically that means some schools offer a lot of advanced placement courses and have fancy science labs and swimming pools, while other schools can’t afford new math books and have to cut their band programs. The fight over how to fix this has gone on for years.

In July, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that he was creating a bipartisan commission to change the way Illinois funds public schools. That commission held its third meeting yesterday. But there’s another commission tackling the same topic, and its founder claims her group is getting more work done.

Trueblood Dining Hall
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

It’s almost fall and school is back in session.

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale has a lot of new faces that choose to come here because of specific programs to get their degree.

However some students chose SIU because of the food.

WSIU InFocus: Paul Loeb

Sep 6, 2016

SIU's University Honors Program will host author and social activist Paul Loeb as part of its Robert and Nancy Glassman Lecture Series.

Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Polo is the world’s oldest organized sport, having originated in China and Persia around two thousand years ago. You may not realize it, but there is a group of people in this region who actively compete in the sport. WSIU’s Brad Palmer reports.