Southern Illinois University has a new president on the job. Randy Dunn took over Thursday, replacing the now-retired Glenn Poshard, and Dunn tells students and faculty he knows it’s a cliché, but there’s a new normal at state universities.
“The great old days aren’t coming back in public higher education. We’re going to have to figure out how to be more nimble, responsive, maneuver better, set clear priorities, make sure we’re streamlined in our operations – so don’t get nervous, that doesn’t mean I’m coming in with some broad ax and swinging wildly,” he said.
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Dunn says the university’s No. 1 job is to educate the students who enroll there, but No. 2 is to “lift the region we’re in,” whether it’s in the area of economic development, job creation, health and wellness, educational attainment or arts and culture, he said.
Dunn was an SIU professor until leaving 10 years ago to helm Murray State University in Kentucky and Youngstown State in Ohio, but he calls his return to Carbondale his “dream job.”