By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Dr. Randy Pembrook became the ninth chancellor in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s history on Aug. 1, 2016. The Metro East native returned to the campus where he had earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He came to SIUE from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be the chancellor of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville,” Pembrook said. “For me, it truly feels like coming home. I’m returning to my alma mater, which has grown significantly in national stature, as well as student enrollment.”
For the 13th consecutive year U.S. News & World Report has ranked SIUE among the best Regional Universities Midwest and among the top 15 public universities in that category. SIUE is also rated among the top Midwest Regionals for least amount of student debt upon graduation. The listing is in the magazine’s “Best Colleges of 2017” issue that was released last month.
SIUE was featured at No. 1 63 in this year’s rankings of 163 Regional Universities Midwest. The university is 13th overall among public universities in that category. The U.S. News overall scores are based on the reputation of SIUE in higher education, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
“SIUE is committed to developing leaders who shape a changing world by providing students with a high-quality, affordable education in a vibrant campus environment,” said Pembrook. “U.S. News recognizes the dedication, quality and success of our teacher-scholars and professional staff.”
SIUE enrollment continued its upward trend with its third-largest enrollment (14,142) all-time for fall 2016. The Schools of Engineering (1,589), Nursing (1,371), and Education, Health and Human Behavior (1,298) all posted record undergraduate enrollments. Meanwhile, the School of Business reached its highest undergraduate enrollment since 2001, while the College of Arts and Sciences grew 1.5 percent. SIUE’s professional schools of Pharmacy and Dental Medicine each have capped enrollment capacity and have met or exceeded their enrollment goals for the fall.
Pembrook said he wants to introduce a program he calls HICEP (High Impact Community Engagement Practices) at SIUE. HICEP brings together community, faculty and students to address community needs. Going to college shouldn’t just be about learning to be a great accountant or engineer, according to Pembrook, but to learning use your skills to help the community.
“SIUE’s mission closes with the concept of ‘shaping a changing world,” he said. “Part of it is helping young people understand that the world is bigger than what they are imagining as it relates to their particular job. What are the challenges for a community and how can you plug into that? I think that’s a really fun part of higher education.”
By ALAN J. ORTBALS