Hello, all of our wonderful ALUMNI! Another year, another newsletter and time to update all of you on what has been happening here with us.
Finally, there seems to be some silver linings popping up under our previous rain clouds. As you may have heard, the state finally managed to pass a budget, which has certainly changed the tone and morale on campus. Purse strings are loosening a bit, faculty are being hired and people are getting a chance to get back to what we do best – educate some of the finest in the nation. We have a new Provost, Jay Gatrell, who is a fellow Earth Scientist, having earned his Ph.D. in Geography and was most recently Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Research at Bellarmine University in KY. We have had several chances to meet and interact with him, and I find him to be an energetic, down-to-earth guy whom I believe is a great team player and a wonderful addition to our campus. We are actively working on creating new opportunities for recruiting students, the main one of which is setting up more Articulation Agreements (more commonly known as “2x2’s”). These are contracts with community colleges that allow their students who graduate with good standing with an Associate’s degree to automatically be accepted into our programs with only two years to do to complete their Bachelor’s degree. We have one completely done and in place, 6 more in the works at various stages and about a dozen more that will be submitted for consideration in the next year or so. I think we are headed for much better times than what we have had to endure recently. I and all of the faculty certainly appreciate all of your support, kind words and continued interaction with our department through this rough patch.
Alas, as has unfortunately been the case for the past few years, we have some sad news to pass along. Dr. Alan Baharlou, past chair of the department and longtime devoted EIU fan, passed away suddenly in September. He was enjoying a vacation out in Estes Park, CO, his second home, when he suffered a fatal stroke. The EIU community has lost a singular light – he epitomized what it meant to “Bleed Blue.” May he rest in peace. Dr. Belayet Khan and Cameron Craig have kindly offered to write reflections on Alan’s life, which you will find later in this newsletter.
May you all enjoy the coming year, maybe get to Charleston for the Homecoming Events or a department visit, and please do keep in touch!