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EIU Media Relations

EIU BOT meeting results—January 19, 2024


New academic programs, honorary degrees, coaching contracts amongst January 2024 highlights

(Charleston, IL) — Eastern Illinois University’s regular January Board of Trustees meeting took place Friday afternoon, January 19, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. University Union. Highlights and outcomes of the meeting included:

  • The approval of three new academic programs, including 1)a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree for Special Education and The Graduate School, which will provide an accessible, efficient route to teacher licensure intended to address the teaching shortage in Illinois and beyond; 2) a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) in the Lumpkin College of Business and Technology, which allow students to customize degrees that correspond with their specific career goals and outcomes across industry, production, mechanical technology and community engagement fields; and 3) a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences (B.A.A.S.) in Emergency Management in the College of Health and Human Services that will create flexible pathways for current and future professionals and practitioners to advance into administrative and leadership roles in the industry. All three new programs will be offered beginning in Fall 2024.
  • EIU conferred Honorary Doctorate Degrees to alumni Kimberly Cheatle, the first female Director and Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service; Dr. Adrienne Coleman, a national scholar and current Director of Equity and Inclusion at the Illinois Math & Science Academy; and Joe Dively, CEO, President and Chair of First Mid-Illinois Bancshares and former two-term member of EIU’s Board of Trustees.
  • Approvals of two contract extensions in Intercollegiate Athletics, including Head Volleyball and Beach Volleyball coach Sara Thomas, who recently led the Panthers to the NCAA National Tournament for the first time since 2001; and Head Football Coach Christopher Wilkerson, who was named Big South-OVC Coach of the Year after directing the Panthers from a 2-9 2022 record to an 8-3 2024 campaign in only his second year at the helm. This past season was the first winning season for EIU’s football program since 2017 and the most wins in a season since 2013.

Other noteworthy informational items on the agenda included a brief overview of the University’s annual deposit and investment report and a financial aid programs overview detailing the funding mechanisms and application of federal, State, University, and other forms of student financial aid.

EIU prepares students to accomplish their life goals through a combination of quality academics, personal relationships, and both on-campus and online learning opportunities. For more information about Eastern Illinois University, including its broad array of academic and career readiness programs, or any of EIU’s other community-based services and opportunities, visit or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart,
Public Information Coordinator

Booth House
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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