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The Planning Context

SIUE: A Synopsis


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville traces its origin to a recommendation in 1956 by the Southwest Illinois Council for Higher Education.  The Council was convinced that higher education facilities were needed in the Metro-East portion of the greater St. Louis area.  Council members hired consultants, whose reports documented that need, and appealed to Southern Illinois University, 100 miles south, to establish satellite campuses.

In 1957, SIU opened residence centers in Alton and East St. Louis.  The University expected to enroll 800 students, but actual enrollment reached 1,776.  By 1959, the number of students had more than doubled to 3,800, greatly exceeding the physical facilities and demanding services faster than the University could develop and supply them.

A planning team investigated sites in the Metro-East counties and selected one just south of Edwardsville. In 1960, the Illinois legislature authorized a bond issue for construction of a new state university campus.  Voter approval came in November 1960.  After 2-1/2 years of planning, University officials and area residents attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the first permanent buildings.

In the fall of 1965, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville moved onto its new campus: 2,660 acres of rolling land and woods dotted with lakes.  Much of the land still retains its natural shape.  The academic center was designed by the internationally known architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum of St. Louis. The brick, slate, and granite of the modern buildings complement the terrain and are softened by a carefully designed garden landscape that attracts visitors by virtue of its physical beauty.  The campus has received several awards in recognition of the successful blend of the aesthetic and the functional in a setting that enhances growth and development and is now featured among the top 150 Illinois Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois Council.

Today, SIUE is a major public university, offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts.  Here students have an opportunity to interact with outstanding teachers and scholars, as well as with other students from all parts of the United States and the world.  They enjoy the excellent facilities of a young and growing campus, including extensive research laboratories, specialized equipment for professional preparation, and comfortable, spacious classrooms.  In addition, academic services provide tutoring, testing, academic and career counseling, and other services designed to help students meet the demands of university life.  At SIUE, students find comprehensive educational opportunities and a community in which individuals support each other in their search for knowledge and individual development.

In FY12, U.S.News & World Report Best Colleges of 2013 listed SIUE among the top 15 public universities in the best Regional Universities Midwest (master's granting) category for the ninth consecutive year. The overall scores are based on the academic preparedness of students, graduation rates, faculty characteristics and the reputation of SIUE in higher education. For the third consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks SIUE among the Top 50 out of the 682 master’s universities in the nation. SIUE is 25th among public institutions on that list. Unlike conventional college rankings, Washington Monthly evaluates an institution’s “contribution to the public good” in three broad categories: Social Mobility, Research and Service. Additionally, SIUE has been named for the third consecutive year to the annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. G.I. Jobs magazine has also ranked SIUE as a Military Friendly School for the past four years. It’s no surprise that, given the University’s commitment to excellence and service, SIUE’s enrollment continues to be strong!

While attending the University, students may choose to live on campus.  Academic scheduling is designed to accommodate individual student needs through the availability of weekday, evening, and weekend classes.  In every format, SIUE students are assured quality instruction.

At SIUE, education is more than classroom learning. Campus activities present students with an ever-changing spectrum of cultural, social, service and recreational experiences designed to complement the academic program.  Theater and dance productions, musical presentations, art collections, renowned speakers and artists, and the fine swimming, biking and other recreation offered by the University’s 2,660 acres of rolling, wooded hills make SIUE an exciting place.  In addition, the campus is situated in a rural area with access to the resources of the metropolitan St. Louis area, located just 25 minutes away.

At SIUE, more than 900 full-time and part-time faculty members engage in instruction, scholarship, and public service.  Though each of these activities enhances students’ academic opportunities, it is through instruction that students benefit most directly.  Seventy-nine percent of the full-time faculty possess terminal degrees earned at universities in the United States and abroad.  In FY12, SIUE faculty received 207 grants and contracts totaling $43.1 million.