Defining Excellence — The Campaign for SIUE isn't just a campaign for an institution; it's a campaign for the SIUE community — the students, faculty, alumni and donors who make this University such a special place. The stories below show how SIUE students grow as intellectuals and citizens, how faculty improve our region through instruction and research, how alumni are taking advantage of their degrees to make the world a better place, and how donors have made it all possible.
Our faculty mentor students, working side-by-side on groundbreaking research and shaping them as community-minded leaders. Your gifts help retain and attract the best and brightest professors to SIUE and allow them to investigate innovative new teaching practices.
Matejka is traveling across the country holding faculty lectures and student workshops preaching the power of poetry at historically Black colleges and universities, thanks to the 2010 William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship Award. Funded by former SIUE Professor of Literature Dr. William Going before he passed away in 2008, the endowed professorship helps offset the cost of Adrian’s travels as he reaches out to students at universities unable to afford guest lecturers.
Donations to SIUE can create and sustain endowed professorships, which help the University attract and retain nationally recognized faculty such as Adrian, an award-winning poet who’s had two collections of his poetry published.
Many young people may consider poetry stodgy and out of style, but Adrian, who has written prose about contemporary topics such as the hip-hop group Public Enemy and the movie “The Karate Kid,” works hard to show students that it’s an ideal form of communication for a generation that does most of its writing via text messages and social networks.
Poetry is a labor of love for Adrian, who is using his travels to not only open the world of rhythm and meter to students across the country, but to open them to the world of SIUE as well.
Ken Rawson began his studies at the SIU School of Dental Medicine with the goal of becoming a teacher of the subject he was so passionately studying.
“I knew early on that I wanted to be a pediatric dentist, and the School of Dental Medicine is one of the major providers of pediatric dentistry in Illinois,” Ken said. “I wanted to be able to provide quality care to children, and be able to share my knowledge with the next generation of dentists, as well.”
Upon graduating, Ken began a specialty residency in Nevada, knowing that he would like eventually to return to the School. Halfway through Ken's residency, Ann Boyle, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, contacted him with the offer he had always wanted. Unfortunately, it seemed Ken would have to turn down the offer to join the faculty due to the financial limitations imposed by his student loan repayments.
“When Dr. Boyle approached me about returning to the School of Dental Medicine as a member of the faculty, I was very excited. As we discussed the salary involved, I quickly realized that financially I would not be able to accept the position,” he said.
But thanks to the School of Dental Medicine’s Faculty Recruitment and Retention Endowment, Ken’s dream became a reality. Support for this fund helps the School supplement salaries of prospective and current faculty. With this support, administrators can pursue faculty of the highest caliber who will add to the growing reputation and impact of the School.
“Across the nation, the biggest problem is that there aren’t enough dental faculty, and financial limitations play a huge part in that,” Ken said.
Until Ken was brought on as a faculty member, there was no full-time pediatric dentist at the School of Dental Medicine. The Faculty Recruitment and Retention Endowment made it possible for the School to continue its tradition of providing excellent dental care to thousands of children, many of whom rely on Medicaid, which is not widely accepted by general dentists.
“This support is invaluable to helping us continue to provide excellent education to students and excellent care to patients,” Ken said.
Part of what defines excellence in business education is giving students the opportunity to experience business ideas and theories through a global lens. That’s why Susan Yager, associate professor of computer management and information systems (CMIS) in the SIUE School of Business, has dedicated a large part of her career to guiding students through study abroad programs.
“Travel study is such an important opportunity to offer business students, and that’s why I give my support,” Susan said.
In addition to making regular monetary donations to the School of Business, Susan gives her time and energy by leading groups of undergraduate and graduate business students on immersive learning trips to countries including Hungary and Mexico.
These 10- to 14-day trips give students the chance to gain firsthand experience in other cultures and diverse business environments. Throughout the semester, students have homework, projects and exams, and keep both photo and written journals during the trips, which allow them to reflect on what they are learning.
The study abroad programs, along with other resources and events such as the School’s Power Breakfast — which gives students the chance to hear about the real world success of SIUE alumni — help keep the SIUE School of Business at the fore of business education.
Thanks to support from alumni and friends of the School of Business, along with generous faculty members such as Susan, the School can continue to provide valuable learning opportunities to students.
“The travel experience is not something students can get in the classroom, and it’s something they need. I’m happy to support that cause.”
Support for endowed chairs and professorships also helps attract and retain valuable, motivated faculty like Susan, who has served as chair of the CMIS Department and is a member of the School of Business Dean’s Society (a philanthropic designation). She also was awarded the Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellowship, which provides faculty participants with increased understanding of the practical industry applications of engineering, information technology and business skills.