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Welcome back from President Dietz

image of Illinois State University President Larry Dietz talked to students on campus.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz talked to students on campus.

I am pleased to welcome all of our faculty and staff members to the 2015-2016 academic year at Illinois State University.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped make our students and families feel welcome during move-in and the Welcome Week program. More than 6,000 students settled into University housing last week and hundreds of you volunteered your time to help make their transitions less stressful. Your efforts are a true reflection of our core value of individualized attention and you give students and their families yet another great early impression of the University.

We have another large freshman class this year. Combined with last year’s 25-year high freshman class, we will have very full residence halls and very full classrooms. Although I understand this always poses some early challenges, I hope you will agree they are “good” challenges that many other Illinois universities would love to experience. It is the work of our outstanding faculty and staff, the engagement of our student body, and the national reputation of Illinois State that continues to make our University an attractive and sought-after institution.

As we move toward the end of the second month of fiscal year 2016, the state of Illinois remains without a financial plan in place. While budgetary and other legislative discussions continue in Springfield, I want to assure you that Illinois State will remain financially stable in the interim. Everyone will continue to receive their salaries on our normal schedule, although progress on some capital construction and renovation projects may be temporarily put on hold. I am in regular communication with our legislative leaders and the Governor’s budget office regarding the need for appropriate and timely public higher education funding and for the financial assistance many of our students need to continue their educations. I am also providing leadership for the Illinois public universities presidents and chancellors group, as we discuss concerns and promote higher education throughout the state and beyond.

Universities commonly receive notice of national rankings and other achievements during the course of the academic year, but this year, we received one piece of good news on July 20. Illinois State has been named a “Great College to Work For,” according to a new survey by the leading higher education publication in the country. The “Great College to Work For” report, released by The Chronicle of Higher Education, recognizes institutions that have created exceptional work environments. Illinois State is the only public university in Illinois to be named to the list. The University earned the honor in the category of teaching environment, which looks at innovative and high-quality teaching. The award recognizes that at the heart of Illinois State’s continued excellence is our love of teaching. The “Great College to Work For” report is based on a survey of 281 colleges and universities. The University was also recognized for its clarity in the tenure process.

I look forward to a busy and productive fall term with a full slate of academic, cultural, and athletic activities and events. I hope to see you soon on campus, and always feel free to connect with me via e-mail at ldietz@ilstu.edu. Please accept my best wishes for a healthy and productive year at Illinois State University.