Watch Now: New Illinois State University President Starts With Plenty On Her Plate | Local education

Terri Goss Kinzy was named 20th President of Illinois State University on May 14, 2021 and made history as the first ISU woman to fill this role.

NORMAL – Terri Goss Kinzy assumed her role as the 20th President of Illinois State University Thursday, but there won’t be much of a honeymoon for them to get used to the job.

Your first meeting of the ISU Board of Trustees will take place on July 23rd. The university’s proposal to establish a College of Engineering goes to the Illinois Board of Higher Education in August. The fall semester starts on August 16 and Negotiations with the Graduate Workers Union will resume in the fall.

Kinzy, the first female president of the ISU, succeeds Larry Dietz, who retired on Wednesday after 10 years at the ISU. the last seven as president and 50 years in higher education.

“I feel like the state of Illinois needs a little more recognition for what it is and what it has achieved,” she said in an interview. “I’ll talk a lot about the history of the university.”

She wants people – including those who make government funding decisions – to learn more about ISU’s above-average scores Performance in areas such as student retention and graduation rates.

“I’m the daughter of a used car salesman,” she said.

Kinzy also knows how to listen.

“My first priority … is to talk to people and learn about their ISU experiences,” she said.

Kinzy began this process on campus visits since her appointment was announced in May. This includes not only Dietz and the management team, but also people she met on campus, including an ISU police officer and a facility employee.

“There is so much enthusiasm for the future of the institution,” she said. “Everyone I speak to speaks of the high quality of the study experience and the commitment to the students.”

Dietz was “Systematically bring me up to date” in weekly discussions, Kinzy said on budget plans, the College of Engineering proposal, ISU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and other issues.

Upon learning about the budget process and funding flows, Kinzy said, “I was surprised to see Illinois State University has the lowest (state) funding per student in Illinois. “

She said, “We are working hard to make higher education as affordable as possible. … Constant and consistent funding from the state is an important part of this. “

Western Michigan University, where Kinzy was Vice President for Research and Innovation before joining ISU, has had a Teaching Assistants Union since 2006. The last four-year contract was approved in June 2018.

Kinzy said it was a good thing that a federal mediator was involved and she was confident that the negotiators could reach a mutually beneficial deal if talks that had been interrupted by the union resume.

As for the technical proposal, Kinzy noted that “a lot of time, effort and research” has been put into it and “I am confident that it is a significant need”.

She said “a willingness to take a small risk” when proposing a College of Engineering “shows a university that is forward-looking” and manpower-driven.

There is also the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From what I’ve learned,” said Kinzy, “I’m very impressed with the university’s COVID response … and the scientific methods they used.”

ISU intends to Return to a more traditional college dorm experience this fall, but plans for the transition are still under development, she said.

“As the optimistic person I am, I hope we learn from the COVID-19 experience,” said Kinzy.

Those lessons include having a place to study online, especially when students are away, working or doing an internship for the summer, she said. “This is an opportunity that we shouldn’t miss.”

In addition to telling the history of ISU and following ongoing work such as the engineering school, Kinzy’s priorities include “continuing attention and, equally importantly, maintaining” underrepresented faculties and “stepping up efforts to increase international enrollment”.

Kinzy said she was well aware of “what made Illinois State University a very special place,” adding, “Nobody wants to be the president who took a great institution and made it mediocre.”

She said there are opportunities to make a great institution even better and “those opportunities come from working together”.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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