CARBONDALE, IL -
Dr. Randy Dunn says Southern Illinois University is his dream job, but with potential layoffs and budget cuts looming Dr. Dunn admits that dream could turn into a nightmare without a lot of hard work.
Dr. Randy Dunn is no stranger to a leadership role in higher education.
In 2004, he was hand picked by then Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to be the State Superintendent of Education.
In 2006, Dunn was named president of Murray State University, a position he held until 2013 when the board of regents voted 7-to-4 to let his contract expire.
In April of 2013, Dr. Dunn landed in Ohio as the President of Youngstown State a position he held for just 7 months before he accepted the presidency of the Southern Illinois University system.
In his first public appearance as President of Southern Illinois University, Dr. Randy Dunn admitted a harsh reality to SIU educators.
"The great old days aren't coming back in public higher education," said SIU President Dr. Randy Dunn.
Facing the potential of millions being cut from the budget and more than 500 layoffs system wide SIU's new top dog says the school needs to get creative.
"We're going to have to figure out how to be more nimble, responsive, maneuver better, set clear priorities and make sure we're streamlining our operations," said Dr. Dunn. "Don't get nervous that doesn't mean I'm with some broad axe and swinging wildly."
Dr. Dunn says the first 100 days in office he will not only be learning a new job but lobbying lawmakers in Springfield to change the state's narrative.
"We're in a time right now where there is a whole question, a policy question, a philosophy almost about whether the public investment in higher education is still worth it," said Dr. Dunn.
To prove his point he says he needs educators and alumni to make their voices heard.
"Anytime you have the things we're going to wrestle the more voices the better and that's going to help us navigate our way for the challenges we face," said Dr. Dunn.
Dr. Dunn's contract runs for the next four years.
If Dunn decides to leave the system during the first 42 months of the deal he is expected to pay about $250,000 to cover the cost of another presidential search.
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