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WIU President Jack Thomas addresses vice presidents, deans, chairs, and directors.
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A Call for University Action: Collaborating for the Future

September 10, 2018

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas met with vice presidents, deans, directors and department chairs on Sept. 7 to discuss finances, communication and implementation of the "Positioning Western Illinois University for the Future" plan. Thomas charged the University's leaders with gathering input and ideas from all constituency groups, and sharing factual information with their units.

To begin the meeting, Budget Director Letisha Trepac and Interim Vice President for Administrative Services Bill Polley joined Thomas in providing information regarding the University's finances and spending policies. Vice President for Student Services Ron Williams also provided an update regarding retention and enrollment initiatives. Leaders in attendance were asked to share the information presented with their areas.

Thomas then focused on increased communication, and being open and transparent as the University enters a year of change.

"We need everyone on board to ensure that every person within his or her department understands the budget situation and why certain decisions are being made. People may not agree with these decisions, but it is up to each of us here today to explain and communicate the decisions that are made to ensure this University's future," Thomas told a crowd of approximately 100 in attendance. "Every University leader is responsible for communicating information. It is vital for all of us to know what is happening at our University. It is important for us to convey accurate information with our employees and colleagues. We must work together to move Western forward."

Thomas will hold similar meetings once a month with University leaders to further communicate efforts and initiatives, and to gain additional insight and feedback. According to Thomas, shared governance provides opportunities for input, collaboration and including individuals in decision-making processes as much as possible.

The president and members of the leadership team will also host town hall meetings to present budget information and gather feedback for proposed and future changes with each academic college, University Libraries and the Quad Cities campus. In addition, the President's Round Table for Faculty, the President's Round Table for Staff and the President's Round Table for Students will continue this fall. Members of the round tables set the agendas for these meetings. Thomas' open forums with Civil Service Employees Council, the Council of Administrative Personnel, Quad Cities Faculty Council and Student Government on both campuses, and presentations at Faculty Senate, will also continue. Further, a series of brown bag lunches, which allow members of the University and local communities to gather informally with the president to ask questions and discuss topics of interest, will continue. Thomas will also continue to meet with community leaders, and with various other groups both on- and off-campus.

"I encourage people to get involved, attend these various meetings, take advantage of opportunities to share ideas and avail themselves of the chance to hear accurate information," Thomas said.

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