University Theme

A Letter from the UTC Co-Chairs

Ecomony:  Moral Challenges & Opportunities

Dear WIU Community,

For more than a decade the Western Illinois University theme has brought engaging speakers, programs and events to campus that serve as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions in our classrooms. Over the years, topics have included civility, social justice, civic engagement, cultural diversity, global challenges, environmental sustainability, education, science and technology, and war and peace. 

For the 2016-17 year, the theme is “Economy:  Moral Challenges & Opportunities.”  Building on the theme from the previous year, Environment: A Foundation for Social Justice, this theme shifts the focus from the relationship between the environment and social justice to the challenges and opportunities of current economic downturn.  While economic indicators show that the economy is on the rebound, not all Americans are benefiting.  Joblessness is higher among African American and Hispanic workers than Whites.  Countless families have lost their homes and hunger and homelessness are a part of life for too many.  While these challenges have economic and financial dimensions, they also have unavoidable human and moral costs.

This year’s theme will allow the WIU community to look beyond the economic indicators, stock market gyrations, and political conflicts and focus on the often invisible burdens of ordinary workers and their families, many of whom are hurting, discouraged, and left behind by this economy. 

Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, the University Theme Committee will not be able to provide financial support for co-sponsorship programs this academic year.  However, offices, departments and student organizations are strongly encouraged to establish programs and invite speakers to discuss subjects that tie directly to the 2016-2017 theme. 

Suggestions and ideas for future themes are always welcome.  Please contact either of us with further questions.  We look forward to your participation with the University Theme.



Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology, Sociology & Anthropology


Michelle Janisz, Ph.D.

Director of Student Activities


Nancy Parsons, Ph.D.

Associate Provost


Contact Info

University Union
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

Phone: (309) 298-3232