Chancellor James Minor

Incoming chancellor James Minor wants to focus on listening to the campus community and ensuring that more students reach graduation.

Minor, who will become SIUE’s chancellor on March 1, said he is intentionally taking his time in developing the priorities for his time as chancellor, so that he can consult the campus community

“I really would like the benefit of hearing the voices of the SIUE community to ensure that I fully understand where we have been, how people articulate challenges and opportunities, and how we collectively come to see the future of the institution,” Minor said. “I very much would like the institutional priorities to be co-constructed with the university community. And for me, that begins with a lot of listening.”

Minor said one of the first stops on his listening tour will be the East St. Louis campus, due to concerns that have been expressed by its staff about feeling disconnected from the Edwardsville campus.

“I heard the very same concerns during my visit,” Minor said. “And so it is very important to me to work as hard as we possibly can to change the narrative that describes the relationship between the East St. Louis and Edwardsville campus."

Other potential stops on Minor’s list are student organization meetings, general education courses and intro courses, particularly in sociology since that is one of his areas of study.

Jessica Harris, chair of the Chancellor Search Committee, said what made Minor stand out was his listening skills and experience in higher education as well as his vision for SIUE’s future.

“I think he’s very attuned to who we are, but certainly where we could go and who we could be,” Harris said. “He is an accomplished scholar of higher education, a thought leader in the field, and certainly had a range of professional expertise that made him well suited and uniquely suited to be SIUE's next chancellor.”

Besides listening, Minor’s goal in higher education is to make sure students who enroll in the university make it through to commencement.

“If there's one thing that causes me to lose sleep at night, it is the idea that a student who showed up a year or two ago, did everything that they were supposed to do in high school to be admitted to college, arrive to the orientation program, their families working hard to support them in college, and for whatever reason, a year or two later, that student is no longer enrolled,” Minor said. “That bothers me personally, it bothers me professionally.”

Minor said this focus on degree completion started when he was studying for his masters. He and his class were looking at a national data set on quality of life and life satisfaction variables. They found that regardless of demographics, the main indicator of a good life was a college education, but there were disparities in who had access to one.

“If there was something that I could do to increase the likelihood that deserving individuals had an opportunity to earn a college degree, I was convinced at that moment in time, that it could literally change their lives, change the quality of their lives,” Minor said.

Minor is also taking the community surrounding campus into consideration for SIUE’s future. He said the Metro East has a rich history and he would like for the university to be more prominent in the area.

“But my ambition quite honestly is for SIUE to define the region,” Minor said. “So when people reference the Metro East, what comes to mind is SIUE, which is a beacon of opportunity, culture, intellectualism, problem solving and community engagement.”

Harris said she is looking forward to seeing where the university will go under Minor’s leadership and believes SIUE will become “a first-class institution.”

“Any time you get new leadership coming into an institution, the sky's the limit. There's so many opportunities, so many possibilities,” Harris said. “And so I'm just excited about Dr. Minor and what his leadership will bring, and the type of institution that we'll be able to build together.”

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