May 24, 2011

Quinn names SIUC's Allan Karnes to IBHE

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Gov. Pat Quinn has named Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Allan Karnes to a five-year term on the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The appointment of Karnes, associate dean of the College of Business, requires state Senate confirmation.

Karnes joined SIUC’s accounting faculty as an instructor in 1981. He became an assistant professor in 1986, earning promotion to associate professor in 1990 and to professor in 1997. He served as director of the School of Accountancy from 1995 to 2005.

For the past 10 years, Karnes has been SIUC’s representative to the IBHE’s Faculty Advisory Council, which meets monthly to discuss issues and provide input to the IBHE. The council includes representatives of 12 public institutions, 12 community colleges and 12 private institutions.

Quinn selected Karnes from among four nominees submitted by the advisory council.

“Allan is a dedicated member of our faculty. He is highly respected throughout the higher education community for his knowledge of issues and for his passion, particularly when it comes to ensuring student access,” SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “He will be an outstanding addition to the IBHE.”

Promoting greater discussion about access is high on Karnes’ list of priorities.

“In the past, if your parents were typical lower middle class, making enough money to get by, you could get financial aid,” he said. “That’s not true anymore. We need to look at the financial aid system, because a lot of families just don’t have the money to send their children to school. We’re missing a great opportunity.”

He also is anxious to help shape the debate on performance funding of higher education. That model, which will soon be in place in Illinois, bases state appropriations on outputs -- such as course completion and degrees awarded -- rather than on enrollments.

“This isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s an opportunity we all have and it all depends on how the metrics are structured,” Karnes said. “We have to look at each school as a unique place, with a unique student body, so we then can determine how well each school does with its student body. If we set it up so that every year, you do better with the student body you have, that will encourage all of us strive to improve on what we’re doing. The end result will be greater student success, which then allows the university to innovate and thrive.”