August 14, 2011

University highlights its strengths in new initiative

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University’s students, faculty, alumni and supporters recognize it’s a nationally ranked research institution where “big things are always within reach” and that SIU is “powered by relationships and driven by an insatiable academic appetite.” Now, those key messages will further SIU’s strategic goals as they are an integral part of the university’s new branding platform unveiled by Chancellor Rita Cheng.

The branding initiative includes a dynamic and sophisticated redesigned logo for SIU that is already appearing on banners, publications, websites, and other institutional items. The branding and logo are part of an overall vision Cheng is implementing.

“What I’ve been struck by is how SIU’s story is so compelling -- it’s home to nationally recognized research that is making an impact. It offers a challenging academic program for the highest achieving honor students as well as those searching for the right academic environment. Students experience a small intimate setting where they have close relationships with professors. We know all of these things; this new branding initiative is designed to ensure others, outside of the SIU family, get to know them as well,” she said.

The branding work included comprehensive research of external and internal perceptions, a competitive analysis, and a review of SIU’s core institutional vision. It involved focus groups with more than 100 participants such as students, faculty and community members.

“This is really an investment in SIU that will pay dividends going forward as we help ensure our university becomes even more top-of-mind to prospective students and alumni we want to get re-engaged, and others,” Cheng added.

The branding work is part of the University’s strategic plan, guided by a steering committee composed of faculty and staff, that has begun to engage in campus-wide conversations that will continue in the coming months. The effort will lead to a strategic plan that will clarify and expand SIU’s mission and vision, reaffirm core values and provide a road map to help guide the institution in achieving goals.

More information about the branding initiative is available at

Other initiatives under way include:

·      Strengthening SIU’s partnerships with the area’s community colleges to increase the number of students who transfer to SIU to complete a four-year degree;

·      Transforming math and English courses for greater student learning and success;

·      Examining all degree programs to ensure that full-time students who do not change majors can complete their coursework in four years at or near the 120 credit requirement; and

·      Enhancing student success through University College, which will centralize and coordinate all services to support new freshmen and transfer students and improve their campus experience.

SIU is one of the best universities in the Midwest, according to the latest Princeton Review’s “Best of the Midwest” ranking profiles. The regional best lists include only 25 percent of the undergraduate programs in the country, selected primarily for academic excellence. SIU is also part of “Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition.”

SIU’s annual payroll totals $307 million.  Over the past decade, SIU has disclosed 217 inventions, issued 54 licenses or options, filed 113 patent applications with a resulting 39 issued patents, and received nearly $4 million in royalties.