M Cecil Smith, dean of the School of Education

(Top) M Cecil Smith, dean of the School of Education, talks about the new Welcome Center and how it will benefit students. (Below) The new Welcome Center, in Wham Education Building Room 112, has been completely renovated to serve multiple purposes. (Photos by Britni Bateman)

May 10, 2023

SIU’s School of Education creates multipurpose Welcome Center

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Student success is important at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the School of Education has recently proven that by investing in a multipurpose Welcome Center in the Wham Education Building.

An unused computer lab, Wham 112, was renovated with new furnishings, paint, window treatments and a glass whiteboard. It also features colorful wall graphics, including a stunning larger-than-life mural of saluki dogs walking through campus.

“We are so excited about having this space for our students. We want them to really feel like they’re part of the School of Education,” Dean M Cecil Smith said. “They’re part of us, and we’re part of them. They matter to us, and this helps show that.”

Used in various ways

DSC_8909-sm.jpgThe center will be used in a wide variety of ways, according to Smith. The recruitment and retention coordinator and other student support staff, as well as faculty and administrators, can meet in the center with prospective students and their families.

School of Education student ambassadors can also gather there to plan events. Education student groups will also be able to reserve the space for their special events, and it will be available for meetings with alumni and donors, select faculty gatherings and other happenings.

The renovation was funded through the SIU Foundation, specifically the School of Education’s Education Excellence fund, supported by donor gifts, Smith said.

“We are very grateful to these donors and SOE alumni who have given generously to our school over the years,” he said.

More to come

The project isn’t quite complete yet. Phase two calls for converting the adjacent office into a game room where students can hang out, play pingpong or board games, enjoy occasional doughnut and coffee mornings, and build a sense of camaraderie.

“The School of Education invests in student success through innovative instruction, research and community engagement,” Smith said.