Community college president visits Eastern for open director of Union position


Madelyn Kidd

Rodney Ranes, one of four candidates for the position director of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, answers questions by Eastern faculty during the open session on Thursday afternoon in the Oakland Room in the Union. Ranes spent Wednesday on Eastern’s campus meeting administration, touring campus and being interviewed. Ranes is currently the president of Olney Central College.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

The president of Olney Central College visits Eastern as one of four candidates for the open position of director of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on Thursday.

Rodney Ranes, Olney Central College’s president for the past 12 years, is currently looking for a change from a community college structure.

“I’ll go ahead and address the elephant in the room why a president is looking for a different position,” Ranes said. “Other than that, I’ve done that for 12 years. At this point, I would say probably during the most tumultuous times in higher ed. I’ve done that for a while, and I’m looking to make a change at this point. As I mentioned before, kind of the way our structure is in Illinois for community colleges we are for community colleges… I want to transition to something else where it’s not nothing but student discipline and bad budgets and all those kinds of things. So I want to work closer with students. I want to have the opportunity to work at a residential campus again and create change that way. So that is why I have applied for this position.”

Ranes received an associate in science in 1994 from Olney Central College, a bachelor of arts majoring in psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1996, a master of science majoring in college student affairs from Eastern in 2004 and a doctor of education majoring in higher education with a concentration in education policy, organization and leadership from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Being on Eastern’s campus when obtaining his masters, Ranes remembers parts of Eastern which encouraged him to apply for the position.

“I remember my time here at EIU,” Ranes said. “Finally, the people were great. The place was great. The students were great. And so, as I started thinking of what other things I want to do, that’s led me to apply for a position here. So that is kind of the nickel tour of that, but here I am today and look forward to what questions you may have.”

Ranes is willing to potentially come into the job as director without too many goals due to his philosophy of not having goals for areas he doesn’t know.

“I’ve worked with various groups over time and some of the mistakes I’ve seen somebody who’s come in for their talks with the groups who are already there,” Ranes said. “And so it’s important for me to have conversations with staff here in the building, work in the building and how I can support them going forward. And then have some of the same conversations with students and staff and others who use facilities what they need going off into the future.”

During Ranes’ visit, Ranes met administration, toured campus and talked to and was interviewed by faculty and students.

The third candidate for the position of director of the Union, Randall Bogard, will visit Eastern on Tuesday and the open session where faculty and students can ask the candidates questions will be at 1:15 p.m. in the Oakland Room in the Union.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].