EIU’s Strategic Planning Town Hall Meeting focuses on the future 

Matthew Posner, Reporter

Jay Gatrell talking about his plan to improve Eastern Illinois University during his University Presidency which will take place in July. (Matthew Posner)

The Strategic Planning town hall meeting was presented by current Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Jay Gatrell. He outlined his new strategy when he is President of Eastern. 

This was the second town hall meeting of the week, and it took place on Friday morning at the Recital Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center. 

At the meeting, Gatrell officially outlined his plan, which officially begins in July following the retirement of current President of Eastern David Glassman, who served as university president for eight years.

Gatrell’s new plan is centered around four ideas: achieve, engage, create and resource. 

The achieve section of the plan is tied to increased success for all learners at EIU by adding critical resources for the university, increasing the number of scholarship applications by students and creating new active learning spaces on campus by adding technology and remodeling outdated buildings and locations.

The engage section of the plan focuses on increasing the overall attendance from the EIU student body at campus-sanctioned events and activities, increasing the total enrollment of international students and further diversifying the pipeline for K-12 teachers by recruiting and graduating more students and more students of color. The motto for this section of the plan is, “Engage the community, the region state, and the world.”

The create section of the plan calls for the creation of a 21st century campus and culture by increasing the diversity of employees, launching employee fitness and wellness programs, and continuing to benchmark campus climate.

This was also the biggest part of Gatrell’s plan, as he announced an initiative to complete construction on a new science building in between Klehm Hall and the Life Sciences building by the end of Fall 2024, while also declaring to deliver upgrades and updates to several campus-wide facilities. These upgrades are considered critical for the benefit of the university, and EIU is showing promise by further preparing for the future.

The resource section of the plan dives into revenue diversification and focuses on growing the overall enrollment. The current enrollment at EIU is 8,857 according to the official EIU website, but Gatrell wants to increase the enrollment numbers, and he has a goal of 12,000 students enrolled in the coming years.

In addition to enrollment, the resource section focuses on developing strategic budgeting practices and reviewing human resource policies, staffing and compensation frameworks to enhance competitiveness and ensure equity amongst faculty. 

Gatrell spoke about the proposed strategic plan and which part excites him the most for the future of the university.

“[I’m looking forward to] creating a campus and a culture that supports our learners,” Gatrell said. “If we don’t have the culture and the resources and the facilities [necessary], we’re not going to be able to make sure every student has the living environments and learning environments they need and want and desire to be successful. [The achieve section] is a moral imperative that every learner who we admit to this institution feels supported, has the resources [necessary], and is able to achieve and meet their own personal goals, as well as transform [their] lives.”

The strategic plan initiative is scheduled to begin in Fall 2023, with implementation chairs for all four categories (achieve, engage, create, resource). The plan is pending board approval. 


Matthew Posner can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].