The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Gatrell, faculty update the university on Plan 2028

Eastern+Illinois+University+President+Jay+Gatrell+opens+the+presentation+on+several+faculty+updates+and+Plan+2028+on+Tuesday+afternoon.
Immanuel Johnson
Eastern Illinois University President Jay Gatrell opens the presentation on several faculty updates and Plan 2028 on Tuesday afternoon.

EIU presented a progress report on Plan 2028 including efforts to lower the DWF rate and the creation of a bridge program for incoming first-generation students.  

Plan 2028 has been in the works since March 2022. 

One of the goals within Plan 2028 is lowering the DWF rate, which is the number of students that obtain a letter grade of D or F or that withdraw from classes. 

For a solution, the university hired additional peer tutors, located in the Gregg Technology Center, and added students to sit in classes and run study sessions, alongside the existing academic coaches on campus. 

Additionally, the counseling clinic implemented the Stepped Care Model system in August 2022 so students can work on their mental health. The system has decreased the waitlist for the counseling clinic. Students are guaranteed an initial appointment. 

A week-long summer bridge program is in the works. 

Panther Pathways is designed and targeted toward first-generation students prior to entering college. 

It will give students exposure to the academic and career resources Eastern offers. 

“It just gives them an opportunity to transition to the campus with extra assistance prior to classes start,” Director of Academic Advising Danny Fischer said. “We think it’s important to start this program because bridge programs can improve access and mobility for all.” 

A presentation showed that new programs are coming to Eastern as soon as next semester. The programs included a new bachelor’s degree in teaching and two bachelor’s degrees in applied arts and sciences. 

According to Assistant Dean of International Education Mutombo Kabasele, Eastern has 7,100 applications from international students for next year already, which represents around 60 countries. India represents the highest populated international country on Eastern’s campus, followed by Nigeria. 

The diversity rate amongst faculty and staff is being looked at as well. 

Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity Shawn Peoples spoke about how 71% of Eastern’s new faculty are people of color and 39% of administrative and professional employees are people of color as well. 

Peoples said that searches are still being conducted to increase those numbers. 

The Faculty Development and Innovation Center awarded $20,000 and new professional development grants to 21 faculty members across campus, said Michael Gillespie– sociology, anthropology and criminology professor. 

Gillespie continued with saying that the money will help with “specific training on research methodologies, the research on assets and even travel to professional conferences regionally, nationally and internationally.” 

Five-to-ten-year plans to improve the campus and livelihood of Eastern are in the works, according to Eric Wahls– construction project manager at Eastern. 

Wahls said there are three improvements being made to the campus, including a condition assessment on all major buildings on campus. 

Space utilization is also another field that Wahls said he wanted to explore. The third improvement being made Wahls described as “soft input.” 

Wahls said a survey about how the campus can be improved will be sent out. 

He plans to make the improvements by working on four agendas. 

He is working on a capital investment plan, which is annually used to request capital projects to be considered by the state. A building investment strategy will be utilized as well. Thirdly, prioritizing energy projects to decrease operating costs and lastly identifying risk facilities. 

  

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 
Immanuel Johnson, Photographer
Immanuel Johnson is a senior digital media technology major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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