Quad Cities Chamber looking at “options” to replace WIU in Moline
MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Quad city business and civic leaders say they are looking for another university to possibly replace Western Illinois University in Moline.
The newly-constructed campus on River Drive opened in 2012 and when Phase-2 was completed in 2014, the goal was to grow student enrollment from 1,500 at that time to 3,000.
Paul Rumler with the Quad Cities Chamber says they are disappointed in the lack of economic benefits and growth since then. He says what started as great promise has fizzled in recent years.
“Recently, we’ve seen indications from Macomb, where the Board of Trustees and even faculty have said they question whether the Quad City campus should continue to exist”, Rumler said.
Now, some local leaders say they are looking at other options, including other universities to take its place. Rumler declined to say “what flag will be flying at the QC campus, but we currently are open to the options”.
After hearing about the concerns, WIU’s new president Guiyou Huang sent a letter to the governor saying the QC campus will remain an integral part of the university and its mission. A meeting between Macomb-based WIU and Quad City leaders is set for March 2nd.
Statement released by WIU:
As our University recently moved under new leadership, it is essential that President Huang is provided time to assess WIU’s needs and the communities we serve. One of the top priorities the Board of Trustees set in its search criteria was to employ a president who would be able to plan and negotiate a new vision for our Quad Cities campus, including developing new strategies for growth and community partnerships. We appreciate the Governor’s ongoing commitment to higher education, as he indicated in his recent budget address. As such, Western Illinois University will continue to be an asset for the State of Illinois and the western Illinois region, and our QC campus will remain an integral part of our University and its mission.
In just his seventh week as WIU’s 12th president, Dr. Huang has already met with our Macomb and QC area community college partners to further strengthen those relationships and discuss opportunities for educational advancement for students in the QC region. President Huang has also met with community leaders, including the mayor and others, to discuss the vision for the Quad Cities campus and enhanced partnerships to meet the needs of the region and the students we serve.
Under Dr. Huang’s leadership, WIU is committed to building upon the programs, initiatives, and partnerships in place, and to create new opportunities for that campus to meet the needs of our students in the Quad Cities. Dr. Huang is making recruitment and retention a priority, which includes our WIU-QC campus. As indicated in the letter to the governor, a strategic planning committee has been established for the QC campus to further refine initiatives for the QC campus (programs, recruitment, retention, etc).
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