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New ISU President Terri Goss Kinzy Takes Helm

Terri Goss Kinzy
Eric Stock
Terri Goss Kinzy previously served as vice president for research and innovation at Western Michigan University. Her first day on the job at ISU was Thursday.

Illinois State University's first woman president started the job Thursday.

Terri Goss Kinzy is ISU's 20th president. Goss Kinzy, a scientist and researcher who most recently was an administrator at Western Michigan, says she wanted the job at ISU because it is a hidden gem of higher education that she wants to make better known.

Goss Kinzy was chosen in May to succeed Larry Dietz, who retired after six years as ISU president and a half-century in higher education.


Colleges and universities around the country have faced enrollment pressure from the dwindling supply of high school graduates. Illinois State University has resisted that trend so far, and Goss Kinzy said during an interview for WGLT newsmagazine Sound Ideas that shouldn't change.

"I really do believe that Illinois State University can maintain its stable enrollment by strategically adding programs that will enhance the excellent portfolio we already have," Goss Kinzy said.

Goss Kinzy says one of the needed strategic moves ISU already has under way is an effort to boost the number of international students which will address a need for graduates to be able to operate in a more international world in the future. Another strategic effort is to predict the workforce needs of the future, she said.

"Creating a College of Engineering addresses a critical need for STEM graduates in this country, for highly trained positions that are highly competitive and well-compensated. It allows a new kind of College of Engineering that builds into the strengths the University already has and thinks about an education as it should look 10-20 years from now, not right now," said Goss Kinzy.


The University of Illinois has issued a vaccine mandate for on campus students in the fall term. Goss Kinzy said that does not mean ISU will do so.

"What one university does does not drive the decision for every university. We have to think about what's best for Illinois State, which is a very strong statement that students are expected to come to campus with proof of vaccination," said Goss Kinzy.

If ISU students do not get vaccinated they will have to undergo regular testing for the coronavirus.

Goss Kinzy said the dialogue over vaccines continues to change daily as various university, state, and federal officials learn more.

Student athlete compensation

A recent Supreme Court decision allows college athletes to profit from their image and sports status. Goss Kinzy said she agreed with that ruling that will help many students.

"Students need to be able to support themselves and they have been so limited in many ways of doing that. And so we really need to find a way for them to have an opportunity for them to have sufficient revenue, in order to be able to have a college experience and not to have to go to the food bank," Goss Kinzy said.

Goss Kinzy said she rejects Justice Neil Gorsuch's attack on the very idea of amateur status of college athletes. She said there is an appropriate middle ground to strike and the NCAA will develop appropriate rules. She acknowledged NCAA rules are historically complex but hopes clear guidance can come on this issue.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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