Just a little more than a year after taking the helm at Western Illinois University, President Guiyou Huang has made significant progress rebuilding key relationships in the Quad Cities.
He and Kristi Mindrup, who took over in February as vice president of Western Illinois University Quad Cities (WIU-QC) campus operations, shared an impressive number of new programs and initiatives at WIU-QC during a recent discussion with our editorial board.
Mr. Huang also created the first-ever Anti-Racism Task Force at WIU not long after troubling charges of racism at the Macomb main campus.
The pair of leaders also is re-emphasizing WIU’s commitment to the campus in Moline. For example, Mr. Huang reminded the QCBJ of the university’s deep roots in a Quad Cities corridor that boasts the largest WIU alumni group outside of Chicago. That’s important for a region that needs to retain and attract well-educated young professionals.
Welcome new programs also have been designed to give WIU-QC and WIU students the classes they want and need to succeed in the QC workforce including a new psychology major and the addition of civil, electrical and mechanical components to Western’s general engineering program. Expanded sports management offerings are being added in response to the planned $75 million expansion near the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf.
WIU and WIU-QC are seeing results from new recruitment efforts, especially among graduate and international students, where enrollment numbers are setting all-time records.
WIU-QC also is partnering closely with the business community and local leaders. That includes creating “a hub of innovation” through the WIU-QC Small Business Development Center and partnering with Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati to bring a bilingual child care center to downtown Moline’s Enterprise Lofts. The center, which will be open nights and weekends, also will serve as a hands-on learning lab for WIU-QC students.
The university’s new leadership team is off to an impressive start and Mr. Huang and Ms. Mindrup appear to be the right leaders at the right time for WIU and WIU-QC. We trust they and community leaders will continue to work together for the long haul to protect and grow this essential full-service regional and Quad Cities institution.