Statewide: Shakeup At Western Illinois University; What's The Future For Cursive Writing?

Jun 22, 2019
Originally published on June 20, 2019 6:05 pm

Officials with Western Illinois Unviersity will be looking for a new president after Jack Thomas announced his resignation.  Thomas' tenure was rocky at the school that has campuses in Macomb and the Quad Cities.  His replacement will deal with an institution still trying to rebound from a state budget impasse and enrollment declines. The WIU Board Chair gives his view of the situation.

We also check in on a new law requiring cursive writing be taught in schools. But just because kids are shown how to do it, will they use it once classes are over?   

That and more on this week's Statewide. 

Our lineup:

* Sean Crawford talks with Tara McClellan McAndrew, who wrote how Illinois was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.  That happened 100 years ago this month.

* We revisit a report from Mary Hansen on how political memorabilia collectors have a growing interest in items related to women's suffrage.  

* Renee Wilde with Harvest Public Media reports on the increasing amount of farmland in Illinois and the midwest owned by foreign companies.

* Chase Cavanaugh of WNIJ explains how the liberal arts still has a role amid the focus on STEM education. 

* Susie An of WBEZ follows up on a new law requiring cursive writing be taught in schools.  But even though it's part of the curriculum, will students use it?

* Christine Herman of Illinois Public Media visits with Kim Zoeller, who works for a non-profit service provider about new state funding for the disability sector.

* Rich Egger of Tri States Public Radio interviews Western Illinois Unviersity's Board Chairman Greg Aguilar in the aftermath of the school's president, Jack Thomas, announcing his resignation.

* Sam Dunklau sits down with musicians Chris Vallillo and Ezra Casey.  The two discuss a project called "Oh Freedom!" focused on music from the civil rights era. 

Statewide, which brings you reports and conversations from in and around Illinois, is a production of NPR Illinois with help from other Illinois public radio stations.  Find all our episodes online at   Drop us a line at

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