Susan Edgren earns an ‘outstanding’ award

Susan C. Edgren is the 2008 recipient of one of SIUC’s Excellence through Commitment Outstanding Administrative/Professional Awards. 

Edgren “is a strong advocate for SIUC,” wrote Sharon E. Walters, acting assistant director of the Office of Distance Education, in nominating Edgren for the teaching support excellence award. She credited Edgren for “leading the distance learning initiative at SIUC,” saying her work led to the University offering online semester-based courses with about 135 Information Systems and Applied Arts and 109 Workforce Education and Development course enrollments this spring and an average of 375-400 enrolled in online semester-based courses each semester.

“Without her leadership and determination, distance learning and off-campus programs at SIUC would not be what they are today,” concurred Mark R. Dixon, professor at the SIUC Rehabilitation Institute and one of the first recipients of a distance education grant for the Behavior Analysis and Therapy Program.

SIUC’s online students offer ample praise and admiration for Edgren, her assistance, and even her personal dedication and commitment to helping in any way possible.

Brandyn Cline recalled that as a single mother working on her degree at SIUC, she couldn’t afford the required textbook for an online course. When she inquired about completing the course without the book, Edgren offered to loan her the book, enabling her to successfully complete the course.

“Without Dr. Edgren’s assistance, I would have had to drop the course or try completing it without the textbook,” Cline wrote. “This probably would have meant my either failing the course or dropping below full-time and not being eligible for the Pell grant.”

Wynton Hodges praised the assistance of Edgren and her staff in helping him complete courses he had registered for before called to active duty in Iraq.

“Dr. Edgren and her staff were able to assist me in the process of completing the courses,” Hodges wrote. “Dr. Edgren was also willing to waive any fees that were not covered by my financial aid. Because of her assistance, I was able to complete my bachelor’s degree and have now started on my master’s degree from SIUC. Dr. Edgren definitely goes beyond the requirements in supporting not only SIUC students, but understands the needs of military students.”

John S. Haller Jr., Vice-president for Academic Affairs, also lauded Edgren for her work in preparing a faculty-mentoring program, and for her talents, hard work and devotion to SIUC.  “Dr. Edgren demonstrated a level of competence for which I was truly appreciative,” Haller wrote. “I found her to be a self-starter and a quick study in learning new concepts.”

Edgren’s involvement and commitment to SIUC are long-standing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics education and her master’s in consumer economics at SIUC, along with her doctorate in educational administration and higher education.

Her employment experience includes serving as a graduate assistant at the University’s Department of Family Economics and Management, as an intern in the Office of the Vice-president of Financial Affairs and with University Women’s Professional Advancement, as assistant to the chairperson in the Department of Finance and as academic advisor.

Within the Division of Continuing Education, Edgren has worked at the distance learning facility as instructional developer, program manager, assistant director and as associate director. Currently, as acting director, she’s the fiscal officer for more than $4 million and supervises about 60 employees. She recently led the search for a new assistant director for the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, and Walters noted that Edgren included all staff members in the process.

From helping initiate a religious diversity course to helping create a Web-based version of the course, Edgren’s efforts have bolstered enrollment and improved curriculum, according to Dale R. Bengtson, retired SIUC history professor.

Edgren, of Buncombe, has served on a variety of university, state and national committees dealing with planning and budget, collective bargaining, core curriculum, distance learning, education, intellectual property, non-traditional student initiatives, higher education and much more. Her newest SIUC initiative involves working with the Writing Center to develop a program so distance education and off-campus students can receive important help with writing and research.


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