Southern Illinois Instructional Technology Association | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The Southern Illinois Instructional Television Association (later Technology Association) consists of school districts in southern Illinois that assist Southern Illinois University in providing instructional television programs for the schools. SIITA provides direct instruction, exploration, experimentation, and evaluation in the use of instructional television. It arranges a schedule of classes to be televised over WSIU-TV Channel 8 in order to improve instruction to pupils at all levels, strengthen weak spots in the curriculum, and help classroom teachers. SIITA is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of educators throughout southern Illinois, staff at SIU, and an ex-officio member from the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The creation of SIITA coincided with the development of public broadcasting initiatives at Southern Illinois University and the establishment of WSIU-TV Channel 8 on November 6, 1961. The SIU administrators involved in the planning included President Delyte W. Morris, Vice President John E. Grinnell, Dr. William B. Tudor (Director of Area Services), and Buren C. Robbins (Director of the Broadcasting Service). The University obtained an $18,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in 1960 through which Dr. Jacob Bach, Head of the Educational Research Bureau at SIU, began planning programming with representatives from school districts who would utilize WSIU’s instructional television. Bach, SIU representatives, and area school representatives held a series of meetings throughout 1960 and 1961 discussing curriculum, educational television facilities needed, and administrative arrangements. They also held meetings to advertise the educational benefits of television throughout southern Illinois.
One aspect of the planning meetings included distributing a resolution authorizing schools to become a member of an association designed to facilitate instructional television. Bach and an Educational Television Committee held a meeting on March 15, 1961 of the interested school administrators at which a charter was presented to formalize their organization. They also previewed videotapes on instructional programming from National Educational Television and Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction. At this meeting the group discussed the charter and approved it with amendments, officially creating the Southern Illinois Instructional Television Association. Membership was open to any public or private school in southern Illinois.
The first Executive Committee consisted of: Area 1, J. Lester Buford (Mt. Vernon), Harry N. Irwin (Wayne County), Hubert Sutton (Fairfield); Area 2, Lee Booth (Herrin), Brose Phillips (Dorrisville), Carl Planinc (Johnston City); Area 3, William Buys (SIU University School), Ned Carlton (Randolph County), Leo Cummings (Ullin); Area 4, Carl Barton (Freeburg), Norman Beck (Monroe County), Marion Verton (Livingston). The SIU representatives on the Executive Committee were John E. Grinnell, William J. Tudor, and Jack B. Thomas.