Chancellor Message 3/14/11

Message to Campus
RE UIC Accomplishments

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Although the Provost and I have sent a variety of messages with regards to the budget, our strategic planning, and the admirable efforts of our staff during the blizzard, it will come as no surprise to you how much has happened since my last email in November that noted accomplishments from the UIC community. These are extremely unusual times, with conversations about the dire state budget, our pensions, and the unpredictability of the state's payments to the University. As of February 28 the State owes the University over $450 million of its FY 2011 operating expenses. In spite of these challenges, we continue to produce amazing work and we're on the cusp of graduating another group of future UIC alumni.

Select Chancellor Activities

There are far too many to list, but here are a few of the activities in which I've had the honor and pleasure to participate.

In December 2010, UIC hosted the first Mayoral Forum for the Chicago mayoral election. I had the pleasure of joining members for the Special Children's Charity-Special Olympics Chicago Breakfast Meeting, along with Mayor Daley and Chris Kennedy, Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. I was honored to host the Brookings Institution-London School of Economics Post Summit meeting. And Mayor Daley appointed me to the Michael Reese Hospital Site Tech Park Advisory Panel. Winter break was a well needed respite and, like you, I took the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends.

In January 2011, UIC hosted the first Board of Trustees meeting of the year. As I do with these communications, I shared some of the recent remarkable accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff with the board. In January President Hogan and I engaged the head of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) in discussions to maintain certain established and beneficial relationships with regards to the status of UIC. I arranged for President Stanley Ikenberry and Provost R. Michael Tanner to join the discussion via conference call and these discussions are continuing. I also participated in meetings with the President, Vice Presidents, and Deans, to focus on the budget and the Administrative Review and Restructuring Committee. I hosted members of our faculty at a breakfast meeting. This event is a recurring one, as I reach out to become more knowledgeable about our brilliant community. January also saw the annual UIC Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award Luncheon presented by the office of Barbara Henley, our Vice Chancellor for Student Services. The busy month of January continued with the ITW ribbon-cutting ceremony in the College of Engineering; the UIC Diversity Summit, including President Hogan's participation; and the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet.

February did not slow us down. UIC hosted the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board meeting; we held our second in the Chancellor's Lecture and Event series, this time featuring Professor Bob Rich, Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs; I joined the annual meeting for underrepresented faculty members and presented my list of aspirations to achieve holistic diversity; I participated with the President and other Chancellors at the University of Illinois Foundation board meeting in California; and we were honored to have President Hogan serve as Torch Bearer for a UIC Flames event.

On March 7, President Hogan was back on campus to join me in meeting with our Deans, Vice Chancellors, and Department Heads to discuss the budget, the Administrative Review and Restructuring Committee, the appropriations hearing in Springfield, pensions, and our relationship with the CIC. And on March 9 I participated at the Civic Consulting Board meeting where Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel was one of the speakers. I look forward to developing an excellent relationship between UIC and the new city administration.

Academic News

According to the National Research Council ranking of graduate Ph.D. programs, UIC's Department of English ranks at the very top of all graduate programs in English in the Chicago area (including Northwestern and the University of Chicago), and among the top 5 graduate programs in English in the Midwest. Congratulations to our superb Department of English faculty and staff for this well-deserved recognition.

The Center for Research on Women and Gender's Women in Science and Engineering program is among four organizations across the United States to receive the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Stacie Geller, G. William Arends Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Center, was present to receive the award in Washington from President Barack Obama.

Campus Research Updates

In spite of the daunting challenges to our state, our faculty and staff continue to bring in much-needed resources in the form of grants and awards. Their discoveries translate into practices that help us understand solutions addressing the human condition. Here is some uplifting data I'm delighted to share:

  • The FY2010 expenditures were just released, $374.1M in total sponsored program expenditures. Compared to our total expenditures of $331.5M in FY2008, that reflects a 12.8% increase. This significant growth in the percentage is due in great part to the increase in ARRA dollars. President Hogan spoke about the excellence of UIC's sponsored research program at the University of Illinois Foundation board meeting recently in California.
  • Total dollars in ARRA funds to date have reached $84 million. I would like to offer a special thanks to Larry Danziger, Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Design Research and Exploration (CADRE), and Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, for working with me to convene meetings to aggressively support and encourage grant submissions.
  • Chicago Biomedical Consortium: The Next Chapter
    The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust renewed its funding commitment to the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), a collaboration of UIC, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. The initial five-year funding commitment of $25 million, which concluded with a $5 million grant for 2010, supports and stimulates innovative, multi-institutional collaborations in research and education that have propelled the Chicago area, and UIC, to become a leader in biomedical sciences. We are truly grateful to Terry Mazany, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Chicago Community Trust, for his commitment and support.

A Few Select Faculty Grants

  • Natasha Devroye, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering, was awarded a prestigious $450,000 NSF CAREER award for research on the foundations of two-way communication networks. With this grant, Professor Devroye and her graduate students will seek a fundamental understanding of how to best communicate two-way exchanges of information over networks. Two-way exchanges of information are present everywhere: in cell phone conversations, data synchronization, teleconferencing and more.
  • Nathan Ellis, Visiting Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, was awarded almost $2 million from the National Cancer Institute. He will use cutting-edge DNA sequencing and high-throughput genetic technologies to analyze samples from African American patients with cancer of the colon or rectum, seeking to identify and characterize genetic factors that increase the risk of developing cancer. Professor Ellis will use the information from these studies to help healthy persons manage their risk of developing cancer.
  • Michael Gibisser, Teaching Assistant in the School of Art and Design, College of Architecture and the Arts, received a grant from the Princess Grace Foundation USA for $25,000, presented to emerging talents in theater, dance, and film. Gibisser's thesis project, a film called "The Day of Two Noons," is a personal documentary on the cultural context of Alzheimer's, both historically and in contemporary society.
  • Nissim Hay, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in the College of Medicine, was awarded almost $2 million from the National Cancer Institute to study pathways identified as the most frequently activated in human cancer. He will study the mechanisms by which the activation of these pathways contributes to the genesis of cancer, leading to the selective eradication of cancer cells.
  • Tamar Heller, Professor and Head of the Institute of Disability and Human Development in the College of Applied Health Sciences, was awarded over $500,000 from the Hope Institute for Children and Families for research on autism. The Autism Clinic and TAP Training Center, directed by Jennifer Gorski and co-directed by Elina Manghi, is a specialty clinic for children, adolescents, and adults with known or suspected Autism Spectrum Disorders. The clinic focuses on underserved urban minority groups in Chicago and surrounding areas.
  • Yulia Komarova, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in the College of Medicine, was awarded $1.5 million from the National Lung and Blood Institute to develop a protective agent against Acute Lung Injury, a major public health problem.
  • Ying Liu, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering, received a $1.2 million grant to design and test injectable compounds that can travel through the bloodstream to accumulate at sites of internal injury and bleeding. If successful, these compounds could be life-saving treatments to control internal bleeding in trauma patients being transported to hospitals for emergency surgery.
  • Lawrence Ouellet, Research Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Director of Community Outreach Intervention Projects in the School of Public Health, was awarded over $7 million dollars from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study effective ways to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS among inmates in Cook County Jail and more than two dozen state prisons.
  • New Endowed Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences
    A $2 million donation to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from the NoVo Foundation will support ongoing research in social and emotional learning. The gift from the Foundation, led by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, will establish the NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning, based in the Department of Psychology. The professor named to the endowed chair will oversee continuing research on social and emotional learning programs that promote children's positive behavior and school performance. Pending approval of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, Roger Weissberg, Professor of Psychology and Education, will be appointed to the position. Professor Weissberg is president of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, also known as CASEL.

A Few Select Faculty Honors

Our faculty members continue to bring recognition to their departments and to the campus. In so many varied areas, our devoted teaching community is a source of enormous pride.

  • Dr. Norman C. Estes, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, has been named to the Best Doctors in America list for 2011-2012.
  • Roberta Feldman, Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture and the Arts, and fellow researchers Bryan Bell, Sergio Palleroni, and David Perkes, were awarded the 2011 Latrobe Prize, a biannual research prize by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows to a jury-reviewed research project applicable to practice in the architecture profession. The AIA jury sought proposals for research to help understand and deal with the dramatic social, economic, environmental, and technological changes that have occurred in the wake of the Great Recession.
  • Cecilia Gerber and Siva Sivananthan, Professors of Physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, were elected fellows of the American Physical Society. Fellows are recognized for their original research and publications, significant innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology, teaching, or service to the organization. The Society names no more than one-half of one percent of its membership to fellow status each year.
  • Clare Lyster, Assistant Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture and the Arts, received the Best Design as Scholarship Article Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture for her article “New Ecologies of Airline Flow” in the Journal of Architectural Education.
  • Barbara Risman, Professor and Head of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received the 2011 American Sociological Association Award for Public Understanding of Sociology. The award is given annually to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to advance the public understanding of sociology, sociological research, and scholarship among the general public.
  • Guy Weinberg, Professor and Vice Head of Research in the Department of Anesthesiology, College of Medicine, received the 2010 American Society of Regional Anesthesia Distinguished Service Award. He is known for his pioneering work in the treatment of life-threatening local anesthetic toxicity.

Select Student Honors

Our students are another source of great pride. They continue to shine a light on our extraordinary community.

  • Six undergraduates received Benjamin A. Gilman scholarships for study abroad. The UIC students are among over 850 undergraduates awarded Gilman scholarships, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, for study abroad in the 2011 spring semester. Since 2006, UIC students have received 43 Gilman scholarships totaling about $183,000. This year's winners, their major and destinations are:
    • Sara Agate, senior, Political Science/Pre-med, Buenos Aires, Argentin
    • Lourdes Gonzalez, senior, Mathematics and French, Paris, France
    • Luis Gonzalez, junior, Criminology, Law, and Justice, Beijing, China
    • Nakendra Jackson, senior, Communication, Santiago, Dominican Republic
    • Ryshona Odeneal, senior, Biology/Pre-med, Santiago, Dominican Republic
    • Laura Montoya Quinchia, junior, Neuroscience/Pre-med, Sydney, Australia.
  • Eight students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received an Olive and Alfred Kuehn Scholarship for the 2010-2011 academic year. The scholarship is a one-year, renewable merit award. The students and their majors are:
    • Megan Brown, Applied Psychology
    • Yangfeifei Gao, Neuroscience
    • Natalie Krzyzanowski, Physics and Mathematics
    • Brittany Kuss, Applied Psychology
    • Dionisia Mathios, Anthropology and Criminology, Law, and Justice
    • Annie Neahring, English and Anthropology
    • Christine Oscai, Economics
    • Fae Rabin, Political Science and Philosophy.
  • The College of Dentistry received the Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award for its work treating homeless patients at a student-operated oral health center in Chicago. More than 75 UIC dental students volunteer their time and talents every other Saturday at Goldie's Place, 5705 North Lincoln Ave. The clinic has grown from a one-chair operation 14 years ago to a four-operatory dental suite, with additional space for a laboratory and sterilization room. Sponsored by the American Dental Association Foundation, the Tarrson Award annually highlights dental student outreach to vulnerable communities. Through Goldie's Place, UIC dental students experience first-hand lessons from an underserved population and a great focus of the UIC mission in the health sciences.
  • A team of graduate students took three top awards at the annual Concept2Venture Business Plan Competition on campus. Their winning plan centers on a faith-based community health center in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. Benjamin Preyss, a fourth-year medical student and MBA candidate, is executive director of the New Life Community Health Center. Other members of the team include first-year MBA candidate Himanshu Sharma and second-year MBA candidate Areli Castañeada. Maija Renko, Assistant Professor of Managerial Studies, taught the social entrepreneurship course and served as the winning team's project mentor.
  • The U.S. Department of State, headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, awarded paid internships to two UIC students: Jorge Ramirez, majoring in Criminal Justice, and Luis Andrade, majoring in Urban Planning. These Internships are very competitive. Approximately 12,000 students applied for 1,200 positions in Washington, D.C., or at Embassies and Consulates around the world.


We have really great news from the Brilliant Futures Campaign. The total committed for this fiscal year through January 31 is $67.6 million, and the new campaign total is $526.5 million. We are on track to have our best year ever. I thank all who are involved in the campaign for their special efforts and commitment to UIC.

Upcoming Events

The final event in the Chancellor's Series of Lectures and Events will be "The Foxy Widow" by Carlo Goldoni, a production by the Department of Performing Arts. The website has all the details and more. We are currently planning next year's series and will announce events and lectures for the 2011-2012 soon.

I want to encourage you to visit the Chancellor's website to see extended stories about events I've described briefly here, photos, videos, presentations, and letters I've written over the course of my work at UIC to date.

Please accept my admiration for all you do to support UIC every day.

Paula Allen-Meares
John Corbally Presidential Professor