A Message from the Chancellor

Select Recent Activities and Events

Dear Colleagues,

As has become customary, I write to provide an update on select recent activities that have taken place since the start of this year, as well as future activities.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees

January Board Meeting and UIC Campus Insights
To coincide with the January Board of Trustees meeting, UIC hosted the annual Campus Insights on January 22, themed UIC: Making a Transformative Impact.  We invited members of our faculty, students, and alumni to make presentations on their work and illustrate the varied ways we affect change for the positive.  This year, we showcased our work to elected officials, donors, alumni, and friends. UIC will present another Campus Insights program on November 12 to highlight the astonishing discoveries and innovations taking place at UIC every day—one of the most important things we can do to generate interest and support. Videos of the January Campus Insights are available online.

March Board Meeting and UIC Health Science Reorganization
I appointed a task force to review the proposed reorganizational structure outlined at the November Board meeting, charged to provide recommendations in advance of the March Board meeting.  These recommendations were shared with President Robert Easter and me, along with the report prepared by the Senate. 

Final plans for the proposed reorganization were reviewed by the University Healthcare System Committee last month and formally approval at the March 6 Board of Trustees meeting.  The realignment will eliminate the Vice President position and create a Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs position.  The deans of the seven health science colleges and schools will report to the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.  Integrating teaching and research into clinical care will create opportunities for collaboration among academic units, and the reorganization will be fully implemented when the new vice chancellor is hired in early 2015.  A link to the formal announcement can be found online.

Campus-wide Committees

Hispanic Serving Institution Designation Task Force
The first meeting of the Hispanic Serving Institution Designation Task Force was held on February 17, co-chaired by Tyrone Forman, Vice Provost for Diversity and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, and Aixa Alfonso, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.  These efforts are just part of our strategy to foster student success and underscore our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.  On March 7, the task force formally submitted the Application for Designation as an Eligible Institution to the U.S. Department of Education, with a four-week notification process.

National Academies Committees
To identify and advocate UIC faculty for memberships in the important and varied national academies, I established the UIC National Academies Committee in February 2010.  The committee has developed strategies to position and advance our faculty for consideration in these national academies and notable honorific societies, and will discuss these issues at its next meeting next month.


African American and Latino Advisory Council Meetings
Last year, I appointed two council advisory groups of community leaders who serve UIC’s diverse constituencies.  Past  meetings have included presentations and discussions on admissions, enrollment, Hispanic Serving Institute Designation, Institute for Minority Health Research, LARES, and underrepresented faculty. .  This month, the African American Advisory Council met to recap efforts from the initial meeting and introduce Dr. Forman to community leaders.  The Latino Advisory Council will meet in April to discuss the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, Mile Square Health Centers, and the Undergraduate Success Program.


Student Afternoon Break with Chancellor
On March 4, Vice Chancellor Barbara Henley, Student Trustee Danielle Leibowitz and I held the annual Afternoon Break with the Chancellor.  These annual gatherings with student leaders provide an invaluable opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics.  

Appointments of the Chancellor

CEOs for Cities National Leadership Council
I was recently appointed to serve on the National Leadership Council of the CEOs for Cities.  The Council consists of leaders who provide advice, guidance, and support to CEOs for Cities and participate in the CEOs for Cities network.

IOM Awards Committee
I was reappointed by the President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to serve on the IOM Member Awards Committee.  Previously, I served on the IOM Membership Committee. 

State, Federal and International Engagement

Conference of Women Legislators
Along with my fellow chancellors, I was invited to present on February 26 at the annual Conference of Women Legislators, co-chaired by Representative Jill Tracy and Senator Jacqueline Collins.  The Conference of Women Legislators is a bipartisan caucus of women elected to the Illinois General Assembly with the goal to advance public policies that improve the quality of life for women, children and families in Illinois.  The evening concluded with an invitation by members of the Black Caucus to attend a reception at the Governor’s mansion in Springfield.

Obama Presidential Library
Last fall, I appointed an exploratory committee to facilitate UIC’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library.  We are awaiting the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the Barack H. Obama Foundation, which we anticipate will be made public within the next week.  The RFQ will solicit interest and enumerate the core elements and criteria for the site selection process.  In May, the Foundation will issue a Request for Proposals to the most competitive institutions, requesting comprehensive proposals for evaluation. The Foundation expects to select a site in early 2015.

International Dignitaries
As a campus with a growing international reputation, UIC has been honored to host foreign dignitaries. It was my pleasure to welcome The Honorable Faisal Trimizi, Consul General of Pakistan, on January 27.

Dedications and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies

Mile Square Health Center Dedication
We began 2014 with the dedication and grand opening of the first federally qualified health center in the Chicago area to offer urgent care and specialty care, including mammography services.  The new Mile Square Health Center is a five-story, 122,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which will serve more than 76,000 patient visits within its first year of operation.
The facility is new headquarters for the Mile Square Health Centers, comprising 12 sites throughout Chicago, Cicero and South Shore, managed by UI Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

High Performance Computer Cluster Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
It was my pleasure to attend the opening of the new High Performance Computing Cluster on February 4.  The $2.4 million facility, housed in the Roosevelt Road Building, has 3,000 processors, 22,000 gigabytes of RAM and 1 petabyte (a quadrillion bytes) of disk storage. The cluster is a campus-wide initiative of the UIC Information Technology and Governance Council Research Committee and its High Performance Computing subcommittee; the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research; Academic Computing and Communications Center; Office of the Provost; and Administrative Information Technology Services.  This facility significantly expands UIC’s research computing capabilities in many areas, including informatics and “big data” as well as student training in cluster and cloud-based computing. These efforts will make our graduates more attractive and boost our competitiveness among other universities.

Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation
In an announcement from the White House last week, UI Labs received a grant of $70 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense to create a Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a research center in Chicago for digital manufacturing technology.  UIC’s role in the proposal focuses on its strengths in computer visualization and technical workforce development. The institute will apply cutting-edge mobile, cloud and high-performance computing technologies to manufacturing challenges, reducing costs through greater use of technology, from robotics to visualization.  

Development and Fundraising
Development Retreat  
On February 5, I held a campus mini-retreat to discuss the Roadmap, a comprehensive plan to significantly improve the fundraising program of all three campuses  The Deans, Vice Chancellors, and select leaders from our major institutes attended.  Tom Farrell, Jeff Nearhoof, and Dan Lowman, an external consultant, presented at the retreat. 

Legacies and Leaders
Please join me at the first annual “Evening with Legacies and Leaders” April 4.  This event is UIC’s premier donor relations event celebrating the impact of private giving, co-hosted with the University of Illinois Foundation. The program honors individual donors and the UIC William Winter Award recipient, which illustrates the impact that private gifts have made. Contact Jeff Nearhoof for more information regarding this event.

Select Visits and Events

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Previously, I served on the Gates Foundation Postsecondary Grantee Convening Advisory Committee.  I invited Suzanne Walsh, Deputy Director of the Gates Foundation, to meet with senior administrators and student leadership on April 22 to discuss the Foundation’s Postsecondary Success program, which aims to dramatically increase the number of young people who obtain a postsecondary degree or certificates with labor-market value.

Chancellor’s Lecture and Event Series
As part of the annual programming of the lecture and event series, I write to share with you these events:

  • On March 17, the Rev. Jesse Jackson reflected on his long and varied career, and the state of justice movements today, especially with regard to peace, poverty, prisons and education –the unfinished agenda of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Eleven-term Congressman Luis Gutierrez will meet with students and community members to read from and discuss his memoir, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill, on April 7.  Afterwards, the Congressman will join members of UIC student organizations, faculty and staff for a reception in the Latino Cultural Center, sponsored by the Union for Puerto Rican Students.
  • Scott Dikkers, Founding Editor of The Onion and Current VP of Creative Development, will talk to students, faculty and staff on the topic of “Leadership and Creative Risk” on April 11.  Dikkers tell the tale of his early struggles to make a living in the comedy business, leading to his role in getting The Onion off to a shaky start, and how the publication achieved great success.

Please be sure to visit our website for additional events and Fall programming.  I look forward to sharing more good news and updates in the upcoming months.

Warmest regards,