Chancellor Message 7/10/09

Message to Campus
RE report on activites and accomplishments

I am very pleased to share with you another report on our community’s many activities and accomplishments. Despite the fact that we do not yet have a budget from the State - there is good news to report.

Development and External Relations

With the 2009 fiscal year at a close, UIC is poised to post one of our most successful fundraising years ever, all the more remarkable considering the challenges of our current economy. This fundraising success is a direct result of your efforts. Our alumni and friends recognize the value of your teaching, research and clinical care, and that recognition comes in at over $60 million in new designated philanthropic commitments this fiscal year, bringing our cumulative campaign total to more than $416 million.

In my five months on campus I have had the pleasure to meet generous donors in Chicago, and during development trips, in California, Arizona and New York. Their stories are inspiring. Our alumni appreciate the outstanding undergraduate and graduate education they received at UIC, their access to research opportunities and the extraordinary faculty that helped to shape their future. This profound connection to the superb experience shared by our UIC alumni has lead to generous expressions of gratitude. I salute you for helping us articulate our story, an essential element to successful private giving. I look forward to our continued partnership in securing support for UIC.

My meetings with donors are among many meetings I have had as I continue to learn more about this great campus and engage with the broader community. I was honored to be recognized at the recent Operation PUSH for Excellence Scholarship Gala as one of the educators of the year. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit with neighborhood and state leaders from the various communities in and around UIC. I participated in an open forum with UIC students, Trustees Larry Eppley and Ken Schmidt, university Vice President for Academic Affairs Meena Rao and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley. It is a privilege to serve as the campus ambassador to all of our constituents.

Global Campus

As part of the reconsideration of the Global Campus, within a very short two months, and preliminary advice from the Senate Executive Committee and the Deans, UIC joined UIS and UIUC in submitting a proposal to President White and the Board of Trustees for moving existing UIC-based offerings of the Global Campus back to our own on-line portfolio. UIC, already a state leader in online education, particularly in the health professions, has expanded access to undergraduates. UIC has emerged as a leader in “blended” learning, combining the advantages of online and face-to-face education. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education found that blended learning offers students the greatest opportunity for an enhanced learning experience. All three campuses will report these results at the July meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Select Research and Training Grants

As of this week, 25 UIC faculty members have received a total of $12.2 million in grants under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (federal stimulus program). Congratulations to these faculty members, to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and all at UIC who contribute to our vigorous research enterprise.

The search for a permanent Vice Chancellor for Research is well underway; four very distinguished candidates have been interviewed on campus. We are in the process of collecting feedback regarding the interviews in order to determine the next steps.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has awarded UIC’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory an additional $1.6 million to continue research and development for the “Gateway Traveler Information System.” Peter Nelson, dean of the College of Engineering, is principal investigator, and John Dillenburg, senior research scientist, is co-PI and the project manager. The system comprises a network of sensors and computer systems responsible for collecting and distributing travel-related information throughout a region encompassing Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The public can access this travel information at two websites: and The amended contract total is now more than $3.1 million.

The Jane Addams College of Social Work was selected as one of only nine social work programs in the United States to receive a five-year $538,000 grant from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to administer a new Child Welfare Traineeship Project. The project will help ensure that professionally educated social workers are prepared for child welfare work. The traineeship project is a collaboration of the college, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), ChildServ, Jane Addams Hull House Association, the Illinois African American Family Commission, and the Child Care Association of Illinois.

Chancellor Initiatives

I am very pleased to announce two new faculty and graduate student multidisciplinary initiatives for the upcoming year: the Chancellor’s Discovery Fund for Multidisciplinary Pilot Research Projects and the Chancellor’s Supplemental Graduate Fellowship Program. The Discovery Fund for Multidisciplinary Pilot Research Projects is a pilot grant program intended to support up to five new multidisciplinary collaborations led by emerging researchers at UIC. The purpose of this program will be to foster academic inquiry that draws upon the expertise of varied disciplines, to nurture the research career trajectories of promising early-stage investigators, and to help awardees leverage extramural funding. The Supplemental Graduate Fellowship Program will support increased multidisciplinary scholarship opportunities and exposure to careers in research and creative fields for graduate and professional students. More details will be provided in a forthcoming announcement. The websites for each initiative will be live at the time of this communication. Please visit both and

Select Faculty, Student and Staff Recognition

Bing Liu, professor of computer science and a 2008 University Scholar won an HP Labs Innovation Research Award to lead a joint project with the California-based research organization. Dr. Liu will head a project that aims to answer user queries by extracting and synthesizing information from across the Web and organizing it in a hierarchical fashion according to automatically discovered key concepts of the query topic.

Ryan Cohan, a jazz pianist and composer teaching at UIC, was awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship in the category of creative arts, music composition. Mr. Cohan, adjunct teaching associate, has taught large and small jazz ensembles since joining the campus faculty last year. He has served on the faculty of the Skidmore Jazz Institute in New York and as a clinician at music schools and universities internationally.

A team of graduate students from the Liautaud Graduate School of Business captured first place in the 2009 Licensing Executive Society Foundation International Graduate Student Business Plan Competition. The team won the recent finals in Montreal for their plan to improve treatment of major depressive disorders through their biotechnology company, Pax Neuroscience, Inc. Members of the UIC team are MBA students Christopher Shoemaker, David Miller, and Aben Cooper. Rod Shrader, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship and director of UIC’s Technology Ventures Program, is the team faculty adviser.

Luis Vargas, executive director of the office of research development services, has been named to the Advisory Board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Grants Resource Center for 2009-2011. The Center assists university and college administrators in strengthening their institutions by increasing their competitiveness for federal and private grants.


The UIC Department of Intercollegiate Athletics captured the 2008-09 Horizon League Men’s All-Sports Award. This was also the third time in he last four years that UIC finished among the League’s top two all-sports programs. The men’s all-sports award was presented to UIC Director of Athletics Jim Schmidt during the League’s Executive Council meeting.

Committee Appointment - UIC Medical Malpractice Oversight Committee

To review potential malpractice risk at outside facilities and develop recommendations for means to minimize these risks, I have charged a UIC Medical Malpractice Oversight Committee, co-chaired by William Chamberlin, chief medical officer for the Medical Center, and Tim McDonald, chief safety and risk officer for health affairs. In addition, they will be joined by Stuart Allen, Claims Manager, University Counsel; Fady Charbel, Professor and Head of Neurological Surgery; Arnim Dontes, Associate Dean for Fiscal Affairs, College of Medicine; Heather Haberaecker, Executive Assistant Vice President for Business and Finance; Francis Jatico, Director of Business and Development Services; P.J. Kale, Director, University Office of Risk Management; Vickie Levitske, Director of Finance, Medical Service Plan; Chris Mollet, Associate University Counsel; Jon Morelos, Operations Manager, College of Nursing; Peter Newman, Assistant Vice President for Treasury Operations; and J. Regan Thomas, Francis L. Lederer, Professor and Head of Otolaryngology. I extend my gratitude on behalf of the campus to my colleagues, for undertaking this enormous responsibility.

UIC Convocation

Finally, I hope all of you can join me at the annual UIC Convocation ceremony to welcome freshmen and transfer students. The event will take place at 3 p.m. Aug. 23 at the UIC Pavilion. All new students, their parents, UIC faculty and staff are invited. The Chancellor’s New Student Welcome Block Party, featuring food, games and entertainment, will immediately follow the ceremony.

I wish you a safe, happy and productive summer.


Paula Allen-Meares