Chancellor Message 9/28/11

Message to Campus
RE Fall 2011 News

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

By now you're well into your fall routine, classes are underway and UIC is bustling with events. I want to take this opportunity to share a few significant campus highlights. I can't possibly cover all the great research, discoveries, and innovations that take place every day, but I'm proud to showcase some accomplishments.

Quality Health Care for All

Chicago is a city with some of the best health care in the world, but there are communities right next door and across Illinois where people don't receive the care they need. One focus of the UIC goals statement is to address health disparities, as well as economic and educational disparities.

Improving the lives of vulnerable populations is central to the University's community service mission and critical to the success of our health care enterprise. We have an opportunity to deliver personalized medicine to a racially and ethnically diverse patient population and achieve a better understanding of disease and disease processes. This will yield higher quality, more affordable care to all our patients and the citizens of Illinois.

Central to our efforts in addressing health disparities is the establishment of the Institute for Minority Health Research (IMHR) and the recruitment of Martha Daviglus, MD, PhD, as its first Director.

Dr. Daviglus received an MD from the University of St. Simon School of Medicine, an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of South Florida, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Illinois. She will join us, pending approval from the Board of Trustees, from Northwestern University, where she is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Medicine (Geriatrics) and Principal Investigator on the NIH-sponsored Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). The project, with over 4,000 enrolled participants, is a six-and-a-half year, multidisciplinary study of health and disease among Hispanic and Latino populations.

As Director of the Institute, Dr. Daviglus will encourage collaboration among researchers across campus who are working to improve the health of underserved populations. The Institute will be the focus for studies on the epidemiology and prevention of asthma, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, and other high-risk health problems. Under her leadership, the Institute will develop new methods of prevention and treatment to improve health care quality, eliminate health disparities, and increase the quality of life.

Engineering and Medicine Join Forces

This year marks an important milestone for the historically strong partnership between our colleges of Engineering and Medicine. After two years of intensive planning, we repositioned our Department of Bioengineering within both colleges. Modeled after departments at Stanford and Johns Hopkins, this realignment will integrate engineering and biomedicine.

This will allow us to incorporate translational research as part of the big picture and target areas such as imaging, cancer, heart and lung, regenerative medicine, and neuroscience. UIC will have the only bioengineering department in Illinois jointly operated by colleges of Engineering and Medicine, providing unparalleled opportunities for students and faculty.

Record Enrollment

The total on-campus head count for Fall 2011 is 27,580, including 16,911 undergraduates, 8,012 graduate students, and 2,657 professional students. For the second year in a row, these numbers represent the largest enrollment total in UIC history, and the highest undergraduate head count since 1985.

For many years there has been no racial or ethnic majority among UIC students, and that remains the case for Fall 2011. Undergraduate figures are 42.4 percent white, 21.9 percent Hispanic/Latino, 21.3 percent Asian, and 8 percent African American. Figures for the total campus are 45.8 percent white, 18.1 percent Asian, 16.7 percent Hispanic/Latino, and 8.2 percent African American.

In addition, UIC welcomed 3,400 students to our residence halls.

New Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

It's a pleasure for me to welcome Lon Kaufman in his new role as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. Lon exemplifies the passion, intellect, and commitment of the UIC community. His long and distinguished tenure at UIC includes serving as Head of Biological Sciences, one of the largest undergraduate programs on campus. He was Dean of the Honors College and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs, where he led the development of the UIC College Prep High School. He co-chaired the Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning Committee, and has been a motivating force behind many of our landmark efforts to retain students, such as the new Summer College for incoming freshmen and the opening of three major learning centers. He shares my vision for our future, and I look forward to working with him.

A Big Thank You

I extend my admiration and deep gratitude to Jerry Bauman, who served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost over the past nine months. Dr. Bauman has returned to his position as Dean of the College of Pharmacy, which is ranked third nationally in total federal research funding and remains among the best in the country. UIC was very fortunate to have such an excellent and well-respected member of our community step in as Interim Provost during what could only be characterized as challenging times.

New Dean in Applied Health Sciences

Bo Fernhall will become Dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences October 1. This appointment follows Dean Charlotte "Toby" Tate's return to the faculty after ten years of leading the college to its position of national prominence. Dr. Fernhall is a recognized expert in exercise physiology, especially for persons with disabilities. He has almost three decades of experience directing cardiac rehabilitation programs and conducting research on cardiovascular function and lifetime health. We owe Dean Tate our gratitude for her excellent stewardship of the college as we welcome Dr. Fernhall.

New Vice Provost for Enrollment Services

Kevin Browne, our new Vice Provost for Academic and Enrollment Services, will spearhead our efforts as we launch a Student Recruitment Plan that will target not only the greater Chicago metropolitan area, but the nation and our international partners.

Budget Challenges Continue

In spite of all the good development news, the uncertainty over General Revenue Funds (GRF) from the state remains an overriding concern. That is our fiscal reality. Higher education is changing around the nation in fundamental ways due to the erosion of GRF support. The model of a public system for education is challenged by the downward trend in public dollars. Higher education, in particular public higher education, should be viewed as a common good to promote the welfare of the nation and its people, yet the lack of public support does not reflect that.

Most of our donor funds are restricted to specific purposes: research grants, hospital costs, or designated programs. We count on GRF funds to support our key resources: people (faculty, staff, and students) and infrastructure. As of September 12, the state still owed $318 million of our appropriation for FY2011. The payment schedule is episodic, making planning difficult at best.

In recent news, Governor Pat Quinn announced his intention to lay off more than 1,900 state workers and close several mental health facilities. While this scenario is still playing out, it illustrates the challenging context within which we operate as a public state-supported institution. In spite of these challenges, we continue to carry out UIC's mission of teaching, research and service.

Sustainability in Action

  • The U of I Open Source Textbook Initiative is a great example of sustainability in action. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, secured by Senator Dick Durbin, the university just completed an open source, introductory, online "textbook," Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation. The text, which includes contributions from scholars throughout the University, explores the expanding field of sustainability from the perspective of multiple disciplines. It will be available free this spring.
  • Douglas Hall, the new home of the College of Business Administration, reopened in time for Fall semester with a completely renovated interior that features collaboration hubs, break-out areas, and conference rooms equipped with the latest technology. The structure has green features such as geothermal wells, solar panels, automated interior lights, water savers, and automated cooling/heating. The university will apply for LEED Gold certification, a rating system for energy-efficient construction. We hope Douglas Hall will join Lincoln Hall as a LEED-certified building.

Chicago Biomedical Consortium

The Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) supports a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry facility in the College of Pharmacy, and provides funds for a summer workshop. Last year, two junior CBC faculty fellows were recruited to the College of Pharmacy and the Department of Bioengineering.

Our thanks go to Brenda Russell, former Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, who retired in June after seven years as UIC representative to the CBC. Brian Kay, Professor and Head of Biological Sciences, has assumed this role. Dr. Kay will chair a search committee to recruit a senior researcher in systems biology, using a $1 million gift for recruitment. He organized a Catalyst Grant application workshop at UIC, which resulted in 10 UIC faculty applying for funds (the grants are $200,000 per year for two years).

Research and Innovation

  • The UIC Library is leading a project to plan a portal to the historical collections of 14 museums, universities and libraries that make up the Chicago Collections Consortium. Users will find detailed lists of each archive's contents and digitized materials that may be viewed online.
  • The City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications chose UIC for a project funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program. The project will focus on an area that includes Chicago and counties in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
  • The UIC Artificial Intelligence Lab received a $4.2 million contract from the Illinois Department of Transportation to continue development of the Gateway Traveler Information System. The project, which created the first online, real-time traffic information map in the 1990s, receives over 500 million hits per year. Pete Nelson, Computer Science Professor and Engineering Dean, is principal investigator; John Dillenburg, Associate Director of the Artificial Intelligence Lab, is co-PI. The ongoing project has received over $15 million in funding.
  • Researchers in the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology received a federal contract for nearly $14 million to develop antibiotics to treat anthrax, tularemia and plague. The five-year contract was awarded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense's combat-support agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.
  • The UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy and the College of Medicine received a $3 million federal grant to improve diabetes management in minority patients. The grant will fund a five-year study of a new intervention to improve lifestyle behaviors, medication compliance and intensified therapy for minority patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. This kind of research meets our mission to address health disparities among our underserved minority population.
  • UIC researchers led by Venkat Venkatakrishnan, Associate Professor of Computer Science, received a $3.2 million grant to combat computer viruses, identity theft and other online security and privacy threats. The five-year National Science Foundation grant funds a multidisciplinary doctoral-level training program that produces graduates prepared to lead the fight against cyber crime.
  • I am pleased to announce that we will continue to fund the Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Award again this year — due to its success, at three times the initial investment! This integration of undergraduate students into our research activities pays off in many ways. Through this program, we increase undergraduate research and other creative and scholarly experiences, as well as awareness of Federal Work Study as an option for paying undergraduate research assistants. This year, up to 120 undergraduates who are eligible for Federal Work Study will work as research assistants at no cost to faculty or departments, because my office will pay the campus portion (currently 25 percent) of the work study award.

This incentive fosters partnerships among colleges, schools, and programs as we expand research opportunities for undergraduates. I want to extend my appreciation to Bette Bottoms, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Dean of the Honors College, for helping to facilitate this program.

Outstanding Faculty

  • Michael J. Anderson, director of choral and vocal studies, was elected president of the International Federation for Choral Music. He will work on global events like the first World Choral Summit in Beijing, China, and the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul, Korea.
  • Judy Bolton, Professor and Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and Michael Trenary, Professor of Chemistry, were elected fellows of the American Chemical Society.
  • Orbert Davis, Clinical Associate Professor of Jazz, was artist in residence for this year's Chicago Jazz Festival, sponsored by the city and the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
  • A company started by Alan Feinerman, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized by the nonprofit Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries Organization as one of its 2011 Top 10 Defense Energy Technology Solutions companies.
  • Jason Leigh, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory in the College of Engineering and the School of Art and Design, was profiled January 26 on the PBS "NOVA ScienceNow" program. The show featured his pioneering work on intelligent human avatars that may be programmed to live well after mere mortals pass on.
  • Emily Minor, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, and Kevin Matteson, Visiting Research Assistant Professor, received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study bees and other insect pollinators in city landscapes and neighborhoods.
  • Luisa DiPietro, Professor of Periodontics and Director of the Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration, was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry by Dental Products Report magazine. Earlier this year, she received the Faculty Mentor Award from the American Association of Dental Research National Student Research Group.
  • Shannon Zenk, Assistant Professor of Health Systems Science, was selected for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program (only 12 nurse educators from around the country are named each year). She also won the prestigious Midwest Nursing Research Society's Young Investigator Award. Please note: our College of Nursing is ranked sixth in NIH funding.
  • Lenore Zuck, Associate Professor of Computer Science, is among scientists working to develop networked satellites, which have advantages of cost, effectiveness, and security over traditional single satellites. She is a principal investigator, with University of Pittsburgh researchers, in a study funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Outstanding Students

  • Provost Lon Kaufman and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley jointly convened the first official meeting of the Undergraduate Policy Council, primarily deans with undergraduate programs in their colleges. While there are many existing committees whose hard work improves the success of our students, this council moves that priority to the highest level by engaging the deans directly in policy making previously made in a less centralized and less focused process.
  • Computer science doctoral student Anushka Anand was invited to serve a one-year term as student member of the board of trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California. She joins fellow computer science PhD students Alberto Tretti and Habiba in winning the "50 for the Future" award from the Illinois Technology Foundation.
  • Michael Lewis, a Ph.D. student in computer science and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, is the only computer science student in Illinois to receive the 2011-2012 Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship. Lewis is a former community organizer who has worked in scientific visualization and virtual-reality programming.
  • As of January 2011, UIC graduate students brought in over $2 million in stipend funds from external agencies. That includes 26 international Fulbrights and 15 individual predoctoral awards from the NIH.

Giving Goes Up

Since the beginning of the Brilliant Futures campaign — particularly over the last three years — giving has accelerated despite the recession. Last year is the third best year ever in a row, with a record $95 million in giving. As of June 30, we reached an astounding total of $588 million. We hope to close the campaign in January 2012 exceeding our target of $650 million.

Recent Events

  • The Annual UIC Leadership Retreat was held on campus August 18. Lon and I spoke about the state of UIC. This year's keynote speaker was James Duderstadt, President Emeritus of the University of Michigan and Director of the Millennium Project. Dr. Duderstadt, an international leader in higher education, discussed the profound changes affecting public universities. He was adamant — as I am — that while UIC is a young campus, we are well positioned as we approach our 30th anniversary to excel at an even more extraordinary pace. Our location in Chicago, and our signature programs and institutes — such as the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Great Cities Institute, the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, and a full complement of health science colleges — make us the most comprehensive public research university in the Chicago area. Both Dr. Duderstadt, and Al Bowman, President of Illinois State University who was a guest panelist, encouraged UIC to pursue AAU membership. We thank President Michael Hogan for participating and Don Chambers, Professor and Chair of the University Senates Conference, for moderating the panel.
  • UIC previewed the documentary "The Interrupters," about the CeaseFire violence prevention program, conceived by Epidemiology Professor Gary Slutkin and based in the School of Public Health. The documentary is playing in cities across the nation to sold-out crowds and outstanding critical reviews. Dr. Slutkin's work, proven to reduce violence on the streets of Chicago, is a model for other efforts nationwide.
  • A record crowd of 4,700 students, family, friends, and faculty members attended the annual New Student Convocation August 21, which welcomed and introduced new students to UIC. This was followed by the Chancellor's Block Party and BBQ. President Hogan joined the celebration with a heartfelt welcome, visiting with our new students and their families.
  • At the annual UIF at UIC Day September 9, we invited donors and friends to see first-hand the results of their generosity. Several UIC students told their stories as examples of how giving directly affects their lives. Our thanks to the staffs of the Office of Development and Office of the Chancellor for coordinating this excellent event.

The Chancellor's Lecture and Event Series

  • The 2nd Annual Chancellor's Lecture and Event Series got off to an excellent start with an exhibit at Jane Addams' Hull-House Museum, Unfinished Business: Art and Democracy. The exhibit explores the history of Hull-House's commitment to the arts and the importance of creative expression as a cultural and social right.
  • We were honored to host Dr. Eboo Patel, who presented "On Religious Particularity and American Pluralism: Jews and Muslims Building Community and Country" September 14. We co-sponsored the event with the Jewish-Muslim Initiative and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Our thanks to Professor Sam Fleischacker and Dean Astrida Tantillo.
  • On Tuesday, September 27, we welcomed Eduardo Fernández, one of today's leading classical guitarists. The free concert was open to all.
  • On November 1 we will hear from David Owen, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and author of the book Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability.

Governor Requests to Meet with Alumni as Part of Mission to China

As part of his trade mission to Asia, Governor Quinn lunched with UIC and Urbana campus alumni September 20 at SINOMACH, China's third largest construction company. The Governor and his delegation met with more than 60 alumni (25 from UIC) and high-level corporate and government officials. The university alumni association estimates there are nearly 3,000 UIC alumni in China.

Gift of Fun

Being in the hospital is no fun for kids, but a gift from two alumni will help. Two Starlight Fun Centers — with LCD television, DVD player and Nintendo Wii gaming system — were donated to the Children's Hospital University of Illinois by Carol and Roger Shiffman of Highland Park. Roger Shiffman is the global board chairman of the Starlight Children's Foundation and a member of the UIC Alumni Leadership Academy.

Great News for Sports at UIC: NCAA Accreditation

Our Division I Intercollegiate Athletic Program has been recertified by the NCAA. As a result, there will be no need for a site visit. My thanks to Jennifer Woodard, Steering Committee Chair, and to Jim Schmidt, Tonya McGowan, Denny Wills, Sam Rush and the rest of the athletics support team; to Michael Crumbock for writing and coordinating our online reporting; and subcommittee chairs Donna Williamson, Caryn Bills, and Emanuel Pollack.

Upcoming Events

The fall season is packed with events. Here are just a few:

  • On October 1, UIC Pediatrics hosts a fundraising luncheon for the Children's Hospital University of Illinois, Fantastical Fall Festival, A Children's Event, featuring a costume fashion show sponsored by Disney. This will be a great event for your friends with children and grandchildren.
  • The University of Illinois Alumni Association will host its signature event at UIC, the Alumni V Award Dinner, on October 14 at Student Center East. Those honored this year include Marsha Cassidy, Lecturer in English, who will receive the UIC Distinguished Service Award. Walgreens will be recognized with the UIC Corporate Partner Award. All are invited; limited seats are still available.
  • The Hispanic Center of Excellence celebrates its 20th anniversary October 15. The center, established in 1991 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, addresses the shortage of Latino and Latina physicians. At UIC, home to the largest medical school in the nation, we are among the best in the country in graduating underrepresented minority physicians and other health care specialists, who often return to serve in their communities.

The UIC Family

My thanks to all members of this fine community. Each of us in some way impacts the rest. We are all here for a greater purpose: to make the discoveries that transform lives, to educate the next generation of leaders, and to contribute to the greater good of our city, state, nation, and world.

Paula Allen-Meares
Vice President of the University of Illinois
Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago
John Corbally Presidential Professor