Chancellor Message to Campus

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

I write today to share select updates of meetings, initiatives, and activities I've been engaged with across campus as I strive to keep our profile high, and convey to everyone the excellence of UIC.

I would like to start by sharing some good news regarding the Chancellor's Innovation Fund. At the last Senate Executive Committee, I stated that the Innovation Fund was being established at UIC in partnership with Illinois Ventures, with a goal to position UIC as a leader in technology acceleration. The innovation fund links emerging technologies, federally funded innovation grants, alumni, donors, corporations, investors and the greater community. The fund would provide milestone-based funding to improve commercialization potential and invest in UIC startups to accelerate innovation. The campus has formalized a memorandum of understanding with Illinois Ventures and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Trustee Edward McMillan, chair of Illinois Ventures, for his support and guidance, and Nancy Sullivan, Interim CEO and Senior Managing Director, for her dedication to this initiative.

College Faculty Meetings

Recently, President Bob Easter and I held "coffees" with each of the colleges' faculty members to discuss goals and objectives as well as to have candid conversations together to discuss various issues. These meetings occurred in February and March. The College of Medicine and Education are yet to be scheduled.

  • College of Engineering, 2/8
  • College of Pharmacy, 2/15
  • College of Architecture and the Arts, 2/27
  • College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, 2/27
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2/27
  • College of Applied Health Sciences, 2/28
  • College of Dentistry, 2/28
  • College of Nursing, 2/28
  • College of Business Administration, 2/28
  • Honors College, 3/13
  • Jane Addams College of Social Work, 3/13
  • Library, 3/13
  • School of Public Health, 3/14
  • Graduate College, 3/14

Budget Town Hall Meetings

Provost Lon Kaufman and I hosted two campus-wide town hall meetings on March 18th and 20th regarding the FY2014 budget outlook. An open question-and-answer session was held followed by short presentations from David Merriman, Professor and Associate Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and Frank Goldberg, Vice Provost for Resource Planning and Management. Provost Kaufman and Saul Weiner, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and Medical Education, and Vice Provost for Planning and Programs, joined Vice Provost Goldberg and Professor Merriman in addressing questions from those present.

FY 2014 Budget Planning Meetings

On April 9th, Provost Kaufman and I met with President Easter and University Administration senior administrators to discuss the FY2013 budget and plan for the FY2014 budget, given President Easter's testimony before the House and Senate Appropriations committees in April. The campus budget planning is currently underway and meetings with Vice Chancellors and the Deans will conclude in the next few weeks to discuss their FY2014 financial planning.

University Administration Review

In November, President Easter announced the initiation of a comprehensive review of our University administrative units. As the university faces a challenging financial climate and a constrained budget, it is important that we take steps to ensure that we are using our available resources in the most effective manner. My fellow chancellors and I have met with several of the review teams to provide comments to be included in the reports.

Searches

The campus has just concluded interviews for the deanships of the Colleges of Education and Architecture, Design and Arts, as well as campus interviews for Executive Director of IGPA and the Vice Provost for Diversity. We are currently undergoing a search for the Vice Chancellor for Development and Vice Chancellor for Administrative Service. I am pleased with the conclusion of the Executive Associate Chancellor for External and Governmental Affairs search and look forward to the arrival of Michael Redding on April 30th.

Chancellor's Status Committees

The Chancellor's Committees were established to promote the development of educational, professional, and career opportunities among the various constituents. I recently met with the Status Committees to review their progress throughout the past year and their upcoming goals. The committees represent a strong commitment to diversity and create and sustain many important initiatives. Each status committee acts as an advisory group to the Chancellor. These committees and their initiatives directly strengthen the diversity of our University and help UIC maintain its position as one of the most diverse universities in the nation.

  • Chancellor's Committees on the Status of Asian Americans, 3/11
  • Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Blacks, 3/12
  • Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Latinos, 3/12
  • Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Allies, 3/18
  • Chancellor's Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities, 3/19
  • Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women, 3/20

Chancellor's Afternoon Break with Student Leadership

On April 11th, Trustee Ken Thomas, Vice Chancellor Barbara Henley and I hosted an afternoon break with student leaders. This meeting, or break as we've come to refer to these gatherings, has provided a platform for a healthy intellectual exchange of ideas and for me, there is nothing as important as being engaged with the student community of the University so that in my role, I am best able to serve your needs, as you journey through your academic career at UIC. I took this opportunity to update the student leaders on new facilities, administrative appointments and searches, and efforts I've continued to make to promote UIC to our legislative delegation and other external constituents.

40th Anniversary of the School of Public Health

The School of Public Health, the only accredited school of public health in Illinois, celebrated 40 years of teaching, research, and service at a gala at the Field Museum on Saturday, April 13. The event hosted over 700 people making it one of the largest alumni events in our history. The celebration featured Keynote speaker and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, who is best known for leading Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that helped to end Liberia's 14-year civil war in 2003. It was my privilege to extend the welcome at this event and to visit with friends and alumni.

Development Activities

The Curtis Granderson Baseball Stadium

Alumnus Curtis Granderson has pledged the funding for a new, multi-million-dollar baseball stadium on campus. The ballpark will be home for UIC Flames Baseball, but more importantly, the facility is intended to serve area youth and the Chicago community. Partnerships with Major League Baseball, Chicago Public Schools, and various youth organizations will provide community access to the aptly named Curtis Granderson Stadium for a multitude of events.

The Wood Foundation Scholarship

It was my pleasure to join Governor Pat Quinn and Kerry and Sarah Wood at the April 24th press conference announcing the establishment of a new scholarship for Honors College students who have demonstrated financial need and academic ability.

M. Christine Schwartz Experiential Learning Laboratory, Lobby and Seminar Rooms

The M. Christine Schwartz Experiential Learning Laboratory, the M. Christine Schwartz Lobby, and the M. Christine Schwartz Research Seminar Rooms will be named in recognition of a $2.2 million gift from M. Christine Schwartz and the T & C Schwartz Family Foundation. The donor's gift will be used to improve the physical environment of the College of Nursing building, built in 1969, in order to enhance the educational climate and safety of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. The gift will fund the construction, design, permitting of and/or equipment and furniture related to the escalator removal, and renovation project at the College of Nursing.

Chancellor's Lecture Series

One of my earliest ambitions at UIC was to establish a lecture and event series devoted to urgent topics and relevant activities, to provoke intellectual discussions across disciplines, and to engage our internal and external communities. I also wanted to encourage more collaboration within our colleges, departments, and programs, and to bring varied and informed points of view to highlight contemporary challenging issues.

I'm pleased to note that this is now our fourth year of this series and we haven't missed a beat. From food deserts, the environment and sustainability, to social justice and urban challenges, we have not shied away from any conversation.

During this past few years we've been honored to feature: Francis Collins, Head of the National Institutes of Health, and leader of the Human Genome Project; David Owen, staff writer for the New Yorker, who spoke about environmentalism in the urban setting; George Crabtree, Professor of Physics and Senior Scientist at Argonne, who is an expert on renewable energy sources; and Eboo Patel, the founder and president of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, who spoke about religious particularity and American Pluralism. I invite you to share your suggestions for future lectures and events with Stacy Jeffries, Assistant to the Chancellor-Special Projects, at sjeffr1@uic.edu.

M. Roy Wilson, 4/10

On April 10th we welcomed Dr. M. Roy Wilson, the Deputy Director of Strategic Scientific Planning and Program Coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, Dr. Wilson oversees the development and implementation of an integrated system for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the NIH health disparities research portfolio, working in collaboration with the NIH Institutes and Centers. His lecture, "Why Health Disparities Matter," was very well received, as health care and the issue of disparities in quality and delivery are core values of our own mission. Dr. Wilson also serves as co-chair for the new NIH Common Fund programs, the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Initiative, and the National Research Mentoring Network.

Larry Faulkner, 4/11

We were also honored to welcome Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, President Emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, whose lecture on shared governance was titled, "Wise and Effective Academic Governance in an Age of Challenge." President Faulkner has spoken previously on campus as part of the Board of Trustees Retreat in July 2012. He is also a recently retired president of Houston Endowment Inc., a private foundation established by Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones. Dr. Faulkner served on the chemistry faculties of Harvard University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Texas. At the University of Illinois he was also Head of the Department of Chemistry, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Dr. Faulkner's planning document, "A Framework for the Future," was and is the model for strategic planning and decision making regarding academic programs and services.

Hegel Cortes-Miranda, 4/22

Hegel Cortes-Miranda, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Equity for Indigenous Communities (SEDEREC) of the government of Mexico City, was at UIC on April 22 and his remarks were titled "Mexico City: Agricultural Land of Opportunity Facing the Globalization Process." Dr. Cortes-Miranda has also served as Director of Legislative Support and Senior Officer in the Federal District Legislative Assembly (ALDF), and director of the Civil Registry. He was a candidate for Congress for both the Benito Juarez and Coyoacan boroughs that border Mexico City as part of the Federal District. Cortés-Miranda graduated with a law degree (JD) from the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and is a LLD candidate in Enterprise Law at Anáhuac University (Mexico)/Complutense University (Madrid, Spain).

External Meetings and Events

Washington DC, 2/6

I recently made a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Illinois Delegation, to convey to them the enormous importance of their support for public higher education. It is essential that our city, state, and federal officials are aware of the very real economic impact we make on absolutely every level. From the principals we educate who take leadership positions in the Chicago Public School system, to the doctors, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, architects and computer scientists, to the night vision technology developed by one of our stellar faculty members, our impact permeates every level of our society. Not to mention, we produce future tax-payers and informed voters. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with U.S. Senator Durbin's staff, Congressmen Gutierrez and Davis, both representing important constituents of UIC, and Marco Davis, Deputy Director, White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics.

USU/White House Meeting, 4/16

On April 16th, I was joined by Charles Bantz, Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, to meet with representatives from the White House to promote USU as a partner for the Obama Administration on urban initiatives that engage USU students, faculty, and research capabilities.

Mexico Trade Mission, 4/4-5

As we continue to absorb the realities of a singular evolution of our times, what we call globalization, I was truly honored to be invited by Governor Quinn to join him on his recent trade mission to Mexico City. Chicago, home to one of the largest Mexican communities outside Mexico, makes the involvement of UIC a very logical choice. We value all of our partnerships, collaborations and educational programs with Mexico, and welcome the opportunity to develop and expand our growing relationships with their institutions. Currently, UIC has institutional partnerships involving graduate student and faculty research with the University of Guadalajara, the Technologico de Monterrey, and many more. UIC is currently exploring a partnership with Pro-Mexico and the National Museum of Mexican Art to hold a Mexico Today Conference that would examine important issues facing Mexico and Latino communities in Illinois.

Adolfo Hernandez, Mayor's Office Of New Americans

Following the announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of the creation of the Office of New Americans, I joined Teresa Cordova, Director of the Great Cities Institute, and met with Adolfo Hernandez, Director of this new office.

DuSable Museum

UIC partnered with the DuSable Museum of African American History to sponsor "From the Emancipation Proclamation to the 13th Amendment," a lecture and discussion featuring renowned author, journalist, and historian Lerone Bennett Jr. and UIC's Corey Capers, assistant professor of African American studies and history. The program included an in-depth discussion of the political and moral debates concerning the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and their aftermath. Additional program partnerships with the DuSable Museum are under consideration.

UIC Day at Rainbow PUSH

On April 13, the Rainbow PUSH organization designated UIC Day at Operation PUSH, and I was invited to speak on the weekly cable television program. On this day the program was aimed at the community, talking about the benefits of higher education and about UIC. The UIC Gospel Choir performed several selections during the program. Provost Lon Kaufman and Cecil Curtwright, a longtime administrator of recruitment and retention programs at UIC, represented the university along with me. We were joined by three UIC admissions counselors, who distributed materials and answered questions.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

For several years, UIC has partnered with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. During a recent meeting with Jerry Roper, President and CEO of the Chamber, he pledged his continued support of UIC and to spotlight our campus and its role in higher education, economic development, innovation, and our contributions to the City through the Great Cities Institute.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/USU/APLU Postsecondary Success Initiative Meeting
On April 22nd and 23rd, I attended the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation meeting in partnership with APLU/USU to discuss exploring the role of Urban Serving Universities in revitalizing the postsecondary sector so that it serves as an engine of social mobility and workforce development for students. The meeting was held in Washington, D.C. I was joined by 27 of my colleagues representing the membership of the USU, including M. Peter McPherson, President of the APLU, and former UIC Provost R. Michael Tanner, Chief Academic Officer and Vice President, APLU.

Thank you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with some of the work I've been doing on behalf of UIC. And please accept my profound gratitude to everyone who contributes daily to this outstanding institution.

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