News and Highlights for Faculty & Staff on the Urbana-Champaign Campus | February 2018
Message from Provost
My first month as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost of our University has coincided with events in our country and around the world that impress upon me the significance of our mission as one of the most influential public research universities in the world.
As I reflect upon the pressing societal challenges and our responsibility to educate those who will be asked to tackle them, the words of our alumna, Nobel Laureate Rosalyn Yalow, in her Nobel address on December 10, 1977, come to mind.
“… it is all too easy to be pessimistic if we consider our multiple problems: the possible depletion of resources faster than science can generate replacements or substitutes; hostilities between nations and between groups within nations which appear not to be resolvable; unemployment and vast inequalities among different races and different lands. Even as we envision and solve scientific problems—and put men on the moon—we appear ill-equipped to provide solutions for the social ills that beset us.”
The relevance of these remarks to our world today—forty years later—is striking. The stunning scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs of the past fifty years gave birth to the digital revolution and are transforming the way we approach health and wellness. Yet we have not been able to optimize the potential for positive change promised by the techno-knowledge advances of the late 20th century to tackle those challenges that matter most to our sustainable future.
Taming this disruption falls on our shoulders as academics. We must think anew. Our position as leaders in education, research, and service requires that we impart to our students the capacity to handle the responsibility that they must carry with them out into the world. Our graduates must apply their education and talents to make the 21st century the era that eradicates "the social ills that beset us," with the same determination and passion they will use to stop environmental destruction and to conquer cancer. An ad hoc approach to problem-solving is no longer acceptable. Bouncing from crisis to crisis, applying old measures against the next interruption of progress, is stagnation. We can model preventative paradigms for positive social change by harnessing the full power of our capacity as the resourceful and innovative university that we are. We must prepare our students to look after the future with the responsibility and compassion warranted by the power and promise of the breakthrough discoveries and technological advances available to us.
We will succeed in this mission because of our steadfast commitment to excellence in an inclusive education that embraces the intellectual wealth of our comprehensive university and leverages our culture of learning and innovating across disciplines. Providing our students with a 21st century education that launches them into successful careers as responsible citizens and public servants, influential thought leaders and scholars, creative researchers, bold innovators, passionate entrepreneurs, and accountable business leaders, is integral to our mission as a land grant research institution of societal relevance and global impact.
Our students are invaluable partners in everything we do. Their excellence is our excellence and their success is our responsibility and our pride.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost
Faculty Affairs Update
Academic Leadership Series
The Academic Leadership Seminar Series is designed for new and experienced Executive Officers who wish to engage in dialogue, share best practices, and discuss issues such as leadership, financial and strategic planning, and faculty development. The following sessions are upcoming for spring semester.
- Space Allocation - Thursday, March 8, 8:30 - 10:00 am, 210 Illini Union
- Promoting a Diverse and Inclusive Unit - Tuesday, March 27, 8:30 - 10:00 am, ACES Library, Heritage Room
Thriving as an Associate Professor Series
We invite faculty to participate in the Thriving as an Associate Professor Seminar Series. The following session is the last one for spring semester.
- Making the Most of Your Sabbatical - Thursday, March 15, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, ACES Library, Heritage Room
To register for any of these seminars, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week in advance.
Spotlight on Awards and Honors
Campus-wide Distinguished Chairs
Four Illinois faculty members have been named as campus-wide chairs. Such appointments are deemed to be among the most distinguished honors on our campus. Stephen P. Long, a professor of plant biology and crop sciences, and Jeffrey S. Moore, a professor of chemistry, were named Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chairs. Antoinette Burton, a professor of history, and Nathan Gunn, a professor of music, were named Swanlund Endowed Chairs. More information can be found here.
Center for Advanced Study Associates and Fellows Named
The Center for Advanced Study recently appointed 22 faculty members as Associates and Fellows for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Gene Robinson Awarded Wolf Prize for Agriculture
Gene Robinson, professor of entomology and Director of the Institute for Genomic Biology, has been named the 2018 laureate for the highly prestigious Wolf Prize for Agriculture. The press release anouncing the laureates for the Wolf Prize applauds Robinson's extraordinary pioneering research contributions. Read more.
University Scholars 2017-2018
Six Urbana campus faculty members have been named University Scholars, a program that recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. Amy Ando, a professor of environmental and natural resource economics, Martin Burke, a professor of chemistry,Cara Finnegan, a professor of communication, Andrew Leakey, a professor of plant biology, Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky, a professor of special education, and Saurabh Sinha, a professor of computer science, were recognized at a reception in their honor. Read more.
Campus leadership remains committed to comprehensive reform of the current budgeting process. The Office of the Provost has drafted a white paper based on input from the Budgeting Reform Steering Committee, Budgeting Reform Implementation Committee, working groups, and sub-groups. The paper identifies and provides background on the components of the Integrated and Value-Centered Budgeting model and outlines considerations on various aspects of the model and corresponding recommendations.
The Provost's Office will hold campus-level and unit-specific town hall forums this semester to discuss the implications of the Integrated and Value-Centered Budgeting model. Please contact Paul Ellinger if you would like to conduct a session in your unit. Following are details on the two campus town halls. We hope you can join us for one of them.
- Tuesday, March 13, Noon - 1:15 pm, BIF Auditorium
- Tuesday, March 27, Noon - 1:15 pm, NCSA Auditorium
The Next 150 Strategic Plan
Illinois is embarking on The Next 150 Strategic Plan. This plan will establish specific goals and focus areas for the next five years (2018-2023) and set the course for another 150 years of innovation in research, teaching, and engagement. To learn more about the strategic planning work and to provide feedback for the plan, visit the website: http://strategicplan.illinois.edu/#.
Higher Learning Commission Visit
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit campus on March 30 and 31, 2020 to conduct a comprehensive accreditation review. The review is part of the ten-year cycle established by the HLC to affirm that quality standards are met. More information about the process and progress can be found at http://reaccreditation.illinois.edu.