News and updates for the Department of Mathematics faculty and staff
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[ Faculty + Staff E-News | May 2021 ]

Image of a podium decorated for an Illinois commencement ceremony with Commencement 2021 text.

Pomp & Circumstance


This spring’s week-long commencement celebration included both individual in-person Stage Crossing experiences and an online celebration featuring a virtual conferral of degrees.

More than 7,000 graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 participated in individual Stage Crossing experiences. Additionally, more than 900 graduates from the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics were honored during this year’s virtual convocation program.
Learn more →



Updates to COVID-19 protocols

In response to the newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings, effective immediately, the university no longer will require fully vaccinated people to wear face coverings or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors for most instances. People who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing indoors and outdoors.
Learn more →

For summer 2021, all university COVID-19 testing requirements are still in place, even for individuals who are fully vaccinated. COVID-19 testing requirements will move from twice per week to once per week for all those who are required to test until further notice:

  • Staff, graduate students, or undergraduate students who live in University Housing for the summer
  • Faculty, staff, graduate students, or undergraduate students who are coming to campus for any reason (classes, work, recreation, leisure, etc.)
  • If you are not required to maintain a consistent testing schedule but are coming to campus infrequently, make sure you have a recent negative on-campus test. When you are planning a visit to campus, please note test results can take up to 48 hours to receive. 

Note: All students (graduate and undergraduate) who are living in the local community but who are not enrolled in any classes for the summer are not required to test unless they are traveling to campus for any reason.

Additionally, the university released last month the intention that verified vaccination will replace testing requirements for the fall semester. 
Learn more →

As always, for the latest news and updates regarding the university's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the university's COVID-19 website.

New Provost Communication #9 and Assessing Teaching Effectiveness websites

The Office of the Provost has launched two new websites that highlight the proposed recommendations to enhance the promotion and tenure process on our campus:

These sites include:

  • Information on the proposed revisions and recommendations from the faculty task forces.
  • Related resources such as new forms, recorded sessions, and readings.
  • A place to ask questions and share feedback on the proposed revisions.

Please note that these websites highlight proposed changes to the promotion and tenure process. Until these proposals are adopted, the existing procedures for P&T and teaching evaluation remain in place. Candidates for promotion and tenure in AY 2021-22 will be considered under the existing policies. These websites will be the primary source for the most current information; they will be updated as feedback is received and prepared for implementation of final revisions. 

“Ready, Set, Flow” HRI writing retreat

The Humanities Research Institute (HRI) is sponsoring a free full-day virtual academic writing retreat for UIUC faculty and graduate students on June 28. Participants from all disciplines are encouaged to attend.
Learn more →

Summer 2021 testing locations

Beginning this week, Beckman, CRCE, Illini Union and State Farm Center testing locations will be open for Summer 2021 with updated hours. All testing sites will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31.
See the updated list of testing locations and hours →

LAS Impact Award

More than 500 recipients, including math faculty, staff, and students, were recognized by the College of Liberal Arts & Science (LAS) with the LAS Impact Award, recognizing individuals and teams in the College of LAS that demonstrated a spirit of service and sacrifice that went beyond expectations to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Learn more →



2021 Departments of Mathematics & Statistics Convocation

The Mathematics Undergraduate Office would like to thank Staci Walker for organizing the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics 2021 Convocation Ceremony video, which can be found on the Convocation webpage

The convocation program has time stamps marked so you can find your favorite speaker or group of graduates within the 95-minute long video. (Direct time stamp links are also available in the video description if viewing on YouTube.)

Thanks also to Jenell Hironimus, Pat Szuta, and the LAS Communications & Marketing team for helping to organize and create the convocation program, video, and webpage.

Incoming student update

The department currently has the following numbers of new students who have accepted their offer of admission to join us this year:


  • 49 Actuarial Science
  • 201 Mathematics
  • 64 Math&CS


  • 10 Actuarial Science
  • 30 Mathematics
  • 9 Math&CS

Advisors and graduate assistants will be busy from late May through mid-July meeting with these students individually via Zoom to help them select and register for a first-semester schedule that works for each student's strengths, future goals, and academic requirements.



Graduate Papers & Publications webpage

Graduate students are invited to submit a request to have their publicationsjournal pubs, conferences, ArXivadded to our department's Graduate Papers & Publications web page. This page was created to showcase and celebrate graduate student papers, publications, and research. 



Discover DSO Day

Interested in learning more about research projects sponsored by the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency (DARPA)? Register for Discover DSO Day on June 23, 2021. The event is free and will be held via webcast. Advanced registration is required.
Learn more and register today →



IT staff update

Patryk Szuta, our assistant director of information technology since August 2015 left to start a new position with Fuego Leads as their director of technology on May 17. Patryk has been supporting the IT needs of our faculty, staff and students since he was an undergraduate here in 2002, while he was a TA as a math PhD student in 2005-10 and then as our E-learning specialist. Though he is certainly one of the savants of programing on this campus, he treated everyone with patience and joy and this combination made him truly unique. After depending upon his singular excellence of service and expertise for over 15 years, we are certainly going to feel his loss and will undoubtably look back at this time as the “golden years” in Math IT. 

The department is searching for a replacement. In the mean time, Matt Childress will be supported by ATLAS, the general college IT unit. For assistance, please continue to use the Math IT help email:


2021 Conversation with Senior Leadership

Last month, the university held an online conversation with several members of the senior leadership team to provide an open and transparent look at how we are navigating the future of our university.
Watch the recording →

In Recognition of Teaching Excellence Awards

In April, the College of LAS recognized the recipients of the 2020 and 2021 LAS teaching awards, including 2020 Department of Mathematics recipients Zoi Rapti (Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching) and Elizabeth Field (Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Graduate Teaching Assistants).
Watch the recording →

LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture

Last month, Rana Hogarth of the Department of History presented “Slavery, Science, and the Eugenic Impulse: Re-Examining Charles B. Davenport’s Race-Crossing Studies” as the 2021 LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.
Learn more →

Semester-end Chimes Concert

Last week, chimesmaster Tina Horton rang in the sweet sounds of summer with a special chimes concert celebrating the end of the semester.
Watch the recording →



Robert Purvy (BS ’72)

Robert Purvy (BS ’72) wrote “Inventing the Future,” a novel about the revolutionary development of the Xerox Star. His second post-UIUC job, Purvy worked as an engineer for the Xerox Star, which has been created as the first commercial personal computer to incorporate technologies that have since become standard in PCs.
Learn more →



Department Town Hall Meeting

Our next department town hall meeting will be held Friday, June 4, at 4:30 p.m. CT virtually via Zoom. The recordings of all our town hall meetings are available on the department’s channel on Illinois Media Space at

“The College Tour” Watch Party

Join us Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. CT for “The College Tour” U of I watch party. Eleven UIUC students star in a new episode of “The College Tour,” sharing what they love about the university through their own stories.
Join the party →

SIM Camp 2021

This year's Summer Illinois Math (SIM) Camp aims to provide 8th–12th grade campers with a creative and hands-on online learning experience in fun and engaging mathematics. SIM Camp Epsilon will held June 7–11 (for rising 8th through 10th graders) and SIM Camp Delta is June 21–25 (for rising 10th through 12th graders).
Learn more →

24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with partner universities, the Pennsylvania State University, Ulm University, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) will host the the 24th International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (IME), the largest international meeting dedicated to exploring current trends and research in actuarial science and the insurance and finance industries, July 5–9, 2021.
Learn more →

Seminar & Event Calendar

View all the upcoming seminars, colloquia, and events hosted by the department at Virtual event? View the weekly calendar of meeting coordinates.

University of Illinois Calendars

View a variety of Illinois event, academic, and programming calendars at


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