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Provost Newsletter

News and Highlights for Faculty & Staff on the Urbana-Champaign Campus  |  October 2014

Freshman class 2014 assembled at Memorial Stadium
New Faces for the New Year at Illinois

It is already an exciting year at Illinois. I wish you all a great semester.

We welcomed our most accomplished undergraduate class to date as well as a record number of international students overall. The official enrollment numbers came in at 6,937 first time freshmen and 1,331 new transfer students. 15.6% of our incoming freshmen are from underrepresented minorities and 20.5% are first generation college students. ACT scores averaged 29 and applications for this class exceeded 35,000. Overall, our entire graduate and undergraduate student population this fall is 43,603. We are home to students from every state in the country and from 115 nations of the world.

Joining our new class of students, we also welcomed over 150 new tenure system faculty members to Illinois - making good progress toward our strategic goal of 500 new hires in the coming years. Over 130 searches are currently approved for next year and the first three cluster hiring programs under the themes identified through Visioning Future Excellence (Social Equality and Cultural Understanding; Health and Wellness; Energy and Environment) are part of these hiring plans. We intend to continue our aggressive recruitment of the best faculty - early career, midcareer and senior - to further advance our comprehensive excellence and to enhance our diverse community of scholars.

Professor May Berenbaum
Professor May Berenbaum Awarded National Medal of Science

Congratulations to Professor May Berenbaum who was named as a recipient of the National Medal of Science on October 3, 2014. This is our nation's highest honor for leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology and it is presented by the President of the United States. Professor Berembaum has significantly changed our understanding and appreciation of the vital role of insects and the need to apply ecological principles to develop  sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Read more about her honor here...

Professor Tami Bond
MacArthur Fellowship to Professor Tami Bond

Congratulations to Professor Tami Bond (Civil and Environmental Engineering) on being named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow in September. These "Genius Grants" are presented annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to individuals demonstrating exceptional creativity and potential for future impact. Professor Bond's work in characterizing black carbon in our atmosphere and her cross-disciplinary efforts to effect environmental behavioral change on a global scale clearly fit the award definition. Read more about Professor Bond's honor here...

New University Scholars Announced

Six new University Scholars have been announced this year. Peter Abbamonte (physics), Christopher Fennell (anthropology), Brian Fields (astronomy), Paul Hergenrother (chemistry), Faranak Miraftab (urban and regional planning), and Sandra Rodriguez-Zas (animal sciences) have all been recognized for their comprehensive excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Congratulations to all six and I hope you will read more about them here...

Photo of new ECE building.
Investments in Facilities

The campus continues to aggressively invest in the rejuvenation of our instructional and learning spaces and to address substantial deferred maintenance needs of our facilities. To deliver on our promise of a transformative learning environment, we need to ensure our students, faculty and staff have access to spaces prepared for 21st century challenges. We have committed an estimated $82.5 million towards our classroom spaces - with more than $19 million in work done last year already. Through the Facilities Matching Initiative, another $91 million will be invested in facility improvements with work already underway on the first of these projects.

Illini Union cupola close up image.
Specialized Faculty, Unionization and Moving Forward: Some Questions Answered

During the summer, approximately 500 of our specialized faculty colleagues were officially certified as a unionized bargaining unit represented by the Campus Faculty Association (CFA). The campus has been receiving many questions from employees and administrators alike about the impact of this process for our units and for those now represented by this union. The Academic Human Resources Office has established a list of FAQs to assist with the most common questions. If you find you have or receive other questions, that are not answered in this document, please contact Heather Horn at or 333-6747 for assistance.

While the university is required to maintain the status quo regarding wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment, subject to collective bargaining, it is important to note that many of the guidelines and policies established under Provost Communication 25 - “Employment Guidelines for Specialized Faculty Holding Non-Tenure System Positions” are unaffected. For example, issues such as promotion, competitive counter offers and career advancement remain critical to the success of our specialized faculty and to the missions of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The first meeting between the CFA and the campus bargaining teams has been held.

Other Resources

Campus Strategic PlanCampus Academic CalendarCampus News