News and updates for the Department of Mathematics faculty and staff
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[ Faculty + Staff E-News | June 2020 ]
Illinois announces plans for Fall 2020

With considerable thought and broad consultation, the university has announced plans to deliver a blend of in-person and remote instruction for the Fall 2020 semester to address the ongoing pandemic concerns.  

Fall 2020 Instruction Key Decisions

  • Fall 2020 will be an on-campus semester with as much in-person instruction and residential occupancy as restrictions regarding space, health, and safety allow.
  • Instructional faculty and graduate instructors who are unable to teach face-to-face for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic will have opportunities to teach and engage students in an online setting. Decisions about course mode of delivery will be determined by departments in consultation with campus schedulers, on the basis of classroom space constraints, faculty availability, and curricular priorities.
  • The plan will take place under the assumptions that we have adequate COVID-19 testing in place and we have moved into Phase IV of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.
  • Health and safety will continue to be our top priority, and we will rely on every member of our campus community to behave in a way that protects the safety of the entire community.
  • A resurgence of COVID-19 at any time may cause a change to any of these plans.

Read the message from President Tim Killeen → 
Read the message from Chancellor Robert Jones and Provost Andreas Cangellaris →
Read the message from the LAS Office of the Dean →
Read the message sent to students and view the FAQs →

Illinois receives 2020 CAS University Award

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 CAS University Award by the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). This program celebrates and promotes universities for the innovative and exemplary ways they prepare students for a career in the property and casualty insurance industry. The official announcement of this exciting achievement will be released soon.

IGL receives top honors at the 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium

An Illinois Geometry Lab project, Igniting Students’ Interest in Mathematics Through Abstract Mathematical Topics, received outstanding honors in the education oral presentation category at the 2020 Virtual Undergraduate Research Symposium. 
Learn more →

New artificial intelligence consortium at U of I pledges to fight COVID-19

A new artificial intelligence consortium that will include the University of Illinois has made fighting the COVID-19 pandemic its first order of business. The Digital Transformation Institute, chaired by Thomas Siebel (BA ’75, history; MBA ’83; MS ’85, computer science) and co-managed by the U of I and the University of California, Berkeley, aims to accelerate the application of artificial intelligence in business, government, and society. The institute will occupy space in a new building scheduled to be constructed by 2022 on the site of Illini Hall. 
Learn more →

Gene Robinson named interim dean of the College of LAS

Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, has been named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Starting July 1, Robinson will fill the role for one year while a national search is conducted for the dean’s position. Robinson is taking the place of Feng Sheng Hu, the current Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, who is leaving to become dean of Arts & Sciences at Washington University.
Learn more →

Undergraduate enrollment update

As of June 15, the department is expecting to add 398 more students to our ranks:

  • 68 actuarial science freshmen
  • 190 math freshmen
  • 41 mathematics & computer science freshmen
  • 13 transfer students in actuarial science
  • 73 transfer students in mathematics
  • 13 transfer students in mathematics & computer science

Visa difficulties and changes in instructional methods may reduce this number, but the outlook looks good for a record-setting fall enrollment.

Linear algebra revision

Following a request from the Grainger College of Engineering, Philipp Hieronymi has co-developed and piloted a revision of Math 415, to be named Math 257 in the future. The Undergrad Affairs Committee–approved revised class replaces one of the large lectures with a Python lab. It has a prerequisite of Calculus I instead of Calculus III to allow engineering students to use linear algebra earlier in their coursework. The new version covers the same mathematical theory as the other MATH 415 sections, but it adds a focus on the computational and large data aspect of linear algebra through the lab sessions. The Undergrad Office will be working on adding the new Math 257 to the university catalog and helping other units with curricula revisions.
Learn more →


REMINDER: Feedback to the draft recommendations from the Math/Stat Building Usage Taskforce is due today, Friday, June 19. Before sending feedback, please read the detailed working group drafts in our Building Usage Taskforce Box folder. Remember, these are draft recommendations that have not yet been considered (or approved) by the Executive Committee. 
Send your feedback to the Building Usage Taskforce →


Starting in early July, the Illinois Journal of Mathematics, in cooperation with Duke University Press and Project Euclid, will begin advance online publication of accepted articles. Printed issues will still be produced and mailed as usual, with Volume 63, Issue 3 in September, and Issue 4 in December.

Articles may be accessed at Illinois Journal of Mathematics Online. You can access the articles at no cost while on campus, or by logging in to Illinois' institutional subscription while off-campus.


The summer is off to a busy start for the Illinois Risk Lab (IRisk Lab). Two projects providing collaboration between students and actuarial science faculty members are currently underway:

  • Visualization on Pandemic Contingency Planning and Medical Resources Allocation. This project is supervised by Xiaowei Chen, Alfred Chong, Runhuan Feng, and Linfeng Zhang.
  • Online Book Project on Predictive Analytics and Data Science. This project is supervised by Daniël Linders and Haoen Cui.

Learn more about these summer projects →

The annual Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) Research Symposium went virtual this spring, showcasing the culmination of research of 12 student projects ran by IGL:

Learn more and watch the symposium presentations → 


On Sunday, June 14, on what would have been our colleague and friend Tom Nevins’ 49th birthday, members of the Illini family were invited to join in a virtual memorial run in Tom’s honor. More than 250 of his friends, family, and colleagues from around the world participated, clocking over 1,500 miles. For every mile ran, walked, or biked during the virtual event, a tree will be planted as an honorary birthday gift for Professor Nevins.
Learn more about the memorial run and other ways to celebrate Tom’s life and legacy

Department Town Hall Meeting

Our next department town hall meeting will be held Friday, June 26, at 4:30 p.m. CDT virtually via Zoom. The recordings of all our town hall meetings are available on the department’s channel on Illinois Media Space at

Altgeld Chimes Concerts

In celebration of Juneteenth, the Altgeld Chimes ringers will present a special 30-minute concert, Friday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be the first in a summer series entitled "Amplify Their Voices: A Celebration of BIPOC Music and Musicians."
Learn more →

The ringers are also participating in the City of Bells national ringing event. Starting at noon on most days, the bells will ring in unity with towers across the country for 15 minutes. Near the end of the concert, the ringers play "Amazing Grace" and finish by tolling a bell in memory of those who have lost their lives in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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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