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Phyllis M. Wise named to lead Urbana campus

INSIDE ILLINOIS, Aug. 4, 2011 | Published 8/3/11    [ Email | Share ]

Phyllis M. Wise has been selected to be chancellor of the Urbana campus and serve as a UI vice president. Wise, who is provost and executive vice president at the University of Washington, will assume her duties Oct. 1, pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees at its September meeting.

Phyllis Wise
Phyllis M. Wise has been selected to be chancellor of the Urbana campus and serve as a UI vice president. Wise will assume her duties Oct. 1, pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees.

Wise has served in senior leadership roles at three major public research universities. She has been at the University of Washington since 2005 and served as interim president during the 2010-11 academic year. From 2002-2005, she was the dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate from the University of Michigan.

UI President Michael J. Hogan praised Wise for her proven record of outstanding leadership, and for her scientific achievements, noting her membership in the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and her standing as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among her many honors and awards.

 “Dr. Wise has the ‘full package,’ ” Hogan said. “She is a proven scholar, with a deep commitment to public higher education, and has an exceptional reputation as a leader at some of the nation’s top universities. I couldn’t be more pleased to have her joining our distinguished leadership team.”

Hogan also commended members of the search advisory committee, led by physics professor Doug Beck. “They did a terrific job recruiting an outstanding pool of candidates and providing me with excellent advice,” Hogan said. “I’m grateful for their commitment to bringing an outstanding leader to our campus and for their hard work.” He added, “Dr. Wise is a world-class talent, who will be leading a world-class institution with world-class faculty, staff, and students.”

Wise said she is eager to get started. “I am thrilled to join the University of Illinois community in the role of vice president and chancellor,” Wise said. “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the most respected institutions of higher education in the world. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students, and the university’s many external stakeholders and partners, to build on its strengths and create new opportunities for the university to have an even greater impact.”

Pending approval by the board of trustees, Wise also will hold a tenured faculty position in the department of cell and developmental biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and an appointment in the College of Medicine’s department of molecular and integrative physiology. She is the author of more than 200 scientific publications with more than 30 continuous years of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Board of trustees chair Christopher G. Kennedy said Wise’s selection will help make the university even better. “The entire University of Illinois family should be proud that Phyllis Wise has chosen to lead the Urbana campus. She has run an institution as large as the entire University of Illinois, and she’s a lead researcher among her peers who knows how to pursue research grants,” Kennedy said.

Earlier this year, Wise received the fifth annual Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, which recognizes the professional accomplishments and leadership of Asian Americans in higher education. Wise has earned accolades that acknowledge her lifelong dedication to mentoring students and junior investigators, particularly women. She was a recipient of the Excellence in Science Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Women in Endocrinology Mentor Award.

Wise will take the helm of the campus from interim vice president and chancellor Robert Easter. Hogan commended Easter for his interim role and career-long dedication to the Urbana campus. “I’m deeply grateful to Bob for his fine service over the last year and a half. He’s been an outstanding, compassionate leader who provided excellent advice and friendship,” Hogan said.

“I am absolutely delighted by President Hogan’s selection,” Easter said. “I know Dr. Wise and her work in the biological sciences. She is an internationally recognized scholar and an effective academic leader. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be in very good hands.”


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