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InsideIllinois

Aug. 20, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
Barbara J. Wilson, the former executive vice provost and the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will serve as the interim chancellor of the Urbana campus while leaders conduct a nationwide search to replace former Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer


At the helm
Barbara J. Wilson, the former executive vice provost and the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will serve as the interim chancellor of the Urbana campus while leaders conduct a nationwide search to replace former Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise.

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Leadership changes dominate news, Wise returns to faculty

The appointment of Barbara J. Wilson as acting chancellor capped off a week of rapid-fire news concerning U. of I. leadership. On Aug. 6, Wise announced she would resign due to “external issues ... that have distracted us from the important tasks at hand. I have concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals.”

Last print issue as Inside Illinois moves to online-only format

Although the next time faculty and staff members receive Inside Illinois, it will be in their email inbox, the online version will include the same kinds of quality news and research articles, and photographs as the print version.

Prominent biologist named leader of Prairie Research Institute

Mark R. Ryan, a leading wildlife biologist and an expert in conservation and natural resources, has been named the executive director of the Prairie Research Institute at the U. of I. The director of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, Ryan will join Illinois Oct. 1, pending the approval of the U. of I. Board of Trustees.

Financial analyst turns interest in 20th-century monk into book

Caterpillar Inc. announced last month it will collaborate with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to conduct high-performance computing projects focused on more realistic simulations that can lead to improved product designs.

U. of I. to lead center for power optimization in mobile electronics

Heat is the enemy for people designing cars, construction machinery, aircraft and mobile electronics. When electrical systems do more work, they get hotter. When they get too hot, they operate inefficiently, fail or even melt.

Master Naturalists needed to preserve Illinois' environment

Adults who have a passion for the outdoors – and are interested in sharing that with others – are needed statewide as volunteers in the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program.

New art exhibitions at Krannert Art Museum open Aug. 27

Krannert Art Museum will exhibit a wide variety of works from its permanent collection – many of which have not been displayed publicly in a long time – as the museum opens its new season Aug. 27.


Research »

Legacy of Katrina, 10 years later: More citizen involvement in decision-making

The end of this month will mark the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans. Robert Olshansky, a U. of I. professor, head of the department of urban and regional planning and an expert in post-disaster recovery, closely followed the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans in the first few years following the hurricane.

Study links cardiorespiratory fitness, thinner gray matter and better math skills in kids

A new study reveals that 9- and 10-year-old children who are aerobically fit tend to have significantly thinner gray matter than their “lower-fit” peers. Thinning of the outermost layer of brain cells in the cerebrum is associated with better mathematics performance, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE.

Rogue supernovas likely flung into space by black hole slingshots

Rogue supernovas that explode all alone in deep space present an astronomical mystery. Where did they come from? How did they get there? The likely answer: a binary black hole slingshot, according to a new study by Ryan Foley, a professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Illinois.

A MINUTE WITH … ™ »

Professor Christopher Benson on a boy's murder that sparked a movement

It’s been called the “big bang” of the civil rights movement. Sixty years ago this month (Aug. 28), a 14-year-old black Chicago boy was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Emmett Till apparently had said the wrong thing to a white woman and paid for it with his life. At the insistence of his mother, his mutilated body was displayed in an open casket, seen by tens of thousands in Chicago and by many more through photos in the black press. The murder trial in Mississippi then became an international media event. All of this was the subject of “Death of Innocence” (2003), which Christopher Benson, now a U. of I. professor, co-wrote with Emmett Till’s mother – and which he is now adapting into a screenplay for a planned film. Benson, a professor of journalism and of African American studies, discussed Till’s story and its significance with News Bureau social sciences editor Craig Chamberlain.

Taxation expert Richard L. Kaplan on Social Security at 80

Richard L. Kaplan, the Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law at Illinois, is an internationally recognized expert on U.S. tax policy, elder law and retirement issues. In an interview with News Bureau business and law editor Phil Ciciora, Kaplan discusses the various proposals to reform Social Security on its 80th anniversary.