Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise is delighted that the new academic year is underway.
Part of the reason is that she has spent a lot of time spurring a campus self-assessment process leading to the recently unveiled Strategic Plan, a three-year plan requested by university President Bob Easter. Initiating that plan is the next step.
"This year you're going to start seeing that this plan is being put into action," Wise said. "Too many people (faculty, staff, students and external stakeholders) have spent too much precious time and effort for this to be one of those plans that is not executed."
Wise said initiatives for several of the plan's themes - environment and energy, health and wellness, social equality and cultural understanding and economic development - are being developed or are already underway.
For example, the recruitment process has already begun for the hiring plan unveiled at last spring's town hall meeting, where Wise and Illesanmi Adesida, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, outlined the plan to recruit 500 faculty members in the next five to seven years.
Hiring that many new faculty members will serve many purposes, Wise said. Among them, bringing faculty numbers more in line with student demand and utilizing "cluster" hiring to bring teams of specialists from emerging and cross-disciplinary fields.
Wise said the effort also would bolster parallel efforts to promote innovative learning and research opportunities for all students, particularly undergraduates.
The chancellor and provost have appointed a faculty committee that has conducted its own "listening and learning" tour in recent months to discuss with deans and departments efforts to improve the search process and meet the recruiting goals in the Strategic Plan.
Wise said this fall's enrollment numbers may break records for the number of international students. And average GPA scores also are up this year.
"Coming to Illinois is a great opportunity to know and be a part of the global environment," she said. "I'm encouraging students to go outside of themselves and reach out to someone who is different from them."
Wise said she is confident that this year is a year of action because the campus has gotten firmly behind the principles outlined in the Strategic Plan.
"It's everybody's strategic plan," she said. "So many people helped create it and we hope everyone embraces it as their own."
She said she and her leadership team have gelled in their short time working together and she is optimistic about the future.
"I am so pleased with the team around me," she said. "I've been here long enough now where I know who to turn to for an answer. They've been tremendous, and there are repercussions everywhere across the campus: It affects all aspects of the institution because of the knowledge they possess and the things they're able to accomplish. These are very unique times in higher education and we have to anticipate the need to manage change as opposed to being managed by changes."
New leadership appointments announced
Many new administrators or changes in appointments have been announced within the last few months:
- Bob Easter, the president of the university. His contract has been extended through June 2015.
- Michel Bellini, the interim director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. The center is merging duties and staff members from the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Office of Online and Continuing Education, and Campus Programs on Teaching and Learning, as well as select staff members from CITES Academic Technology Services. Bellini was the associate director for undergraduate education in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and is a professor of cell and developmental biology.
- Andreas C. Cangellaris, the dean of the College of Engineering. Cangellaris was the head of the department of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. He joined the U. of I. faculty in 1997.
- Peter D. Constable, the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine (effective January 2014). Constable is a Purdue University professor of veterinary clinical sciences and the head of that department. He was a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at Illinois for more than 10 years, serving as the interim head of that department from 2004-2005.
- Fritz Drasgow, the interim dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. A professor in the school, he has been on the faculty since 1978.
- Bryan Endres, the interim associate provost for international affairs and director of International Programs and Studies. Endres has been a professor of agricultural and consumer economics and of food and agricultural law at Illinois since 2003.
- Christopher Z. Mooney, the director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Mooney joined the faculty at UIS in 1999 and has been a member of the IGPA faculty since 2004. His appointment is subject to approval by the U. of I. Board of Trustees at its September meeting.
- Brian Ross, the interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ross, a professor of psychology, has been on the faculty since 1982.
- Alma R. Sealine, the director of University Housing. Sealine was the director of Housing at Case Western Reserve University.
- H. Edward Seidel (Jan. 15, 2014), the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Seidel was the senior vice president of research and innovation at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow.
- Jan Slater, the dean of the College of Media. Slater had been serving as interim dean since 2010. She came to Illinois in 2007 to become the head of the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising.
- Allan M. Stratman, the executive director of Facilities and Services. Stratman recently retired from the Navy. He had been the executive officer of the Navy Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest.
- John P. Wilkin, the university librarian and dean of libraries. Wilkin was an associate university librarian at the University of Michigan.