U. of I. trustees approved administrative appointments and construction projects July 24 during the board's regular meeting at Student Center East on the UIC campus.
Trustees approved the appointment of Barbara J. Wilson as the Harry E. Preble dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Wilson, executive vice provost for faculty and academic affairs, was head of the department of communication. She joined the faculty in 2000.
Wilson succeeds Ruth Watkins, who left for a position as senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah. Psychology professor Brian Ross was interim dean of the college.
Allen H. Renear was appointed dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, effective Aug. 16. He was named interim dean in 2012 and has been a faculty member since 2001. Renear replaces John M. Unsworth, now vice provost and chief information officer for library and technology services at Brandeis University.
The board approved a one-year contract extension for Illini men's basketball coach John Groce through April 30, 2019. Trustees also extended Robert J. Hauser's contract as dean of Urbana's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences by two years, through August 2016.
Sarah Lubienski, a professor of curriculum and instruction, was appointed interim dean of the Graduate College in Urbana, effective July 1. She was named associate dean of the Graduate College in 2012. She succeeds Deba Dutta, who is now provost at Purdue University.
Interim dean Fritz Drasgow was appointed dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. Drasgow, a faculty member since 1982, replaces Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, who returns to the faculty after six years as dean.
Trustees appointed Avijit Ghosh as chief executive officer of the U. of I. Hospital and associate vice president for hospital operations, effective Aug. 16. Ghosh, senior adviser to U. of I. President Bob Easter, helped lead a recent review of the university's health care enterprise.
In March, the board approved a reorganization plan that aligns the hospital, clinics and seven health science colleges under one campus leadership structure.
Ghosh was vice president for technology and economic development from 2008 to 2011, after serving as dean of the Urbana College of Business from 2001 to 2008. "I'm truly humbled and grateful for this opportunity," Ghosh told trustees.
During the meeting Thursday, the board also voted in favor of several contracts for capital projects.
Trustees approved a $4.5 million increase in the budget for renovating the State Farm Center, which will provide funds for improvements such as a new scoreboard, video displays and a marquee. The $169.5 million renovation of the former Assembly Hall will add luxury suites, expand floor space and install air conditioning. Work is scheduled to be finished in November 2016.
Trustees awarded $8.5 million in contracts for the first phase of the renovation of the Natural History Building. With an estimated budget of $73.4 million, the project will modernize the building, which was constructed in 1894 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Work is expected to be done in August 2016.
The board approved a $3.7 million contract to BSA LifeStructures of Chicago to develop architectural and construction plans for the renovation of Everitt Laboratory, home of the department of bioengineering. The $50 million renovation project is expected to be complete in May 2018.