Annual Meeting of the Faculty
On Monday, October 13, at the invitation of the Academic Senate, President Easter and I had the chance to offer remarks to the campus faculty community. As usual, this annual event was a chance to talk about some of the great accomplishments of the past year, some exciting initiatives on the horizon and to address some of the challenges along the way. And also as usual, the questions and discussion following our remarks was spirited and gave those on the campus an open opportunity to offer opinions and responses to our comments. I know it is difficult to find a time and place for all to attend, so I am sharing a version of my comments on the blog this week. As those of you who have been in an audience where I speak will know, this is not an exact transcript of my words - but it is the text from which I spoke on Monday.
Welcome to Illinois
Welcome back. And for those of you who are joining us for the first time, welcome to Illinois!
The Principles on Which We Stand
As you may be aware, Vice President Christophe Pierre and I wrote to Prof. Steven Salaita on Aug. 1, informing him of the university’s decision not to recommend further action by the Board of Trustees concerning his potential appointment to the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
100 years of Illinois Extension
In 1914, with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act, Congress established a new partnership that would combine the resources of the Department of Agriculture with top land-grant universities to create a new educational and research network for the country. In our state, we were that university.
Supporting & funding interdisciplinary research
As part of our effort to make information about internal research seed funds more accessible, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research has recently created a new campus funding webpage. Our hope is that bringing these resources together in one place and publicizing the opportunities for pilot funding will encourage faculty members to investigate the diverse funding opportunities we have at Illinois.
The law that transformed higher education
The 70th anniversary of D-Day deservedly has been a center of attention this month. This commemoration of the Allied invasion at Normandy that began on June 6, 1944, marked a turning point in World War II and has served as a reminder of how much can depend on a single moment in time. Sunday, June 22, marked another 70th anniversary from that same war. This one doesn’t memorialize a military operation, but instead celebrates how we honored those veterans who returned home.
Illinois summer engagement
In the summer months, many of our students and faculty members leave our campus to study, write, conduct research projects, vacation, work and rest. And even though these few months can seem rather quiet compared to the normal hustle and bustle of campus life, during this time we also have an enormous influx of visitors. And summer is a significant opportunity to introduce our guests to a wonderful Illinois experience.
Reflecting on This Year
As another semester draws to a close, I want to encourage each of us to spend some time in reflection. It is easy to push through the end of May, working fervently to be finished with all of the semester’s responsibilities. But this has been a truly wonderful year.
Our Micro-Urban Community
Last year, we announced an ambitious plan to hire 500 new faculty members at Illinois over the next five to seven years. In striving to make this goal, one of the challenges we have faced is that many people have the misconception that working in big cities always has better outcomes. I think this is untrue.
Illinois Undergraduate Research
Last week was Undergraduate Research Week at Illinois, and I am so pleased that the seventh-annual Undergraduate Research Symposium featured more presentations, posters and performances than ever before. Enhancing and expanding undergraduate research opportunities is one of the initiatives outlined in the campus strategic plan and it is exciting to see our continued progress in reaching that goal.