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Phyllis Wise, Chancellor

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  • Becoming a LinkedIn Influencer


     I was recently approached by LinkedIn about joining their Influencers Program. My first inclination was to politely decline the invitation. With several hundred (at the time) individuals ranging from President Obama to Meg Whitman to Maria Shriver offering their opinions, expertise and advice around professional and personal advancement, I wasn’t sure what I might add to the discussions. However, as I looked more closely at the spectrum of Influencers and their posts, I noticed the distinct absence of leaders in higher education among the group.

  • My essay in Time magazine

    The Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, co-sponsors of the recent Time Summit on Higher Education, have published a section in the current issue of Time magazine that considers the future of U.S. research universities. I was invited, with University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Emeritus Robert Birgeneau, to contribute an essay for the section. Currently the text is only available in the print version of the magazine, but I can share my section of it here. 

  • National debate on higher ed

    As many of you already know, last month President Obama unveiled a new education reform plan. With logistics of the president’s plan still in the early stages, no one can predict what the outcomes may be. And though I’m still not certain how this will directly affect Illinois, I’m happy to see the topic of affordable higher education take center stage. Access to education, to a transformative learning experience that changes not only what we do but also who we are, is inextricably tied to our foundation and mission.

  • Leadership on a Campus Known for It

    Since becoming chancellor at Illinois, I’ve been asked many times to speak about leadership – to many different audiences. And the opening of each year seems to bring the most invitations. It’s always an interesting opportunity for me - and in some ways still a surprising request - because, honestly, being the top administrator at a major public research university was never on my childhood list of things to do.

  • Welcome to Illinois!

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    Welcome back! And for those of you who are joining us for the first time, welcome to Illinois!

  • Looking to Illinois for Leadership

    There always seems to be some sense that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign slows down during the summer months. Certainly we notice the absence of our regular population of undergraduate and graduate students in our classrooms and on the streets and sidewalks of our community. And while our classrooms might be a bit emptier, our scholarship and engagement activities never seem to ease up.

  • Our Commitment to Diversity

    As you probably know, the justices of the United States Supreme Court delivered some major decisions in the final weeks of this year’s term. Two of these in particular have potentially significant and long-term impacts for this university and for higher education in general. 

  • Celebrating Our Library

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    As most of you know from the email I sent a few weeks ago, pending board approval, we will be welcoming John P. Wilkin as university librarian and dean of libraries in August. I thank Paula Kaufman for her wonderful leadership of this university icon. Of all the grand accomplishments and great hallmarks across our history, I think none stand out like the university library. 

  • The Importance of Summer Camps

    With summer in full swing, it can often feel like children are taking over our campus. Indeed, we have a thriving camp system with thousands of kids ages six to 18 coming to Illinois throughout the next few months. While these camps are a wonderful service to kids and families, our camps are also strategic advantages for the university. For many families these experiences serve to set the first and lasting impression of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They can be the start of a relationship that will last a lifetime.  


  • Memorial Day & A Campus Commitment

    As we take time to enjoy Memorial Day this year among friends and family and to celebrate what has come to be the unofficial start of summer, I also urge all of us to take some time to consider the intent and purpose of this holiday: to remember those in our community who have died serving in the nation’s Armed Forces. And more broadly, it is a day to remind us that the world conflicts of recent years has brought a new generation of student, staff and faculty veterans to the campus.