We are fortunate that Illinois is a campus community that is robust, diverse and passionate. Each of us – all 51,774 of us including students, faculty and staff – has a unique voice and perspective. And the point where each of those voices is heard and collaborating is where excellence is found.
In that spirit, this spring Illinois will be hosting “Many Voices: A Campus Conversation on Diversity,” a series of college events, campus-wise conversations and speakers. I encourage everyone to participate. See the full list of events here.
The goal of these conversations is to ask ourselves how we can develop and sustain an inclusive Illinois, build bridges across differences on our campus and think creatively about school spirit. The speaker series will include national experts and scholars sharing their advice and expertise around the challenges and opportunities involved in building inclusive communities.
The speakers range from one of our own Illinois professors to professors from California and New York. They have a variety of backgrounds and expertise - view the full list of speakers here.
Along with the campus-wide speakers, colleges and units will be hosting events for faculty, staff and students. There will also be two additional conversations for graduate and professional students and undergraduate students.
Creating an inclusive Illinois means creating, building and sustaining spaces and environments that are welcoming and affirming. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we all have the tendency to create invisible divides. The boundaries can be based on academic interests, majors, hobbies and fields of specialty. They can also be based on values, beliefs, lifestyles and life experiences. They can even be based on identities, such as religion, ability, race, ethnicity, national origin, Veteran Status and sexual orientation. This event is an opportunity to build communities, relationships and friendships that cross those boundaries.
The purpose of this endeavor is truly to ensure that each voice is heard, understood and respected. We encourage each of you to come share your voice and to learn from others. Together, we can lead the campus in developing a new vision for a welcoming and inclusive Illinois.
Around the Campus
Earlier this week, I sent a message to the campus community titled “Moving Forward Together.” That note detailed some of the actions we have taken in light of the many open and honest conversations these past months around our hiring policies, faculty communication, academic freedom and freedom of expression. The text of that massmail is here.
Congratulations to the three Illinois faculty members who are recipients of 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships: Alison Fout, Ryan Foley and Thomas Kuhlman. The two-year program awards the fellows $50,000 to pursue their choice of research topics and gives the researchers flexibility in applying funds toward their research. Read the full story here.
Congratulations to the recipients of our 2015 Chicago Illini of the Year Awards: Dr. Pedro J. Cevallos-Candau, Jeanne K. Gang and Howard T. Griffith. Read more about the winners here.