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.
Just last week, Gene Robinson (Director, Institute for Genomic Biology), was one of five witnesses who gave testimony before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing in Washington, D.C. on the subject "The Frontiers of Human Brain Research." He spoke in support of President Obama's BRAIN initiative, a new research effort to better understand the brain and reveal new methods for treatment and prevention of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy. You can view his testimony here and I encourage you to take a few minutes and do so, as it is both compelling in content and a great example of why people look to Illinois for leadership in key areas.
Earlier this year, we were among those invited to submit Congressional testimony in support of basic science funding for the National Science Foundation. We have had faculty at the White House advocating for programs to stop bullying. In fact, our voices and research are heard on every critical world and national agenda item from hunger to school vouchers to global warming. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about a vision of Illinois as a pre-eminent public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact. Our scholarship and discovery isn’t limited to esoteric publications, but is embedded in the policies, debates and discussions around the issues that shape our society. And that impact doesn’t let up during the summer, I can tell you.
In fact, a quick look at a round-up of appearances and citations by our students, faculty and staff in the general media for July alone yields nearly 200 citations from around the globe. Our work was cited in the New York Times, Nature, on NPR, CNN, Scientific American and the Wall Street Journal just to name a few. The range of topics spans everything from entomology to copyright law to teen dating abuse. Again, when Illinois talks on important issues, the world pays attention.
I hope your final weeks of summer are good ones and I look forward to the start of a new academic year at Illinois.
Around the Campus
Congratulations to Peter D. Constable, who has been named the next dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is currently a Purdue University professor of veterinary clinical sciences and will start as the new dean in January 2014, pending approval by the U. of I. Board of Trustees. To read more about the new dean, see the full story here.
Congratulations to Gene Robinson, the Swanlund Chair of entomology and neuroscience and the director of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois, who is the recipient of the Animal Behavior Society’s 2013 Distinguished Animal Behaviorist award. To read more about Robinson’s work, see the full story here.
Several Illinois students and recent alumni have been offered fully funded opportunities to research, study or teach English in other nations through the U.S. student Fulbright program. The program awards 1,900 academic grants annually to U.S. citizens for use in more than 140 nations. To read more about the winners, see the full story here.
Three Illinois doctoral students have won Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide awards from the National Science Foundation. They are Nardine Abadeer, chemistry, and Evgueni Filipov and Andrew Mock, civil engineering, all of whom also are fellows in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program. To read more about the winners, see the full story here.