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  • The results of independent review of women's basketball program

    I write to share the results of the independent investigation conducted by the firm of Pugh, Jones & Johnson into recent allegations against our women’s basketball program.

    This investigation has concluded that these allegations are not supported by the information available.

  • Graduation at Illinois

    The end of another academic year is upon us at Illinois. The campus is filled with people hurrying to final exams, finishing research projects or attending end-of-the-year meetings. It can be a busy time on campus, but it is also an exciting milestone for the more than 10,000 students who will soon earn their Illinois degrees.

     

  • 'It's On Us' at Illinois

    As many of you know, yesterday Vice President Joe Biden visited our campus to highlight the “It’s On Us” initiative, an awareness campaign that asks everyone to take a pledge to help end campus sexual assault. The visit was a result of the fantastic participation in this effort by our Illinois students, organized in large part by the Illinois Student Senate. 

  • Campus Town Hall Meeting

    As most of you know, on Thursday, April 9 the Provost and I hosted our third annual Town Hall meeting. More than 200 people joined us in-person in the Illini Union Ballroom and many more joined us via livestream. If you were unable to make it, and you are interested in learning more, I hope that you will take a few minutes to view a video of the meeting here.

  • Honoring Faculty & Staff

    Each spring, we honor several members of our Illinois family for the outstanding work that they do all year. In April there are a variety of award ceremonies, and at many of these events, I give remarks or present awards. It is truly a privilege. I want to share a bit about our winners here.

  • New College. New Medicine.

    I write to share the exciting news that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees voted unanimously to establish the nation’s first college of medicine focused, from the beginning, on the intersection of engineering and medicine. This will be the first new college created on our campus in 60 years.

  • Illinois Day of Service

    It is always a priority for us at Illinois to be improving the world around us whether it is through providing groundbreaking innovations to people across the globe or serving the members of our local community. The time is approaching when both the campus and the community focus specifically on the needs in Champaign-Urbana.

    April 12-18 is National Volunteer Week, and it is with excitement that I look forward to our involvement. Illinois will once again kick off the week with the Community & Campus Day of Service on April 11. To register, either individually or as a group, please visit the website. 

  • One Campus, Many Voices

    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.

  • Positioning Illinois Nationally

    In the last few months, I’ve had several opportunities to represent the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a national stage. Even though I’ve been in the role of chancellor for more than three years, I feel so honored each time I have the privilege of broadcasting our pre-eminence. And no matter the venue, it is clear that we are using our expertise to address the critical issues facing our nation and world.

  • IPRH Grant

    Recently it was announced that the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities was awarded more than $2 million to support new humanities initiatives on campus. This newest Mellon grant builds on the foundations of the 2013 Humanities Without Walls Initiative and comes on the heels of five National Endowment for Humanities fellowships in December. These are the hallmarks of a comprehensive public research university – one where excellence is found in every corner of our campus and where we have a community that brings all of these disciplines together in new and exciting ways.

  • Imagining Possibility

    Welcome to a new semester at Illinois. I hope that everyone in our campus community had the opportunity to rest, reflect and recharge over the winter break.

  • Hallmarks of Illinois Excellence

    With the semester rapidly drawing to a close and our attention focused on the multitude of tasks yet to be completed, it seems like a perfect time to step back and reflect on some of the great honors and awards earned by our faculty and students.

  • Illinois as an International Destination

    Last week, we learned that Illinois ranks first among American public universities as a destination for international students, according to the Open Doors report, released by the Institute of International Education last week. And our international enrollment is only surpassed by private universities NYU and USC, respectively.

  • State of the Campus Address

    On Monday, November 10, I shared these remarks with Chicago-area alumni and friends. I will bring some of the same messages to other audiences in the weeks and months to come.

  • The Innovation Deficit

    I am sharing the text from my most recent LinkedIn Influencer post, “Let’s Fix It: The Innovation Deficit.” Influencers were invited to submit posts themed around the idea of “fixing” a problem, and I thought the innovation deficit was a pertinent topic. To see the original post and to view reader’s comments, please see the post on LinkedIn.

  • New Electrical and Computer Engineering Building.

    Collaborative Learning at Illinois

    At Illinois, we combine some of the brightest faculty in the world with some of the most promising students in the world. And we ensure that students’ learning experiences here will be so moving and transformative that when they leave they are equipped to follow their dreams. In order to do that, we are investing to ensure that they have a space that furthers that goal. As I’ve been traveling around campus the past couple of weeks, I have been so pleased to see several new collaborative learning spaces that are open for the first time.

  • 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.

  • Spring excitement at Illinois

    It has been such an exciting and wonderful week to be part of the Illinois family. With the warmer temperatures, the campus has become so vibrant. And we’ve had many things to celebrate. 

  • Appreciating our Graduate Students

    This week is a great opportunity to recognize one of our hardest working groups on campus. They make up more than a quarter of our student body and are essential to the success of the learning and discovery missions of Illinois. They work fervently to contribute so directly to our excellence. That group is our graduate students.

  • Illinois Day of Service

    In celebration of National Volunteer week, Illinois will be holding our second annual Campus and Community Day of Service on Saturday, April 5. I hope all of you will join me in participating.

  • Spring Break at Illinois

    We are privileged to be part of a campus full of the smartest, hardest-working and friendliest faculty, students and staff in the world. Our energy and enthusiasm is a large part of why we enjoy such success and why the reputation of Illinois is known around the world. And many days and weeks in the year, I encourage the entire campus community, myself included, to charge ahead, to push boundaries and make an impact.

  • Sustainability at Illinois

    In the midst of a cold winter, it may seem ironic to discuss our sustainability efforts on campus. But it seemed like the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to see where we have gone and where we are going. In the quest to become a pre-eminent research university with a land-grant mission and global impact, integrating sustainable practices in our research, classes, and buildings - every facet of campus – is a necessity and has been identified as a priority by our students and faculty. 

  • Elevating the discussion

    Following the events of this week that raised the need for a campus discussion on civil discourse and respectful debate, I was asked to submit an op-ed to Inside Higher Education. This piece ran today and I want to share it with the campus community here as well. 

  • MLK, Jr. & Empowering the dream

    On a hot August day in 1963, a man stood up and spoke for about seventeen minutes. When he began, an estimated 250,000 participants of the “March on Washington” paused to listen as millions more tuned in by television and radio. When he finished, Martin Luther King Jr. had established his own place among great American leaders.

  • Spirit of Gratitude

    As our semester draws rapidly to a close and we head into these final hectic days of the year, I hope you take a few moments to celebrate all we have accomplished together so far. 

  • Illinois extends global reach

    The past week has been a blur of time zones and languages – from New York to the annual Silicon Valley Roundtable and then to China with stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and finally, in Beijing. And once again, with each landing, the global presence of Illinois – both in terms of our alumni and our reputation – was proudly and clearly displayed. And I’m excited that we took another great step forward in our international reach with the official opening of the Illinois China office on Monday, December 9, in Shanghai.

  • The impact of sequestration

     As we all know, in mid-October a short-term budget agreement was made in order to re-open the federal government and lift the debt ceiling. As part of the deal, Congress established a committee to reconcile the vast differences between the House and Senate budgets. The committee has until December 13 to submit an agreed-upon budget resolution for the next fiscal year. Without action, a new round of across-the-board spending cuts will occur in January.

    It’s easy to think of the difference in numbers as federal, impersonal facts. But these decisions have an impact on all of our lives, not only because of the Illinois impact, but the impact on the entire global economy.

  • A smoke-free campus

    Last Thursday was the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, and I am proud that this year we celebrated the day at Illinois for the first time. We hope that it was an encouragement to quit for smokers in the Illinois family.

     

  • Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education

    Celebrating our Illinois veterans

    At Illinois, we had the chance to celebrate Veterans Day a bit early at the groundbreaking for the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education on Friday. I’m so proud of our campus commitment to supporting our veterans as they pursue their education. And we all look forward to the impact on campus and beyond of the programs and services that will be available when the doors open.

    The center is an extension of the importance Illinois places on the men and women in our family who have served in the United States military. They make up such a rich part of our history and our campus has proudly recognized them in monument and in word.

  • Alma Mater during restoration

    Alma Mater & preserving tradition

     Homecoming is always an exciting time of the year. This year it was chilly enough to pile on layers of orange and blue for the football game and droves of fans and alumni filled our campus. It’s always been a time filled with pride, nostalgia and good stories. Unfortunately as every visitor to campus knows, one of our most-recognized family members wasn’t able to join the festivities – Alma Mater.

  • Humbled & Honored at AAAS

    This past weekend, I was humbled and honored to be officially inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And I am proud to say that this year’s class saw Illinois well-represented. Fred Hoxie, Swanlund Professor of History, and alumnus Tom Siebel were both inducted as well. It is reassuring to be among friends at these sorts of events.

    I had the additional honor of being asked to speak on behalf of those inducted in my section this year – in Public Affairs, Business, and Administration. I realize that this particular honor was as much out of respect for the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as it was for my personal achievement. I am sharing the text of those remarks and I hope they represented this university well.

  • LinkedIn

    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!

     

    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

     

    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.