August 29 -- Ensuring academic excellence
Sent to students on the UIC campus
Over my 40-plus years at the University of Illinois, I’ve seen countless talented colleagues come and go – from presidents and chancellors to deans, department heads, faculty and staff.
Change is almost constant in an operation as expansive as the U of I, with three campuses, more than 28,000 employees and outreach programs that literally stretch to every corner of our state. Employees retire or move on to new career opportunities, both on our campuses and off. New ones step in and the core missions that have guided the University since its founding continue unabated.
It’s familiar territory for those of us who have been around for a while. But it’s new to many of our students, so I’ve wondered whether any might have concerns about the transition in leadership at UIC, where an interim provost was recently appointed and a search for a new chancellor is underway.
I can assure you that while the players change, our priorities never will. Our foremost commitment is to our students, to best-in-class academic programs and to a transformative educational experience that provides a springboard to success.
Just as it was for the generations of leaders who preceded them, helping students achieve their dreams is a goal shared by Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Interim Provost Rick Gislason and former Provost Lon Kaufman. I’m grateful for their dedication, and wish Dr. Kaufman the best as he begins a new era of service to the University as assistant vice president for corporate and community relations in the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs.
We will seek to build on their foundation of excellence when Chancellor Allen-Meares steps down in January after guiding UIC for six years. A campus-wide search committee was appointed last spring, headed by former Vice President for Academic Affairs and longtime UIC faculty member Mrinalini “Meena” Rao. The 22-member committee, which includes two UIC students, hopes to recommend a new chancellor to the Board of Trustees by November. Once a chancellor is chosen, a search for a permanent provost will begin.
Today’s campus leaders and tomorrow’s will play a key role in unlocking UIC’s vast potential. Chicago is great city – in every way one of the emerging global cities that will lead the way to economic growth in the 21st century. But as I noted in an email last week to students, faculty and staff, Chicago’s promise can only be realized with the support of a great public university. Our senior leadership and Board of Trustees are committed to expanding on UIC’s success to fill that crucial role, supplying the next-generation workforce and innovation that help drive progress and prosperity.
Robert A. Easter