Message from Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo

Dean Astrida Orle TantilloWelcome to the 2014-2015 academic year!

At UIC’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, faculty, students, alumni and staff are all members of a robust academic and creative community, which is continually striving to provide the tools, foundation and inspiration for a lifetime of learning and achievement. This year, we are excited to welcome 20 new faculty members to our community. While their areas of expertise run the gamut from cognitive psychology to algebraic geometry, what is consistent across their fields is their level of excellence and commitment to the mission of our College and campus. We will most certainly be featuring many of them in upcoming editions of AtLAS.

Our mission is to provide the best liberal arts and sciences education to LAS’s talented, energetic, and hard-working students. Preparing active learners for 21st century careers is both an art and a science: we believe that students need substantial research, writing and analysis skills, opportunities for foreign language training and study abroad, and internship experience. We offer these opportunities in a community that supports students and fosters their success, both at LAS and over a lifetime.

At LAS, we promote an environment of possibility— students develop a confidence in their skills and an ability to turn their ideas into action. I am very pleased to report that our enhanced and expanded advising program has already made a difference in enabling our students to succeed. We will continue to strengthen college advising, and this year we also will be expanding student research and internship opportunities as well as the resources of the student learning (tutoring) centers.

Supported by personalized attention (in freshman-only seminars, cohort advising groups, and mentorship from our award-winning faculty), LAS students discover their ambitions, practice critical problem-solving, and develop the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing economy and employment landscape. Our students also understand and embrace the value of citizenship-- as members of the LAS community, and also as engaged citizens in workplaces, in neighborhoods, and in the world. LAS graduates are empowered by a sense of responsibility as active members of their larger communities.

The LAS experience is often a life-changing one for our students, and a place where they learn the creative habits of mind that impact businesses, media, scholarship, organizations, and culture—that shape the lens through which we see, understand and experience the world.

In addition, LAS graduates with strong communication skills (both verbal and written), knowledge of current affairs, respect for diversity, and the ability to navigate change are well equipped to forge a meaningful career and life. Many of our alumni have taken the skills and knowledge from their LAS education and applied them to careers in unexpected fields. LAS graduates are redefining “traditional” linear career paths and forging their own journeys, built on skill and passion.

We are proud of our people and our programs and excited that, increasingly, UIC is being recognized for its strengths. Earlier this year, UIC was ranked third among U.S. universities and thirteenth in the world in The Times Higher Education’s international ranking of the top 100 universities that were founded less than 50 years ago. In addition, AffordableSchools.net included UIC among the 50 most affordable colleges in the U.S. with the best return on investment. Importantly, the ranking looked at a school’s affordability in relation to the earnings of its graduates.

Any celebration of our present and planning for our future must also recognize our past. In 2015, UIC will mark the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Circle Campus. Although much has changed since 1965, the Circle Campus is a key part of our history, and those graduates are a valued part of the LAS community. In recognition of the importance of our alumni relationships, the College recently hired a Director of Alumni Relations, Christopher Phillips, who brings a wealth of experience and a passion for involving students and alumni. We look forward to building stronger relationships and networks through his leadership.

Whether you are an alum, a donor, a friend, or some combination, thank you for being a part of our community, our mission and our evolution. I am so pleased that you are a part of the LAS story and I look forward to sharing more LAS accomplishments with you in the future.

Sincerely,

Astrida Orle Tantillo, PhD

Continue reading about how LAS is making a real impact in the most recent edition of AtLAS.

In addition to serving as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Astrida Orle Tantillo has served for 15 years as a professor of Germanic studies and history. She previously served as the director of the College’s School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics before filling the role of interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dean Tantillo is an internationally renowned Goethe scholar and former president of the Goethe Society of North America.

Dean Tantillo's full curriculum vitae.