Message from the Dean  

Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo

 

Welcome to the new academic year! I hope that your summers were enjoyable and productive.

The prospects for the next academic year—and beyond—are bright. It truly feels as if we are emerging from a period of formidable challenges and are ready to rebuild and flourish:

*Not only did the State give us a budget this year in a timely fashion, but, for the first time in recent memory, it increased the University’s allocation rather than decreasing it.

*As you may recall, last year, the College experienced its largest first-year class in at least thirty years (and quite possibly, the largest first-year class ever), and the size of this year’s entering class looks to be about on par with that of last year. Overall, as of today, we have 10,000 undergraduates which is the largest the College has been in quite some time. In this context, it is well worth mentioning again that UIC was the only public university in Illinois which increased its overall enrollment last year—a clear indication of our growing reputation and strength as well as an indication that we represent the future of higher education in Illinois and beyond.

*We are joined this fall by an excellent cohort of new tenure-line faculty members (please see their bios here). This year, for the first time in five years, we have increased the overall number of tenure-line faculty in the College, and we expect to grow even more next year. We have plans to hire 29 new faculty in the coming year--the largest cohort of new hires in at least eight years. We are grateful to the Chancellor for his support of our hiring endeavors: he is funding nine of these positions as a recognition of the College’s central role on campus.

*Many of us have been buoyed by the new construction across our campus as a sign of the growth and forward momentum of UIC.  Hopefully, our Advanced Chemical Technology Building (ACTB) will soon join the ranks of new construction projects at UIC: the State included funding for ACTB in its budget this year, and we are currently working with the campus to make this much-needed building a reality.

*I am very excited about our beautiful new Math and Science Learning Center. It is located in the old Science Library space on the 3rd floor of SES and promises expanded tutoring services to all UIC students enrolled in undergraduate math and science courses. Stop by to see what is certainly one of the most attractive and inviting learning spaces on our campus. (For more information on the center and its services, please see mslc.uic.edu).

*The College had an amazing year in terms of its fundraising, which is another indication of our growing reputation for excellence: we have a newly endowed professorship (the TransUnion Statistics Professorship in MSCS), nearly $2 million in new scholarship dollars, and over $5 million in new private foundation support, including the College’s $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant to support undergraduate STEM education.

The future is very bright and we are excited for all that lies ahead. We have weathered the recent difficult years of the State's underfunding of higher education because of your excellence and commitment. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to ensure that we fulfill our mission as Chicago’s great public research university.

All of my best wishes for the upcoming academic year,
Astrida

Astrida Orle Tantillo
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor of Germanic Studies and History
University of Illinois at Chicago