State of the University Address 2019

State of the University Address 2019

October 11, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


THERESA MINTLE: Hello, UIC! Ooooh, that was
pretty good! One more time: Hello, UIC! Great! Thank you and thanks to Nick and the members
of the UIC Pep Band. You guys are rockin’. Good job.
Good afternoon, distinguished deans and faculty, staff, students and guests. I am Theresa E.
Mintle and I am the interim vice chancellor for Public and Government Affairs. It is my
pleasure to welcome you to the 4th annual State of the University of Illinois at Chicago
Address. We are here today to celebrate our great institution. Just
54 years from the founding of the Circle campus, UIC has emerged as a global leader in the
field of post-secondary education. It is with great pride that I serve this institution
and all of you who make this amazing place to what it is today. In just five years, Chancellor
Amiridis’s energy has created momentum and excitement around our legacy of diversity,
student access, and academic excellence. In a few minutes, we’ll be hearing from him
about his thoughts about UIC’s future and the opportunities that lie ahead. But we all
know, that one person can’t really run the machine that UIC alone. It takes a special
partner and that would be the chancellor’s wife, Ero. Ero, we would like to thank for
all that you do for UIC to support our chancellor and to be just such an amazing presence on
our campus. In addition to Ero, there are a number of
people who really helped the chancellor, and really all of us, to succeed. I would also
like to acknowledge a couple of elected leaders who are here with us today. Speaker Madigan,
Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, thank you. And Justice Michael Hyman, of the
Circuit Court of Cook County, thank you for being here.
I would also like to thank the members of the university’s leadership team for being
with us today. It is an honor serving with you and being
part of our collective contribution to this, to UIC’s growth.
We also have civic and community leaders here. To each and every one of you, I extend our
heartfelt gratitude for all that you do and continue to do for UIC and our students. We
all know that UIC is a jewel in Chicago’s crown. It is up to each of us to keep this
a great university, where our students go on to be doctors, social workers, teachers,
researchers, artists, and now even lawyers. Thank you for that one.
And today is a unique opportunity for each of us to get a birds-eye-view of our great
university. So, let’s take a quick look at a brief video we put together that sums
up the year’s highlights. Pretty awesome, right?
And I’ve also like to acknowledge the Senator Omar Aquino, has arrived.
Hello. Welcome; thanks for being here. Now, I’m delighted to introduce Susan Panek,
our Student Trustee. Susan is a senior in biological sciences. She is involved in Women
in Sciences and Engineering and the Society of Future Physicians. Susan’s pretty amazing.
I think you’ll find that when you hear from her remarks. So, please welcome, please join
me in welcoming her to the stage. SUSAN PANEK: Good afternoon, everyone. It’s
an honor to stand here before you all as a student who’s stayed here for the University
of Illinois at Chicago. It’s a position I can only describe as one that has been and
really truly continues to be a tremendous labor of love for me. Although I’ve been
in this position for really only a few months, I was easily welcomed and very warmly embraced
by all of the individuals from the Board of Trustees, all the way to the individuals for
the U of I System, including the University of Illinois at Chicago.
But, the warm welcome that I received at the very beginning was not a surprise to me. I
joined the University of Illinois at Chicago four years ago as a first-year student freshman,
and first in my family to pursue university in the United States. And I was welcomed also
very similarly, in a warm manner. But prior to the first year of classes, a
day I remember very fondly, was attending the university’s convocation. So for the
students, several of you know that this is kind of our graduation in reverse. It’s
a graduation in reverse specifically for the incoming cohorts or students. And as I sat
there, in the Credit Union 1 Arena, amongst all my other students, in my convocation shirt,
which I always. You know I’m so proud to say I still have. I was so excited. Really
looking forward to all the beautiful things ahead.
I made myself three promises. The first was to really make the most out of my university
experience. The second, to serve and advocate for all of my students and really contribute
to UIC. And third, to bear the torch and light the flame at convocation. Something that I
was super excited about and I’m fortunate enough to say that I had the pleasure and
the chance to do this here. But of the three promises I made to myself, the one that I
am really hoping to speak on is the promise to…as was already mentioned. You know I
had the privilege of serving my fellow students in an array of ways. From president on different
executive boards to student representative on different committees. And I’m grateful
that I have been able to have every one of those opportunities, as it really prepared
me for the role for within which I serve today. It’s one that enables me not only to serve
my students in represent them, but contribute to proving and advocating for the U of I system.
And I know that you all share that same commitment UIC, which is why we’re here today, to discuss
and celebrate our accomplishments, our challenges, and also our future plans. But before we begin
this discussion, I want to introduce Dr. Catherine Vincent.
Dr. Vincent is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women, Children, and Family
Health Science and she’s also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of
Nursing. Where she teaches Ph.D. graduate nursing course. Her research addresses the
challenges of unrelieved children’s pain. She has also served on the UIC senate from
2006 to 2009 and then from 2011 to present now. She began her fourth senate term in 2017
and she also served as the College of Nursing Representative on the Senate Executive Committee
since 2011, has been the presiding officer of the senate for 2012 to 2014. And has been
Chair of Senate Executive Committee and Secretary of the Senate since 2014. So now, without
a further ado. Please help me in welcoming Dr. Catherine Vincent. DR. CATHERINE VINCENT: Thank you, she going
to be a tough act to follow. Michael Amiridis has lead the University of Illinois at Chicago
since March of 2015 and I have to say, it’s been over four momentous years. Many of you
know me, I have served at the faculty on the College of Nursing for fourteen years. I serve
on the UIC Senate and I’ve seen this university grow up.
But have never witnessed an institutional growth spurt and that’s exactly what we
have experienced. We are over 33,000 students strong. An outcome of five years of record-breaking
enrollments, while the state was mired in budget funds. Two of those years without any
budget. My state colleges and universities recede in enrollment declines and yet, UIC’s
momentum increased. As Chancellor Amiridis likes to say, “Students
vote with their feet and their choosing UIC.” In the last two years, we have broken ground
and cut ribbons on buildings and labs all across the university. That has put us at
the forefront of innovative living, learning, teaching, and research in the nation. And in fact,
UIC is the first of the three universities in the system to form a public private collaboration,
referred to as P3. Bringing to life one of the early cornerstones Chancellor Amiridis,
in Chancellor Amiridis’ strategy. To push our culture to be more innovative and entrepreneurial.
The outcome was that beautiful Academic and Residential Complex on Harrison and Morgan.
Chancellor Amiridis has continued to press for strong and ongoing engagement, with community
and civic organizations and corporate and elected officials, to discuss how UIC’s
strengths and resources are beneficial to Chicago and to the state. And how we can leverage
our strengths to increase our impact, locally and globally.
Chancellor Amiridis serves on the board of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities,
the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and
the Chicagoland Chamber of Congress. As in any institution this big and complex, there
are always challenges along the way, and we have faced several. However, UIC’s upward
trajectory feels more solid than ever. So, it is with pledger that I have had this opportunity
to share my sense of how UIC looks like today and to welcome Chancellor Michael Amiridis
for his State of UIC Address. SOTU 2019
FINAL DRAFT– 10.01.19 Theme: Strategic Priorities – Building a
university for the future Thank you, Katie, I’m thinking about quitting
right now while I’m ahead. After this introduction I don’t know what I can do to do better
than this, this afternoon. Thank you everyone and thank you for joining us today and thank
you for your interest in the current state and future of the University of Illinois at
Chicago. As most of you know and if you didn’t know
you heard already, I arrived at this University in early 2015 at the beginning of the worst
budget crisis in the history of public higher education in Illinois. At the peak of the
crisis, in the Spring of 2017, in this same State of the University address, I told you
that to advance UIC we had to escape forward. Escape forward with pride for our accomplishments,
with a renewed conviction to our public mission, and with a spirit of innovation and excitement
for the future! And boy, did we escape forward? We broke barriers and records and we emerged
stronger than ever before, as our core values and our strategic priorities and goals guided
our run for the future. Today, we have built a strong momentum that is the envy of higher
education in this state and in the entire region. Along this journey, each one of you has contributed
in different ways to making student experience and success a top priority; to elevating our
national and international reputation for research and scholarship; to enhancing our
engagement through a closer alignment with institutions, businesses, non-profits and
communities that make up Chicago and to creating a more nimble, entrepreneurial and sustainable
university in support of our mission. Let’s put the facts together. This fall
for the third, for the fifth year in a row, we enrolled a record number of students bringing
our total enrollment to more than 33,400 students – an increase of more than 5% over last
year and nearly 20% over the fall of 2014 enrollment. At the start of the fall semester as we welcomed
our newest students and their families to our annual Convocation and picnic – a tradition
that I look forward to every year. I couldn’t help but thinking that every other University
would love to be in our position. They would also like to know how and why?
And the answer may sound simple: it is quality, it is value, it is our campus environment,
and it is our location, but it is extremely difficult to duplicate the unique institution
that all of us and our predecessors have created here, at the heart of Chicago. And the growth will continue, because what
we are offering is in great demand! Just 10 days ago, more than 10,000 prospective students,
parents and community members visited campus for the UIC Open House to get a taste of what
we have to offer. At the same time, we have remained accessible
to those who need the social elevator of higher education the most. The majority of our student
population relies on financial aid to meet their goals. More than 50% of all UIC undergraduates
and more than 60% of new incoming first-year students receive Pell grant support. Furthermore,
nearly 60% of our undergraduates receive MAP funding making us the largest recipient of
MAP funding in the state of Illinois. As the speaker and senator Aquino and on behalf of
our students we are grateful to the state for increasing MAP funding this year.
In total, every year we award more than $140 million in grant and scholarship aid to our
students. Which includes federal, state and over $57 million in our own institutional
funds. We are proud to be the social elevator school
for our students and graduates and proud to remain true to our mission. We have also implemented scholarship programs
to assist some outstanding students from middle class economic backgrounds. The new Chancellor’s
Fellows and Provost’s Fellows Programs, utilize matching funds from the state’s
AIM HIGH program, which in my opinion is a great piece of legislative work. In this first
year of the AIM HIGH program, 250 Chancellor’s and Provost’s Fellows enrolled at UIC as
freshmen and I’m confident that we made a difference in retaining these 250 high achievers
in Illinois. And through creative partnerships, such as
the naming agreements for the Credit Union 1 Arena and the Dorin Forum we are making
the case that support for additional scholarships at UIC is a top priority. We are also proud for the role that the UIC
community played in successfully advocating for the “Rise Bill,” which Gov. J.B. Pritzker
signed into law at UIC this summer. The Rise Bill, the Rise Bill makes undocumented students
eligible for MAP grants and institutional aid at public Universities in Illinois. The
same is also true for transgender students regardless of whether they registered for
selective service. This is right, this is fair and I was glad to see it signed into
law here at UIC. Finally, thank you for clapping, first, I
know she has put so much time into this effort. Finally, it is through scholarships that we
manage to advance some small scale but high impact programs, like UIC’s “Call Me Mister”
program through the College of Education. This program is designed to train more male
students of color to become licensed elementary school teachers, who will not only teach,
but also serve as role models in their communities to positively impact the lives of children
here in Chicago and across the state of Illinois. As our national and international reputation
continues to grow, we are also experiencing international growth among our undergraduate
students. Our partnership with Shorelight, known as UIC Global, has boosted our international
undergraduate student enrollment to nearly 1600. These students do not replace, but they
supplement our in-state students and open windows to the world for them. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that
— at the same time — our study abroad programs have grown rapidly. What is interesting is
that the overall demographic data for our study abroad students are counter-intuitive
and reflect the diversity of UIC. What I mean by this, more than 60% of our
study abroad students identify as under-represented minorities, more than 60% are the first in
their families to go to college and more than 75% receive federal financial aid. So, why do they go abroad? These numbers defy
conventional wisdom in the study abroad field and in part are due to more than $1 million
in study abroad scholarships and that we manage to put together and provide. This also includes
a generous support by United Airlines which covered the travel expenses of 50 students
last year who went to 26 countries on 5 continents, alphabetically arranging from Argentina and
Australia to Turkey and the United Kingdom. With our growth in enrollment, we needed to
find new ways to accommodate the needs of our students. The opening of the Academic and Residential
Complex may be providing beautiful skyline views from the dorm rooms as an added perk
for the students, but more importantly it sets a new standard
for state-of-the-art classrooms. If you haven’t visited these classrooms, you should. There’s
something different than what you’re used to. Giving our students real-world experiences
to expand their classroom learning is also critical to attract the students of tomorrow.
The standards that our Colleges of Engineering and Business have set in this area for years
now are noticed across the country and here on our campus. And the opening of the new
Complex gave students in the College of Business another opportunity not only to operate, but
also to manage a small business, such as the newly opened coffee shop there. Which is managed
and operated by our students. This fall, we are also opening three new health
care simulation centers in the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy. These new
facilities are the gold standard for training students and health care professionals in
clinical, communication and decision-making skills, before they start interacting with
patients. And having visited one of them and cutting the ribbon for the other two next
week I can tell you it’s almost scary what these manikins can do. So, how do you beat this kind of learning
experience? You do it by being aboard a Swedish icebreaker vessel in the Canadian Artic. Not
necessarily easy, as we found, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts in 2017 and 2018,
but five UIC students made it this summer and recently returned from the Northern Passage
Project, a research expedition where they collected water, ice and air samples to improve
understanding of the effect of warming trends in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The students
from UIC’s Department of Biological Sciences were supported in part by the National Science
Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. So there’s no doubt that UIC students are
talented and inspiring – and many will make great contributions to our city, our state
and the world. Each year I am impressed by the number of them who are selected for highly
competitive scholarships and awards. UIC has three Fulbright finalists this year,
who will conduct research, study, or teach English abroad:
● Melissa Hendrickson, an alumna who earned a master’s degree in museum and exhibition
studies in 2017; ● Zuka’a Joudeh, who graduated this past
May with summa cum laude distinction and bachelor’s degrees in political science and Germanic
studies; and ● Frankee Lyons, a UIC doctoral candidate
in history. Two UIC students were also named Goldwater
Scholars. This is the most known undergraduate award for STEM talent in the country. Anis
Barmada, who is majoring in biological sciences and chemistry, and Wasan Kumar, a neuroscience
major, are among 496 scholars selected from every University in the country for a very
competitive national field. I can say with confidence that these are among the top 500
of the best STEM majors of the entire country. And finally, Nicolas Robledo, a finance major,
continued the transition, the transition of UIC Newman Civic Fellowships this year. He
has had one of them for many years now. A special group among our students, our student
athletes also represent the University on the athletic fields, and last year the Flames
enjoyed tremendous success in competition. Four of our teams won Horizon League championships,
affording dozens of student-athletes the opportunity to appear on the national stage during NCAA
play. Under the direction of head coach Sean Phillips,
last fall the men’s soccer team made it three championships in a row for the first
time in the program’s history. And knowing how they played this fall, I’m thinking
it will be four in a row this year. In the spring, UIC alumna Lynn Curylo’s softball
team won its fifth straight Horizon League championship, while the baseball team, under
coach Mike Dee, who has been here over 20 years, won the conference tournament and earned
a berth in the NCAA Championship for the second time in three years.
Finally, the women’s tennis team dominated the League once again they won both the regular
season and the conference tournament. And under Head coach Shannon Tully’s team collected
the 20th league championship. So the most of any team in our athletic department during
their history. As a whole, the Athletic Department led all Horizon League schools in the 2018-19
Division I College Director’s Cup standings, which of course you have no idea what we mean,
it means that we are basically the best in the league. That’s what we say in much fewer
words. The accomplishments of the Flames in the classroom were equally impressive. With 43 Flames recording
a 4.0 GPA last spring and 115 appearing on the Dean’s List. And following a decades
long tradition the Flames also found time to log in hundreds of community service hours
as well. In addition to the students, an equally important
measure of the success of a University is the success of its alumni. So allow me to
brag for a minute about the success of some recent alumni. This year Bing Lui, a 2011 graduate, was
nominated for an academy award for his documentary, Minding the Gap. In our opinion he should have been
the winner of the Oscar! But I’m not biased. Ivelisse Rodriguez, who received her PhD
in 2006, was a finalist for the national PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for her book, Love War
Stories. That’s the top literary award that you can get in the country. Best-selling science fiction and Marvel
Comics author Nnedi Okorafor, who received her Master’s in 2002 and her PhD 2007, was
extensively featured in the Chicago Tribune they call her and I’m quoting “Next Big Thing.” And two UIC alumni — Haven Allen and
Rina Shah were recognized in the most recent Crain’s “40 Under 40” list;
While two were also recognized in Crain’s “20 In Their 20s” list — Maurice Goodman
(Class of 2013, BS Finance) and Moira O’Connor (Class of 2017, John Marshall Law School).
They all make us very proud! Speaking of graduates this year we welcomed
our 16th college, UIC John Marshall Law School, and the university’s first class of law
students to the UIC family. This is a big deal for Chicago and for UIC!
It took three years and extraordinary work by many individuals at both ends to make this
a reality. Integrating John Marshall into Chicago’s public research university is
a perfect match – creating Chicago’s first and only public law school. And when people
ask me what’s the big deal in having a public law school in Chicago, I point out that a
public institution guarantees access to an affordable legal education and it also guarantees
a scholarly and service focus on the critical legal issues of this City and this State.
That is what the big deal is. John Marshall has a long history of providing
access to students from underserved populations, and of serving the Chicago communities by
providing pro bono legal services through nine community legal clinics focusing among
others on veterans law, fair housing and family law. So John Marshall was the perfect match
for UIC and we are delighted to have them at UIC. And if all this sounds exciting for the academic
arena, just wait to see what’s happening this coming year. As our Provost leads the
process of a revision of our core curriculum, with unique characteristics for UIC. As we continue to renew our infrastructure
and move into the construction phase of a new Computer Science building and a new Advanced
Chemical Technology building and a much-needed renovation of the Student Centers. And as we introduce new degree programs in
several Colleges and a brand new Department of Real Estate in our College of Business. Of course, none of these will be possible
without the right leaders in place. At the University level we have continued to recruit
innovative thinkers who will help transform our university and prepare us for the future.
This year we welcomed: ● TJ Augustine, Vice Chancellor for Innovation;
● Joanna Groden, Vice Chancellor for Research; ● Mark Rosenblatt, Executive Dean for the
College of Medicine; ● Rebecca Rugg, Dean of the College of Architecture,
Design and the Arts; and ● Tom Wamsley, more recent addition Vice
Chancellor for Advancement. But most importantly, since the last State
of the University address in April 2018 we have hired approximately 300 new full-time
faculty, half of which are tenured or in the tenure track. And this is very important, because it is
our faculty and staff members who address the educational needs of our students; It
is our faculty and staff members who are engaged in our communities; and it is our faculty
and staff members who advance our reputation in research and scholarship. I’m really proud of the large number of
them, ranging from the health sciences to the humanities who have been honored this
last year by their peers and professional organizations for their achievements. Faculty members like Mark Grabiner, Professor
of Kinesiology and Nutrition in Applied Health Sciences who received the Borelli Award, the
most prestigious honor given by the American Society of Biomechanics. Like Laurie Reynolds, Assistant Professor
of Art in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, who was one of eight people
internationally and the only one in the US to receive the Soros Artist Fellowship for
her work in civically engaged art. Like Dick Simpson, Professor of Political
Science in Liberal Arts & Sciences, everybody knows Dick Simpson! Dick won the Lifetime
Achievement Award given by the American Political Science Association. Like Luis Urrea, Distinguished Professor of
English who was named a Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Like Dean Michael Pagano Dean of the College
of Urban Planning and Public Affairs who was presented, I think very recently, with the
Aaron Wildavsky Award, a lifetime achievement award, by the Association for Budgeting & Financial
Management (ABFM). And like Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, Chief Medical
Officer of our hospital and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, who this year received
the Physician of the Year Award from The Chicago Medical Society. The Physician of the Year
in a city of 11 million resigns right here at UI Health. It is through the hard work of these and hundreds
more faculty members that UIC is one of 130 universities – and one of only four in Illinois
– recognized nationally by the Carnegie Foundation as a Very Top Research Activity
University (Research 1 as we call it). With over $370M in sponsored awards for Fiscal
Year 19, we are ranked by the National Science Foundation in the top 45 public Universities
in the country. And every year our faculty continue to lead
significant research initiatives and large multi-million-dollar programs that elevate
UIC’s and Illinois’s national and international reputation. Some of the most visible examples include
Terry Vanden Hoek’s, weren’t we talking about Terry just a minute ago, this is Physician
of the year, Terry Vanden Hoek’s $2.8 million NIH grant to evaluate the efficacy of two
drugs that may boost cardiac arrest survival. Jerry Krishnan’s $14.6 million, multi-center
research project to determine which of two drugs is the most effective at treating chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease. Mark Schlossman’s $14.1 million NSF grant,
we are leaving medicine now and going to the science, to expand the experimental capabilities
at NSF’s Chemistry and Materials Center for Advanced Radiation Sources. Angela Ellison’s, $4.7 million Healthy Start
grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to reduce the health disparities
experienced by women and children living in historically underserved and marginalized
communities. And Alison Castro Superfine’s $4.7 million
NSF grant to improve K-8 math instruction in south suburban schools here in Chicago. If you do the quick math; $40M federal funds
coming to Illinois just for these five projects. What is also important to highlight is that
UIC faculty have an outstanding track record of bringing the results of their research
and scholarship to practice. UIC right now has three major therapeutics
on the market today, including an anti-HIV drug, a bladder cancer drug, and a vaccine
against the shingles virus, this is the vaccine that appeared two year ago in the market. 
Revenue generated from these drugs will exceed $40M in 2019 and which places us among the
top 15 universities in royalties income in the country. And who are challenging, right
now North Western for the top spot in the state of Illinois. These funds, these funds
are reinvested to support our research programs and infrastructure. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The
UIC Office of Technology Management currently manages 280 active licenses and 450 patents
and is the home of 34 active startups. And these numbers do not include all the applied
work that our faculty members do in the social sciences and the humanities where impact is
not measured by dollars, but by studies and reports and the changes observed in the local
communities. Our success in translational research is locally
and nationally recognized. This year seven UIC scientists from the Colleges of Medicine
and Arts and Sciences were included in Halo’s “40 under 40” list for their excellent
work in this field. Their projects range from developing a safer therapeutic for the most
common childhood cancer to discovering antibiotics from bacteria collected in our lakes and oceans. And just a few months ago Deerfield Management
committed $65 million in translational research funding, as well as commercialization expertise,
to advance promising UIC discoveries. UIC became one of ten academic institutions in
the country to launch such a partnership with Deerfield and we are in the company of the
crème de la crème in therapeutics research. We are together with FRMA, John Hopkins, and
Andy Anderson in this agreement. One of the biggest challenges we are facing
in recruiting and retaining top faculty talent is the size and the quality of our research
and teaching facilities. Addressing this challenge is a Herculian task
given the needs that exist and the little that has been done over decades. A good first
sign of progress was the opening of the new Engineering Innovation Building which is home
to Chicago’s only high-bay structural research labs, a unique facility in support of our
Civil Engineering and structures programs, as well as new wet labs for Chemical and Mechanical
Engineering. The facility highlights the need for investment in Engineering’s rapidly
growing academic and research efforts The new building, as well as a second much
needed Computing Center- funded primarily by the State’s Capital Bill and again thank
you Mr Senator for the work you did on the capital. And also some private donations and
currently under engineering design — enable us to give our students and faculty the state-of-the-art
spaces that they need to learn, discover and innovate. Furthermore, planned expansion of UIC’s
Innovation Center, funded by the State again through the Discovery Partners Institute,
will double the size of our corporate collaboration space used for joint projects with BMW, with
Caterpillar, and with the Saint Francis Healthcare System, among others. And as you can see in
the pictures there work has already started. We are also nearing completion of the construction
of a Robotic Surgery Training Center, partially funded by the Bruno and Sallie Pasquinelli
Family Foundation. Robotic Surgery is one of the most innovative clinical programs at
UI Health and is the only Robotic Surgery Certification Program in the country, designated
as a national Center of Excellence. The program has had many “firsts” in the world, including
the first robotic lung resection, the first robotic liver resection and the first robotic
middle pancreatectomy. It should come as no surprise then that our program and its leader
Dr. Piero Gulianotti were recently highlighted in a feature story by the New Yorker magazine.
Those of you who know who the New Yorker works knows it’s impossible to get a feature story. The State’s very strong support for UIC
and the Discovery Partners Institute, combined with our innovative use of public private
partnerships allow us to continue to move forward with the implementation of our Capital
Master Plan. The state-supported Advanced Chemical Technology Building and the Drug
Discovery and Innovation Building are currently, and these are both top research facilities,
are currently under engineering design, while this phase is almost completed for the privately
and Hospital-funded Outpatient Surgical Center and the Hospital’s new Atrium. And while I’m very grateful to the State,
I’m also encouraged by signs of success we had recently with respect to fundraising
for our facilities from private funds. I’m referring to a new, so new that we have not
announced it yet, $10 million gift from the Bruno and Sallie Pasquinelli family foundation
that will support the new Outpatient Surgery Center. An additional $10M in private funding
raised by Engineering and Pharmacy for their facilities, $5M provided by Christine Schwartz
to Nursing to renovate and expand the Simulation Laboratory, and $10M raised in clinical revenue
by Pharmacy for the Drug Discovery Center. Put all this together and we are at $35M for
the last year and a half for facilities, which in my book is a good first step. And if all of these get you excited and you
wonder what is next-beyond our infrastructure-in research, stay tuned as this year:
As we launch four University Research Institutes to further drive discovery and coordinate
our efforts towards big Center grants in our areas of strength. We continue our pursuit of NCI designation
for the Cancer Center. We further enhance our efforts in support
of the thematic areas of DPI. And we initiate a much-needed internal grant
program to support scholarship in the arts and the humanities The work of our faculty, and the quality and
value of our programs have been recognized in several recent rankings, bringing national
visibility to UIC. Now, let’s make something clear: we don’t like rankings and as long
as we remain focused on our mission and achieving our goals, we don’t care about rankings.
But we get a kick out of them when they manage to get it right. So this is why we like the Wall Street Journal
and Times Higher Education which for the second year in a row have ranked UIC in the top 10
list of “Best Values” of the nation’s universities – the only Illinois university
recognized by the Wall Street Journal in this category. We were also pleased to see that
in the overall ranking of more than 340 U.S. public universities, UIC was tied for 21st
with Michigan State University and you many want to take a look at who is right below
us. The Dean of Engineering by the way has this picture in his signature so whenever
he sends and email the alumni get it. Money magazine’s 2019-2020 rankings also
listed UIC in the top 10 list of “Most Transformative Colleges” in the nation. Their ranking looks
at colleges based on scores for graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment
— when students and that’s a direct quote from Money magazine “beat the odds by doing
better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds”. Yes our students
beat the odds they beat the odds everyday, every month, and every year. And even US News
got it right and ranked us #14 in social mobility and in doing so they recognize what a strong
and broad social ladder of advancement UIC has been and continues to be. For over five decades now, UIC is making a
difference in Chicago and throughout the state, consistent with the land grant mission of
the University of Illinois. Last year was no exception as we continued our efforts to
improve our communities and to support health and wellness for all. One example of how we is you actually make
a difference just came to me yesterday from the College of Education, with the announcement
of a $3.8M Department of Education grant to Professor Cathy Main. Partnering with several
Chicago community-based organizations, Professor Main and her team will prepare and support
much needed early childhood educators, and will create multiple pathways to licensure
for individuals already working with young children and families in their communities.
Early childhood education and licensure is a hot piece right now, in Chicago and here
we are with a big big sum of money coming from the department of education. Similarly, through a $2.4 million Department
of Defense grant, the UIC’s Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement
is conducting work focusing on the resiliency of Illinois’ military-dependent communities. And through Project STAGE faculty in UIC’s
School of Theatre & Music and in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction are partnering
with Chicago Public Schools teachers to empower young science learners with a platform to
develop and communicate their thinking around science ideas and social change. The Jane Addams College of Social Work is
partnering with community leaders and Illinois State agencies, a number of Illinois State
agencies, in several projects as they address human trafficking and the opioid crises, as
they support adults transitioning from institutions to communities, and as they enhance the well-being
of children residing in foster care. Researchers from UIC’s Great Cities Institute
earlier this year released a report earlier this year on the changing nature of gang violence
in Chicago and the need for policies and policymakers to adjust how Chicago addresses violence. And finally, our Public Health researchers
are analyzing how climate change is affecting the health of citizens in Illinois; and at
a national level they are investigating what is driving the spike in black lung disease
among coal miners. These are just a few examples of UIC’s impact
in improving lives around us. At the same time, the impact of our health
care delivery system is felt by hundreds of thousands of our patients every year, as our
health care providers both save lives and improve the quality of life every day. Just last year alone, we treated close to
19,000 hospitalized patients, while over half a million crossed the doors of our clinics
and almost 50,000 others visited our emergency department. Our Mile Square Health Center added another
100,000 patient visits, through its main facility on Roosevelt Road and its network of 11 clinics,
including six school-based ones. One of them, one of the pictures that you
see up there, is the Cynthia Barnes-Boyd/Drake Health and Wellness Center, a renovated school-based
community health center on Chicago’s South Side, which opened its doors to patients last
March. This clinic is located on-site at John B. Drake Elementary School, which is part
of CPS. While most of you know about the Hospital
and Mile Square, I suspect that very few people know that UICs College of Dentistry is Illinois’
largest provider of dental care. Last year they addressed the dental care needs
of over 35,000 patients and performed over 300,000 treatments and procedures. And they
improved access to dental care where it is needed the most, by providing more than 70,000
appointments annually to patients enrolled in the State Dental Medicaid program, in fact
98% of the children treated in UIC’s dental clinics are Medicaid enrolled or Medicaid
eligible. 98% of the children, this is what you call commit to access of healthcare. The same commitment is unambiguously shared
by our health science students, ten of which last year were selected for Schweitzer fellowships
to address the health needs of underserved Chicago communities. In collaboration with
existing community organizations, each fellow will launch a community-based project, providing
200 hours of service on top of everything else they do at the University. In addition to caring for people, we are also
committed to caring for the environment. This year, the UIC Office of Sustainability won
a 2019 Emerald Award for Organizational Leadership from the Illinois Green Alliance for our
Climate Action Implementation Plan. This plan provides a long-term strategy to make our
operations more efficient and conserve resources, with an ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral. And again this year, UIC was named a Voter
Friendly Campus. As the only public university in Illinois to receive this designation from
the fair election center projects. UIC continues to show its commitment to developing lifelong
active community leaders and engaged citizens. This is the fourth year in a row that we are
recognized as a voter friendly campus. Many of you have heard me in the past talking
about the rapidly shifting landscape in higher education and in healthcare delivery. It Is clear that significant changes are needed
in both sectors to meet the public’s expectations for the services we provide and their associated
costs. It is also clear that institutions, which
remain entrenched in their way of doing business and resist change in their operations will
fail in meeting the public’s expectations and will suffer the consequences. I believe that one of the main reasons we
have built the momentum we currently have and we are in our current position, is our
ability and willingness in the last few years to innovate as we build a more entrepreneurial
and resilient University for the future. We are changing the way we operate by reducing
costs, aligning resource allocation with institutional priorities and by building new public-private
partnerships. As a result, we have been able to build the Academic and Residential Complex,
the first public-private partnership in the University of Illinois System. And we are
working on additional P3 projects, including the new IGNITE Student Services Center and
Outpatient Surgery Center. Our decision this year to create the Office
of the Vice Chancellor for Innovation highlights the importance of innovation beyond the research
arena and organizes UIC’s innovation portfolio under one roof. The office is focused on creating
initiatives across the university that support technology, commercialization, entrepreneurship,
and collaboration with the private sector. We also recognize the importance of access
to online education, especially for working adults. We are at the last stage of negotiating
an agreement with an outside partner to enhance and grow our 42 online programs across 13
colleges. And as I mentioned before, we would not have seen the recent growth in international
undergraduate students without the partnership with Shorelight. Finally, by collaborating with Deerfield Management,
we will be able to accelerate the commercialization of promising therapeutics developed at UIC
through West Loop Innovations, LLC. This partnership will benefit both the faculty members involved,
but also UIC’s entire research enterprise, which is the ultimate recipient of the financial
returns that we get. This is what innovation in action looks like
and this is why I can say confidently that we are succeeding in building an entrepreneurial
University in support of our mission. So to answer the central question of today’s
address: What is the state of the University. I believe that the current State of the University
is excellent. We are improving the student experience as
they are becoming successful professionals and active citizens. We are recognized as a hum of research innovation
performed by world-class faculty. We continue to expand the meaning of community
engagement as we improve the quality of life around us. And we are adapting to change as we build
a more entrepreneurial University for the future. Not only have we escaped forward, but we have
become trailblazers in the higher education landscape. We challenge the status quo.
We forge new paths. And we set an example for other to follow.
These are exciting times at UIC! Thank you for your support; it’s an honor
and privilege to serve as your Chancellor! Go flames. (music)