October 16, 2018

October 2018 APAC News Vol. 11, No. 1


APAC Meets with President, Chancellor

APAC MET with President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Michael Amiridis
on Sept. 12 to hear their thoughts about progress and the future at UIC.
APAC MET with President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Michael Amiridis on Sept. 12 to hear their thoughts about progress and the future at UIC.

KILLEEN THANKED APAC for inviting him and “for everything you do.” He joked that “Pollyanna” is his middle name because he is such an optimist.

HE NOTED that one reason he is so optimistic is because the University weathered the crisis of having no State budget, saying UIC did it “without layoffs or furloughs. We’ve come out strong. We now have a budget, and our funding went up.”

ENROLLMENT GAINS across the U of I system also make him optimistic, he said—particularly at UIC, which is known for being “affordable and accessible.” He noted that UIC’s Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education rankings put UIC at #7 on the Best Values list. “UIC has kept tuition down,” Killeen said, also noting that both its financial aid and diversity are growing.

THE U OF I system also had its best year ever in philanthropy. “That is money that goes into financial aid and scholarships, and also into buildings and infrastructure,” Killeen said.

UIC IS constructing a new academic and residential building and a new engineering building, Killeen noted, saying that the new construction “is symbolic of progress. We are investing in facilities and have a five-year capital plan.”

THE “GOOD news goes on and on,” Killeen said. “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted former President Barack Obama, and three busloads of UIC students came down. It was an historic speech picked up internationally.”

ALTOGETHER, “THERE are very few universities who can say all this,” Killeen said. He thanked staff “for all of your efforts. It’s all built on people.”

CHANCELLOR AMIRIDIS then spoke, and noted that he wanted to emphasize one word, “momentum.” Amiridis noted that, “we have a strong and steady upward momentum. Our enrollment surpassed 31,600, an increase of four percent and the fourth year of record enrollments. The freshman class is up again, as well. These are great numbers. Students and families vote with their feet, and they are voting for UIC.”

ELABORATING ON Killeen’s discussion of new buildings at UIC, Amiridis noted that, “both buildings are on time and on budget. The last academic building constructed on the east side of campus at UIC was in 1991, and these new buildings add to our momentum. We hope to be breaking ground on three-to-four major projects in the next year as well.”

HE ALSO noted that in the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education rankings UIC came in at #29 among more than 400 U.S. public universities.

“WE ALSO have a new law school,” Amiridis said, discussing John Marshall Law School joining with UIC. “With the addition of our 16th college, UIC brings the first public law school to Chicago and we are proud to have made this happen.”

HOWEVER, UIC “is not out of the woods yet,” Amiridis said. “We need to improve our infrastructure. In Information Technology alone, we have skipped two generations. He said, “human infrastructure is a challenge, as well—we need to continue to meet the needs of our students by making sure we have the proper level of staffing.”

AN EXAMINATION of the Discovery Partners Institute followed, with Dr. William H. Sanders, Interim Director of the DPI, leading the discussion. For more information, see related article, this issue.

DURING THE question and answer period, Tracy Sikorski, APAC Chair, asked Killeen how he and the administration are “protecting the role of the public university.”

KILLEEN RESPONDED that the University of Illinois system now endeavors to drive a legislative agenda. “We went from nowhere in statewide advocacy to strong advocacy that has been forged in the last few years,” he said. “The best defense is a good offense.”

LAURA CLOWER, Killeen’s Chief of Staff, added that the UI system is now involved “in retail politics. The President and our lobbyists talk to legislators. We’re out front and center, informing them that the UI system is not a cost center—we’re a profit center for the State.”

“OUR ECONOMIC impact on the state is $17 billion,” Killeen added. “One in every 46 jobs in this state is affiliated with the University of Illinois—and 300,000 voters are alumni.”

KILLEEN NOTED that with years of no budgets and budget cuts the mood in the UI system has been somber, but the system is on the rise.

“SO INSTEAD of talking down about U of I, talk it up!” he advised in conclusion.

Discovery Partners Institute will Create New Opportunities for UIC, Partners

The Discovery Partners Institute will be a public-private initiative
in the South Loop led by the University of Illinois System.
THE UNIVERSITY held a discussion forum on Aug. 30 in Student Center East to discuss the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI). Close to 100 people attended.

GOVERNOR BRUCE Rauner and University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen late last year announced plans for the DPI, a public-private research partnership led by the U of I System and expected to grow on part of a 62-acre parcel bordered by Roosevelt Road, Clark Street, 16th Street, and the Chicago River. It will leverage U of I System expertise and resources, including from UIC and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as well as from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

NOTING THE proximity of the proposed innovation center to UIC, Chancellor Michael Amiridis last year called DPI “an innovation ecosystem” that has “the potential to provide collaborative research and educational opportunities to UIC,” as well as supporting scientific discovery across the city and state.

THE TOTAL cost is estimated at $1.2 billion to be raised through private donations, government support, and partnerships with business and industry. The State of Illinois has appropriated $500 million.

DPI LEADERSHIP guiding the forum included Dr. William H. Sanders, Interim Director of the DPI; Dr. Edward Seidel, Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation for the U of I System; Chancellor Amiridis of UIC; Dr. Jerry Krishnan, Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy, Department of Medicine, UIC; and others.

“THE VISION of DPI is to transform the role of the land-grant university to improve the quality of life across Illinois,” said Dr. Seidel, noting that the DPI will have “a focus on transdisciplinary collaborative partnerships, equitable development among societal changes and challenges, and educating the current and future workforce.”

DR. SEIDEL noted, “there is a large commitment by the state thus far” to the tune of $500 million. He noted that the goal is to increase student access to resources and involvement, and also to involve universities worldwide, because, “DPI is dedicated to research and teaching on important global issues, based on the principles of collaboration, equity, and wealth creation and civically engaging students.”

THE DPI student experience, Dr. Seidel said, will include a program of research and team building. Undergraduates will take part in up to four semesters at the DPI, and also will be able to take classes abroad with partner institutes. The DPI will provide internships at startup businesses both locally and abroad, and adopt, grow, and develop existing and new courses.

FACILITIES WILL be developed by 2021 as part of what Dr. Seidel called an “innovation city.”

DPI WILL make Chicago the starting point for technological innovation and attract global talent, Dr. Seidel said.

ONE UIC faculty member, Professor of Medicine Dr. Nadera Sweiss, who hails from the Middle Eastern country of Jordan said that Dr. Seidel already visited her hometown, and that many universities are interested in partnering with the DPI. She noted her support for the DPI as a tool for bettering education and jobs.

DPI HAS already forged a partnership with Tel Aviv University in Israel and is developing agreements with the largest university in Latin America, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Mexico’s leading private university, Tech de Monterrey. Collaborations with institutions in Jordan, Iceland, Singapore, and China also are in the works.

DR. SANDERS noted that he expected that there would be more hiring to kickstart DPI, including both faculty and staff.

DR. KRISHNAN said that, “the details of the DPI are not 100 percent set in stone, meaning this is a participatory process mechanism and we want ideas and feedback from multiple sources. The DPI is an opportunity for a bigger contribution to higher learning.

DR. SEIDEL concluded by asking, “How can we make Chicago and the State of Illinois a hub and global talent destination? Through the DPI. To do this, we must make investment in capital infrastructure—expanding the innovation center, creating a specialized computing and design building, and creating a drug and pharmacy discovery center. This will only work with input that is given.”

GOVERNOR RAUNER in June said, “The end result will be an economic engine for Illinois and the Midwest that surpasses Silicon Valley,” noting that the DPI will provide “ideas that investors will put money behind to create Illinois-based businesses and jobs.”

DR. SANDERS also led a discussion on the DPI at the Sept. 12 APAC meeting. He called the DPI a “purpose-driven research laboratory,” and noted that it goes together with the Illinois Innovation Network, “which has several sites, several hubs, and UIC will be one of those. The DPI will be the central hub, and work as an amplifier of all the individual hubs, including UIC. Think of DPI as an amplifier of what we do at UIC, not a replacement. UIC is going to be a major driving force of this.”

PRESIDENT KILLEEN called the DPI “a cornucopia of possibilities—a once-in-a-generation opportunity. And we are committed to collegial collaboration. It’s about academia supporting the public good—something for which UIC is known.”

THE DPI “has to be about social equity, and that’s why I’m excited about UIC’s involvement,” Killeen said.

“WE ALL work for UIC because we believe in and are excited by social equity,” said Tracy Sikorski, APAC Chair.

“WE WANT this to be a coalition not of the willing but of the excited,” Killeen responded. “If we create more haves without helping the have nots, we will not have succeeded.”

APAC’S MARY Berta asked if DPI will partner with the Chicago Public Schools, and Killeen replied that partnerships not only with the CPS but with Chicago City Colleges are in the works.

FOR MORE about the DPI or to provide feedback, log on to dpi.uillinois.edu.

All Employee Expo Provides Vital Information

Mary Berta and Tracy Sikorski of APAC at the EXPO.
THE INAUGURAL UIC All Employee EXPO-Know Your Resources was held on Oct. 16. It was a combined effort between APAC, the Staff Advisory Council, and UIC Human Resources.

THE PURPOSE of the EXPO was to answer work-related questions and to provide information about appropriate offices to contact. UIC personnel and subject matter experts, as well as outside vendors, provided information, contacts, and resources right here at or near UIC to help employees navigate their work, career, and passions.  Employees took ad of programs, educational sessions, workshops, and services that address the mind, body and spirit. The EXPO also provided the opportunity to meet fellow colleagues and become involved in the campus community.

MORE THAN 50 departments and vendors participated. Mary Berta and Marelet Kirda were the organizers from APAC.

FIRST, I want to say thank you to the members of SAC and APAC who helped organize the First Annual UIC Employee Expo Day,” said Tracy Sikorski, APAC Chair. “The event included more than 50 registered vendors and based on the number of employees who attended, was a great success. Everyone that we talked to thanked us for hosting such a great event and we look forward to having the Expo again next year.

APAC Member and Pension Expert Kathleen Stauffer Elected to University Senate

Kathleen Stauffer.
THE UNIVERSITY Senate term of one of three AP Senators, Marelet Kirda, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, ended in 2017. Kathleen Stauffer, Assistant Dean for Administration, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, was elected to the Senate to succeed Kirda.

STAUFFER HAS been a member of APAC for five years.

SHE NOTED that she wanted to join the Senate “To keep up to date about what is going on at the University, and possibly make a difference in its future.”

HER EXPERTISE concerning the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) makes Stauffer a welcome addition to the Senate.

“I’VE BEEN a member of SUAA for over ten years, but I just joined the board this past year,” Stauffer said. “I am a director at large for the UIC SUAA chapter. I joined the board because I am very concerned about our pensions, and I think it is necessary to represent current employees on the board.

“RETIREES’ PENSIONS are relatively safe now, but the State Legislature is still looking for ways to diminish current employees’ pensions,” Stauffer continued. “By serving on the SUAA board, I can have more say in what actions SUAA decides to support or oppose when it comes to issues that will impact not only retirees, but also current employees.”

STAUFFER NOTED that it was SUAA that took up the fight to sue when the State passed legislation that would have had retirees pay for their health insurance, and the State Supreme Court found the legislation unconstitutional. She said that in the Legislature’s continuing attempts to resolve the State pension problem through diminishing retirees’ benefits, “It’s focus is now current employees, Tiers I and II and adding a third tier, each with lesser benefits,” Stauffer explained. “As a member of the SUAA board, I feel I will be able to stay informed and pass this information on to the Senate and to co-workers, whom I encourage to join SUAA to take an active role in protecting their benefits.”

CUPPA Student Amber Ghosh Takes on APAC Role

Amber Ghosh.
APAC HAS a new Graduate Assistant this year. Serving in that role is Amber Ghosh, who is working on earning a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Public Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at UIC.

FOR APAC, she noted, she is “largely responsible for arranging meetings, distributing agendas, taking meeting minutes, maintaining the APAC and Pacademy listservs, updating the APAC website, assisting other members with any of their duties, and other administrative tasks.”

GHOSH ALSO will help launch a Professional Development program for UIC staff.

SHE NOTED that she would like “to give APAC a bigger presence online, and keep both Academic Professionals and the public promptly updated on the work we do and the workshops we hold.”

FOOD AND family take up Ghosh’s time when she is not at UIC. “I am huge foodie,” she said. “I love all cuisines. I also travel when I can to visit family. I am in and out of Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, and San Francisco throughout the year.”

AS FOR Ghosh’s future plans, “I’ve known for a few years now that I want to work as a transportation planner,” she said. “Coming from Toronto and pursuing my undergrad there, I already see the similarities and can definitely see CUPPA at UIC being able to give me the skillsets to do so, especially in a city such as Chicago.”

GHOSH EARNED her Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies with a concentration in Planning, Policy, and Politics at York University in Toronto. She has performed two transportation planning internships and three urban planning and transportation research projects.

Yoga While You Work

Attend the upcoming APAC Professional Development Workshop
and learn simple yoga exercises that you can do in the office. 
LOOKING FOR a way to relieve stress and get energized during your workday? Come to this APAC Professional Development Workshop and learn simple exercises that you can do in the office. Breathing exercises will also be incorporated in the session to relieve stress.

THE EVENT will be held Friday, Nov. 2, noon to 1 p.m. in the Activity Room, first floor, School of Public Health-PI, 1603 W. Taylor St. The speaker will be Lynne Thompson, Associate Director of Programs & Services, Campus Recreation.

SUAA Fall Forum Set for UIC

Panelists at last year’s SUAA Fall Forum.
THE ANNUAL State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) Forum will be held on Monday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Thompson Rooms, Student Center West (SCW), 828 S. Wolcott St. The submect of the forum will be “Our Pensions: Changes, Choices, Funding.”

PANELISTS WILL be Dean Jeffrey R. Brown, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Lee A. Bridges, CFP; Retirement Specialist, State Universities Retirement System of Illinois; and John Prochaska, CPA (ret), Retirement Educator, Social Security Issues.
LIGHT REFRESHMENTS and an informal discussion will follow. Parking will be at the Wood Street Parking Structure, (WSPS), 1100 S. Wood St.  UIC SUAA members may purchase reduced-rate coupons.

FOR MORE information: Contact Karen Scherman (karen.scherman@gmail.com, 630-257-1491) or Debbie Matthews (debmatt18@gmail.com, 815-254-3731 ). Contact Scherman for assistance in obtaining disability parking.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

ALL APs are invited to the APAC meeting, usually held monthly at 12:30 p.m. on scheduled dates. Meetings alternate between East and West campuses. Next meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 14, in Room 2550 of University Hall. For information, call (312) 413-9299.

Pro-Worker Legislative Exchange ‘SIX’ Formed

A NATIONAL organization is working to promote pro-worker legislation in various state legislatures—the State Innovation Exchange (SIX).

THE AMERICAN Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE), the Progressive States Network (PSN), and the Center for State Innovation (CSI) joined forces to create SIX.

“WE’RE GOING to be much more aggressive,” said Nicholas Rathod, SIX executive director and former special assistant to President Barack Obama. “There is a hunger and a need for an organization like this.”

UNITED STEELWORKERS International President Leo W. Gerard said. “It’s time for common sense to take hold again in our state capitols, before the voices of working families are drowned out for good.”

SIX PROVIDES lawmakers across the country with an extensive database of model legislation on issues such as union rights, civil rights, living wages, and workplace safety, among others.

FOR MORE information, log on to https://stateinnovation.org.


University Reaffirms Commitment to Fight Sexual Misconduct
THE UNIVERSITY is committed to providing a safe and welcoming campus environment that is free from all forms of sex discrimination, sexual and gender-based harassment, and sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, which are referred to in the Prohibition of Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy located at http://oae.uic.edu/sexual-misconduct/policies-procedures/.

ACCORDING TO Caryn A. Bills, Associate Chancellor, and Michael Diaz, Title IX Coordinator, “While UIC and higher education institutions around the country continue to await further guidance on Title IX and sexual misconduct from the U.S. Department of Education, we want to assure the campus community that Illinois’ law, Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education, remains in effect.

“WE WISH to emphasize our promise to continue to provide optimal services, support, resources and guidance to address sexual misconduct in our community and to those who need assistance. Our responsibility to ensure safety to our students, staff and faculty will not change.

“OUR RESPONSE to sexual misconduct will remain diligent affirming due process, fairness, and dignity. We will be steadfast in our response and treat all matters with urgency while working towards providing survivors with respect and support with the many available campus resources,” Bills and Diaz noted.

FOR MORE information on reporting sexual misconduct and how to support survivors, visit http://oae.uic.edu/sexual-misconduct/report-an-incident/ and http://oae.uic.edu/sexual-misconduct/resources/.

Chancellor Recognizes APAC, SAC

Academic Professional Advisory Committee and Staff Advisory Council members
joined Chancellor Michael Amiridis and his wife, Ero,

at their home at a reception last year.  The Chancellor honored
the two organizations for their work on behalf of UIC employees.

Vol. 11, No. 1 October 2018

APAC News is published by the Academic Professional Advisory Committee of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
ISSN 1946-1860

Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Amber Ghosh
Production: Jeff Alcantar

Chair: Tracy Sikorski
Treasurer: Mary Berta