Barbara J. Wilson recommended as interim chancellor of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus

Aug 12, 2015 12:03 PM

URBANA—University of Illinois President Timothy L. Killeen today announced his recommendation for the appointment of an interim chancellor for the Urbana-Champaign campus—Barbara J. Wilson, dean of the campus’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). The Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee is scheduled to act on the recommendation at a meeting at 2 p.m. today.

Wilson would take the helm of the state’s largest university campus effective today, replacing Phyllis M. Wise. Wise announced August 6 that she would step down as chancellor and continue her university service as a member of the faculty.

Wilson also would continue to serve as LAS dean and said she would not be a candidate for the permanent chancellorship.

A search for a permanent chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will begin immediately, and the process to assemble a diverse search committee is underway, Killeen said.

“Barb Wilson brings a wealth of experience and familiarity with the operations and the people of the Urbana campus, and her academic lifetime has been spent at public universities renowned for high performance and excellence,” Killeen said. “I admire Barb for her superb talent, her loyalty to the Urbana campus, and her willingness to step up to this critical role.”

Killeen said his recommendation of Wilson as interim chancellor followed consultations with representatives of key stakeholder groups that included deans and directors, shared governance bodies, faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors and community members.

Wilson, 57, became the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2014 after having served since 2009 in the Office of the Provost. Her service there included two years as executive vice provost for faculty and academic affairs, providing campus leadership on strategic and financial planning.

Before joining the Urbana campus in 2000, Wilson was a member of the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for 12 years. A professor of communication, her academic research focuses on the social and psychological effects of media, especially on youth. Wilson is an elected fellow of the International Communication Association and her scholarly work is extensively published, with dozens of books, chapters and articles on a wide range of issues involving the social and psychological effects of media on children.

Wilson is a three-degree alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and her master’s degree and Ph.D in communication.

“I am honored to be asked to serve in this role,” Wilson said. “As interim chancellor, my focus will be on stability and continuity in the transition to a new permanent chancellor so our faculty, students and staff may concentrate on their work and the fulfillment of our missions.”

“I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, President Killeen, the trustees and the entire University community to advance Illinois as the preeminent public university in America,” Wilson said.

A native of Appleton, Wis., Wilson and her husband, John Lammers, are the parents of daughters Isabel and Grace.

LAS is the Urbana campus’s largest college, with 11,000 students, more than 60 departments and academic units and a $232 million annual budget.

Established in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of three campuses of the university, which also includes the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). The Urbana campus serves approximately 45,000 students through its 17 colleges and institutes and more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, with about 3,000 faculty, 8,000 staff and an annual operating budget of about $2 billion.