Former UI dean, professor named UIC chancellor

By Jeremy Werner

Paula Allen-Meares, former Dean and Professor of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was named the next chancellor of the University of Illinois’ Chicago campus Tuesday.

The Board of Trustees will vote for approval of Allen-Meares at its July 24 meeting. Pending approval, Allen-Meares would take office on Jan. 16, 2009.

Allen-Meares has been Dean and Professor at the School of Scoial Work at the University of Michigan since 1993.

University of Illinois president Joseph B. White said she was chosen from a field of more than 100 applicants, which was narrowed down to a list of 17 candidates by a 20-member search committee. Allen-Meares was one of five finalists to be interviewed by the Board of Trustees.

“Paula Allen-Meares is a high-aspiration, high-achieving leader who for 15 years has kept a professional school of a leading university at the very top of the national rankings,” White said in a press release. “The search committee described Paula as a role model for the UIC community, an academic leader and highly productive scholar who is personally involved in vital areas of improving peoples’ lives. She will lead UIC through its next level of development as a great urban research university.”

Allen-Meares began as a graduate student and teaching assistant at UIUC in 1970. She also served as an associate professor and professor before becoming Dean of the School of Social Work in 1990. She received her master’s degree and Ph.D. from UIUC, the latter of which in 1975. She earned her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1975.

“The mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago reflects my strong beliefs: ‘to create knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world,’ Allen-Meares said in a press release. “For this reason, I am deeply honored to become the next chancellor at UIC.”

Allen-Meares also worked as a social worker in Urbana School District #116.

Her husband, Henry Meares, was principal of Urbana Middle School from 1983 to 1991 and University High School from 1991 to 1993. He is currently the assistant dean for external relations in the school of education at the University of Michigan.

University Board of Trustee Chair Lawrence Eppley said Allen-Meares “has exactly the right stuff” required in a UIC chancellor.

“Moreover, we’re proud to claim her as a member of University of Illinois family, an alumna, faculty member and dean before going to Michigan,” Eppley said in a press release. “We heartily welcome her back to the U. of I. fold.”