Wise’s agenda includes solving issues, meeting with students

After her first week on the job, Phyllis Wise, chancellor and vice president, is already facing difficult issues, such as the College of Law investigation, but also has plans for the University’s future.

Wise said the University is doing all it can in handling the investigation into the College of Law’s misreported LSAT scores, which date back to the college’s class of 2011.

She said in an interview Friday afternoon that there is a major effort on the part of the campus and the president’s office to make sure that there was some credibility to (the allegations) and to do the analysis on what really was going on.

“I think we were really assertive in making sure that we were honest … and responsive,” she said.

On her agenda for the semester, Wise will hire a new vice chancellor for research. The search for the position has already begun. In addition, the search for a new provost will commence soon to replace interim provost Richard Wheeler.

“I am going to be looking for (a provost) who has strong academic record but also has experience in the administrative role with both academic planning and budgetary planning,” she said.

In addition, she has stressed that she is ready to listen to faculty, staff and students and learn more about the campus and the issues facing it. It is critical to her to be able to have open conversations about issues and concerns with groups of people to better the University, she said.

“I can ask about what are their aspirations, what they think the University of Illinois does well (and) where do we want to make changes,” Wise said, regarding shared governance on campus.

Renee Romano, vice chancellor for student affairs, said one of the key things is to have Wise speaking with students. Therefore, she is trying to set up meetings between Wise and specific groups, such as resident advisors, leaders of registered student organizations, the Greek community and cultural centers.

“There’s not one student that’s alike. (She wants to) learn about (their) needs, and helping students to be successful is critical to her,” Romano said.

Wise is also looking to work with the Urbana-Champaign Senate as well as the full faculty in making critical decisions in a time when funding from the state is decreasing.

“It’s critically important to share with them as much information as I have and can share. And make sure they have some input into the financial decisions,” she said. “They will take responsibility for decisions just as I will have to.”

Wise has spoken to the senate on a couple of occasions and met with the Senate Executive Committee during her initial visits after her appointment.

Joyce Tolliver, senate vice chair, said in August that the senate looks forward to continuing the same relationship with Wise that it had with Robert Easter, former interim vice president and chancellor, which was built on mutual respect and trust.

In addition to her chancellor role, Wise will be holding faculty positions in the department of cell and environmental biology and the department of molecular and integrative physiology.

As for the long term, Wise said she does not have any specific plans besides “making (the campus) better and better every day.”

She added that she will stay on the job as long as her work is valued.