Dean of UIC College of Architecture and the Arts Stepping Down

Judith Russi Kirshner, an internationally recognized arts scholar and advocate, will resign as dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago effective Dec. 31.

“Professor Kirshner has been a dynamic leader and advocate for the mission of the college and UIC,” said Lon S. Kaufman, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “Her legacy will be long, rich and significant. In over 15 years as dean, Professor Kirshner has transformed the college into a nationally and internationally recognized leader for education in architecture, design, and the arts.”

Kaufman praised Kirshner’s “continual re-evaluation and strengthening of the college’s academic programs and academic leadership structure to build the strongest degree programs possible,” citing in particular the impending reorganization of the college. A newly organized and renamed College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, with four restructured academic schools (Architecture, Design, Art & Art History and Theatre & Music) will become official next August.

Kirshner became dean in 1998 after a year as interim dean. Under her leadership, the college received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation, the Driehhaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the Polk Brothers Foundation, After School Matters, and the Chicago Community Trust. Kirshner also led the campus effort to bring a public sculpture — the UIC Skyspace, by artist James Turrell — to UIC’s South Campus, and she led the initiative to identify and make accessible the Campus Art Collection, which houses the work of many outstanding UIC faculty artists. As an academic leader, she has kept programs contemporary and has worked with external donors to bring in funding for student scholarships and programmatic support.

Kirshner joined UIC in 1990 and served as director of the School of Art and Design until 1997. Prior to that she was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where she was curator; at the Terra Museum of American Art; and in the art history department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A critic and curator, she is a recipient of the Warhol Foundation Award for Criticism. Her scholarship and publications focus on contemporary art, in particular Italian artists and feminist movements, and she lectures frequently. She is a member of the advisory board of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and many other advisory boards of national and Chicago cultural organizations.

Kirshner will remain a member of the UIC faculty after stepping down as dean. A national search to select a new dean will begin shortly.

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