Architecture & Arts dean steps down

Judith Russi Kirshner

“Her legacy will be long, rich and significant,” said provost Lon Kaufman of Architecture and the Arts dean Judith Russi Kirshner.
Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

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

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 college’s upcoming reorganization.“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.”

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.

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. Before that she was a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and held positions 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 received the Warhol Foundation Award for Criticism.

Her scholarship and publications focus on contemporary art, in particular Italian artists and feminist movements.

She is a member of the advisory board of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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

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