University trustees will initiate formal dismissal of UIUC chancellor


Phyllis Wise, Urbana-Champaign chancellor since 2011, shown here at a 2013 university trustees meeting. Photo: L. Brian Stauffer/UIUC News Bureau


University of Illinois President Timothy L. Killeen today reassigned the chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, Phyllis M. Wise, and Wise was informed that the Board of Trustees is initiating formal dismissal proceedings against her.

The moves came after the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee voted not to approve Wise’s resignation and a revised employment agreement.

Killeen appointed Barbara J. Wilson, dean of the Urbana-Champaign College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as acting chancellor, effective at the close of business today.


Barbara Wilson, dean of the UIUC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is acting chancellor.

Killeen told Wise in a letter that her duties as chancellor and vice president of the university are reassigned effective at the close of business today and that until further notice Wise will report directly to the president as an adviser. The authority to reassign the chancellor is vested in the president by the University Statutes and General Rules.

“Your duties will be as prescribed by me,” Killeen said in the letter. Wise’s salary will be unchanged.

“Simultaneously with this, I will be designating, subject to subsequent board confirmation, an acting chancellor/V.P. to perform the duties of chancellor/V.P. of the Urbana campus.”

In a separate letter signed by board chairman Edward L. McMillan, Wise was informed that dismissal proceedings against her are being initiated under Article IX, Section 10, of the University Statutes.

“In the near future, you will be receiving a statement of the reasons for your proposed dismissal as chancellor, accompanied by the facts in support thereof and upon which such action is based, together with notice of the time and place of the hearing thereon,” McMillan said in the letter.

“Please be advised that pursuant to Article IX, Section 10 you have the right to appear at the hearing, with counsel if desired, to comment on the reasons and to present evidence. The board’s decision on this matter will be final.”

Wise, who has been chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus and vice president of the university since October 2011, announced her resignation as chancellor last week.

Killeen’s appointment of Wilson as acting chancellor will be considered by the board at its September meeting. Wilson will continue to serve as LAS dean and said she would not be a candidate for the permanent chancellorship.

Killeen said a search for a permanent chancellor will begin immediately, and the process to assemble a diverse search committee is underway.

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.



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