Phyllis Wise Steps Down as Chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Wise.300Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, announced that she will step down as chancellor and return to her tenured position in the department of cell and developmental biology at the university.

The decision to step down came on the heels of a federal court decision that will allow a lawsuit filed by Professor Steven G. Salaita to go forward. After being offered a tenured faculty position, Professor Salaita made what were considered disparaging comments online about Israel. Afterwards, his appointment was never approved by the board of trustees. The decision to deny Professor Salaita his faculty post produced a motion of censure directed at the university from the American Association of University Professors.

A university spokesman stated that the court ruling had no bearing on Dr. Wise’s decision to step down. In a statement, she said that “external issues have arisen over the past year that have distracted us from the important tasks at hand. I have concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals. I therefore believe the time is right for me to step aside.”

Before Dr. Wise was named chancellor in 2011, she had been serving as provost and executive vice president at the University of Washington in Seattle. During the 2010-11 academic year, she was interim president at the University of Washington. She had been on the faculty at the University of Washington since 2005. Previously, Professor Wise was dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California at Davis. She was professor and chair of the department of physiology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from 1993 to 2001. Earlier, she served for 16 years on the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Dr. Wise is a graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Michigan.

Filed Under: LeadershipNewsRetirements


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