Category: News

Graduation Day: Over 6,600 Degrees Awarded at 14 UIC Colleges

05/08/2016 crowd of LAS graduates at commencement Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences graduates at commencement. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Excitement. Nervousness. Apprehension. Those are just a few of the emotions you may be experiencing as you leave UIC with your diploma in hand and embark on new adventures in your life. One word comes to my mind that may help you assuage those feelings: Prepared.

UIC faculty and staff work hard to provide you with the finest education so you can be successful in whatever career path you take. Our enrollment this year, 29,000, was an all-time high, and that speaks volumes to the quality of our undergraduate, graduate and research programs. You, our students, are the faces of the future of this country. We hope you learned as much from us and we did from you.

While UIC is a large campus, we strive to make it all inclusive. We know you achieved success in the classroom, and we hope you were able to take advantage of some of the many organizations and activities we provide, from our culturally diverse student groups, to events such as LOL@UIC, Spark in the Park or Taste of UIC. We also want our students to give back to the community, so we launched UIC ENGAGE, which sends UIC student volunteers to schools and community faith centers on Chicago’s West Side to provide tutoring and mentoring. We look forward to instituting new programs in the future.

I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary at UIC, but I felt welcomed the moment I arrived. We want our faculty and students to feel the same way. One new professor who came to UIC last August said he felt at home the minute he stepped on campus. The students, he said, want to be as active as possible, whether it be social or political activism, or through the many diverse courses and clubs. He commented that it is a real exciting time to be a UIC student. And I couldn’t agree more.

We have many new projects on the horizon which will continue to modernize our campus. We are going to build basic science labs in the college of medicine, modernize classrooms across campus, complete the Mile Square building, improve the hospital’s aging infrastructure and construct a modular-designed Engineering lab building. We also intend to move forward with public-private partnerships that will allow us to build a new classroom and residence hall building on Halsted Street, as well as a new soccer stadium on South Campus.

A few years ago you had a difficult decision of where to continue your academic pursuits. Many of you had several schools from which to choose, and we’re happy UIC was at the top of your list. We want you to look back on your time here and have fond memories, and even though you’ll be gone, we want you to stay involved with UIC, especially through the Alumni Association.

Congratulations on your graduation. I am proud to call you UIC alums.

Michael Amiridis

 UIC celebrated the Class of 2016 during its commencement ceremonies May 4-8.  More than 6,600 degrees were awarded at 14 college ceremonies.

Sheryl Underwood, a 1987 UIC graduate, comedian and co-host of CBS’ “The Talk”; Jesús “Chuy” García, UIC alumnus and Cook County Commissioner; John J. Tracy, chief technology officer of The Boeing Company, and other civic and business leaders addressed graduates at various college ceremonies.

UIC Says Thank You for Campus Gifts

Campus Gifts

University President Timothy Killeen presents a leadership award to UIC College of Dentistry alumnus Dale Nickelsen. Photo: Diane M. Smutny

The University of Illinois at Chicago highlighted the ways philanthropy has benefited students, researchers and the campus as a whole during “An Evening With Legacies and Leaders” held at the UIC Forum last month.

“You have inspired and challenged us all to be better, to do more and to try harder to give UIC students every opportunity to succeed in their education and their careers,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis told donors during the event.

“You have supported collaborative projects that empower communities by putting students and faculty on the ground, working to enact positive change across Chicago, the state of Illinois and around the world.”

Nearly 450 people attended the April 7th event including donors, UI Foundation board members, university administrators, faculty members, alumni and student leaders.

In a series of videos, students and faculty members told donors exactly how campus gifts have made their dreams a reality.

Zitlalli Roman Rodriguez, a graduate student in social work, spoke on behalf of all students whose college experience has been made possible thanks to private gifts to campus. “Whether you have supported scholarships, research or community engagement, you are helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders,” she said. “You have truly made a difference in our journeys.”

University President Timothy Killeen presented the William Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership — which recognizes those who inspire others to engage with campus, volunteer and give — to UIC alumnus Dale Nickelsen.

A 1962 graduate of the UIC College of Dentistry, Nickelsen has contributed gifts to the college for more than 35 years. He made the leadership gift for a new dental clinic, which was dedicated the Dale C. Nickelsen and Caren C. Nickelsen Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Clinic in February.

“He has been a model of what it means to form a lifelong relationship with one’s alma mater,” Killeen said.

State Approves College Stop-Gap Funding, But Legislature Still Needs To Approve Full Appropriation

UI President killeen

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen

The University of Illinois system appreciates the bipartisan effort in Springfield to provide partial, stop-gap funding for the state’s public universities, who have been forced to manage through the first 10 months of fiscal 2016 with no state appropriation.

The action Friday recognizes the importance of public higher education in Illinois and the critical role that universities throughout the state play in the well-being and prosperity of our citizens.

It is imperative that the public universities in Illinois receive responsible, sustainable levels of financial support from the state. The legislation avoided a catastrophe of no state funding for higher education for fiscal 2016 and it will help public universities continue to operate through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

However, the measure is insufficient as a total funding commitment for fiscal 2016, providing only $180 million for the U of I – compared with $647 million for fiscal year 2015. The U of I may be forced to make additional drastic reductions in faculty, staff, academic offerings, student programs, economic development initiatives and public service if it does not receive more than the 27.8 percent of last year’s appropriation that is provided in the stop-gap bill.

The stop-gap appropriation also includes greatly reduced funding for the University of Illinois Hospital – about $11 million, or a quarter of fiscal year 2015 levels– which will put medical care at risk for thousands of patients – many from underserved communities.

Funding for Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants is also partially restored, but would provide only about $170 million statewide – about 45 percent of the fiscal year 2015 appropriation and short of the needs to serve deserving students across the state.

The U of I is the state’s largest educator, with a statewide presence and 80,000 students, and state funding for our operations accounts for 54 percent of the state’s appropriation for public universities. Ninety-five percent of the appropriation is dedicated to personnel costs. Our fiscal year 2015 appropriation covered the salaries of roughly 6,000 employees and funding at the levels proposed in the stop-gap measure would cover only 2,000.

We strongly urge the governor, legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties to continue to work on a comprehensive budget for fiscal 2016 that includes levels for higher education closer to the level seen in fiscal 2015, along with adequate funding for fiscal year 2017.

Tim Killeen
University of Illinois President

“State of the University of Illinois at Chicago” Address Delivered by Chancellor Michael Amiridis

03/30/2016 Chancellor Michael Amiridis delivering the State of the University of Illinois at Chicago Address Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Chancellor Michael Amiridis delivering the State of the University of Illinois at Chicago Address on March 30th. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Chancellor Michael Amiridis highlighted UIC’s accomplishments, discussed its challenges and outlined his vision for creating a stronger university during his State of the University of Illinois at Chicago address March 30 in front of a crowd of about 600 people at the UIC Forum.

“We have much to be proud of, much to be daunted by, but even more to be excited about,” Amiridis said. “This is a great institution and I’m confident that we are on the road to become the model urban public research university for the 21st century.”

During his first year as UIC chancellor, Amiridis has met with thousands of students, faculty and staff members to hear their suggestions for enhancing the campus.

“After listening to and speaking with so many of you in and around our university, I have no doubt in my mind that collectively we have the foundation needed and the will to build this model university,” he said.

Amiridis emphasized campus accomplishments over the past year, such as recruiting two strong leaders: Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs, and Susan Poser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“In a very short period of time, both have made their presence known and I’m hearing from you that their impact is already visible,” he said.

Despite the state budget crisis, UIC enrollment continued to climb this year to a record 29,000 students.

“This number speaks volumes of the quality of our undergraduate, graduate and research programs,” he said. “Our recruiting efforts have been improving constantly as we expand beyond Chicago and beyond the state of Illinois.

“We need the diversity of perspective— and let’s be honest we also need the financial support — that out-of-state students bring to our campus and we can attract them to UIC and Chicago without compromising our mission of serving our primary constituency, which is the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.”

Other highlights of the past year include:

  • Establishing the Center for Teaching and Learning, which promotes new pedagogical methods
  • Creating new programs under the direction of the Center for Student Success Initiatives that improve summer session accessibility, reform the first-year math program, create a new block schedule and more
  • Beginning new campus traditions with the inaugural December Commencement ceremony and Flames Homecoming week in the spring
  • Renewing UIC’s partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago and expanding scholarship opportunities
  • Launching UIC ENGAGE, which sends UIC student volunteers to schools and community faith centers on the city’s West Side to provide tutoring and mentoring
  • Establishing stronger partnerships with the City of Chicago

Despite fiscal challenges because of the state budget impasse, the university decided to keep in-state undergraduate tuition flat for the second year in a row, Amiridis said.

“We understand the difficulties faced by many of our students and their families in the current state environment,” he said. “In the spirit of openness and transparency, starting this spring we will engage student and faculty representatives in the budgeting process for the university, so future decisions regarding new revenue streams and fund allocation are clearly understood and supported by our community members.”

The state budget crisis continues to be a challenge for the university, Amiridis said.

“As I have told legislators repeatedly in the past few weeks, we are running out of time and we are now facing the consequences of reputational damage and significant opportunity costs,” he said. “If a compromise is not reached soon, operational damage will follow.

“UIC is in a strong position because of the collective efforts of our students, faculty and staff, but the absence of the state budget allocation is severely limiting our ability to move forward.”

Looking to the future, Amiridis said he plans to implement a broad faculty hiring program, which will include senior faculty hires and improve demographics.

“The budget impasse has not allowed us to move forward with these goals during the past year,” he said. “As soon as our financial situation becomes clear, we will move forward this year with such a hiring program.”

The budget impasse has also created challenges for the campus infrastructure, Amiridis said. The average campus building is 50 years old, and a decline in state funding for the past several years has caused a deferred maintenance backlog of about $800 million, he said. The campus is spending about $30 million each year on renovations and repairs.

“We have no choice but to change the financial options for funding capital facilities,” he said. “This does not mean that we will not continue to lobby vigorously in Springfield. But it also means that we should build what we can with our own funds and we should do everything we can to bring private funds to campus.”

The campus will move ahead with projects to build basic science labs in the College of Medicine, modernize some classrooms, complete the Mile Square building, improve the hospital’s aging infrastructure and construct a modular-designed Engineering lab building, he said.

Public-private partnerships will fund the construction of a new classroom and residence hall building on Halsted Street, as well as a new soccer stadium on South Campus.

Amiridis said he is optimistic about the future.

“We have a new leadership team in place that fully understands the potential of this university to set the standard for higher education in this century,” he said. “Our students are the faces of the future of this country and our highly accomplished faculty and staff are fully dedicated to the students’ success and to creating the knowledge that fuels our economy and our culture. This is a combination that will not only prevail, but will triumph in the end.”

A video of this event can be viewed here.

By: Christy Levy

UIC Graduate Programs Rise in National Rankings

Several colleges and specialty programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago rose significantly in the latest U.S. News & CAMP.CIRC.LG.REDWorld Report rankings of graduate schools.

The rankings are intended to help prospective professional and graduate students research academic programs at different institutions and evaluate the potential return on their investment. The 2017 edition ranks graduate programs in business, law, education, engineering, medicine and nursing, and also ranks some specialty programs within those disciplines.

One of the largest jumps for UIC was made by its college of pharmacy, which moved up eight spots to reach No. 6.

“We feel that a ranking of sixth is much more reflective of the world-class education that is available at the UIC College of Pharmacy,” said its dean, Jerry Bauman. “Between our impactful research programs, large array of innovative clinical practice experiences, and our amazing residency opportunities, there is really no other college that can match us.”

The UIC College of Education moved up two spots, to 41st, while the UIC College of Engineering rose one spot, to 60th. The UIC College of Medicine (research) improved to 47th from 49th, and UIC’s part-time MBA program that was previously ranked 109th improved to 78th.

The UIC College of Nursing ranked 23rd, and had six specialty programs ranked even higher: family nurse practitioner (7th); nursing administration (8th); midwifery (10th); gerontology nurse practitioner (10th); pediatric nurse practitioner (12th); and psychiatric nurse practitioner (13th).

Two programs in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences also ranked in the top 20: occupational health remained at No. 4, while physical therapy rose one spot, to 15th.

“The U.S. News & World Report rankings reflect our increasing national reputation and our commitment to research, education and clinical excellence,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs.

Students can pursue their research interests in leading laboratories, said Susan Poser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“Research at UIC is reshaping educational policy — developing cleaner, more sustainable energy; helping to make sense of today’s vast amounts of computer-generated data; and driving economic development by moving research to practical application, among other things,” Poser said. “We are pleased that U.S. News is beginning to recognize the extraordinary and varied research at UIC and the high quality of education and opportunity that our outstanding student body receives.”


Conflicts of Interest In Environmental and Occupational Health Risk Reports

Scientists looking for environmental and occupational health risks are less likely to find them if they have a financial tie to firms that make, use, or dispose of industrial and commercial products, a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher has found.

In the largest and first comprehensive study relating findings to conflicts of interest among researchers in environmental and occupational health, UIC researcher Lee Friedman found a clear association between findings of no adverse health outcomes and financial conflicts of interest among the researchers conducting those studies.

His results are published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“Studies funded by organizations that are involved in exposing the environment to pollutants or their workers to hazardous materials are substantially less likely to observe an association that these exposures have or increase the risk for negative health consequences,” said Friedman, associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health.

Friedman said the link between financial conflict of interest and negative findings for risk was strongest in studies in which the primary author is employed by the military.

Other studies have shown that funding from corporations tends to result in findings favorable to the firm when looking at food and drug safety and climate issues. But the new study is the first to look for a link between financial conflict and favorable findings in studies of risks from exposure to potential chemical and physical health hazards in the workplace or home.

“Financial implications of research findings in this field are as substantial, if not greater than, [in] other fields,” said Friedman, noting that environmental and occupational health studies can often lead to civil lawsuits, fines, and stricter government regulation for the production, use, or disposal of commercial products.

Friedman gathered 373 original, peer-reviewed studies published in 2012 that looked for associations between human exposure to consumer and agricultural products and adverse health effects. He examined the authors’ affiliation with government and corporate funding sources, and the general findings of each study with respect to health risks posed by environmental or occupational exposures.

In 64 of the studies, authors disclosed a financial conflict of interest. About half of these studies reported finding a health risk; about 30 percent reported mixed results; and 20 percent reported no findings of risk. In contrast, only 13.5 percent of studies reported no findings of risk when there was no conflict of interest among authors.

On closer look, simply receiving money to conduct research from an organization was not very predictive of authors reporting negligible risks, Friedman said. But a regular paycheck was.

“Employment was a key factor,” he said.

While 28.3 percent of the studies published by authors with a financial conflict of interest reported no risk when none of the authors was actually employed by an organization involved in the processing, use, or disposal of the hazard in question, this proportion jumped to 59 percent of studies if any of the authors was so employed. If it was the primary author who was the employee, the proportion rose of studies finding no risk rose to 64 percent if the employer was a corporation — and 83 percent if the employer was military.

Friedman said that some critics have supposed that scientists would be more likely to find risk if their research was funded by regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. However, he found that government-funded studies did not differ in their likelihood of finding risk from studies in which the authors had no apparent interest in the outcome.

“The assertion that government-funded studies would disproportionately report … findings [of risk] because of a systematic bias by the employees within these organizations is not supported by the findings in this analysis,” Friedman said.

Friedman says that part of the problem with transparency about conflicts of interest is that the responsibility to disclose them rests solely on the author.

“There are few repercussions for failing to disclose a conflict, and there are few protections for whistleblowers,” he said. “Whatever solutions are developed, they must be adopted broadly and internationally — so authors don’t publish through countries where getting around reporting conflict of interest is easier.”

When asked if he had any conflict of interest to report for this study, Friedman said, “I didn’t receive or solicit any funding to do this research.”

By: Sharon Parmet

UIC Names Researchers Of the Year

The Researcher of the Year Award recognizes UIC scientists who are advancing knowledge in their fields. The 2016 Distinguished Researcher Award honors four researchers with a record of outstanding achievement. The 2016 Rising Star Award honors five early-career researchers who show promise as future leaders.

This year’s honorees include:


Jennifer Reeder, Distinguished Researcher

Jennifer Reeder

Jennifer Reeder: “My writing is my research, and it’s like simultaneously inventing and solving a puzzle.”

Alexander Eisenschmidt, Rising Star

Alexander Eisenschmidt

Alexander Eisenschmidt shares his research on Chicago’s development at exhibitions and conferences around the world.



Richard van Breemen, Distinguished Researcher

Richard Van Breemen

Richard van Breemen: “I hope that my research in natural products will benefit public health.”

Douglas Thomas, Rising Star

Douglas Thomas

Douglas Thomas: “I’ve always been inquisitive in nature. I feel I’m making a small contribution to human health.”



 Geri Donenberg, Distinguished Researcher

Geri Doneberg

Geri Donenberg: Behavior changes must “address the broader individual, interpersonal and structural determinants of health.”

 Andrew Boyd, Rising Star

Andrew Boyd

Andrew Boyd studies the difficult transition between versions of the International Classification of Diseases.



Lawrence Ein, Distinguished Researcher

Lawrence Ein

Lawrence Ein “has been one of the foremost algebraic geometers in the U.S. and worldwide for the past 30 years.”

Ying Liu, Rising Star

Ying Liu

Ying Liu: “I’m very positive, very optimistic, that engineers can make anything, as long as we listen and understand what it is we should make.”



Shannon Zenk, Rising Star

Shannon Zenk

Shannon Zenk hopes her work inspires environment and policy approaches to improve people’s health.


Study: Clashes With Cops Result In More Injuries Than Brawls Between Civilians


People hospitalized due to an encounter with a law enforcement officer are more likely to have a mental illness, have longer hospitalizations, more injuries to the back and spine, and greater need for extended care than those hospitalized due to altercations with other civilians. The findings, based on 10 years of Illinois hospitalization data, are published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.

Lee Friedman, associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and senior author on the paper, and his colleagues wanted to find out how many and what kinds of encounters with police led to hospital admissions for civilians in Illinois.

They identified 836 people injured by contact with law enforcement officers after reviewing the medical records of all patients admitted to Illinois hospitals or treated in emergency rooms between 2000 and 2009. They compared those patients to 836 civilians of the same age and sex who were were treated in hospitals over the same period for injuries due to physical altercations with other civilians.

Civilians injured by law enforcement had 27 percent longer hospital stays (4.7 vs. 3.7 days) and twice as many back and spine injuries (7.4 percent of those injured by cops vs. 3.3 percent of those injured by civilians). They were nearly 2.5 times more likely to need extended care following discharge from the hospital (20 percent vs. 8 percent).

Although the injury severity (a numerical score of multiple factors) of those injured by police did not differ from the comparison group, the number of spine and back injuries is disturbing, Friedman said, because such injuries “indicate that the person was already on the ground face-down or turned away from the officer when they occurred.”

Equally troubling, the researchers also found that only 10 percent of the people injured by law enforcement were sent to jail after being discharged from a hospital.

“While we didn’t have information on any associated excessive-use-of-force claims by patients, the fact that these people weren’t arrested or taken into custody after being discharged — in combination with the severity of the clinical features — indicates that many of the patient injuries resulted from excessive force,” Friedman said.

“But it is important to distinguish between excessive force and unjustified force, since excessive force can be mitigated by providing law enforcement personnel with the tools and training that minimize both lethality and severity of injury,” he added.

The researchers found that of those injured by encounters with law enforcement, nearly 40 percent had psychiatric conditions that can impair judgment, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or major depressive disorder. These mental disorders were 2.3 times more prevalent among people injured by a law enforcement officer than among those injured by a general assault.

The researchers also noted that a disproportionate number of persons with pre-existing paralytic disorders were among those injured during contact with law enforcement.

“These are people who would be unable to physically comply with police officer commands to lay on the ground or put their hands up or defend themselves when force is used,” Friedman said. About 3.5 percent of injuries caused by encounters with cops involved people with paralytic injuries compared to 1.3 percent in the comparison group.

“The issue of excessive use of force by police officers is difficult to research, because there are no policy directives that require publicly accessible repositories for such information, such as those that mandate reporting of child or elder abuse,” Friedman said. “This kind of data should be compiled, analyzed and publicly distributed on an annual basis in an effort to identify ways to reduce injuries — as is done in Australia.”

Alfreda Holloway-Beth, adjunct assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health, is lead author of the study. Dr. Linda Forst, Sherry Brandt-Rauf and Sally Freels of the UIC School of Public Health and Julia Lippert of De Paul University are co-authors.

By Sharon Parmet

Crisis: Young, Black, and Out of Work

In the city of Chicago, 47 percent of black males between the ages of 20 and 24 are out of work and out of school. This is just one of the many disturbing numbers that can be found in the Great Cities Institute (GCI) report released recently at the Chicago Urban League by the Alternative Schools Network.  In a hearing before elected officials, UIC’s Great Cities provided highlights of the report entitled, Lost: The Crisis of Jobless and Out of School Teens and Young Adults in Chicago, Illinois, and the U.S.


Teresa Córdova is the Director of UIC’s Great Cities Institute. She is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA).

Teresa Córdova, GCI Director, made the point that for young people of color, especially young Blacks, conditions of joblessness are Chronic, Concentrated and Comparatively worse (comparing to Illinois, U.S. Los Angeles and New York).  Looking at data from 2005 to 2014, low rates of employment and high rates of joblessness have persisted over time.  Furthermore, “The low rates of employment are spatially concentrated in neighborhoods that are also racially segregated” (19).

This report highlight that youth employment rates are tied to conditions in neighborhoods and cannot be seen as distinct from what is happening in the neighborhoods themselves.  The devastation of unemployment in turn, wreaks havoc on the neighborhood (19).

Joblessness, especially when chronic, creates a cycle,

Where the “permanent scars” lead to conditions that are both a consequence and a precipitating factor that leads to further youth unemployment and parallel social conditions (19).

Some of these conditions include decreased work later in life, lower wages, teenage pregnancy, poverty,

…Where feelings of low self-esteem, depression, and powerlessness are often accompanied by substance abuse and in many cases, violence and crime (19).

This report is a powerful supplement to the voices of young people who spoke today at the hearing sponsored by the Alternative Schools Network, along with the Chicago Urban League, The Illinois Black United Fund, The Westside Health Authority, The Chicago Area Project, and Youth Connection Charter School. Those voices are clear: young people want to work.

Many of the young people at the hearing spoke about their financial responsibilities in the household, how they help out their families and the difficulties when they don’t have a job. They also spoke about the value of having a job not only to provide income, but also because of what they learn.  We heard so many of them say, “Having a job is important to me.” Many spoke directly about the importance of employment for providing an alternative to the streets, “Jobs can solve violence.  If you are busy working, you won’t have time for violence.”

One young black man said, “I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just my reality.”  But in all the stories of their realities, these young people also spoke of wanting a future, not wanting to be a statistic, and having dreams for a better life.

In the last paragraph of the Great Cities Institute report, we are reminded,

Chicago is a great city.  But how can it truly be great when this “tale of two cities,” provides such a stark comparison in the employment opportunities among young people. This report [and the voices of the young people themselves] reminds us of the urgency to address these issues of chronic and concentrated conditions of limited employment opportunities that not only affects the young people themselves, but their families, households, and neighborhoods.  The reverberations surely extend to all aspects of our society.

More information about the Great Cities Institute is available here.

100 Years of Chicago Latino Art Goes Online

Latino Art

The UIC-based Inter-University Program for Latino Research will create a Chicago Latino artist directory with support from a Chicago Community Trust grant

A hundred years of Latino art in Chicago will be showcased in a new online archive, funded by a $40,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to a national Latino research group based at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), a national consortium of 25 university-based Latino research centers, will establish a Chicago Latino artist directory dating back to the early 1900s that will include image galleries, biographies, artists’ statements and related website links. Users will be able to sort information by artist name, country of origin, gender, decade, art form or theme.

The grant also will support panels and workshops led by Chicago-based artists at Latino Art Now!, the program’s national conference, April 7 – 9.

“Artists, collectors, curators and scholars will benefit from the website as a valuable research and educational tool,” says Maria de los Angeles Torres, executive director of IUPLR. “The related conference programs offer a platform for local artists to share and discuss contemporary issues and influences around Latino art in urban spaces.”

IUPLR will call for submissions for the directory and for Chicago-focused proposals for the conference in February. Conference events sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust grant will be recorded and made available on the directory’s website.

The grant is IUPLR’s second art initiative to receive funding this year. In May, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the program $20,000 to develop a virtual gallery that will enable users to curate online exhibits of artwork from Chicago Latino artists.

Torres said the program wants to engage artists, museum professionals, students and community organizations in conversations about the creation and dissemination of Latino art in global cities, particularly Chicago.

“The production of Chicago artists deserves greater attention in national Latino art narratives, debates and public engagement,” said Torres, who is professor of Latin American and Latino studies at UIC.

The Latino Art Now! conference, which is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center, will host events at UIC, the Chicago Cultural Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

“Spring of Latino Art,” a series featuring more than 60 community-based exhibitions and events related to the conference, will run from March through June at venues across the city.

Latino Art Now! conference registration and more information is available online.

Founded in 1983, IUPLR aims to promote policy-focused research and advance the Latino intellectual presence in the U.S.  The group supports research and programs that foster greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.

Story By: Brian Flood