URBANA — A new University of Illinois blog debuted this week by one of the more notable names on campus: Chancellor Phyllis Wise.
The first installment of "From the Chancellor's Desk" appeared midday Monday and addressed the campus "Listening and Learning" tour she embarked on last week.
Wise said she did not have a blog at the University of Washington, where she was provost and formerly interim president, "but I'm delighted to begin one here." She plans to update it about once a week.
"My hope is to provide a place where faculty, students, staff and other stakeholders can go to learn what I'm hearing about why people are passionate about the campus and what we can do to make it even better," she said Tuesday through spokeswoman Robin Kaler.
The blog includes a "virtual inbox" to give people an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas, Kaler said.
"I do want to hear from you," Wise wrote. "What makes you proud to be here? What do you think the campus does well? What do you think the campus needs to do better?"
It also has an "Around the Campus" section with news developments. This week, among other items, Wise mentioned the appointment of Bob Easter, the former interim chancellor, as interim vice chancellor for research to replace Ravi Iyer, who is returning to the faculty.
"When something important is happening, people will know where to go and know that they can find out what she's thinking, what she's said, very easily in one place," Kaler said.
Monday's main entry described her first stop on the Listening and Learning tour, when she met with faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
"I opened the conversation with these questions: What are our strengths? What made you come to the university and what makes you stay? What should we aspire to be in the next 20 years? What are the challenges we face?" Wise wrote. "The discussion was wonderfully direct, honest, and insightful. I look forward to many more opportunities like this to listen to and learn from you."
She listed the challenges shared by faculty, including budgets and income, a "revolving door of administrators," a lack of support for interdisciplinary programs, the value of humanities research and the retention of underrepresented faculty.
"In the next month, I plan to meet with as many colleges, as well as students, staff and external stakeholders as possible with a focus on learning about our untapped potential and how we can position ourselves for the future," Wise wrote.
The chancellor will share more as the tour progresses and "she's had a chance to synthesize and detect themes," Kaler said.
The Listening and Learning Tour will culminate in a town hall meeting at 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.