July 22, 2019

Dear colleagues:

I am delighted to announce the 2019-20 President’s Executive Leadership Program (PELP) Fellows. The selection process this year was very competitive; we received more than 60 nominations from across our three universities for the limited number of slots available. Diversity of background and experiences, as well as university representation were factors in the selection process.

PELP is a unique professional development program designed to broaden participants’ understanding of higher education issues and to strengthen their leadership skills related to overseeing a public institution at the university or system level. The program consists of four seminars that take place in Washington, DC; Chicago; Springfield and Urbana-Champaign.

Please join me in congratulating the following individuals who were selected for the 2019-20 program.


  • Christopher Boyer, Professor and Chair, Department of History
  • Jamie Chriqui, Professor, Division of Health Policy and Administration
  • Darby Dickerson, Dean, UIC John Marshall Law School
  • Zizi Papacharissi, Profesor and Head, Department of Communication
  • Glen Schumock, Dean, College of Pharmacy
  • Venkat Venkatakrishnan, Professor, Department of Computer Science; Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Engineering


  • Somnath Bhattacharya, Dean, College of Business and Management
  • Keenan Dungey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Institutional Effectiveness
  • Ken Mulliken, Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education


  • Danita Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Elvira Demejia, Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition; Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences; Interim Assistant Dean, ACES Research Academy
  • Wendy Heller, Professor and Head, Department of Psychology
  • Thenkurussi Kesavadas, Professor, Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering; Director, Health Care Engineering Systems Center; Co-Director, Jump Simulation Center
  • Mariselle Melendez, Professor and Head, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Scott Rice, Campus Legal Counsel, Office of University Counsel

University Senates Conference

  • John Dallesasse, Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Urbana-Champaign

Thank you to all who participated in the process, either as nominators or as candidates. We are fortunate to be part of a community with so many dedicated leaders who are interested in furthering their skills as well as enhancing our institution. We plan to host the PELP program annually, and I strongly encourage the many talented individuals who were not selected this year to apply again in the future.


Tim Killeen

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