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Search Committee

Mark Rosenblatt
Committee Chair
G. Stephen Irwin Executive Dean and Distinguished Professor
College of Medicine
Interim Chief Executive Officer
University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics

Dr. Rosenblatt is a corneal surgeon and a highly accomplished physician-scientist, with a National Institutes of Health sponsored research program exploring mechanisms to regenerate corneal nerves following corneal injury. His primary focus is innovation and the translation of basic discoveries in the laboratory into relevant therapies for patients.

Prior to joining the faculty as Department Head in October, 2014, Dr. Rosenblatt  was Director of the Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute and Vice Chair of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Rosenblatt has made significant contributions to our understanding of corneal nerve regeneration, as well as the establishment of innovative models for investigating corneal nerves. At Weill Cornell Medical College, Dr. Rosenblatt expanded his research program to not only include regenerative issues related to corneal nerves, but also to regeneration of the ocular surface. He is currently exploring novel ways to promote trans-differentiation of skin stem cells into corneal epithelial stem cells for the treatment of corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency. In support of these regenerative medicine projects, Dr. Rosenblatt has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the New York Stem Cell Initiative, the Tri-Institutional Institute for Stem Cell Biology, and SBIR funding from the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Rosenblatt has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and presented at national and international academic meetings. He is Cornea Section Editor for the Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology Journal and serves on the Editorial Board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. Dr. Rosenblatt’s clinical practice focuses on laser vision correction surgery and the treatment of cataracts and corneal disease.  He is board certified in ophthalmology.

On March 15, 2019 Dr. Rosenblatt resigned his position as Department Head in order to take on his current position as Executive Dean of the College of Medicine.  He remains on the faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Rosemarie Coppola-Conroy
Director of the Career Center
College of Engineering

Rose Coppola-Conroy is currently the director of the UIC Engineering Career Center. She has both BS and MS degrees in education from Northern Illinois University and Loyola University. After spending nine years as a career advisor, full-time faculty member teaching career management courses and curriculum chair at Robet Morris University, Rose started her career at UIC in 2014 as an assistant director in the Engineering Career Center. Rose was promoted to director in 2016.

Rose has more than 20 years of experience recruiting, hiring and supervising staff members including responsibilities in HR, training, and succession planning. She regularly presents career related topics to current and prospective students, as well as engineering faculty and employers. Rose is responsible for implementing the unique, Guaranteed Paid Internship Program, as well as several large-scale annual career fairs.

Rose is a member of the UIC Career Leadership Council as well as several national and regional groups including the Big Ten+ Directors Group, America’s Urban Campus, National Association of Colleges and Employers, and The Chicago Career Professionals Network.

Ray Crosland
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement
Office of Vice Chancellor for Advancement

Throughout his 20+-year development career, Ray Crosland has utilized his entrepreneurial philosophy and donor-centric, relationship-building approach to grow giving for a wide variety of successful institutions. His professional experience includes managing donor advised funds and venture philanthropy, managing seeding and scaling of small nonprofits, heading development at medium-sized nonprofits, building major gift programs, and securing and supporting major gifts at universities and community organizations.

Currently, Ray serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement for University of Illinois Chicago. In this role, he acts as a key member of the advancement leadership team, providing coaching and leadership to front-line major gift fundraisers; collaborating with teams to remove barriers and monitor progress; and setting revenue.

Ray holds a Master of Business Administration from Roosevelt University, a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and a Bachelor of Art Degree in Social Sciences and Communication from the University of Southern California. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP).

Houshang Darabi
Professor and Head
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
College of Engineering

See profile here

Barbara Di Eugenio
Computer Science
College of Engineering

Barbara Di Eugenio is a professor and director of graduate studies in the computer science department at the University of Illinois Chicago. There she leads the NLP laboratory. She obtained her PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania (1993). Her research has always focused on Natural Language Processing, grounded in authentic data collection on the one hand, and in user studies on the other. The applications of her work run the gamut from health care to educational technology, from human-robot interaction to data visualization. Di Eugenio is an NSF CAREER awardee (2002); a UIC University Scholar (2018-2020); and a Zenith Award recipient from AWIS, the Association for Women in Science (2022). She was also the recipient of the UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.  Her research has been supported by NSF, ONR, NIH, Motorola, Yahoo!, Politecnico di Torino,  and the Qatar Research Foundation.  She is very proud to have graduated 15 PhD and 32 Master’s students.

David Hofman
Professor of Physics
Executive Associate Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

David Hofman currently serves as Executive Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Professor of Physics at UIC.  He served as Head of the Department of Physics from 2011-2022.  Prior to joining UIC as a junior faculty member in 2000, he was an assistant physicist at Argonne National Laboratory.  His research work started in low-energy nuclear physics and evolved to include some high-energy nuclear physics during his time at Argonne, with a full transition to high-energy heavy-ion research when he joined UIC.  While a faculty member at UIC, David has participated in three major collaborations, the PHOBOS and STAR experiments at the Brookhaven laboratory in New York and the CMS experiment at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.  David also finds teaching incredibly interesting and fulfilling, has earned two UIC Silver Circle teaching awards over the years, and is very thankful for having the opportunity of a career in higher education.

Miiri Kotche
Clinical Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
College of Engineering

Dr. Miiri Kotche is the Richard and Loan Hill Clinical Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the UIC College of Engineering. Miiri’s efforts focus on the scholarship of engineering education and providing real-world experiences for students in the classroom, through hands-on project work, interdisciplinary programming and summer immersion.   Her industry experience in product development, manufacturing, and operations informs her work as an educator, and as an alumna of UIC herself, the privilege and honor of educating the next generation of engineers is a responsibility Kotche does not take lightly. She has been recognized as an AIMBE Fellow, U.S. Fulbright Scholar, a “Notable Woman in STEM” by Crain's Chicago Business, UIC Master Teaching Scholar, UIC College of Medicine Rising Star, and is the recipient of the highest university teaching distinction, the 2021 UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as the 2019 College of Engineering Harold Simon Excellence in Teaching Award. Miiri is also the Director of the Innovation Medicine program, a co-curricular program for medical students interested in the intersection of technology development, innovation and health care delivery.

Carmen Lilley
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
College of Engineering

See profile here

Ying Liu
Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering

Ying Liu holds the Dr. Satish C. & Asha Saxena Chair Professorship and serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Additionally, she is affiliated with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UIC.

Ying Liu’s academic journey is marked by interdisciplinary training. She received her B.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China in 2001, followed by her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 2007. Before joining UIC in 2008, Ying Liu spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago in the Department of Chemistry and James Frank Institute. Ying Liu has garnered several prestigious awards throughout her career, including Howard Carthorne Phillips Graduate Fellowship of Princeton University (2003), UIC Engineering Research Award (2013), National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2014), UIC Researcher and Scholar of the Year Rising Star Award (2016), and UIC Graduate Mentor Award (2017).

Ying Liu’s expertise lies in the fields of soft-matter physics and biophysics. Specifically, through her in-depth understanding of molecular interfacial packing, interactions, reactions, and self assembly, The Liu research group takes the lead in developing knowledge-based designs for bioreactors and biomaterials, with a particular focus on drug and therapeutic cell delivery. Within the Liu research group, several scalable, continuous, and self-assembling processes have been developed to enable the high-throughput screening and mass production of well-controlled nano- and microparticles, meticulously engineered for precise targeting delivery and sustained release of small molecular compounds, macromolecules, and therapeutic cells.

Jeffrey Niew
UIC Engineering Advisory Board Chair
President & CEO Knowles Corporation

Mr. Niew currently serves as president and chief executive officer of Knowles (since 2013). He was also former vice president of Dover, and president and chief executive officer of Dover Communication Technologies (from 2011 to February 2014). Mr. Niew joined Knowles Electronics LLC in 2000, and became chief operating officer in 2007, president in 2008 and president and chief executive officer in 2010. Prior to joining Knowles Electronics, Mr. Niew was employed by Littelfuse, Inc. (from 1995 to 2000), where he held various positions in product management, sales and engineering in the Electronic Products group, and by Hewlett-Packard Company (from 1988 to 1994) where he served in various engineering and product management roles in the Optoelectronics Group.

As chief executive officer, Mr. Niew facilitates the Board’s access to timely and relevant information and its oversight of management’s long-term strategy, planning and performance. Mr. Niew brings to the Board considerable management experience and a deep understanding of Knowles’ markets and operating model which he gained during more than 18 years in management positions at Knowles, including nine years in senior management positions. He brings broad experience in all aspects of management and Knowles’ products, technologies, customers, markets, operations and executive team and offers sound insight on business strategy, capital allocation, transactions and succession planning. Mr. Niew holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Additional Board experience includes serving as director of Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc., as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Illinois – College of Engineering.

Nadia Nikolova
PhD Student
Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering

Nadia Nikolova is a second year PhD graduate student at UIC in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She has completed a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from UIC in 2021 and 2022. With involvement in organizations such as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Competitive Gaming Club (CGC), and most recently the Department Action Team (DAT), Nadia has experience in leadership, organization, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Didem Ozevin
Civil, Materials and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Ozevin is a professor of the Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her research integrates structural design and damage assessment methods for resilient infrastructures. She received the ASNT Faculty Award in 2014 and the NSF CAREER Award in 2016. She was selected as one of Crain’s Notable Women in STEM in 2023. Dr. Ozevin received her Ph.D. from Lehigh University in 2005.

Michael Papka
Computer Science
College of Engineering

Michael E. Papka is a professor of computer science and a member of the Electronic Visualization and SPEAR Laboratories at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Dr. Papka’s teaching and research interests include high-performance computing, large-scale data analysis, and visualization. He holds a joint appointment with Argonne National Laboratory, where he is a deputy associate laboratory director, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility director, and a senior scientist. Before joining UIC, he spent ten years at Northern Illinois University as the Presidential Research, Scholarship, and Artistry Professor of Computer Science. Dr. Papka received a B.S. in physics from Northern Illinois University, an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Illinois Chicago, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Chicago.

Dale Reed
Clinical Professor
Computer Science
College of Engineering

Dr. Dale Reed is Clinical Professor in the Computer Science department at UIC.  As director of CS Recruitment at UIC he has spearheaded UIC CS department undergraduate student population growth from 187 students in 2005 to over 1415 students in 2019, leading the national growth average by ~6%.  This growth involved giving over 300 presentations to ~10,000 high school students over 12 years.

Reed double-majored in English and Computer Science at North Park, then obtained his Ph.D. in CS at Northwestern, working on Expert Systems to do sound equalization.  Reed has long been invested in CS education for underrepresented minorities, with over three million dollars in career grant funding.  Fluent in Spanish, Dr. Reed was PI of the NSF-funded Summer Science Camp from 1992 to 1996, where 90% of the 100 Chicago inner-city middle-school students indicated an increased interest in STEM careers. As co-PI on an NSF SSTEM grant Reed recruited and nurtured 27 Latino, African-American and Female CS students in their CS education at UIC, with 85% of them (23 of 27) going on to tech careers. As a founding member of the Chicago CSTA Reed was part of the team that from 2009-2016 got CS to be a high school graduation requirement in Chicago Public Schools. He was been involved with the replication of the Los Angeles Exploring Computer Science (ECS) grant in Chicago and was a national ECS PD mentor facilitator.  Reed is part of the CAFECS group working to increase equity in CS education.

Rebecca Rugg
Dean and Professor
College of Architecture, Design and the Arts

Dr. Rebecca Rugg is a Professor and the Dean of the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) at UIC. Dean Rugg joined CADA in July 2019. CADA comprises four academic schools — the School of Architecture, the School of Art and Art History, the School of Design, and the School of Theatre and Music — as well as Gallery 400 and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. A respected leader in contemporary American theater, Rugg brings her extensive experience in producing creative work, teaching, and arts advocacy to the College to support its world-class faculty, to develop collaborations, and to foster new growth.

Before becoming dean at UIC, Rugg was director of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College, State University of New York. She moved into academic leadership from an accomplished career in artistic leadership in nonprofit theater, holding positions at Redmoon, Steppenwolf and The Public Theater. Rugg received her doctorate in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from the Yale School of Drama, where she also received her Master of Fine Arts and has been a visiting member of the faculty since 2005.

Dean Rugg’s tenure at UIC included successfully transitioning the arts college through COVID-19 in her first year and transitioning the college back to campus while keeping the programs and enrollment strong.

Thomas Searles
Associate Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Thomas A. Searles is a quantum engineer and experimental condensed matter physicist from Albany, GA. He graduated from Morehouse College with a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics and Rice University with a Ph. D. in Applied Physics. In 2021, Searles joined the University of Illinois Chicago as an Associate Professor, under the University System’s Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program.  Prior to UIC, he was a Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at MIT and served as co-founding Director of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center at Howard University.  He currently leads a multi-year multimillion dollar consortium for quantum engineering education sponsored by the Department of Energy.  In recognition for his research in light-matter interactions and his capability to mentor students in Physics and Engineering, Thomas was the recipient of the inaugural AIP-NSBP Joseph A. Johnson Award for Excellence and an NSF CAREER Award.

Elsa Soto
Director of Engineering Inclusion and Equity
College of Engineering

Elsa M. Soto (she/her/ella) is the Director of Equity and Inclusion in Engineering Program at UIC College of Engineering (COE). She is also a second-year doctoral student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing an EdD in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, with a concentration in Diversity and Equity in Education. Her research interests include gender equity in engineering, and the sense of belonging and self-efficacy of women of color in engineering. Elsa is a UIC alumna and has served the UIC community as a working professional for almost 18 years. She is a first-generation American and college student, a native of Chicago, and daughter of Mexican immigrants.

Monica Tith
Associate Dean for Administration
College of Engineering

See profile here

Daniela Tuninetti
Professor and Head
Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

See profile here