Contract For UIS Interim Chancellor To Be Extended

Dec 7, 2020

Karen Whitney
Credit UIS

The interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield will stay in that role for a longer period.   

The university announced Monday that Karen Whitney will have her contract extended until June 2022. 

The extension is pending a vote by the university's board of trustees in January. 

Whitney was brought on last summer to replace Susan Koch, who retired.  Whitney was originally hired for one year.  

“I could not be more pleased to recommend that Interim Chancellor Whitney’s tenure be extended at UIS,” President Tim Killeen said. “She has guided the university with a deft hand through this challenging period of transition, creating stability while prioritizing efforts to provide high-quality education and doing so safely during a pandemic. I welcome the opportunity to continue to work with her.”

Whitney oversaw the campus reopening in August and the weekly COVID testing program for students, faculty and staff.   Despite the challenge of the pandemic, the fall semester is wrapping up online as planned.

“Working with the dedicated faculty, staff and students of UIS over these last five months, I am so proud to say that we completed our fall semester as planned and see our students succeeding,” Whitney said. “We are growing our academic programs, increasing our enrollment and ensuring that UIS continues to be united in safety and providing support for all students and employees.”

The university said Killeen consulted with faculty, staff and student leadership groups on campus that strongly support the move to keep Whitney.

There is still a plan to hire a permanent chancellor, but the search process won’t begin until late summer or early fall. 

Whitney has used a 10-point plan to guide the university.  The plan’s focus includes ensuring the safety of those on campus: continuing to provide excellence in education and research; working with university faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders to eliminate racism and promote social justice; and enhancing student recruitment efforts.

Prior to joining UIS, Whitney served as interim chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in 2017-18 and was president of Clarion University in Pennsylvania for seven years. She remains president emerita of Clarion.