The Department of Chemistry has been part of the University of Illinois since the university's beginning in 1868. By 1893, a four-year BS degree program in Chemistry had been established, and the first PhD in Chemistry was awarded in 1903. By the 1920s, the department was one of the largest in the United States in terms of facilities, faculty, and degrees granted. By the end of the twentieth century, more than 3,400 doctoral degrees had been awarded, making the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois the premier PhD-producing chemistry program in the United States. For more information about the Department, visit our Notable Accomplishments, History, and News pages.
Department of Chemistry Administration consists of a Head, two Associate Heads, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Director of General Chemistry, and a number of committees led by faculty who in turn are supported by departmental staff. To contact members of the department's administration, call (217) 333-5071.
Professor Martin Gruebele is the Head of the Department of Chemistry. The Head provides leadership for the academic mission of the Department as well as works closely with two Associate Heads and departmental staff.
Associate Head of Budget and Operations
Professor Scott Silverman is the Associate Head of Budget and Operations. He chairs the Department's Budget and Operations Committee. He coordinates development and implementation of department policies on financial topics, space, teaching, and teaching assistants. He manages allocation of space within the department. He coordinates with the Assistant Director of Finance and Administration regarding all grants, procurements, and human resources topics. He is an ex officio member of the Admissions Committee, working with the Admissions Committee Chair to finalize all documents and procedures associated with graduate admissions.
Associate Head of Major Projects
Professor Ben McCall is the Department's Associate Head of Major Projects. He is responsible for coordinating with the School of Chemical Sciences regarding renovations, repair, and maintenance of departmental space, as well as major building projects. He also coordinates with School service and support facilities regarding their service to departmental faculty, staff, and students. He oversees the implementation of departmental safety policies and practices in concert with the School.
Director of Graduate Studies
Professor Wilfred van der Donk is serving as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who oversee students in the Doctoral Program. As DGS, he works with the Associate Head of Budget and Operations to provide oversight to the Graduate Admissions Committee, chaired by Professor Douglas Mitchell. He works with the Graduate Fellowships and Progress Committee to review decisions concerning the passing of requirements by doctoral candidates and the acceptability of dissertations submitted by chemistry students.
Director of General Chemistry
Serving the Department’s undergraduates is the Director of General Chemistry, Dr. Christian Ray. The Director of General Chemistry is responsible for managing the general chemistry courses and the general chemistry instructional staff, who serve undergraduate chemistry majors as well as students from across campus.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Tina Huang is serving as the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS). She is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the undergraduate program with the overall goal of better serving the Department of Chemistry undergraduate majors. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of multiple programs and services that constitute the undergraduate program in chemistry such as undergraduate advising, access to and quality of research experiences, job placement and access to internships, programs to recruit and retain underrepresented minorities, courses and curriculum. She will also serve as a liaison to the various offices and facilities that serve the undergraduate students within the department including the Chemistry Learning Center, the SCS Career Counseling and Placement Services, and SCS Academic Advising offices.
Director of Graduate Diversity
VACANT Director of Graduate Diversity assists the Department of Chemistry with the recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented groups of the scientific talent pool. Since joining the department as the first Director of Women in Chemistry Programs in 2006, her role has expanded to support the department’s diversity programs and initiatives at the graduate level. Additionally, she has served as an instructor in the Department of Chemistry. For more information about the diversity programs and initiatives in the Department please email Jenny Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistant Director of Finance and Administration
As the Assistant Director of Finance and Administration,
Jenny Cox serves as the Chief Administrative and Financial Officer of the Department of Chemistry, bearing primary responsibility for managerial oversight of departmental operations. Jenny supervises departmental staff and serves as the point of contact with the School of Chemical Sciences Human Resources Office, providing guidance to the Department Head and faculty in handling personnel matters and overseeing departmental human resource needs. Jenny also provides interpretation of School, College, and University policies as well as development of departmental policies and procedures. To contact Jenny Cox, call
(217) 244-3915 or email her at email@example.com.
As Financial Analyst, Katie Einck serves as the departmental approver for purchases and employee travel reimbursements. She is a resource for faculty and staff, providing guidance regarding TEM and other purchasing functions. Katie reviews and analyzes departmental finances and makes recommendations of funding sources for specific operational needs. She also performs periodic analysis of faculty funds to assist with deficit resolution and strategic expenditure planning.
To contact Katie Einck, call (217) 333-4938 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
As Administrative Aide, Staci Ryan's duties include managing reception and providing administrative support to the Department Head and Assistant Director of Finance and Administration. She is the main chemistry administrative office contact for scheduling meetings for the Department Head and department committee meetings. She is the contact for faculty searches, promotion & tenure processes, sabbaticals, RNUA approvals, and will provide back-up assistance in other vital departmental functions such as TEM processing, purchase orders, and convocation. Staci also serves as the administrator for the summer REU program (research experience for undergraduates).
To contact Staci Ryan, call (217) 244-0565 or email her at email@example.com
Office Support Associate
As Office Support Associate, Samantha Langley’s duties include managing reception and administrative support to the Departmental Administrative Staff and Assistant Director of Graduate Diversity. She is a chemistry administrative contact for TEM processing and P-card purchasing. She will also provide assistance with various travel arrangements for student groups and functions, arrange catering and logistics for various department functions, and assist with room reservation requests. She also assists the convocation coordinator in planning the convocation ceremony and reception.
To contact Samantha Langley, call (217) 333-5071 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Admissions & Records Supervisor
Admission to the graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry and the operations of the Graduate Admissions office are managed by Sean Drummond. The office assists prospective students and department faculty with the application and admissions process for graduate programs in Chemistry. In addition, the office tracks recruitment efforts (including communicating with other universities) and works with the Graduate College on application management and fellowship nominations for prospective students.
Information pertaining to the application process is available on our website.
You can also contact the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Office by email at
email@example.com or call (217) 244-6245 (or toll free (800) 516-0276 in the US).
Office Support Associate
Lisa Williamson supports the Graduate Admissions Office by assisting with the admission process. She is also responsible for making updates and changes to the content on the Department of Chemistry webpages.
To contact Lisa Williamson, call (217) 300-7265 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may contact the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Office directly by phone at (217) 244-6245,
toll free (800) 516-0276 in the US, or through email at email@example.com.
Director of Instructional Technology
As Director of Instructional Technology, Doug Mills supports course technology needs and develops interactive online content for faculty and instructors. Doug also provides leadership in the development of Chemistry learning spaces and initiatives as well as serving as a liaison for instructional technology interests across campus.
To contact Doug Mills, call (217) 244-5739 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Instructional Technology Specialist
Instructional Technology initiatives are also supported by Alejandro (Alex) Ibarra, Senior Instructional Technology Specialist. Alex assists the Director, as well as other members of the department’s faculty and staff, in areas related to multimedia production, video editing, and web design. He also serves as the liaison between the Department of Chemistry and the Center for Multimedia Excellence on campus.
To contact Alex Ibarra, call (217) 244-00947 or email him at email@example.com
Chemistry Learning Center
Senior Chemistry Learning Center Specialist
As Senior Chemistry Learning Center Specialist, Dr. Sarah Sheeley’s primary goal is to provide undergraduates with the support they need to successfully navigate their general chemistry courses. In addition to providing one-on-one help to students in the CLC, she trains and supervises CLC staff members, develops supplemental web-based instructional content, and maintains the CLC resource collection.
To contact Sarah Sheeley, call (217) 333-2998.
Graduate Program Coordinator
The Coordinator, Connie Knight, manages the administration of the department's graduate program, including registration, graduation requirements, fellowships, and student issues. Additionally, she serves as the liaison on graduate student issues to campus groups such as the Graduate College and is responsible for many aspects of data-keeping related to graduate studies in the department, including managing the format review process for theses and providing data related to graduate students to the Department Head and other campus contacts.
For any issues related to graduate student affairs, contact Connie at (217) 244-4844 or by an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator
The Undergraduate Student Coordinator, Heather Schulze, is the primary contact for the course scheduling, enrollment, grade reporting, and classroom space assignments for the department. Additionally, she is the Convocation Coordinator for our Department Convocation Ceremony. Heather acts as a liason between SCS Advising and the department. Heather works directly with undergraduates and faculty regarding registration issues, coordinating course spaces as well as providing information to the Department Head and those outside the department including enrollment and space data.
Engagement and Development
Christen Mercier is responsible for gift fund management and donor stewardship. She coordinates the acknowledgment of department gifts, ensures that the use of gift funds reflects donor intent, and celebrates the impact of philanthropy on Chemistry students and faculty. She also develops and manages the department’s broader communications and alumni relations strategy and initiatives. In these efforts she works closely with the department’s communications, events and activities, financial, and major giving staff.
To contact Christen Mercier, call (217) 300-6506 or email her at: email@example.com
Mary Jo Hettinger serves as the news and content manager for the department website, ensuring the accuracy and relevance of all information, sharing timely news, and publishing stories that highlight Chemistry faculty, students, alumni, and donors. She coordinates print and electronic communications and marketing initiatives and manages the department’s photography and videography needs. She advises on the department’s communication strategy and is the liaison for publicity related to department news and events.
To contact Mary Jo, call (217) 265-4091 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advancement Activities Specialist
Star Murray is responsible for the department’s alumni and donor engagement activities. She organizes alumni receptions and other events, serves as the department liaison for external activities involving Chemistry alumni and donors, develops customized itineraries for special guests of the department, and coordinates efforts to engage current students as future alumni. She advises on the department’s alumni relations strategy and collaborates with other Chemistry engagement staff to highlight the achievements of alumni, donors, and students.
To contact Star, call (217) 300-2328 or email her at email@example.com.
Assistant Director of Development (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)
With a focus on major gifts, Joe Madden serves as a resource for donors throughout the giving process, connecting Chemistry’s supporters with impactful philanthropic opportunities. Working as part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he also collaborates with Chemistry staff on stewardship strategies and engagement initiatives.
To contact Joe Madden, call (217) 300-4554 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about giving to the Department of Chemistry, please visit our giving page.