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 Catherine Murphy is the Head of the Department of Chemistry. The Head provides leadership for the academic mission of the department, working closely with two Associate Heads and department 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 Associate Director for Administration regarding financial 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 Josh Vura-Weis is the Associate Head of Major Projects. He coordinates with the School of Chemical Sciences (SCS) regarding major building projects as well as renovations, repair, and maintenance of department space. He coordinates with SCS service and support facilities regarding their service to departmental faculty, staff, and students. He oversees the implementation of department safety policies and practices in concert with SCS.
Director of Graduate Studies
Professor Gregory S. Girolami is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who oversee students in the doctoral program. As DGS, he coordinates with the Associate Head of Budget and Operations to provide oversight to the Graduate Admissions Committee. He works with the faculty to review decisions on the passing of requirements by doctoral candidates and the acceptability of dissertations submitted by graduate students.
Director of General Chemistry
Serving the department’s undergraduates is the Director of General Chemistry, Dr. Tina Huang. She 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
Jordan Axelson is 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 is also 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 the SCS Academic Advising office.
Associate Director for Administration
As a member of the department’s leadership team, Associate Director Jenny Cox serves as the Senior Administrative Officer of the Department of Chemistry, with primary responsibility for strategic oversight of departmental operations. Jenny oversees personnel matters and manages the department’s complex financial portfolio. To contact Jenny Cox, call (217) 244-3915 or email her at email@example.com.
Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences
This position is currently vacant. The Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences, assists the Department of Chemistry, and the department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), with the recruitment, retention, and advancement of graduate students, with a specific focus in traditionally underrepresented groups in both areas.
They also serve on multiple department committees, which includes the Diversity Committee and the Climate Committee and leads the planning of the Annual Women in Chemistry Retreat. They also develop, implement, and run lecture series and workshops, including the Stoesser Lecture. Also, they serve as an advocate for graduate students and as Chemistry's and ChBE's liaison to other campus service units.
Senior Financial Analyst
As Senior Financial Analyst, Katie Einck is 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. She 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 the Office Manager, Jackie Miller, manages reception and provides administrative support to the Department Head and Associate Director for Administration. She is the main chemistry administrative office contact for scheduling meetings for the Department Head and departmental committee meetings. She is the contact for faculty searches, promotion & tenure processes, sabbaticals, and RNUA approvals. She also handles employee moving reimbursements for faculty and staff.
To contact Jackie Miller, call (217) 244-3334 or email her at email@example.com.
Office Support Specialist
This position is currently vacant. The Office Support Specialist serves as primary receptionist for the Chemistry Department Office. They provide office support for a variety of staff with scheduling, meeting and event planning. They also makes travel arrangements and initiates purchases on behalf of the department.
To contact, call Chemistry’s main office line at (217) 333-5071
Graduate Program Coordinator
The Graduate Program Coordinator, Sean Drummond, manages the administration of the department's graduate program, including registration, graduation requirements, fellowships, and student issues. He 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.
To contact Sean Drummond, call (217) 244-4844 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Services Coordinator
The Student Services Coordinator, Heather Schulze, is the primary contact for course scheduling, enrollment, grade reporting, and classroom space assignments for the department. She serves as liaison with SCS Advising for undergraduate registration needs and with the Registrar/FMS for instructional space and enrollment capacity needs. She also coordinates the department's annual convocation ceremony.
To contact Heather Schulze, call (217) 244-9875 or email her at email@example.com.
Admissions & Records Officer
This position is currently vacant. 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 may contact Chemistry Graduate Admissions directly by phone at (217) 244-6245, toll-free (800) 516-0276 in the US, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office Support Specialist
Lisa Williamson supports Graduate Admissions by assisting students with the application process. She collects and maintains information while serving as a resource to applicants for questions on our graduate program. She is also responsible for updates and changes to the Department of Chemistry and faculty webpages. She assists with communications and advertising efforts by designing fliers, pamphlets and annual reporting documents for distribution to current and prospective students, faculty, alumni and donors.
To contact Lisa Williamson, call (217) 300-7265 or email her at email@example.com. You may contact the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Office directly by phone at (217) 244-6245, toll-free (800) 516-0276 in the US, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engagement and Development
Assistant Director of Advancement Operations
Christen Mercier is responsible for alumni and donor relations. 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 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, finance, and major giving staff.
To contact Christen Mercier, call (217) 300-6506 or email her at email@example.com.
Tracy Crane is responsible for developing and sharing print and digital communications that highlight the department’s faculty, students, alumni, donors, research, and initiatives. She manages the department’s website and social media presence, advises on communication strategy, and serves as the liaison for publicity related to department news and events.
To contact Tracy, call (217) 300-1287 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events & Activities Specialist
This position is currently vacant. The Events and Activities Specialist is responsible for events and visitor hosting for the department’s advancement and diversity/inclusion initiatives. They coordinate event logistics, speaker arrangements, and guest itineraries, and serve as a liaison to the department’s graduate student groups and host for department and conference receptions. They work directly with the department’s advancement and diversity/inclusion staff and serve as the departmental point of contact for questions concerning event planning and guest speaker outreach.
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 collaborates with Chemistry staff on stewardship strategies and engagement initiatives.
To contact Joe Madden, call (217) 333-7108 or email him at email@example.com.
For more information about giving to the Department of Chemistry, please visit our giving page.
Assistant Director of Instructional Technology
As Assistant Director of Instructional Technology, Candice Solomon-Strutz supports course technology needs and develops interactive online content for faculty and instructors. Candice provides leadership in the development of Chemistry learning spaces and initiatives and serves as a liaison for instructional technology interests across campus.
To contact Candice Solomon-Strutz, call (217) 244-4937 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Instructional Technology Specialist
Instructional Technology initiatives are 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 serves as the liaison between the Department of Chemistry and the Center for Multimedia Excellence on campus.
To contact Alex Ibarra, call (217) 244-0947 or email him at email@example.com.
Chemistry Teaching Labs
Assistant Director of Teaching Labs
Serenity Desmond is the Assistant Director of Teaching Labs for Chemistry (100-400 level) labs. She is primarily responsible for the safety and operations of these spaces, but is also involved in creating and providing lab-specific training for teaching assistants. Serenity is passionate about incorporating Green Chemistry principles into the lab courses and the daily lab operations.
To contact Serenity Desmond, call (217) 244-3428 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical Science Technical Assistant
As a Physical Science Technical Assistant, Michelle Colombo is primarily responsible for the preparation of lab materials and the implementation of safety procedures for the majors (200 level) General Chemistry lab courses.
To contact Michelle Colombo, call (217) 244-1243 or email her at email@example.com.
Physical Science Technical Assistant
This position is currently vacant. The Physical Science Technical Assistant is primarily responsible for the preparation of lab materials and the implementation of safety procedures for the nonmajors (200-400 level) Chemistry lab courses.
Physical Science Technical Assistant
As a Physical Science Technical Assistant, Justin McGlauchlen is primarily responsible for the preparation of lab materials and the implementation of safety procedures for the nonmajors (100-level) General Chemistry lab courses.
To contact Justin McGlauchlen, call (217) 300-5331 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical Science Technical Assistant
As a Physical Science Technical Assistant, Alexis Waite is primarily responsible for the preparation of lab materials and the implementation of safety procedures for the nonmajors (200-level) Organic Chemistry lab courses.
To contact Alexis Waite, call (217) 333-1519 or email her at email@example.com.
Chemistry Learning Center (CLC)
Senior Chemistry Learning Center Coordinator
As Senior Chemistry Learning Center (CLC) Coordinator, Dr. Sarah Sheeley works 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 is responsible for the daily operations of the center and supervising CLC staff, as well as program development and creating online resource material. It is her goal to use the CLC as a forum to dispel the “weed-out” mentality surrounding general chemistry and develop tools to make chemistry accessible to all students.
To contact Dr. Sheeley, call (217) 333-9876 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
General Chemistry and Area Offices