Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Lisa A. Freeman named interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dear faculty, staff and students,

Today I write to share the bittersweet announcement that Dean Astrida Orle Tantillo, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for 12 years, will return to the faculty Aug. 16 after completing two five-year terms as dean and having previously served as interim dean.

Over more than a decade, Dean Tantillo has relentlessly, passionately and thoughtfully led and elevated the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to new heights. Under her leadership, the college created an array of new, innovative programs. In tandem, Dean Tantillo also oversaw a record-breaking expansion of undergraduate enrollment and diversity — with nearly half of the undergraduate student body hailing from historically underrepresented groups — as well as the college’s highest-ever graduation and retention rates, with continued upward trajectory projected for the future. Her budgetary planning and strategic priorities have resulted in substantial cost savings and efficiencies, significant investment in faculty hiring and research support, growing the percentage of underrepresented faculty members within the college by 22% in the last five years and more than doubling the number of endowed chairs, years of consecutive growth in research expenditures and faculty awards, and successfully raising over $50 million as part of the IGNITE fundraising campaign. Forever a champion of and for student success, she also oversaw the creation of a first-generation student success initiative in the college, expanded critical advising services for students and oversaw the expansion of the three free tutoring centers. Her legacy is one of service and dedication to the institution beyond her duties as dean, serving as the chair or co-chair of several high-level administrative search committees as well as participating on various executive committees dedicated to advancing a culture of fairness and equity on campus. I truly look forward to Dean Tantillo’s ongoing contributions to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and UIC at large, as a valuable member of the faculty.

Moreover, I am thrilled to announce that Professor Lisa A. Freeman has agreed to serve as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences beginning Aug. 16, pending approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Professor Freeman currently serves as head of the English department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has been a member of the LAS faculty since 1994. Professor Freeman has extensive experience at UIC as both a member of the faculty and as an administrator, having served as acting associate dean in 2003, associate head of the English department from 2012 to 2015, and participating as a fellow in 2021-22 cohort of the President’s Executive Leadership Program. With a dual specialization in 18th-century studies and theater and performance studies, she has fostered an award-winning career of teaching, research and writing, and currently serves on the executive board of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Professor Freeman will leverage all of these accomplishments in service of the college and its community over the coming year in her role as interim dean. I have the utmost confidence that she will serve as a guiding light that will enable our largest undergraduate college to continue to operate like a well-oiled machine during this period of transition.

A national search will soon be launched to find a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with the objective of concluding the search by August 2023. As the largest undergraduate college at UIC, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been and continues to be a cornerstone of UIC’s success, and this search will garner additional attention locally, regionally and nationally.

Please join me in thanking Dean Tantillo for 12 years of service to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as dean, in addition to congratulating and welcoming Professor Freeman as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences starting this fall.


Javier Reyes
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

For more information, please contact:
Tyler Nielsen