University of Illinois at Chicago
Faculty Handbook

C. History

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) was created in September 1982 by the merger of the Medical Center and Chicago Circle campuses of the University of Illinois. The Medical Center’s Chicago roots go back to the 1890s when the Chicago College of Pharmacy and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago became part of the University of Illinois. Chicago Circle’s history began in 1946 at Chicago’s Navy Pier; more than 100,000 students attended classes there before the present campus opened in 1965.

UIC’s current metropolitan setting includes two historical landmark neighborhoods. Hull-House, founded in 1889 by Jane Addams, remains part of UIC, and the two original buildings, restored and preserved by the university, were designated national landmarks in 1967. The historic Illinois Medical District, created by the state legislature in 1944, is the current home to the colleges of the health sciences.

Through awards, grants, prizes, honors, and leadership roles, UIC faculty win recognition nationally and internationally. With research expenditures at $261 million a year (based on 2005-2006 data), it ranks among the 50 foremost universities in the United States for federal research support. It confers degrees from the baccalaureate and professional to the doctorate and includes the only public academic medical center in Illinois, making it the principal educator of health-care professionals for the state.

A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which the almost 12,500 UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation, and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.  The commitment is manifest across the campus, from engaged social-science research to partnerships in the arts and humanities, contributions to economic development, innovation in emerging technologies, and collaboration between UIC's professional schools and the professions they serve.    

At the same time UIC has an urban mission. Many of its 25,000 students come from families of limited financial means, recent immigrants or their children, and racial and ethnic minority groups. Many are the first generation in their families to attend college. They are ambitious for academic attainment: they seek education engaged with urban life, they are attracted by the excellence of specific academic programs, and they are excited by an unprecedented mix of races, ethnicities, religions, languages, and national origins.

That is why UIC is distinct. By bringing an elite research faculty to an urban mission, UIC forges an identity that aligns it with the other leading universities but making it different. In the heart of the city, UIC offers extraordinary opportunity to all who seek learning in an intense research environment. It is urban and elite; it is elite but not exclusionary; it joins access with excellence.

Other universities conduct research as UIC does, or serve its range of students, or are deeply involved with their communities - but they do not do all three at the level UIC has reached and continues to raise. The campus experiences every day the tensions between access and excellence, but if the achievement were easy it would be common. UIC affirms the social and moral value of access to excellence and its direct and positive impact on all aspects of the campus. The diverse students at UIC are taught by distinguished faculty who set uncompromising standards. UIC focuses on healthcare for underserved areas along with the advancement of biomedical knowledge and practice. It combines its Great Cities Commitment with traditional strength in the core arts and science disciplines. It values both connections to its local and regional communities and affiliations in research and education across the globe.

By emphasizing world-class research along with a commitment to students who reflect the diversity of the United States and to the pervasive relationships beyond its boundaries that arise from its embrace of the city, UIC defines the dynamic and vibrant new urban university.


The UIC Faculty Handbook is produced and maintained by the Office of Faculty Affairs Human Resources. The information contained in this Handbook is applicable to the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago only. Any questions regarding information contained on this site or for assistance in locating specific information not found at this site, please contact ayudt@uic.edu.

Updated: November 10, 2006, January 11, 2007, February 2, 2007, February 2008, February 2009, March 2011


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