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Farewell Reception May 11 for WIU's Arts & Sciences Dean Inessa Levi

May 7, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - A farewell reception for Inessa Levi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Illinois University since July 2004, will be held from 4-6 p.m. Monday, May 11 in the University Union Lamoine Room.

The reception is open free to the University and greater Macomb communities.

Levi has accepted the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. As chief academic officer, she will oversee the academic colleges and offices in arts and letters, business, education, science, international studies, military science and ROTC, grants and contracts and other academic support functions.

In her nearly five-year tenure at Western Illinois, Levi helped develop a School of Nursing; new in-demand baccalaureate programs in nursing, anthropology, forensic chemistry, liberal arts and sciences and religious studies; a graduate degree program in liberal arts and sciences; and post-baccalaureate certificates in public and non-profit management, applied mathematics, women's studies, African and African Diaspora studies and environmental GIS. She has also been a working advocate for Western's first Ph.D. program which would be in environmental sciences. This has been approved by WIU's graduate council but it still must be approved by the Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

"I'd like to thank WIU President Al Goldfarb for his unflagging support of the College of Arts and Sciences, its students and its faculty. His counsel and guidance over the last several years has contributed so much to the success of the college," Levi said.

"Likewise Provost and Academic Vice President Jack Thomas (and Provost and Academic Vice President Joe Rallo before him) has been a great champion as we explored and developed new, in-demand programs for our students. They both helped us navigate tight budgets and approval processes with unending enthusiasm," she added.

Levi's agenda has always included diversity and undergraduate research. She created the undergraduate research and creative activity program, and she developed a visiting scholars program to help forge professional relationships with future college educators from underrepresented groups at WIU. In Spring 2008, Levi was recognized at the President's Affirmative Action reception as the recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award.

Levi helped propel the growth of undergraduate research not only with college funding and fund raising, but also with her personal donation. She and her spouse, mathematics Professor George Barnes established the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Grant in 2005. The number of undergraduate researchers working in tandem with faculty mentors has grown from 222 in 2005 to more than 625 in 2008-09. Students not only learn how to conduct research, but they also learn how to present the information clearly to others; which are valuable skills to have, Levi said.

Levi came to Western Illinois from the University of Louisville, where she was a mathematics professor (July 1986-June 2004) and the associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences (January 2002-June 2004). She earned her master's degree (1982) and her doctorate (1985) in mathematics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

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