Luis M. Bettencourt. (Photo courtesy Santa Fe Institute)

University news

A selection of the latest headlines from UChicago.

Urban leader

Luis M. Bettencourt, a leading researcher in urban science and complex systems, has been appointed the inaugural Pritzker Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago, effective July 1. Bettencourt, who comes to the University from the Santa Fe Institute, will also be a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and the College. The Mansueto Institute launched last year with a $35 million gift from Joe, AB’78, MBA’80, and Rika, AB’91, Mansueto, and aims to produce scholarship and programs that address urban challenges.

Deans, new and returning

Katherine Baicker, a top scholar in the economic analysis of health care policy, has been appointed the next dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Baicker is the C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics at Harvard University. Before joining Harvard, she was on the faculties of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dartmouth College. Baicker served as a visiting assistant professor at Harris in 2003. Her appointment as Harris’s dean will begin August 15.

John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, has been appointed to a record-breaking sixth term as dean of the College. In his 25-year tenure, Boyer has overseen the opening of three new residence halls, the expansion of career development and internship programs, and a dramatic increase in financial aid through the Odyssey Scholarship Challenge.

Madhav Rajan, the Robert K. Jaedicke Professor of Accounting at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, has been named the next dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His appointment will begin July 1. Rajan’s primary research interest is the economics-based analysis of management accounting issues. He served as senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Stanford GSB from 2010 to 2016.

Anne Walters Robertson, the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music and the College, has been appointed dean of the Division of the Humanities, effective April 1. Robertson, an expert in the music of the Middle Ages, has served as interim dean since July 2016. She joined the Department of Music in 1984 and has held several leadership positions at the University, including deputy provost for research and education and chair of the Music department.

Laurie Zoloth, a leader in the field of religious studies with particular scholarly interest in bioethics and Jewish studies, has been appointed dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her term begins July 1. Zoloth currently serves as the Charles McCormick Deering Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University. Zoloth succeeds interim dean Richard A. Rosengarten, AM’88, PhD’94, associate professor of religion and literature.

Teachers’ helper

A new UChicago program will offer full-tuition scholarships to children of educators working in the Chicago Public Schools. The scholarship applies to teachers, counselors, speech pathologists, and nurses, as well as support personnel such as lunchroom workers and custodians. The CPS Educators Award Scholarship joins existing scholarship programs for children of Chicago firefighters and Chicago and UChicago police officers.

Setting goals

The University’s Board of Trustees voted on March 2 to increase the financial target of the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact to $5 billion. The fundraising campaign publicly launched in 2014 with a goal to raise $4.5 billion. Since that time, UChicago has raised $3.68 billion, affecting virtually every part of the University.

Major changes

Attention, future Roths and Bellows: the College will offer a new creative writing major beginning next fall. The program will require students to take a mix of creative writing and literature courses and to complete a BA thesis. “The major is designed to enable students to locate their practice politically, socially, and professionally,” John Wilkinson, professor and chair of creative writing, told the Chicago Maroon.

Our competition?

Elysa Bryen, Class of 2017; Madeline de Figueiredo, Class of 2019; and Nick Posegay, AB’16, have launched a new Arabic-language magazine at UChicago. Majalla, which means “magazine,” grew out of the students’ desire to put their language skills to the test. The first issue, published in January, includes both academic and personal pieces (one submission described the author’s worst date), all written by UChicago students with one to four years of Arabic study.

Smart choice

Alison Gass has been appointed the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art, effective May 1. Gass came to UChicago from Stanford, where she was chief curator at the Cantor Arts Center. She has organized major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, where she also served as curator and deputy director. Gass was featured in a 2010 New York Times article highlighting “the new guard of curators.”