Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois

About the Department - Administration and staff

About the Department

The Department of Chemistry has been part of the University of Illinois since the university's beginning in 1868. By 1893, a four-year B.S. degree program in Chemistry had been established, and the first Ph.D. 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 Ph.D.-producing chemistry program in the United States. For more information about the Department, visit our Notable Accomplishments, History, and News pages.

Department Administration

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.

Department of Chemistry - Administrative Organizational Chart
Department of Chemistry - Organizational Chart for Areas of Specialty

Department of Chemistry - Standing and Ad Hoc Committees

To contact members of the department's administration, call 217-333-5071.

Martin Gruebele

department head

Professor Martin Gruebele is the Head of the Department of Chemistry, effective January 1, 2017.

The Head provides leadership for the academic mission of the Department as well as works closely with two Associate Heads and departmental staff.

Scott Silverman photo

associate head of Budget and operations

Professor Scott Silverman is serving as 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 School of Chemical Sciences Business Office regarding all grants, procurements, 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.

Ben McCall photo

associate head of buildings and services

Professor Ben McCall is the Department's Associate Head of Buildings and Services. He is responsible for coordinating with the School of Chemical Sciences regarding renovations, repair, and maintenance of departmental space, as well as major building projects. He also coordinates with School service and support facilities regarding their service to departmental faculty, staff, and students. Finally, he oversees the implementation of departmental safety policies and practices in concert with the School.

Wilfred van der Donk photo

director of graduate studies

Professor Wilfred van der Donk is serving as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), who oversee students in the Doctoral Program. As DGS, he works with the Associate Head of Budget and Operations to provide oversight to the Graduate Admissions Committee, chaired by Professor Chad Rienstra. He works with the Graduate Fellowships and Progress Committee to review decisions concerning the passing of requirements by doctoral candidates and the acceptability of dissertations submitted by chemistry students.

Gretchen Adams photo

director of undergraduate studies

Dr. Gretchen Adams serves as 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 also serves as a 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 SCS Academic Advising offices.

Christian Ray

director of general chemistry

Also serving the Department’s undergraduates is the Director of General Chemistry, Dr. Christian Ray. The Director of General Chemistry 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.

Many other administrative jobs in the Department are handled by standing faculty committees.
A current departmental committee list will become available soon.

Support Staff

Jodi Bear photo

Associate Director of Administration and Operations

Jodi Bear
As the Associate Director of Administration and Operations (ADAO), Jodi serves as the Chief Administration, Operations, and Financial Officer of the Department of Chemistry. She bears primary responsibility for administrative, financial, and managerial oversight in support of departmental operations; interpretation of School, College, and University policies and procedures; and development of department policies and procedures. Jodi also serves as Chemistry’s liaison to the School of Chemical Sciences’ Human Resources and Business Offices and has oversight of the departmental Main Office and staff.

To contact Jodi Bear, call 217-265-0294 or email

Jenny Cox photo

Senior Financial Analyst

Jenny Cox

As the Senior Financial Analyst, Jenny provides financial oversight of all accounts in the department. She offers guidance to the Department Head and others regarding financial topics. She provides financial reporting analyses and forecasts, recommends and implements business policies, advises on major business decisions, and oversees travel and other internal purchasing functions. She also assists the Associate Director of Administration and Operations in oversight of department office administration.

To contact Jenny Cox, call 217-333-5071 or email her at



Ellen Althaus photo

Director of Graduate Diversity

Ellen Wang Althaus

As Director of Graduate Diversity, Dr. Althaus assists the Department of Chemistry with the recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented groups of the scientific talent pool. Since joining the department as the first Director of Women in Chemistry Programs in 2006, her role has expanded to support the department’s diversity programs and initiatives at the graduate level. Additionally, she has served as an instructor in the Department of Chemistry.

For more information about the diversity programs and initiatives in the Department, please click here. Dr. Althaus can be reached via

Staci Ryan photo

Office Manager

Staci Ryan

As Office Manager, Staci’s duties include managing reception and administrative support to the Administrative Staff, Director of Operations and Personnel, and the Director of Graduate Diversity. She is the main chemistry administrative office contact for TEM processing and will provide back-up assistance in other vital departmental functions such as human resources processing, TA assignments, data collection, and awards tracking.

To contact Staci Ryan, call 217-333-5071 or email her at


Graduate Admissions

Sean Drummond photo

Admissions & Records Officer

Sean Drummond
Admission to the graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry is managed by Sean Drummond. 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 web site at You can also contact the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Office by e-mail at or call 217-244-6245 (or toll free 800-516-0276 in the US).

Instructional Technology

Instructional technology in the Department of Chemistry supports the technological goals of courses within the department and is headed by Doug Mills, Director of Instructional Technology. Instructional Technology in the Department continues to build on the tradition established by the late Professor Stan Smith, who pioneered the use of computers in chemistry education in the early 1970s. The instructional technology section serves a wide range of departmental needs, including serving as a catalyst enabling instructors and faculty to implement their ideas and realize their instructional goals more efficiently and effectively through the use of technology.

Douglas Mills photo

Director of Instructional Technology

Doug Mills came to the department in December 2008 after working in Instructional Technology on the UIUC campus for 16 years. In addition to collaborating with, supporting, and developing interactive online content for faculty and instructors, the Director of Instructional Technology provides leadership in the development of Chemistry learning spaces and initiatives as well as serving as a liaison for instructional technology interests across campus.


Alex Ibarra photo

Instructional Technology Specialist

Instructional Technology initiatives are also supported by Alejandro (Alex) Ibarra, Instructional Technology Specialist and Dr. Sarah Sheeley, the Chemistry Learning Center Specialist. As Instructional Technology Specialist, Ibarra 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 also serves as the liaison between the Department of Chemistry and the Center for Multimedia Excellence on campus.

Sarah Sheeley photo

Chemistry Learning Center Specialist

As Chemistry Learning Center Specialist, Dr. Sarah Sheeley’s primary goal is to provide students with the support they need to successfully navigate their general chemistry courses.  In addition to assisting students one-on-one, she trains and supervises CLC tutors, develops supplemental web-based instructional content, and maintains the CLC resource collection. 

To see Chemistry Learning Center information, visit their page here.

Development and Alumni Relations

Star Murray photo

Communications and Advancement Coordinator

The Communications and Advancement Coordinator, Star Murray, manages most aspects of the department’s external communications and advancement programming. She works closely with the webmaster of the Department of Chemistry’s website as well as serving as the main editor for the semi-annual departmental newsletter. Additionally, she coordinates the department’s event efforts including faculty and alumni events.

To contact Star Murray, call (217) 300-2328 or email her at:

For more information about giving to the Department of Chemistry, please visit our giving page by clicking here.

Photo of Joe Madden

Assistant Director of Development (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

The Department of Chemistry is also supported by a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences employee in advancement and in particular the area of major giving. Joe Madden coordinates all aspects of the giving process for donors and serve as a liaison for donors throughout the giving process. Additionally, he assists the department in other fundraising efforts as well as programming.

To contact Joe Madden, call (217) 300-4554 or email him at:

For more information about giving to the Department of Chemistry, please visit our giving page by clicking here.

Student Services

Connie Knight photo

Graduate Program Coordinator

The Coordinator, Connie Knight, manages the administration of the department's graduate program, including registration, graduation requirements, fellowships, and student issues. Additionally, she 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.

More information about the Chemistry Graduate Program can be found on http://www.chemistry.illinois/graduates/. For any issues related to graduate student affairs, contact Connie at 217-244-4844 or by an email to

Heather Schulze Photo

Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator

The Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator, Heather Schulze, is the primary contact for the timetable, enrollment, grade issues, and classroom space assignments for the department. Additionally, she assists with the undergraduate program, working directly with undergraduates and faculty regarding registration issues, coordinating course spaces as well as providing information to the Department Head and those outside the department including enrollment and space data. Mrs. Schulze is also responsible for the department’s distinction list, published each May.

To contact the Undergraduate Student Services Office, please call 217-244-9875 or email Heather Schulze at