Letter from our Director
Alma R. Sealine

The 2016-2017 academic year provided many opportunities for University Housing to continue its dedication to creating communities that transform student lives. From implementing new residential curriculum, to establishing new life-long relationships, to creatively responding to the state budget crisis, we are continually reminded of the importance of the undergraduate, graduate and family residential experience at the University of Illinois.

We kicked off the year with a momentous opening and dedication of Wassaja Hall, named after the University’s first Native American graduate, Carlos ‘Wassaja’ Montezuma. Members of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation from Fountain Hills, Arizona assisted us in celebrating Wassaja’s legacy. Our new Fort McDowell colleagues then hosted Student Affairs staff in November 2016 to highlight Wassaja Hall and celebrate a significant tribal tradition, Orme Dam Victory Days.

Many opportunities reaffirmed our commitment to the success of every student. One of these was the implementation of the Illinois Residential Experience (IRE) within the undergraduate and graduate residence halls. Based on the Residential Curriculum model through the College Student Educators International (ACPA), Residential Life and Family & Graduate Housing staff worked diligently to roll out an integrated educational model that values the relationships and learning that takes place within the residential experience. The assessment data shows we had a successful first year and we continue to refine and repurpose resources to build on this success.

This commitment to the student experience can also be found in moving forward with the Illinois Street Residence Halls (ISR) renovation and addition project which will provide more than 1,300 new dining seats in a micro-restaurant concept and new dining retail space. It also provides new programmatic space for the Innovation Living-Learning Community, the University Counseling Center and a learning commons. The shovels hit the ground in May 2018 with completion planned for fall 2020.
We had much to celebrate this year. Ray Ligocki, Maintenance Inspector, received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award. Kim Otchere, Program Director of Social Justice and Leadership Education; Carrie Anderson, Executive Chef; and Kathy Adams, Culinary Training Coordinator traveled to Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) with the Student Affairs Global Talent Exchange Program (GTEP) to learn from our colleagues at SJTU about the Chinese higher education experience. Kathryn Courtney, Interim Senior Assistant Director of Technology Services, represented University Housing and Student Affairs in China (Beijing and Shanghai) and South Korea (Seoul) at the University’s In-Country Orientation. In addition, our dining program was awarded the Most Innovative Nutrition & Wellness Program and the Best Residential Dining Special Event at the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) annual conference.

As we look to the future of University Housing, we are reminded every day we need to find new ways to respond to the changing environmental, budget and process dynamics within the state, nation and world. We have experienced great accomplishments and have responded to some great challenges throughout this year. We look forward to the many opportunities next year brings for our students, staff, department and university.

I would encourage you to read through our annual report to learn more about our many accomplishments this past year.

All my best,

ALMA R. SEALINE - Director of University Housing

Sealine is responsible for leading, planning, and directing the complete operations of University Housing, a unit within the Division of Student Affairs. asealine@illinois.edu.

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