Professor Allen Renear, School of Information Sciences, will join the Provost's leadership team as special advisor for strategic initiatives. Renear will be working closely with other University academic and research units to provide analysis, guidance, and leadership with the planning, coordination, and launch of selected strategic initiatives in the University's Strategic Plan, The Next 150. Priority will be given to activities and programs in support of the digital transformation initiative; graduate, professional, and continuing education at the intersection of disciplines; and, workforce-development strategies across the public and private sectors through the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network.
"As a land-grant public university, we are committed to helping people prepare for the rapid changes now underway in our workplaces and communities, and, as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we are well positioned to come through on that commitment—we are doing much already, and now we will do even more. I am proud that our campus keeps the land grant agenda its top priority," said Renear.
Renear joined the University of Illinois in 2001, later served as associate dean for research, and, from 2012 to 2019, as dean. Prior to his appointment at Illinois, he was director of the Scholarly Technology Group at Brown University. Renear has served as president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH), visiting fellow at the Oxford University Humanities Computing Unit, member of the advisory board of the Text Encoding Initiative, first chair of the Open eBook Publication Structure Working Group (the predecessor to ePUB, now the standard data format for eBooks), and chair of the North American Region of the iSchools Consortium. He is the interim director of the Illinois Informatics Institute and has an affiliate appointment in the Department of Philosophy. Renear received an AB from Bowdoin College and a PhD from Brown University.
At the iSchool, Renear has taught courses on data curation, information modeling, and document modeling. His research focuses on the development of formal ontologies for scientific and cultural objects and the application of those ontologies in information system design, scientific publishing, and data curation in the sciences and humanities. His publications include articles in Science, Communications of the ACM, the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, and elsewhere.