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Biography

Javier Reyes will lead the University of Illinois Chicago as interim chancellor, effective July 1, 2022. UIC is Chicago’s largest and only public Carnegie Research 1 university with 16 top-ranked colleges and an academic health enterprise, the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health). Interim Chancellor Reyes is committed to expanding upon UIC’s inclusive campus culture, pioneering spirit, and realizing the vision to transform the world through eliminating disparities in economic opportunities, health and education. 

He sees UIC as “a dynamic national leader in higher education with tremendous impact as a world-class research university that is home to a culturally rich and diverse student body.” 

Prior to his service as interim chancellor, Reyes became provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UIC Aug. 16, 2021. In this role, he served as UIC’s chief academic officer to advise on matters of academic policy, strategic direction, enrollment management and academic resource planning. Since coming aboard as provost, UIC experienced recording-breaking fall 2021 enrollment of more than 34,000 students and has maintained the upward trajectory of admitted students, with more than 18,000 new students admitted for fall 2022 —putting UIC on track for another record-breaking fall enrollment. 

In his first year, Reyes also initiated a massive overhaul of UIC’s budget model while also igniting a restructuring of teaching innovation environments, which will position UIC for success amidst a new era of innovative and accessible education. He also led focused efforts to attract exceptional candidates from across the nation for leadership roles, including the dean of UIC Law, as well as deans of the colleges of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, Business Administration and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Committed to UIC’s core principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, Reyes has outlined a bold vision to address critical gaps in racial equity across the institution, with a specific focus on increasing Black student enrollment, retention and graduation rates, which will catalyze transformation in support of a more equitable future at every level of the campus. 

Before joining UIC, Reyes served as West Virginia University’s Milan Puskar Dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics from 2016-2021 and vice president for StartUp West Virginia from 2018-2021. Under his leadership, the College of Business was named by former Cisco Systems CEO and alumnus John Chambers and focused on the growth of entrepreneurship, innovation and experiential learning, with an emphasis on synergies with engineering and the health sciences. Reyes built impactful corporate partnerships to strengthen student placement and serve West Virginia’s land-grant mission. Furthermore, he spearheaded the transformation of the college into a pillar of inclusive entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development for the university and the state. As the vice president for  StartUp West Virginia, he worked closely with state partners and private industry to grow West Virginia’s startup network and expand avenues for economic and business development. His efforts included the launching of Vantage Ventures at WVU, the attraction of companies like DataRobot to have a presence in West Virginia, and the launching of programs like Ascend WV —an innovative cohort-based remote worker program in three different cities of West Virginia. 

During his tenure, the total enrollment of the Chambers College of Business grew by 20%, led by undergraduate enrollment growth on campus and the launching of new online degree programs like the Healthcare MBA, MS Economics and MS Cybersecurity. He also launched the Building Beyond fundraising campaign to construct a futuristic new home for the college, Reynolds Hall, which will open in 2022. His focus has always been the success of students and the development of diverse and inclusive environments where people can grow a sense of belonging. He created the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture and Equity in the Chambers College and implemented a vision for Reynolds Hall to house the AeS (Academic Excellence and Success) Center, and a multitude of hands-on business learning and research labs, including Global Supply Chain Lab, Data Analytics Lab, Cyber Security Lab, Social Media Innovation Lab, Sales Center, Investments and Trading Floor, as well as the Experiential Learning Pavilion. 

Prior to moving to West Virginia, Reyes served as the vice provost for online and distance education at the University of Arkansas and as the associate dean for undergraduate studies and executive education in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. 

As vice provost, he oversaw the Global Campus and all aspects of the online, distance and continuing education programs at the university, including strategic planning and coordination with deans in all academic colleges, budget management, marketing and recruiting activities, as well as day-to-day support services for faculty and students. He fostered all online and distance graduate, undergraduate and executive education efforts, as well as training and professional/workforce development programs. This included expanding access to students and professionals who need flexible options to overcome barriers, such as location, time and financial constraints. Reyes also managed the enrollment growth in fully online or blended courses from close to 13,000 to over 24,000 enrollments in three years. The number of unique fully online students registered increased from about 1,200 to over 2,300 in the same period. 

Reyes joined the economics faculty of the University of Arkansas in 2003, and he has been a National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal reviewer, invited lecturer or visiting scholar at a number of institutions internationally, including the Clinton School of Public Service and the International Monetary Fund. He also has served as an academic scholar in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, and as a research analyst for the investment firm Value Casa de Bolsa, headquartered in Mexico. 

Reyes received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Estado de Mexico, in 1998, and his doctorate in economics from Texas A&M University in 2003.