Advisory Committee

Tamer Başar
CAS Director
CAS Professor of
Electrical & Computer
Engineering (chair)

Renée Baillargeon
CAS Professor of Psychology

Leon Dash
CAS Professor of Journalism & Law

Martha Gillette
CAS Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology

Anthony Leggett
CAS Professor of Physics

Michael Moore
CAS Professor of Law and Philosophy

Gene Robinson
CAS Professor of Entomology

Masumi Iriye
CAS Deputy Director (ex officio)

GAM Programs Committee

Wayne T Pitard
Professor of Religious Studies (chair)

Tamara Chaplin
Associate Professor of History

Jan K Erkert
Head, Department of Dance

Bill Hammack
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Christopher Higgins
Associate Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership

Masumi Iriye
CAS Deputy Director (ex officio)

Spencer Schaffner
Associate Professor of English

Lawrence B Schook
VP for Research

Joyce L Tolliver
Associate Professor of Spanish and Gender & Women's Studies Program

Liesel E Wildhagen
CAS Coordinator of Public Events (ex officio)



 Tamer Başar


CAS Professor Tamer Başar (Electrical & Computer Engineering) was appointed Director in August 2014. Professor Başar also holds the Swanlund chair. (See CAS Professor entry for more information.)


Masumi Iriye

Deputy Director

Masumi Iriye was appointed assistant director of the Center in October 2000 and promoted to associate director in October 2001. In October 2009 she was promoted to Deputy Director.  She is responsible for overseeing all Center programs, including the Research Appointments (Associates and Fellows) program, the annual interdisciplinary initiative and the George A. Miller Programs, and also serves as the primary liaison at the Center for the CAS Professors. She received her doctorate in the History of Art in 1994 (University of Michigan), specializing in visual culture from the early modern period in France. Her dissertation research was supported by a Bourse Chateaubriand, Fulbright Travel Fellowship and Rackham Graduate Research awards (University of Michigan). She has presented papers as an invited participant at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, D.C.) and the Center for 21st-Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has served as both a panelist and cochair for meetings of the College Art Association.  Since 2010 she has been Costume Mistress and Board Member of Champaign Urbana Ballet.


Rita Conerly

Office Support Associate

Rita Conerly has been with the Center since March 2015. She’s been employed with the university as a permanent employee since 2013. However, she has worked in previous positions as extra help support since 2010. She comes to our department from the School of Music. Rita is primarily responsible for maintaining, monitoring, and articulating the budgets of the various CAS programs. She is also responsible for processing reimbursements, biennial inventories, honorariums, and fund transfers for various professors and program accounts. Additionally, she provides support for CAS’s public events including mailings, set-up/cleanup of events held at the Center, and other duties as assigned.


Candace Koester

Office Support Specialist

Candace Koester joined the Center staff in May 2010. Candace has been on campus for 24 years, the last 22 at Campus Recreation. She is pleased to be the new Office Support Specialist for the CAS Staff.  She is primarily responsible for coordination and dissemination of information pertaining to scheduled public events and activities, preparing written correspondence, maintaining Center’s database, generating event and activity reports, and coordinating meetings and recurring activities (i.e., Fall Roundtable and Spring Reception).  In addition, she assists with website updates, Release Time Program and George A. Miller Programs applications and Professor Election processes.


Liesel E Wildhagen

Coordinator of Public Events

Liesel Wildhagen came to the Center with administrative experience in a variety of educational and nonprofit settings, including Indiana University, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the McKinley Foundation at the University of Illinois. She has primary responsibility for public events offered by the Center, staffing the relevant committees and handling the details of publicity and production of the resulting events, including the CAS/MillerComm series, the George A. Miller Visiting Professor and Scholar program, the CAS Annual Lecture, and annual initiatives’ events. Liesel attended Knox College in political science and international relations, did graduate work in College Student Personnel Administration at Indiana University, and attended the HERS Management Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration, Wellesley College. She served as an elected member of the campuswide Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) for six years,  the system-wide University Professional Personnel Committee (UPPAC) for three years, and was on the Women’s Studies General Council. She serves the community as a  board member of the Urbana Pops Orchestra and volunteers with the Urbana School District and Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery.