First, I hope you are all in the midst of a wonderful summer break. That may mean a week, a few select weekends, a month or maybe even the entire summer. If not, I certainly hope you are finding time to relax. We all deserve that. Through a public affairs lens, lots has been happening: Tragic shootings, the War in Ukraine, Congressional hearings on insurrection, an uneven economy, controversial Supreme Court decisions, social injustices, political discord and even a rise in COVID cases in many places! Enough already.
But, if we can see through the fog of those maladies facing society, there are some bright spots. One of those is our College. As of July we are now officially the College of Public Affairs and Education. This is a seminal change in many respects but it is a change that reinforces our mission of addressing the issue of the public good and promoting the public interest more than ever.
To recap, we now consist of:
- The School of Communications and Media;
- The School of Education;
- The School of Politics and International Affairs;
- The School of Public Management and Policy; and
- The Department of Legal Studies.
These schools and department together better define our mission and role as a College and as an Institution. We are the premier College at UIS for emphasizing the Public Affairs Mission of the University and standard bearer of the University of the Capital City.
This summer and early fall you will see and hear even more about our exciting programs, degrees, research and outreach that will continue to emphasize our stature in public affairs in Springfield and across the State. So as we just celebrated a birthday of our nation (July 4), let’s all celebrate the creation of the new College of Public Affairs and Education.
Our College offers a foundation of knowledge and professional competencies through programs and degrees and engagement aimed at enabling and empowering citizens to apply their educational experiences to advance open, ethical, efficient and accountable public services across the range of our disciplines. Our new College units, will showcase more applied research, policy analysis and direction, expanded public engagement, address social problems, form partnerships across the Capital, region, State and Midwest and nationally. And more to the point, the quality of teaching offered by our faculty, their scholarship and service will pave the way to boost our enrollments.
The College of Public Affairs and Education is equipped better than ever now to tackle these pressing issues of our day.
- Our School of Education now embraces all areas of K-12 education and educational leadership at a time when we don’t have enough teachers.
- Our School of Communication & Media addresses the undervaluing of effective communications across all levels, extending to journalism and media, the value of fact finding, impartial journalism, and freedom of expression.
- Our School of Politics and International Affairs gives our students the knowledge, skills, and practical experience they need to confront the disarray of today’s politics and to gain a better understanding of world events.
- Our School of Public Management and Policy tackles our loss of direction on so many policy areas and the need for competent management at all levels of government.
- Our Department of Legal Studies preserves the imperative of the rule of law as the basis for our very democracy.
Thinking about our inclusive mission and driven by our strategic compass, the umbrella of the new College of Public Affairs and Education will drive our future in the next decade here in our State Capital and State of Illinois.
Let’s celebrate this renewal and birthday of the new CPAE!
Dr. Robert W. Smith
College of Public Affairs and Education
First published as the July 2022 Public Affairs Minute