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The Capitol Connection
The College of Public Affairs and Administration and the Center for State Policy and Leadership, University of Illinois Springfield
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  • Photo of Ariel Van Cleave

    Ariel Van Cleave named PAR broadcast instructor

    Ariel Van Cleave, senior editor for audio and interim managing editor for Chicago public radio station WBEZ, will serve as the Public Affairs Reporting program's adjunct broadcast writing instructor beginning this fall.

  • Image of nations listed on a white background:  United States, India, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Myanmar, Spain, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands

    GPSI: Onward and Upward!

    We’re thrilled to announce a record-breaking interview round for GPSI this May, not only did we place the highest number of interns, but we also had the most intern positions and intern applicants.

  • Flyer for the Youth Evolvement Summit - July 1st - 9:00am - 2:00pm - Springfield High School

    Investing in Youth – Youth Evolvement Summit & Job Fair on July 1

    UIS students and alumni are playing important roles in a collaborative community effort to host a Youth Evolvement Summit to be held at Springfield HS on July 1.

  • B&W Photo of US Capitol, left half covered in blue overlay, right half covered in red overlay

    (Affective) Partisanship is a Heck of a Drug: What is it and Why We Might Want to Be Concerned About it.

    The growing animosity between Democrats and Republicans in America is a well-discussed problem.  A term academic research uses to describe the problem is “affective polarization.” What’s fascinating (or perhaps a bit alarming) is that the rise in affective partisanship is less about supporting or disagreeing on matters of legislative policy and instead is about our partisanship becoming key component of our identity.

  • Aerial view of the UIS Campus with the UIS Colonnade in the foreground and the UIS Student Union in the background

    UIS to host Midwest Public Affairs Conference

    On June 23-24, the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration is hosting the 2022 Midwest Public Affairs Conference (MPAC) and this year the theme is “Designing and Running the Innovative Public Service Agency.” 

  • Photo of Dr. Junfeng Wang.  Text:  Congratulations to Dr. Junfeng Wang!!  Dr. Junfeng Wang has been appointed the Academic Program Lead for the Masters of Public Administration Program in the UIS School of Public Management and Policy

    Dr. Junfeng Wang appointed Lead for MPA Program

    The School of Public Policy and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield congratulates Dr. Junfeng Wang on her appointment as Academic Program Lead for the Masters of Public Administration Program.

  • Photo of a roll of "I Voted" stickers

    Continuing America’s Laboratory of Democracy Through State and Local Electoral Innovations

    A recurring finding among researchers is that American voters have grown dissatisfied with the electoral system in America.  This post discusses alternative voting systems and related research conducted by the staff and faculty of the Center for State Policy and Leadership which was recently published in American Politics Research, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

  • Photo of Dr. Betsy Goulet. Text:  Congratulations to Dr. Betsy Goulet!  Dr. Betsy Goulet  has been  appointed the  Academic  Program Lead  for the Human Services Program in the UIS  School of Public  Management  and Policy

    Dr. Betsy Goulet Appointed APL for the Human Services Program

    The School of Public Policy and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield congratulates Dr. Betsy Goulet on her appointment as Academic Program Lead for the Human Services Program.

  • Photo of Kevin Kulavic, ILSIP Alum (2011-12) pictured with fellow ILSIP alums Josh Horeled and Margaret Nunne

    ILSIP Interviews - Round #2

    The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP) has announced a second round of interviews, focused on filling ten remaining positions.

  • Black graduation cap with a blue and white 2022 tassle

    Commencement and Graduation and Pomp and Circumstance: What does it Really Mean?

    Just what is graduation, what is commencement, why are they important life milestones? Let’s take a brief look.

  • Photo of a black graduation cap with a "2022" tassle

    Some Career Reflections as Graduation and Next Steps Lie Ahead for Our Students

    Send us your advice to new graduates on how to start their career.

  • Graphic of the Capitol on the edge of a cliff

    The $195 Billion Challenge: Facing State Fiscal Cliffs After COVID-19 Aid Expires

    Join an exclusive webinar to discuss the forthcoming issue paper:  The $195 Billion Challenge:  Facing State Fiscal Cliffs After COVID-19 Aid Expires, part of the State and Local Budgeting in the COVID Era Issue Paper Series, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 11 a.m. EDT.

  • Photo of Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, Assistant Professor of Public Health

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, MPH

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight of Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, Assistant Professor of Public Health, whose research has focused on various chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, lung cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

  • UIS Public Affairs Program presents The State of Statehouse Reporting, Wednesday, May 4th, 2022, noon.  Register:

    Join PAR May 4 for ‘The State of Statehouse Reporting’

    Jason Piscia, PAR Director, invites you to a Zoom event the Public Affairs Reporting program is hosting at noon on May 4 on a report released earlier this month by the Pew Research Center which details the number of journalists who cover America's statehouses, including our own here in Springfield.

  • Dr. Brandon Derman and Dr. Megan Styles, Environemtnal Studies faculty, at a climate protest ont he Quad in 2019

    Waiting on the world to change? Happy Earth Day everybody – now let’s talk about the climate crisis!

    In February of this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began to roll out its Sixth Assessment Report (or AR6). As Dr. Brandon read the report, a familiar pattern caught his eye - “things are getting worse, but there’s a bright side….” 

  • Photo of DeJoie Simmons, MPA & GPS Intern

    MPA- A Master of Plentiful Activities

    Research shows undergraduate students benefit immensely from active participation in on-campus activities, so why shouldn’t the same be true from graduate students?

  • Photo of Jason Piscia giving a talk at an UIS Lunch and Learn series event

    Journalism: Where we’ve been, where we’re going

    My talk focused on the critical role of local journalism and how cutbacks in local newsrooms over the years have affected media outlets' abilities to adequately cover their communities, providing residents with the information they need to make informed decisions.  My report wasn't all gloom, however.

  • Photo of Dr. Youngjin Kang, Assistant Professor of Human Services

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Youngjin Kang, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Youngjin Kang, Assistant Professor of Human Services in the UIS School of Public Policy and Management, whose research focuses on how family members develop and maintain their relationships after transitions in family structure (e.g., divorce, remarriage). 

  • "and breathe" spelled out in fluorescent lighting with green leaves in the background

    April Public Affairs Minute: Mental Health Days for Students, Professors and Staff and You!

    A new law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, that gives Illinois students five mental health days to use throughout the year without a doctor's note.  This brief message is another plea to step back and take a break.

  • Photo of Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski, 2019 DPA Cohort

    STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski, 2019 DPA Cohort

    Jennifer Haegele-Ryterski is a DPA student in the 2019 cohort who has been working with DPA Associate Director Dr. Sean McCandless on better understanding the experiences of people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) in the criminal-legal system, particularly in probation.

  • Photo of Dr. Denise Bockmier-Sommers with text "Wishing a Happy Retirement to Dr. Denise Bockmier-Sommers, Associate Professor & Human Services Academic Program Lead"

    Human Services Program - the End of an Era

    Saying farewell to Dr. Denise Bockmier-Sommers, Associate Professor & Human Services Program Lead, as she retires at the end of this academic year.

  • Photo of Alex Degman, 2009 PAR Graduate

    PAR Alumni Spotlight: Alex Degman returns to Illinois Capitol

    Public Affairs Reporting Director Jason Piscia chats with Alex Degman, PAR '09, who is returning to Springfield after nearly five years with KMOX in St. Louis as an anchor and reporter.

  • Dr. Kenneth Kriz, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, in front of the UIS Student Union

    The Economy at the Start of 2022

    The economy at the start of 2022 can be summarized by the proverbial glass-half-full or glass-half-empty scenario. In this blog post, I will attempt to summarize the current data on the national, state, and regional economy, address concerns that continue to plague the economy, and summarize forecaster’s best guesses about what the economy will do for the rest of this year and into 2023.

  • Photo of Dr. Kenneth Kriz, Professor of Public Administration and image of a graph showing the Change in Net Position as a Percentage of General Revenues,  Illinois and Other States, Fiscal Year 2010-2020

    The Financial Condition of the State of Illinois

    Analyzing the financial condition of a large organization like the State of Illinois is a complex task, to put it mildly.  But in the following few paragraphs, we will try to describe the financial condition of Illinois at the end of the last fiscal year.

  • Watch replay: Ray Long talks about his new book about former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

    On March 17, the Public Affairs Reporting program hosted a conversation with Ray Long, the longtime investigative reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He recently authored a book about the political career of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

  • UIS has intern candidates currently pursuing a graduate degree in: accountancy, business administration, communication, computer science, data analyitics, education, educational leadership, environmental health, environmental sciences, history, human development counseling, human services, legal studies, MIS, political science, public administration, public health, public policy

    Calling All Nonprofit Agencies looking to hire new talent!

    GPSI has been placing UIS graduate students in State Government Agencies since its inception, and in recent years, GPSI has made an effort to ensure Nonprofit Agencies are aware of this program’s opportunity as well.

  • Photo of Ukrainian flag backlit by the sun

    March Public Affairs Minute - Ukraine and Why It Matters at UIS

    In our College, the impetus behind creating our new School of Politics and International Affairs (SPIA) was to recognize the importance of our political environment at home and abroad.

  • Photo of a bridge under construction

    President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: What State and Local Policy Makers and Practitioners Need to Know?

    President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Job Act is a bipartisan law passed in November 2021 is essentially equivalent to a 5-year capital improvement program financed by the federal government and implemented by state and local governments. 

  • Dr. Magic Wade pictured with her dog in front of a painted mural of a fox on a brick wall

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Magic Wade, SPIA

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Magic Wade, Associate Professor of Political Science in the UIS School of Politics and International Affairs, whose research focuses on state labor laws, teachers unions, and public safety unions and more recently, on criminal justice, public safety, and urban politics.

  • Photo of Former Governors Jim Edgar and Pat Quinn meeting with FY2022 ILSIP Cohort during their seminar.


    The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP) is the best kept secret at the University of Illinois at Springfield. It is hard to fathom why this is so.

  • Photo of Ray Long, PAR graduate with image of his book cover, “The House That Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois' Velvet Hammer”

    PAR grad Ray Long talks about Michael Madigan with us on March 17

    Ray Long, PAR '81, chronicles Speaker Madigan’s storied legislative career in a new book – “The House That Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois' Velvet Hammer”, which comes out March 22.  We’d like to invite you to join us on Zoom at noon March 17 to hear from Long about his book and his career covering Madigan.

  • Dr. Bob Blankenberger with DPA Candidate Annie Brooks (DPA '19)

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bob Blankenberger, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Bob Blankenberger, Associate Professor of Public Administration in the UIS School of Public Management and Policy, whose research interests are focused on educational policy, program evaluation, and how to improve educational attainment.

  • Time to Create an Illinois Academy of Politics?

    There are many concerns surrounding our current political discourse in our nation today. I would like to change course a bit in my past reflections about the nature of our disappointing and curious political environment in 2022. In fact, I’m hoping to interject a sense of hope and optimism at a time when that seems hard to identify.

  • Jean-Pierre Lucas, MPA 2019, School of Public Management and Policy

    J.P. Lucas, MPA 19’: A Peruvian-American Budget Analyst

    Jean-Pierre Lucas earned his MPA from UIS in 2019 - the MPA enabled him to connect theory and practice by linking his experiences in the classroom with his work in a state agency.

  • Photo of Deidre Graham Silas

    We Know This Much is True

    Deidre Graham Silas was laid to rest this past weekend, in a beautiful service that intentionally celebrated the life she lived, rather than the circumstances that tragically ended her life on January 5th.  But to fully understand this reflective piece it is sadly necessary to point out how Deidre’s life was ended....

  • Text: University of Illinois Springfield Graduate School Week Feb. 7-11, 2022.  Register:

    UIS Showcasing Graduate Education Options for Students

    Attending graduate school is a popular next step for those who want to further their education or their career. UIS has found that it is important to share this information with its’ students so they may know their options and take advantage of such an opportunity at their fingertips.

  • Photo of a newspaper being printed

    Your Local Newspaper Is In Trouble

    The most recent figures from Pew Research Center’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of newsroom employees in the United States fell by 26% since 2008.  Most of that loss has happened at newspapers, which often is a community’s best source of consistent, in-depth, solid watchdog news coverage. 

  • Photo of Dr. Michael C. Lotspeich-Yadao along side of chart and map demonstrating of aspatial and spatial visualization of statistics on IDCFS Youth in Care

    Elevating community voices: Using GIS to think about child welfare in the State of Illinois

    What is the importance of community factors to public administrators in the child welfare system? How might different protective or risk factors influence the outcome of youth in care at various decision points?  Technical training in GIS allows public administrators to visually interpret data to understand better relationships, patterns, and trends that may have been missed in a traditional reports.

  • Photo of Dr. Matthew Geras, Assistant Professor of Political Science

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Geras, SPIA

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Matthew Geras, Assistant Professor of Political Science in the UIS School of Politics and International Affairs, whose teaching and research focuses on U.S. elections and American political institutions, including Congress, the presidency, and political parties.

  • Close up photo of UIS Young Lincoln statue in the snow

    With Wishes for a Magical Holiday Season

    As the Fall semester concludes and the holidays are soon upon us, there is no better time than now to reach out to students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, stakeholders and our Public Affairs Community to wish you all a most sincere “Season’s Greetings” from the Office of the Dean.

  • Jason Piscia, PAR Director, teaching news literacy in a high school class room

    News literacy: A lesson for all ages

    As the last several months have shown us, misinterpreted or flat-out bogus information about vaccines, masks, the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and much more affects – and polarizes – all ages.

  • Image of Dr. Betsy Goulet

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Betsy Goulet, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight:  Dr. Betsy Goulet, Clinical Assistant Professor, Public Administration & Child Advocacy Studies Coordinator

  • Photo of the UIUC MSW Field Placement Recruitment event

    Team Effort – Interns Win!!!

    Celebrating a partnership that marries a passion for social work with policy in the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP).

  • Photo of Dr. Amanda Hughett, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Hughett, Legal Studies

    Hello! I’m Dr. Amanda Hughett, an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies. I’m an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching focus on law, social movements, and the criminal justice system in the United States.

  • Photo of graphiti "For All"

    Accountability for Social Equity

    At the end of 2021, I am again reminded why public administration is so important and because of this, it is critical that public service agencies must be accountable for social equity.

  • Text: First Generation Students. Photos of Koushik Neelakantam from Pradesh, India; Tyrese Reed from New Orleans, LA; and Parag Achdeva from Bhattu Kalan, Haryana, India.

    First-Generation College Student Celebration

    On November 8th colleges and universities celebrate their students, faculty, and staff who are first-generation college students.

  • Photo of news camera man filmng an interview

    Will Congress give a tax break to local news organizations?

    With President Joe Biden on Monday signing a $1 trillion bill to fix roads, bridges, water systems and other aspects of America’s infrastructure, attention now turns to another expensive part of Biden’s plan – a $1.85 trillion social spending bill that includes help for local news organizations.

  • UIS Young Lincoln Statue lit at night with colonnade in the background

    November Public Affairs Minute - Civility

    There is one concept that emerges above all in trying to seek a solution or a way forward in our current divisive political environment and social discord. That missing ingredient is civility.

  • Photo of a line of people on their cell phones

    Mission Control: Misinformation

    Misinformation has cost us all a lot of time and is increasingly costing us more.  How do you make sure you have credible information? 

  • Photo of Cynthia "Liz" Sanchez at work

    GPSI Student Spotlight

    The Office of Graduate Intern Programs would like to recognize one of our student leaders and intern, Cynthia “Liz” Sanchez (PSC).