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The College of Public Affairs and Administration and the Center for State Policy and Leadership, University of Illinois Springfield
Thought Leadership

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  • The Capitol Connection Blog, September 24, 2020, Is it too early to talk about a post-Covid world? by Lenore Killam, MPH Clinical Instructor

    Is It Too Early to Talk About a Post Covid-19 World?

    In our CPAA All-College meeting last week, we discussed the topic of navigating in a “post Covid-19” environment; a future we all look forward to sharing. In the meantime, Covid-19 looms large in each one of our lives. I am pleased to share two important initiatives to move us toward the post-Covid-19 goal.

  • Join us April 28 for a discussion about nonprofit news

    As privately owned media companies fight for survival and search for a funding model that is both sustainable and provides vital and trustworthy news coverage of local communities, we’ve seen more nonprofit journalism organizations (NPJs) emerge to report on specific topics and/or geographic areas that other newsrooms won’t or can’t adequately cover.

  • June Public Affairs Minute: Time for Action

    In the midst of coping with the devastating COVID 19 Pandemic, we are now facing yet another complicated societal tragedy stemming from the death of an African American, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The outrage, especially in the African American community, has spilled out across the country with protests, marches and demonstrations. This event and the response reveals the sharp racial and other divides that still exist in this country.  Those of us with degrees in the public affairs and professional disciplines, like those from our College, understand and lament the lack of progress in American society on so many fundamental social issues.

  • The Capitol Connection Blog November 10, 2020 - Let me state the obvious, 2020 has been a heck of a year.

    Let me State the Obvious – 2020 has been a Heck of a Year

    Those of us in Public Affairs (professors, practitioners, public officials, students and keen observers) are always trying to learn from previous events and past decisions and try to predict or forecast the future to some extent. The goal is to take those lessons and learn and do better the next time around. At least we try in a public policy context.

  • Fireworks above the University of Illinois Springfield colonnade

    Let’s all use July 4th to celebrate and learn!

    Once again it’s the July 4th Holiday. A celebration of Independence Day for our nation. But it’s also a sure sign of summer, barbeques and family gatherings, fireworks, and trips to the mountains, lakes and beaches. Well, it traditionally has been. COVID 19 has likely put a wrench into many family plans and vacations. For many of us, we will still try to get away somewhere, maybe locally get together with friends and colleagues, maybe even teach or take courses! But no matter what you do, perhaps the best Fourth of July wish from us to you is to please stay safe and healthy!

  • Dr. Jason Pierceson

    LGBTQ Elected Officials & Candidates – Is Representation Fair and Equal?

    Political scientists have established that identity can influence representation by bringing issues to the policy process that were not previously addressed. Unfortunately, LGBTQ policy suffers from significant underrepresentation.

  • Trif Alatzas

    Local News – Needed Now More Than Ever

    Trif Alatzas discusses the need for local news in today’s world.  Alatzas led The Baltimore Sun team that was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting "for illuminating, impactful" investigations into city and state government.

  • "Make a little noise with your pens, pencils, your cameras." John Lewis.  An Essay by Prof. Jason Pisica, PAR Director.  The Capitol Connection Blog.  July 21, 2020.  A photo of Kayla Collins, Public Affairs Reporting Graduate, during her internship int he state capitol.

    ‘Make a little noise with your pens, your pencils, your cameras’

    John Lewis had a familiar directive when it came to standing up against racial injustice – get yourself into some “good trouble” while doing it.  As tributes to the civil rights icon and congressman pour in following his death on July 17 at age 80, journalists need to remember those words apply to them, too.

  • Woman working on laptop at home with family in the background

    Many of Your Employees are Miserable: Three Reasons it Could be Your Fault

    Look around you, how many of your employees are fully engaged or immersed in their work? How many seem to be finding fulfillment or joy in what they do?  Now, how many of your employees are apathetic and, at best, grudgingly complying with directives and carrying out their roles and responsibilities?

  • M Jones GPSI

    March GPSI Student Spotlight

    The Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI) Program has over 200 interns at any given time throughout the year. While we cannot showcase all of the incredible work our students do on a daily basis, we have decided to highlight one intern or supervisor each month. March’s feature is Marissa Jones, a second year intern working at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

  • May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day. Thank a Journalist.

    World Press Freedom Day -- established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 and observed annually on May 3 -- is a chance to celebrate the free press principles we enjoy in the United States.  America’s journalists -- from the largest national outlets in New York and D.C. to the tiny newspapers in rural towns throughout the country -- work hard to reveal the truth the public needs.

  • Dr. Robert W. Smith, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration

    May Public Affairs Minute: The Role of a Free Press in a Democratic Society

    Journalists are trained to be objective observers, uncover the facts, keep sources confidential and question stakeholders, citizens, politicians, corporate and military leaders, and their institutions. The purpose is to shed light, provide transparency, ferret out lies and insure accuracy. Indeed, this focus on the truth is the fundamental role of a free press in democratic society.

  • Photo of stepping stones across a stream

    My UIS Experience

    UIS has been an incredible steppingstone in building my future. UIS encouraged me to be open minded, adventurous, independent, and confident. These qualities led me to become the successful Attorney I am now.

  • Photo of off-shore wind turbines

    New executive orders target climate change, job creation, and environmental justice

    A new Presidential Administration brings with it new people, priorities, actions, and policies. Presidents’ approaches to environmental policy, in particular, have oscillated drastically during the last several administrations depending on which party the then-President identified with. This oscillation is so familiar to us it may feel like a given - but it wasn’t always this way.

  • Photo of a ballot box

    Not Voting is Never an Option

    In my role as Dean of a College of Public Affairs, I am bound to the promotion of civic engagement, participation in democratic institutions, and encouraging citizens to vote and participate in our system of government.

  • NPR Illinois is happy to say our newest program, Community Voices, is passing the six-month mark.

    When you’re young, it’s important to announce you’re not just six or seven, but “And a half!” NPR Illinois is happy to say our newest program, Community Voices, is passing the six-month mark. Co-host Bea Bonner and I have enjoyed the start of this new concept in elevating the perspectives and the breadth of our listeners and neighbors. You hear this phrase every episode, “Community Voices is events you might have missed and conversations with neighbors, artists, and area business people.”

  • Photo of woman's hands holding dollar bills

    Other People’s Money: Married Women and Indebted Husbands in U.S. Law

    I am currently writing a book that explores the rights of debtors in the United States in the late nineteenth century.  In the chapter I’m currently revising, I focus on these themes as they related to married women. Under the common law of marriage, married women had no independent legal personality. All of this meant that wives were largely dependent on their husbands’ financial fortunes.

  • Andrea Zelinski stands on Zealand Mountain in New Hampshire during her seven-month hike on the Appalachian Trail.

    PAR Alumni Spotlight: Andrea Zelinski hikes 2,193-mile Appalachian Trail

    In the years since completing the Public Affairs Reporting program in 2008, Andrea Zelinski has been covering politics and government for news organizations in Illinois, Tennessee and Texas. But in 2020, she pause her journalism career for a seven-month journey on the Appalachian Trail, the 2,193-mile hiking trail that covers 14 states.

  • Photo of Daralene Jones, PAR Graduate

    PAR Alumni Spotlight: Daralene Jones helps reveal truth of Ocoee Massacre

    For 100 years, the story of the Ocoee Massacre remained largely untold. But thanks to the efforts of Public Affairs Reporting graduate Daralene Jones and her team at WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando, the truth of what happened to Black residents in Ocoee on Election Day 1920 is being revealed to a new generation of people in Florida and beyond.

  • Photo of Hannah Meisel

    PAR Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Meisel returns to NPR Illinois

    Hannah Meisel has made a handful of stops on her journalism journey since completing the Public Affairs Reporting program in 2014. But she’s never strayed too far from the Illinois political beat.

  • Partnerships to Prevent Child Fatalities and Train the Workforce

    Next week, the Child Protection Training Academy will mark five years of operation on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.  In February 2016, the first group of newly hired DCFS child protection investigators came to campus to experience the recently launched simulation training model developed in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  The tiny house on the UIS campus was transformed to become a cutting-edge training facility where DCFS investigators could interact with “family members” (Standardized Patient Actors from the SIU-School of Medicine) investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect in a realistic environment.  As a result of the pandemic, the Academy has become proficient in a virtual training format and continues to use technology in areas to improve the training.  The Academy is excited to think about the potential for improvement in critical thinking of all students, especially those who enter into the workforce to advocate for children.  Learning is often limited by thinking ideas are impossible; the Academy dares to achieve the impossible.

  • Photo of two people shaking hands

    Politics Suck: Can I get an amen?

    Now, do I have your attention? Good, but this article is not about Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

    It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about us.

    It’s about the type of office politics that we all engage in that undermine the health of our workplaces and our own futures.

  • People over Property Protest

    Power in Other Places: On Uprisings, Black Lives Matter, and Politics

    I have always been drawn to the politics of everyday people who act outside of and against conventional politics. This grounds my interest in the resurgence of Black Lives Matter uprisings. I am interested in those moments when presumptively “powerless” people mobilize and realize other powers than those of the established institutional apparatus of politics, an apparatus which includes the police, prisons, courts, and military.

  • Prepare For Pandemics And Transform Yourself Into a Global Public Health Leader with the MPH Program at UIS

    World Malaria Day (April 25) is around the corner. Public health professionals continue to debate the safety and effectiveness of anti-malaria drugs to treat patients with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The challenges in managing this pandemic go beyond developing effective treatment regimens. The necessary public health action plans need strong scientific-based research skills, which you will learn through MPH learning experiences at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS).

  • IIP Banner

    Preparing the Next Generation of Attorneys to Prevent and Remedy Wrongful Convictions

    The legal maneuvers required to free an innocent person after a wrongful conviction are notoriously complex. Yet few criminal law courses address post-conviction law. To help bridge the gap, the Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) serves as an extern site for law schools.

  • Man sitting on rock outcropping using a laptop computer.

    Promoting Equity through Digital Inclusion

    In today’s world where everyone needs to be able to connect through the Internet for school, work, and socialization, it is critical that we prioritize finding equitable ways to connect our urban, suburban, and rural areas.

  • Learn more about World No Tobacco Day

    Protecting Youth - World No Tobacco Day Observed

    World No Tobacco Day 2020:  Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.  Learn about the impact that tobacco use has on the health of people, the economy, and the environmment, and how you can join the fight against the tobacco epidemic.

  • Protests on the Streets:  Seeing from the Lens of Goodness, photo of magnifying glass

    Protests on the Streets: Seeing From the Lens of Goodness

    A beautiful Arabic proverb teaches us that a vessel only spills that which it contains. If a cup of water falls, it will spill merely that which it holds. Our heart is also a vessel of sorts. If it harbors prejudice and hate, what it divulges is simply a manifestation of what was in it. But if it houses compassion and love, then it will accordingly release what it bears.

  • Dr. Ty Dooley, Associate Professor of Public Administration

    Race, Housing and Equity

    When we examine housing policy in the United States today, we find huge disparities along racial lines in terms of home ownership, the value of property, and the ability to obtain a mortgage.  These disparities still exist even when accounting for things like geographic location, down payment, and income.

  • Ready for the New Normal: My Research Remote Presentation

    Dr. Crocker's thoughts on virtual conferences, the new normal?

  • Environmental Studies students collection trash from Lake Springfield.

    Reducing the Use of Plastic Bags: Five Lessons from Illinois Communities with Plastic Bag Laws

    This summer, we have been busy interviewing active citizens, elected officials, and public employees in five Illinois communities that have passed laws designed to curb the use of plastic bags to understand why they took an action on the plastic bag issue, how they designed their local ordinances, and what challenges they have faced during implementation.  Our research project is still in progress, but we would like to offer a sneak peek at what we have learned from our interviews - here are five things you should keep in mind if your city is thinking about adopting a plastic bag ordinance.

  • Returning to work: Here is one way to focus your energy & attention

    As you return to work, I want to invite you to wrestle with an important question. Where should I focus my energy and attention right now?  Better yet, there is a different form of this question that you should use as the starting point for rethinking how you work. On whom should I focus my energy and attention right now?

  • Saving Local News

    Local journalism was in serious trouble before anyone heard of COVID-19, but amid a worldwide shutdown intended to stem the spread of the dangerous virus, the financial struggles of your local media outlet are even more serious now. So how can we fix this?

  • Separate and Unequal: PR in the USA Map Amid Covid-19

    Is a USA map complete in 2020 leaving out America’s populated unincorporated territories - Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa?

  • September Public Affairs Minute by Dean Robert W Smith

    September Public Affairs Minute: The Labor Day Blues

    The COVID Pandemic has pushed unemployment rates to historic highs (inclusive of swings both up and down).  With sooo many businesses closed or experiencing slowdowns and layoffs occurring across all sectors in response to COVID is this really the time to celebrate Labor Day? Well despite the pain and economic hardships many families are facing maybe there is a reason to actually use Labor Day as a wakeup call to action.

  • Image of Tesla coil lights

    Setting Policy in a World of Science

    Since COVID-19 debuted in our world, there has been no end to politicians, pundits, and social media sirens crying out something along the line of “we are following the science” or “because the science says so” as they support one new policy or another or to bring down one political view or another.  As professionals who set, guide, and lead public policy, we need to start asking questions of “show me the science” or “where does the science say this” when we are faced with the never-ending barrage of “because science says so” claims in relation to public policy.

  • Photo of the UIS Young Lincoln statue wearing a mask

    Seven Tips for Crisis Leadership

    While a time of crisis is daunting for any team, strong leadership is needed to help the organization move forward well and perhaps even find a few positive outcomes.  In this blog, we will examine seven tips for crisis leadership that may help lead toward positive results.

  • Statement of Educational Priorities of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at UIS

    At UIS, the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department works to prepare our students for the challenges they will face in careers that focus less on social control strategies and military tactics and more on critical thinking and understanding world views beyond only their own.

  • Stop Complaining, Stop Blaming Others, & Look in the Mirror

    You're the cause of many of your own problems in the workplace.  Ouch! It hurts, but it is the truth. You are the cause of many, if not most, of the problems you experience in the workplace. By the way, so am I.

  • Covid-19 universal image

    Survival Techniques: Three approaches to overcoming and managing the panic associated with Covid-19

    There are a number myths linked with Covid-19 which create fear, panic, and a false sense of security. Myths are dangerously influential during a public health crisis, often obstructing your ability to make reliable informed decisions. 

    Individuals who quickly adapt to their new normal experience less stress and anxiety during the crisis, and make better decisions while continuing to move forward in their daily lives.

    This post will provide techniques that help to identify and avoid the dangerous myths that increase fear, panic and false hope.

  • Dr. Sean McCandless, Assistent Professor of Public Administration and Associate Director of the Doctor of Public Administration Program

    Taking Stock of Bostock

    Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down a 6-3 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. The central finding from SCOTUS was that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects employees based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Put more simply, an employer cannot fire an employee simply for identifying as a LGBTQ+.

  • Image of the UIS Lincoln Statue with fall leaves in the background.  Message of The College of Public Affairs and Administration wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving 2020: What It Really Means?

    I don’t think there is any way to sugarcoat the fact that this Thanksgiving may not be the best Thanksgiving of record for many people.

  • Thank you to our Veterans

    Much can be said to our veterans…but it starts with a simple “thank you” for your service!

  • The Centerpiece April 2021

    The first week in April hails annually as the National Public Health Week where the public health system, practitioners and agencies across the country celebrate and promote public health.  Over the course of the last 15 years serving as a public health practitioner, often times, I remember wanting friends, family and others to better understand public health and my actual professional world.  The majority of those years I spent planning, preparing, and training for public health emergencies and not if but when they would occur.  However, even with experienced public health situations, like H1N1, and knowing the “when” would happen, never did I wish a true pandemic of this magnitude to occur.  What we have now though is a population with better understanding of public health – what it is, why it is important and how the practice of public health impacts EVERYONE.  We need to remember though that public health is more than COVID-19.  

  • CSPL Logo

    The Centerpiece February 17, 2021

    This month we share with you our vision for the Center of State Policy and Leadership (CSPL), describe how we meet our mission and explain what we have done to adapt during COVID-19.  As we evolve and grow, we look forward to delivering to you our strategic thinking and our journey and hope to engage you in our efforts.     

  • The Depth of Illinois Debt Problem and its Potential Consequences

    Most Illinoisans know that the state is in debt, and many understand that it has a large debt. However, few understand just how large the debt is and the potential consequences for the state. At the Institute for Illinois Public Finance, we have been developing measures of states' debt burden over the last year for a research project on the effects of fiscal imbalances like debt on economic growth.  While our larger research project will focus on all states and local governments, the data that we have collected should be interesting to all Illinoisans.

  • Downward trending chart with COVID 19 Viruses

    The Economic Impact of COVID-19

    The coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) and associated COVID-19 disease pandemic have wrought tremendous damage to the world's health. But the pandemic, and the public health mitigation policies brought on by it, have wrought an equally large amount of economic carnage.

  • Image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on sign in Springfield

    The Great Dissenters: “Writing not for today but for tomorrow”

    In the last decade of her life, Justice Ginsburg was revered as a genuine American cultural icon.  Her life serves as a testimony of the importance to fight for the equal citizenship stature of men and women in the U.S.

  • The Illinois Economy and Public Finances in 2020: Difficult Challenges, No Easy Answers

    On January 15, 2020, the World Economic Forum released its 2020 Global Risks Report, which laid out several threats to world economic growth, ranking them on scales of likelihood and impact. Among the most pressing threats were climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss, natural disasters, cyberattacks, and manmade environmental disasters. Infectious diseases were ranked #10 on the list of strongest impacts but did not make the top 10 in terms as likelihood (World Economic Forum, 2020). But a few months can certainly change outlooks.

  • The Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program – A Tapestry of Opportunity

    The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program otherwise known as ILSIP is different from the other internships offered at UIS and from most other universities as well. ILSIP was designed to provide those interested in exploring the legislative process with an opportunity to do so.

    Today, ILSIP interns are sprinkled throughout the legislative arena, state government and beyond as key staff, lawyers, lobbyists, and elected officials. In the fall, ILSIP celebrates its 60th anniversary. As this tapestry of opportunity continues to grow, become a part as an intern or pass this information along to someone who may be interested in becoming a member of the next ILSIP cohort.