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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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  • Photo of the Innovate Springfield Building in Downtown Springfield above a photo of the UIS Colonnade with yellow flowers in the foreground

    Exploring UIS’ Relationship With Springfield

    Through my coursework in the Doctor of Public Administration program I had to opportunity to do an independent study with Bruce Sommers, the Executive Director of Economic Development and Innovation.  I was charged with investigating the best practices in corporate and community engagement by colleges and universities and identifying colleges/universities that have optimized town/gown relations for the commercialization of technology. 

  • U.S. Supreme Court

    What Has Health Got to Do with It?

    Supreme Court Determines Fate of the Affordable Care Act During a Pandemic.  Health policy has absolutely nothing to do with the United States Supreme Court’s pending decision in California v. Texas, according to newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett

  • The Status of Black Lives Matter: A shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform - A video presentation.  Images of four preserters.

    The Status of Black Lives Matter: A Shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform

    As part of Black History Month, this panel discussion by African-American faculty and staff from the University of Illinois at Springfield, Tessica C. Dooley J.D., Assistant Professor in Legal Studies, Dr. Ty Price Dooley, Associate Professor in Public Administration, Dr. Tiffani Saunders, Lecturer in Sociology/Anthropology and African American Studies, and Justin J. Rose, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, will encourage students and the general audience to learn about societal issues including policing, healthcare, housing, and other economic disparities in the African American community, in twenty-first century America, that inform and led to the formation and evolution of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  

  • Dr. Arwi Srithongrung-Kriz

    Alternative Approaches to State Budget Cuts: What does Budget Theory Suggest?

    Now that Illinois voters rejected the Graduated Income Tax Amendment, the next logical question is how the state will balance its budget for fiscal year 2021 and beyond. While there is room in the state’s borrowing authority with the Federal Reserve under the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF), a larger concern is that much of this deficit is not due to COVID-19 related revenues and expenditures, but due to a long standing mismatch between state revenues and expenditures, a problem that the graduated income tax proposal was supposed to address. Borrowing this way would get the state through the immediate budgetary challenge, but what happens in FY22 and beyond?

  • Logo for the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership

    Introduction to the CSPL Centerpiece

    With the start of 2021, CSPL enthusiastically joins in partnership with the College of Public Affairs and Administration (CPAA) to administer and connect with you via The Capitol Connection Blog (thank you CPAA!).  One goal for CSPL is to communicate, connect and collaborate more to build awareness and increase public value of CSPL.  Many years ago, CSPL released a monthly newsletter called The Centerpiece.  Built on great history, The Centerpiece will serve as the identifying monthly blog entry for CSPL. 

  • Illinois state Capitol in Springfield in January with snow on the ground

    Time for the State of Illinois to Stop Using Debt to Finance Current Services

    One of the basic tenets of governmental budgeting is that current services should be paid for with recurring revenues rather than one-time funds, such as debt. In a study of state budgeting practices, the Volcker Alliance rates Illinois as one of the three worst states in terms of relying on one-time budget maneuvers (Volcker Alliance, 2020). This practice pushes a portion of the costs of current services onto future taxpayers and makes it more difficult to balance the budget in future years.  This blog describes the types and magnitudes of debt that the State of Illinois has used to pay for current services and calls for a plan to stop this practice.

  • Blooming pea plant in garden

    Compost for a Healthier Earth and a Healthier You 

    Observe Learn About Composting Day on May 29th.  According to a National Gardening Association report, 35% of households in the US grow food either at home or in a community garden, an increase of 200% between 2008 and 2017. Now with people still struggling to find food in groceries stores due to the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been another surge in interest.  Anyone can grow their own food, indoors or out, and a good way to begin is to create your own compost.

  • Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at a podium during a speech.  Message: "Honoring Dr. Marting Luther King Jr.  Quote:  This is a time for action.

    “Where Do We Go From Here?” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Address at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention

    In August 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the 11th Annual Student Christian Leadership Congress (SCLC) in Atlanta, Georgia before over 100 Black leaders.  In his address, he asked the question, “Where Do we Go From Here?”.  He eloquently talked about the major accomplishments and tasks ahead for SCLC.  Dr. King urged Black leaders to organize and register voters in order to elect individuals who would address Black Americans’ social, political and economic issues.

  • Ready for the New Normal: My Research Remote Presentation

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

  • Trump Controversies Raise Journalism Ethics Questions

    An analysis:  two recent news stories that make President Trump look bad have launched important discussions about journalism ethics. 

  • Image of downtown Springfield with the Capitol in the background.

    A Customized Approach to Maintain Good Financial Condition for Illinois Local Governments

    During the pandemic, state governments in the U.S. have experienced dramatic declines in revenues.  In addition to the current budget situation, the states face economic uncertainty in future fiscal years about the path of the economic recovery. However, Illinois had already been running structural deficits over several years prior to the outbreak. The combination of that structural deficit and pandemic driven revenue shortfalls have created extreme fiscal stress for the state.   For local governments, one of the main concerns is that the state may cut state aid as a part of its budget balancing strategies.  In this post, we suggest a set of bespoke strategies for Illinois local governments.     

  • 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.

  • What Are the Research Areas of the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies?

    One of the roles of ILLAPS, as outlined in a previous post of ours here, is to leverage the knowledge, resources, and expertise of our staff and faculty to solve information problems for government entities and non-profits. Another important role of ILLAPS since its foundation has been conducting our own original research on topics that are of use and interest to academics, policymakers, and engaged citizens to solve public problems. In the spirit of building on previous successes and our goal, this post is going to discuss some of the current ILLAPS research.

  • 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.  

  • 5 Reasons to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs Reporting at UIS

    Since 1972, the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS has jumpstarted hundreds of careers in journalism and communications. There are dozens of reasons why a PAR master’s degree is a smart option to level up your chances at a job reporting on government, politics and other high-profile topics. Read on for five of the best reasons.

  • 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.

  • Aim for the Future: Goal Setting and Goal Sharing Innovate Springfield

    According to research, writing down a goal, assessing our commitment and motivation towards that goal, and then sharing progress with peers greatly increases our chances for success! Five years ago, this is exactly what Innovate Springfield and the Continuum of Learning did. They put their minds together, along with voices from all over the community, toward the goal of improving outcomes for Sangamon County children facing multiple barriers. Now, it’s time to share the progress that Innovate Springfield has made with the community! We are compiling the statistics and stories that show how much Sangamon Success has accomplished in five years and building a progress report that will fuel our growth in years to come. In order to tell the whole story, however, we need help. 

  • 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.

  • Photo of windmills among grain fields

    Ushering in the New Clean Energy Economy

    It was hard to miss the attention-grabbing headline last month: “California Governor Signs Order Banning Sales of New Gasoline Cars by 2035” (NPR, September 30, 2020). But is the internal combustion engine about to go the way of the horse and buggy within the next 15 years? That much remains to be seen. But with little doubt, California is ushering in a new era of green technology, and it is government “driving” the market, not the other way around.

  • Photo of a newspaper front pages above the fold

    Is It A Lost Cause To Get Young People To Read Newspapers?

    When we think about the average reader of a newspaper – the actual paper kind – the profile tends to be older, more educated and more affluent compared to a non-newspaper reader.  Combine that with the stereotypical image of a college student – younger and less affluent with their eyes and fingers glued to a screen – and you might think there’s little chance of ever turning a 20-something into someone who sips their coffee over the morning paper.  It might not all be a lost cause, however.

  • 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.

  • Dean's July Quarterly Connection - COVID-19 Update

    An update on response to COVID 19 by the U of I System, UIS, and College , and an outline of the disruptions, our responses, and our plans.

  • 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.  

  • Why Presidents Use Executive Action to Pursue their Policy Goals

    At the start of each new presidential administration, particularly when a new party gains control of the White House, presidents use executive orders, and other forms of executive action including presidential memoranda and presidential proclamations, to implement many of their campaign promises. Unlike legislation passed by Congress, which requires the consent of both chambers of Congress and the president to become law, executive orders can be issued unilaterally by the president.

  • Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney, Ph.D., with the young Abraham Lincoln statue on the UIS quad

    Ensuring A Just University

    As an educator and a civically engaged citizen, I believe we will never fully realize “this great experiment of democracy” until we fully realize the common cause for justice. We cannot have justice until we reduce racism to such a level that the civic life of our society can conduct itself in a forward and consistent fashion to ensure that all people, no matter their race, can expect and receive the fruits and benefits of our society. 

  • August Public Affairs Minute for the Capitol Connection Blog - Baseball, Politics and Ethics...the National Pastime?

    August Public Affairs Minute: Baseball, Politics and Ethics…The National Pastime?

    Where might I even begin with such a title? And how does baseball relate to public affairs or developments in the College?  Given the serious themes of my past Minute segments, and as a keen baseball fan, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try to blend baseball and public affairs and offer an upbeat reflection of our current circumstances in relation to our national pastime. This seemed timely given that the abbreviated Major League Baseball Season has finally started.

  • 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.

  • Chart showing that 68% of funds stay in the community when you buy local, compared to 43% when you do not

    Give Local this Holiday: iSPI Holiday Shop

    This giving season, we're celebrating the small businesses who have established their headquarters at Innovate Springfield, in the heart of our community, and who proudly call Springfield their home. Welcome to the iSPI Holiday Shop, a curated selection of Innovate Springfield member-owned products and services.

  • U.S. flag flying at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

    Violent Protest or Seditious Conspiracy

    While watching the events of January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C., I, like many other Americans, felt a wide range of emotions. First shock and disbelief that our Capitol was under siege by its own citizens. Second, confusion as I realized that this was not a protest for better wages, equal rights, or climate change but a protest over the outcome of an election that occurred two months ago. Finally, the criminal lawyer in me couldn’t help but analyze the legal consequences that each one of these rioters would potentially be facing if arrested.

  • Sign up today for the Illinois United Way Equity Challenge

    21 Week Equity Challenge

    We recognize there is a significant need for us as individuals and organizations to gain a better understanding of how inequity and racism impact so many of our neighbors and learn what we can do to dismantle all forms of oppression.

  • Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges by the Illinois Municipal League, UIS Institute for Illinois Public Finance, and UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration

    Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges

    View this video presentation on "Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funding Challenges".  The video is part of the Illinois Municipal Policy Journal (IMPJ) Webinar Series. In this presentation Dr. Beverly Bunch, UIS, and Amanda Kass, UIC, present their research which was detailed in the December 2020 volume of the IMPJ.  The presentation is moderated by Dr. Kenneth Kriz, UIS.

  • Video: The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education

    In case you missed this panel discussion on March 4th, watch the video of this UIS COVID Engaged Series, "The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education" with moderators Dr. Magic Wade, PSC, Collin Moseley, SGA Vice President, and Mackenzi Matthews, SGA Parliamentarian, with panelists Francie Diep, Chronical of Higher Education, Randy Witter, UIS Alumnus.

  • Robert Rincon, Political Science and Global Studies Lecturer

    When Rhetoric Becomes Reality: Trump, Latinos, and COVID-19

    COVID-19, the global pandemic that resulted from it, and the insufficient U.S. response revealed a multitude of issues but none perhaps as pressing than the direct challenge to President Trump’s nationalist agenda and anti-immigrant rhetoric. As the nation prepares to vote with the effects of the pandemic still looming and President Trump seeking re-election, what must be called to question is the voracity with which he launched his “America first” campaign.

  • Image of a reporter in a helmet in front of protesters in the middle of a street.

    Time to stop hating on journalists for reporting facts

    I didn’t get into journalism to be liked. But I didn’t get into it to be hated, either. After the last four years of President Trump’s attacks on the media, his followers feel more emboldened than ever to direct hateful language and dangerous threats toward journalists trying to do their jobs.

  • 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.”

  • Legal Studies professor Deborah Anthony. Storyteller's Studios filming 2021 Commencement video in Sangamon Auditorium Thursday, April 22, 2021.

    Graduation from CPAA: An End and a Beginning

    The 2020-2021 academic year is coming to a close and our spring graduation celebration will be held on May 13 and 14.  In the midst of one of the most turbulent, unsettled and confusing academic years to date, our graduates have stayed the course, completed their studies and will receive their diplomas. They and their families and friends and loved ones all deserve our sincere congratulations!

  • 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.

  • "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.

  • Photo of Dr. Brandon Derman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and the cover of his latest book, "Struggles for Climate Justice"

    Can the COVID crisis teach us to respond to climate change with more justice and impact?

    As the COVID crisis began to bite in Central Illinois this past spring, my Introduction to Cultural Geography students packed up their belongings, left campus, and settled into whatever housing they could, where, among myriad other tasks, they completed their current events papers for my course.  Several of them centered those papers on a developing media narrative:  perhaps Covid-19 held a silver lining for the environment, including the climate, as humans’ greenhouse gas emissions plummeted around the globe.

  • Image of discarded disposable face mask on a street

    Gloves, boxes, and masks: Waste visibility, challenges, and opportunities during and post COVID - 19 pandemic

    Garbage is everywhere but is mostly overlooked in our everyday environment. Though as individuals we deal with municipal solid waste every day, waste infrastructure – like black bags, covered bins, enclosed trucks, industrial waste cycles, and publicly inaccessible landfills - keeps the majority of garbage out of sight and mind.  In reality, in Illinois, landfill space is limited (average lifespan = 21 years), and the Covid-19 pandemic is exposing just how essential, complex, and fragile our waste cycle is.

  • Costarters logo

    Get Started with CO.STARTERS @iSPI

    Quick question ━ are you entrepreneurial? Scratch that. Have you ever had a lemonade stand? Have you ever tried to sell something that you made? Do you have an excellent process, product, service, or recipe that you think others could benefit from and would pay for?

    If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could answer “yes” to the first question. You are entrepreneurial!

    The trouble is, entrepreneurs have great ideas and often don’t have the means or the support to see them through. That’s why CO.STARTERS at Innovate Springfield is an excellent opportunity for anyone ready to invest in their big idea and turn it into a reality.

  • I Believe in Being 18

    Another ten area high school seniors have been selected by our community committee for the 2021 edition of This I Believe on NPR Illinois. That’s 150 students since the program started with the 2007 selected authors. The program continues to pull at your emotions and remind you of when you were about to enter the adult world.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Text:  Change, Hope, Renewal in front of four images of the U.S. Capitol, MLK Street Art, gavel and scales, hand on bible

    Change, Hope, and Renewal

    The January 6th Capitol riot, Martin Luther King Day Celebrations, the Inauguration of President Biden and the pending Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump. What a start to 2021! What do all four events/days have in common? Nothing some may say, and everything, others may suggest. I’m in the group that will highlight some important similarities and very real differences between these events.

  • 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.

  • Lesser bamboo rat (Cannomys badius) at a market in Phongsali, northern Laos

    How Can We Prevent the Next Pandemic by Addressing the Wildlife Trade?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, infecting 134 million and killing nearly 3 million people. The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is thought to have likely originated in bats, a misunderstood and often maligned order of mammals that includes over 1,400 species. How the virus jumped the species barrier remains unclear, but strong evidence exists linking the wildlife trade to human exposure to the virus.  So, what can be done to prevent the next pandemic?

     

  • 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.

  • Photo of polling place

    Election Day 2020: More than a Presidential Election

    Every four years, we elect a president based upon each candidate’s vision for the future and our assessments of who is most capable of addressing the issues facing the country.  As is common in most presidential elections, supporters of both candidates are calling this the most important election of their lifetime.  Of course, no matter how important the presidential election may be, it is not the only important decision voters have to make this year.

  • 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.