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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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  • 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.

  • WHO Releases Report: “The Potential Impact of Health Service Disruptions on the Burden Of Malaria”

    Follow up on World Malaria Day post:  WHO estimates that nearly 800,000 People May Die From Malaria Due to COVID-19 Disruptions.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris

    We Don’t Want to Hear about Kamala Harris’ Shoes

    When vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris delivers her prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, pay attention to the words used to describe her.  Unfortunately, commentators, opinionmakers and sometimes even news reporters have a bad habit of describing female politicians in ways they rarely or never do about male politicians.

  • We can emerge Stronger Together: Covid-19 and the places we work

    Prior to Covid-19, there were two focusing events or crises that dramatically changed my perspective on life: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the April 16, 2007 killing of 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech. While vastly different, the Covid-19 pandemic and the upending of life as we know it since early March 2020 is the third such focusing event that I have experienced. Focusing events force us to rethink and reset our priorities. This resetting often includes a renewed emphasis on our shared humanity that falls under the mantra or rallying cry of Stronger Together.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Trump targets Twitter; what will happen to free speech?

    "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."  Back when I was the online editor of The State Journal-Register, this sentence went through my mind often as I kept track of the flood of reader comments that appeared under the online version of our journalists’ news stories.

  • 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. 

  • Together We Thrive, Fifty Years of NPR

    Last week marked the 50th anniversary of NPR. The first broadcast of All Things Considered with the founding mothers (Cokie Roberts, Susan Stamberg, Nina Totenberg, and Linda Wertheimer -- at the time precedent breaking as the assumption was the news audience preferred a deep, authoritative make voice) has led to one of the largest networks of journalists in modern media.

  • To China and Back: A Student’s Air Pollution Study Leads to Adventures beyond the Academic

    Before I began my research project “Investigation of Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality in China and United States: Volatile Organic Compounds”, I had never experienced the feeling of holding a project so near and dear to my heart that I would fall asleep thinking about it and wake up in the morning having the project on my mind.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Photo of the UIS Young Lincoln statue covered in snow

    THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE…

    On top of an ongoing COVID Pandemic, a still confusing response, a mixed up political world, and a new standard of truisms, and of course, just to make things worse, the weather has now turned against us. In particular the Midwest and South was severely impacted. As of this writing I think we all have heard that Texas seems to have borne the brunt of this winter weather.

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

    The Politics of a Virus

    Commentary on the political divide during the COVID 19 pandemic by Dr. Robert Smith, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield on NPR Illinois.

  • Black and white image of the U.S. Capitol dome at night

    The Path of Least Resistance: A Reflection on the Events of January 6th

    I never imagined writing this. But I also never imagined witnessing what unfolded as I prepared for the Spring Semester this past week, working on courses while watching the Senate and the House certify the electoral college votes on the afternoon of January 6th.

  • 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.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.  

  • Thank you to our Veterans

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

  • 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.

  • 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+.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Ready for the New Normal: My Research Remote Presentation

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.