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The Capitol Connection
The College of Public Affairs and Education and the Center for State Policy and Leadership, University of Illinois Springfield

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  • 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. 

  • Image of 3 Public Administration students in call and header, School of Public Management and Policy

    You Are Invited to the Railsplitter’s Banquet on March 31st

    You are invited to attend this in-person event located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum at 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701, with Federal District Court Judge Brian Stacy Miller as the keynote speaker.  Help celebrate the public service award recipient.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Why the UIS Online Political Science Graduate Program Was Right for Me

    As a Wisconsinite planning a move to Chicago, finding a quality public university that was located in my new home state was my first priority. As a remote learner, I wanted to find a Master’s program that provided the same quality of instruction as in-person learning.

  • Why Should You Consider A Political Science Bachelor’s Degree at UIS?

    I learned about politics when I asked for a new bike at age seven.  First my mom, and then my dad, asked me if the other parent had agreed to this life-changing purchase.  I was running interference between my parents. I could tell that my mom was supportive of my quest for a bike, so I teamed up with her to convince my dad. A few days later, I was a happy little girl with a shiny new bike.  Come study politics with us at UIS to learn how individuals, societies, and states cooperate and compete with each other to get what they want.

  • 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.

  • Text:  Our Why at iSPI

    What's YOUR "Why" and Why It Matters

    What's YOUR “why”?  At Innovate Springfield, we often challenge the starters that we serve with this question to help them maintain their clarity and focus.

  • 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 happens on a university campus during the summer?

    As we recently celebrate our Memorial Day Holiday which is a day to celebrate the many sacrifices made by our veterans over the years to preserve this country and our democracy, it also signifies the “unofficial” start to our summer on campus and in the community.  So I thought I would use this first Holiday of summer to reflect upon what happens here at UIS and the College of Public Affairs and Administration in the summer!

  • 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.

  • Welcome to Innovate Springfield - Social Innovation & Business Incubation

    Hello from Innovate Springfield the UIS social Innovation and Business incubator located in the heart of downtown Springfield, IL and the newest members to the UIS family! At Innovate Springfield, we’re creating new and disruptive ways to support the “communiversity” and the local economy through our two programs, Social Innovation and Business Incubation.

  • 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....

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Image of hand with index finger pointing towards text: "Poll" with a black background

    Want to know who is going to win an election? Ask the voters!

    Out of growing concern about the ability of polling to accurately capture voter intention and “predict” the results of an upcoming election, some researchers have begun to explore a switch from asking voters who they intend to vote for to so-called “citizen forecasts.”

  • 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….” 

  • 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.

  • Dr. Adriana Piatti-Crocker in class

    VIDEO: Why Women's Descriptive Representation Still Matters: The Case of Argentina

    In this presentation, Dr. Piatti-Crocker explores the gender-diversifying effects that well-conceived and implemented gender quotas and parity laws have had in Argentina’s national and subnational legislatures. She examines how institutional factors  (electoral, party systems, quota design) have contributed to the relative success of quotas in Argentina, though more unevenly in its provinces due to wide-ranging institutional and cultural factors. 


  • 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.

  • 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.” 

  • 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.

  • Collage of photos of DPA Graduates and Students in article

    UIS Perspectives: Inspiring professionals as agents of change

    The Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program at the University of Illinois Springfield is one of only a handful of professional "public affairs" doctorates throughout the country. The program is a door opener to a variety of career paths as we seek to inspire and equip students to be more effective agents of change.  Read more in this SJR column by Dr. Travis Bland.

  • UIS Model United Nations Program - A Standout Experience

    A stand-out experience that I have had while studying Global Studies at the university has been being a part of National Model United Nations, a simulation of the United Nations.

  • Inside the Illinois State Capitol dome

    UIS and the State of Illinois: A Half Century of Collaboration in Public Service

    For nearly 50 years, UIS has been partnering with the State of Illinois to provide graduate students the opportunity to simultaneously pursue their graduate degree while gaining professional experience working at a state agency.

  • Two-Generation Solutions Can Empower Healthy Families

    Here at Innovate Springfield, we are always looking for evidence-based solutions to community problems. Two of the largest topics we tackle center around early childhood education and development and local workforce development. These two topics are intrinsically linked, not only because children who are supported in early life often have more positive career outcomes, but also because parents’ successes so often become their children’s successes as well. If we want to enable the success of both parents and children, we need to invest in Two-Generation solutions.

  • 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. 

  • Top 5 Reasons to Get a Degree in Environmental Studies at UIS

    Do you want to make a difference? The Department of Environmental Studies provides students with the advanced interdisciplinary training necessary for solving environmental problems.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 iphone with Social Media icons

    Time for a social media break?

    Many of today’s college juniors and seniors report opening their first social media account (usually on Facebook, with a parent’s help) when they were around 10 years old. That means they’ve spent half of their lifetimes on the app!

  • Photo of a union rally.  Photo credit:  Patrick Perkins on

    The Workers’ Rights Amendment Passed in Illinois. How?!

    On November 9, 2022, the Illinois Constitutional Amendment 1, also known as the “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” was approved by the majority of the 4.1 million voters who cast a ballot in the election, however, the passage of the amendment was not a foregone conclusion.

  • Image of the UIS Public Public Affairs Center and the Colonnade from atop the Health Sciences Building.

    The Value of Education in Public Affairs for Balancing Truth and Emotions in the 21st Century

    Our courses and degrees prepare students for careers where they analyze problems, develop policies, serve citizens and provide leadership in Illinois, the nation and even worldwide.

  • Photo of the UIS Young Lincoln statue covered in snow


    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.  

  • Artwork for the Sangamon Success Progress Report - July 2021

    The Sangamon Success Progress Report Documents the Success of a Community

    In 2015, the Continuum of Learning (CoL) released the Sangamon Success report, a selection of 25 evidence-based recommendations for improving outcomes for children in Sangamon County who are less advantaged. These recommendations support children from before birth until their graduation from high school

  • 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.

  • Photo of a woman in the witness seat and a judge in the UIS DCFS Mock Courtroom, part of the Child Advocacy Studies Program

    The Law of Motherhood in the Gender-Dependent Application of Criminal Responsibility for Failing to Protect Children

    When a child is injured or killed by an adult in the home, a marked gender division appears in the application of criminal responsibility against the non-abusing parent. When children are harmed by a man in the home, mothers are regularly prosecuted under statutes criminalizing the failure to protect one’s children, yet men virtually never face charges when the roles are reversed and the mother has harmed the children while the father has failed to protect them.

  • 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.