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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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  • Covid 19 Image

    COVID-19 Case Projections for Illinois Counties

    Many researchers have already created models with projections for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, intensive care unit stays, and/or deaths. 

    I have created a model that relies on the fact that some parts of the country are further along the growth curve of the pandemic to produce COVID-19 case projections for Illinois counties. I use data only from the 48 contiguous states, with the expectation that those states provide a better comparison for Illinois than foreign countries do. And I make no assumptions about the virus or the effects of social distancing on transmission of the virus; instead, the model’s projections are based only on the actual data from the 48 states.

  • Covid 19 Image

    Commentary: The Coronavirus and The Citizen

    The COVID 19 pandemic continues to unfold here in Illinois and the United States. There will likely be more cases, more fatalities, efforts of all kinds to contain and address this terrible life threatening virus that is wreaking havoc in and around the globe.  

    From the vantage point of the average citizen the questions are what happens next, what will life be like in the days, and months ahead? 

    Because I sit alone in my apartment trying to practice social distancing, I have some time to contemplate what’s next, what happened, and where is the average citizen in all this?  

  • Photo of empty classroom

    Effect of K-12 instruction types on reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in Illinois counties

    Few decisions made by state and local governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic have affected families as much as decisions about K-12 instruction types – whether to provide in-person instruction, online-only instruction, or a hybrid of in-person and online instruction. Decisions about instruction types this fall have varied widely across states, counties, and school districts, partly because of differences in COVID-19 case metrics and partly for other reasons, including political differences.

  • ppsj primary jpeg

    Improving Public Safety in our Communities – Introducing the Project for Public Safety and Justice at UIS

    The mission of the Project for Public Safety and Justice (PPSJ) is to promote public safety as a philosophy and practice for all members of a community. It is through partnerships and community engagement; organizational change and transformation; innovative approaches and strong community based leadership combined with quality technical assistance and training that the essence of community policing is redefined and applied to enhance the quality of life across the United States.  PPSJ continues to play its roll in this endeavor by looking to the future in an effort to take good research and transform it into practical applications through national and local initiatives.

  • Sunshine Week - Your Right to Know

    Celebrate Sunshine Week!

    As I’m writing this on Monday, thick, gray clouds are streaking across the sky above the UIS campus. The view out my window reminds me of what it’s like sometimes trying to get information from government agencies.  March 14-20 is Sunshine Week, an initiative that began in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors to promote the public’s right to know what its public officials are doing.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Thank you to our Veterans

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

  • 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.

  • Continuum of Support from Cradle to Career

    Consider the following questions for a moment,

    Why do some children achieve on grade level and others do not?

    Why are some high schoolers prepared for college and careers and others are not?

    Why is it necessary for some businesses to recruit highly-qualified applicants from areas outside of Sangamon County?

    In 2005, local educational and business leaders asked themselves these and more questions about how education and the local economy are tied together. The more they dug into these questions, the more they realized that the answers were interconnected. Educational attainment is linked to grade-level achievement and social-emotional support. Grade-level achievement and social-emotional learning are connected to healthcare, nutrition, executive thinking skills, motor skill development, literacy skills, parental support, and on and on. It wasn’t long before these experts realized that in order to support Springfield’s economy, they had to focus on supporting youth through the entire continuum from cradle to career.

  • Photo of a downtown street from the Illinois Municipal League website

    Illinois Municipalities Face Difficult Decisions during COVID 19 Pandemic

    Six months ago, the world was a completely different place. The American economy was growing. Families were regularly coming together for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. The 1,298 cities, villages and towns throughout Illinois were providing regular and critical services to support the health, safety and welfare of their residents.

  • Building Board Diversity Logo

    Building Board Diversity is a Win for Springfield and Beyond

    When Raychel McBride and Sarah Tapscott contacted Innovate Springfield about an initiative encouraging more diversity on local nonprofit boards, we only had one question. “When do we start?”

  • 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.

  • DCFS Child Protection Poster

    Can you see me? Children in the Shadows of the Pandemic

    In March, schools sent children home and students across Illinois and the nation sequestered in their homes where they attempted to continue their schoolwork remotely, in front of their computer screens.  Before too long child advocates nationwide observed an alarming trend – significant decreases in calls to child abuse hotlines.  States reported precipitous drops – upwards to 50% in some states. 

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Image of th UIS Young Lincoln statue in a blue and white UIS stocking cap and scarf with a snowy UIS campus in the background.  Message: The College of Public Affairs and Administration wishes you a happy holiday season.

    Happy Holidays! A video message from Dean Smith

    Holiday Greetings from Dean Robert Smith

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • "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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.