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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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  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Photo of an African American man reading a business newspaper at a desk

    A Teachable Moment: Public Spaces Are Not Public

    There are two Americas. The myth and the reality. The shining city on the hill, beacon of hope and justice, and the other America bound by discrimination and despair.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Earth Day: Celebrating 50 Years of Environmental Awareness & Action

    Today, Earth Day remains an important day to reflect on how far we have come, identify the problems that we must still solve, and decide what actions to take to protect and restore the ecosystems that sustain all of us.

    Although COVID-19 may keep us from gathering together at large public rallies this year, here are three things you can do to celebrate Earth Day today and every day.

  • 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.

  • 2020 Reset: Do not give up on the year just yet …

    We recently past the 2020 half-way point. Have you given up on your hopes and dreams for the year? Do you feel like the goals that you set for this year are no longer possible? Have you settled into a wait-and-see pattern, and now just trying to tread water? It’s understandable. After all, we all tend to move toward urgency, and we are still dealing with a global pandemic.

    For many of you, it is time for a reset. Many of you need to pick a direction and start swimming so that your long-term goals do not drown (i.e., die) along with your yearly goals. 

  • 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 Daralene Jones, PAR Graduate

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

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

  • A Path Forward for Graduate Internships at UIS

    The Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI) Program is one of nine units within the University of Illinois Springfield’s (UIS) Center for State Policy and Leadership (CSPL).  This program affords eligible graduate students an introduction to public service, the opportunity to get work experience in their field of study, and provides students a tuition waiver and monthly stipend that makes graduate school more affordable.  The Program allows participating agencies an opportunity to educate and train potential future public service professionals and obtain necessary help on various projects throughout their agencies.

  • COVID-19: Present and Future Challenges for Education Leaders

    When Governor JB Pritzker issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, 2020, the effects on the P-20 education spectrum were complex and far reaching.

  • Centering the Ocean in an Uncertain World: A Post for Inland Communities on World Oceans Day

    June 8 is World Oceans Day. And on every June 8 since 1992, this day has marked an opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits humans derive from the ocean, as well as humans’ reciprocal duty to protect the ocean and use its resource responsibly and sustainably.

  • 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.

  • A Place to Call Home – But Not For Everyone

    Dismantling systemic racism must include addressing the denial of rentals to voucher holders. The seemingly neutral policy of refusing to accept Housing Choice Vouchers (commonly known as Section 8), often disproportionately affects minorities.

  • 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?

  • COVID and its Impact on Higher Education

    In our article recent article for Administrative Theory & Praxis “COVID and the Impact on Higher Education: The Essential Role of Integrity and Accountability”, we discuss challenges facing postsecondary institutions due to the COVID crisis and the critical roles that institutional integrity and accountability will play for postsecondary institutions in the COVID era, as well as the importance of embracing the role higher education plays in advancing social equity.

  • Dr. Sibel Oktay Karagul, Assistant Professorof Political Science and Co-Director of Global Studies

    International Students Make Our Education System Richer, Better, and Stronger

    On July 6th, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a guidance that announced: “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.” As institutions continue to grapple with COVID-19 and how to reopen campuses safely for the fall semester (which is just a few weeks away), the administration’s decision to potentially penalize universities for going fully online in the fall sent shockwaves to all constituents of the U.S. higher education system.

  • Photo of off-shore wind turbines

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

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

  • 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.

  • Economic Update July 2020: The Shortest? And Deepest Recession in Generations?

    At the time of this post, the United States economy clings is at a crossroads. The economic slowdown engendered by the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain its spread were the deepest on record, but there are already signs that the recession may be over. There are lingering issues and pain from the recession, especially in the labor market. But there is a palpable sense that the situation may be resolving itself. However, the economy faces many uncertainties going forward. The question is whether the sense of recovery comes from false hope generated by temporarily good economic news or whether it signals a return to a “normal” economic situation.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • Photo of stepping stones across a stream

    My UIS Experience

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

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

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

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

  • Trif Alatzas

    Local News – Needed Now More Than Ever

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dr. Jason Pierceson

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Do You Have Information Problems? Meet the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies (ILLAPS) at the University of Illinois Springfield

    When government entities or non-profit organizations want to make decisions on policies and practices, they often run into the problem of not having necessary, easy to understand information to move their work forward. This often leads to uncertainty, inaction, or incomplete decisions. However, it doesn’t have to be like that.

    The Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies (ILLAPS) in the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS’ mission is to help solve these information problems for non-profits and government entities of all sizes. In coordination with our partners, we solve information problems in three ways:

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

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

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

  • Tree

    Helping Preserve and Enhance our Urban Trees

     Urban trees are the pillars of our community. They help decrease air pollution, reduce flooding, produce valuable resources, provide a habitat for wildlife, promote physical and mental health, and encourage a sense of community (Turner-Skoff & Cavender, 2019). We marvel at these benefits, but we also have a responsibility to take care of these trees. 

    You are invited to join us on Wednesday, March 31 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. for a virtual program on Urban Trees: Planning, Policy, and Planting. This program, which is sponsored by the Citizens Club of Springfield in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Center for State Policy and Leadership, is part of the National Endowment of the Arts Big Read: Sangamon County. Programs and activities are taking place throughout our community in March and April based on the featured book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.

  • COVID-19 Adds Pressure to the Already Stressed Child Welfare System

    Dr. Betsy Goulet, Public Administration, and Dr. Kent Redfield, Political Science Professor Emeritus, collaborate on U of I System report on the effects of COVID 19 on the Illinois Child Welfare System.

  • Stop Domestic Violence

    How to Help Abuse Victims during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

    Across the world, people are spending a lot more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Shelter in place orders and closures have put extra stress on families.  Economic uncertainty and social isolation have also been linked to increased use of substances and mental health issues.  These stressors and negative effects have been exacerbated for abuse victims, particularly those who are currently living in an abusive environment, where spending extra time at home can lead to even more danger, with few outlets for escape.

  • 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.

  • Image of business man entangled in red tape

    Fed Up with the Status Quo: Read This

    Look around your organization. Are you amazed at just how resigned everyone is to the status quo? Does the seeming acceptance of mediocrity bother you?  Despite severe environmental pressures, are the people around you behaving in obviously ineffective ways that could be threatening the very survival of the organization?  The problem is that most organizations are incapable of learning or changing themselves in response to experience (i.e., the discrepancy between expectations and results).  So what is the solution?

  • 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+.

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

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

  • GPSI Springing Forward

    As each academic semester comes to a close, students, faculty, and staff take time to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year and look forward to the coming year. In GPSI, the month of April is a time for celebration, recognition, and new beginnings. As we say “See you later” to one group of graduating interns, we are simultaneously interviewing for their successors. For the past many years, GPSI has hosted a Recognition Breakfast that highlights graduating interns, special projects, and shares new updates with our community members. At the breakfast, GPSI awards one outstanding intern the Brian T. Milbrandt Memorial Intern Award for Academic and Professional Excellence and one exceptional supervisor the Sagarika Madala Memorial Award for Exemplary Leadership. Both awards are named in memory of two former GPSIs.

  • 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.     

  • 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.

  • M Jones GPSI

    March GPSI Student Spotlight

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

  • The Whooping Crane

    10 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day

    Celebrate 15th Annual Endangered Species Day on May 15th, 2020. Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people of all ages to celebrate and learn about endangered species and how to protect them.

  • 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.