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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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  • State Capitol

    Public Administration or Business Administration: A Couple Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Management Degree

    How do you define success? Do you want to lead and manage people and organizations? Have you chosen the best degree for your desired career path?

    Most students know about the business administration degree, but few students know that there is another option—one that will open the door to vast array of careers in public service. This other option is the public administration degree.

    Do you understand the difference well enough to make an informed choice? This article offers a couple of questions to consider before choosing.

  • Photo of Dr. Kenneth Kriz, Professor of Public Administration and image of a graph showing the Change in Net Position as a Percentage of General Revenues,  Illinois and Other States, Fiscal Year 2010-2020

    The Financial Condition of the State of Illinois

    Analyzing the financial condition of a large organization like the State of Illinois is a complex task, to put it mildly.  But in the following few paragraphs, we will try to describe the financial condition of Illinois at the end of the last fiscal year.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sample Ranked Choice Voting Ballot

    Everything you wanted to know about Ranked-Choice Voting (and maybe somethings you didn’t)

    In recent months, there has been increased news coverage of ranked-choice voting (RCV) in Illinois. At this point, you may be asking “what in the world is ranked-choice voting?”

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Mapping Inequality

    Confronting Inequities in Springfield

    Our community is faced with significant inequities that have persisted over time.  The redlining map of Springfield shown in the picture above shows the mortgage lending categories used in 1940, which segregated our city and discriminated against people of color (  The red-shaded areas show the portions labelled as “hazardous” for loan making. Unfortunately, over 80 years later, the legacy of the redlining practices remain.

    In recognition of the need to address inequities, the Citizens Club of Springfield, in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, will be hosting a series of programs titled Confronting Inequities in Springfield. The steering committee for this event states: “The Series seeks to engage the broader public in an educational dialogue about the lasting effects of inequities and their destructive legacy in our own backyard. The series also seeks to spur discussion and action to create a more just and equitable community and write the next chapter to our story.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Photo of a newspaper front pages above the fold

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

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

  • 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.

  • Dr. Magic Wade pictured with her dog in front of a painted mural of a fox on a brick wall

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Magic Wade, SPIA

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Magic Wade, Associate Professor of Political Science in the UIS School of Politics and International Affairs, whose research focuses on state labor laws, teachers unions, and public safety unions and more recently, on criminal justice, public safety, and urban politics.

  • 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?

  • Image of Dr. Betsy Goulet

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Betsy Goulet, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight:  Dr. Betsy Goulet, Clinical Assistant Professor, Public Administration & Child Advocacy Studies Coordinator

  • Opening the Pipeline to Public Service

    A common question we get asked by prospective students in the Office of Graduate Intern Programs is, “Am I guaranteed a job after graduation?”

  • B&W Photo of US Capitol, left half covered in blue overlay, right half covered in red overlay

    (Affective) Partisanship is a Heck of a Drug: What is it and Why We Might Want to Be Concerned About it.

    The growing animosity between Democrats and Republicans in America is a well-discussed problem.  A term academic research uses to describe the problem is “affective polarization.” What’s fascinating (or perhaps a bit alarming) is that the rise in affective partisanship is less about supporting or disagreeing on matters of legislative policy and instead is about our partisanship becoming key component of our identity.

  • Prof. Anthony, UIS Students, and other volunteers with the Dilley Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Tx, 2019.

    Inside an Immigrant Detention Center

    “Will he hurt me?” She shrank back in her seat, her eyes filling with tears as she clung to the toddler in her lap.  It was the summer of 2019, and a group of six UIS students and I were at STFRC for a week, volunteering with the Dilley Pro Bono Project. We spent 15-hour days working directly with asylum-seeking women and children, preparing them for their credible fear interview—the first step in the asylum application process—and drafting legal documents.

  • 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.

  • Photo of graphiti "For All"

    Accountability for Social Equity

    At the end of 2021, I am again reminded why public administration is so important and because of this, it is critical that public service agencies must be accountable for social equity.

  • 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.

  • Evaluating Plastic Litter Prevention Strategies on Lake Springfield, Illinois

    As summer in Central Illinois rolls on, one thing is sure: Illinois residents depend on and love our waterways. However, some of our main recreational activities and everyday consumption patterns can also lead to high levels of shoreline litter or even widespread pollution, endangering wildlife, ecosystems, and the many summer pastimes that so many of us love.

  • Jason Piscia, PAR Director, teaching news literacy in a high school class room

    News literacy: A lesson for all ages

    As the last several months have shown us, misinterpreted or flat-out bogus information about vaccines, masks, the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and much more affects – and polarizes – all ages.

  • Sherrie Elzinga speaking with a student at a UIS Graduate Student Fair

    One Last Thought

    In August of 2017, I was fortunate to be offered my dream job as Director of the Office of Graduate Intern Programs in the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

  • Text: First Generation Students. Photos of Koushik Neelakantam from Pradesh, India; Tyrese Reed from New Orleans, LA; and Parag Achdeva from Bhattu Kalan, Haryana, India.

    First-Generation College Student Celebration

    On November 8th colleges and universities celebrate their students, faculty, and staff who are first-generation college students.

  • Hand holding up sign that says, "Indigenous rights are human rights".

    An Existential Threat to the Indian Child Welfare Act

    Passed by Congress in 1978, The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) faces an existential threat from the current Supreme Court case Haaland v. Brackeen.

  • 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

  • Photo of the UIUC MSW Field Placement Recruitment event

    Team Effort – Interns Win!!!

    Celebrating a partnership that marries a passion for social work with policy in the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP).

  • Photo of Kevin Kulavic, ILSIP Alum (2011-12) pictured with fellow ILSIP alums Josh Horeled and Margaret Nunne

    ILSIP Interviews - Round #2

    The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP) has announced a second round of interviews, focused on filling ten remaining positions.

  • 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.

  • Photo of Dr. Youngjin Kang, Assistant Professor of Human Services

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Youngjin Kang, SPMP

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Youngjin Kang, Assistant Professor of Human Services in the UIS School of Public Policy and Management, whose research focuses on how family members develop and maintain their relationships after transitions in family structure (e.g., divorce, remarriage). 

  • Photo of Dr. Amanda Hughett, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Hughett, Legal Studies

    Hello! I’m Dr. Amanda Hughett, an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies. I’m an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching focus on law, social movements, and the criminal justice system in the United States.

  • Photo of Dr. Daniel Platt, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

    CPAE Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Daniel Platt, Legal Studies

    CPAE Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Daniel Platt, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, whose research focuses on the intersection of legal history, legal culture, and the history of capitalism.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • IDPH Webinar Flyer

    Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike to speak on health equity, October 19

    Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), will discuss health equity in Illinois at 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 19. This is a free, virtual presentation that is open to the public.

  • UIS has intern candidates currently pursuing a graduate degree in: accountancy, business administration, communication, computer science, data analyitics, education, educational leadership, environmental health, environmental sciences, history, human development counseling, human services, legal studies, MIS, political science, public administration, public health, public policy

    Calling All Nonprofit Agencies looking to hire new talent!

    GPSI has been placing UIS graduate students in State Government Agencies since its inception, and in recent years, GPSI has made an effort to ensure Nonprofit Agencies are aware of this program’s opportunity as well.

  • Photo of Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, Assistant Professor of Public Health

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, MPH

    CPAA Faculty Spotlight of Dr. Yu-Sheng Lee, Assistant Professor of Public Health, whose research has focused on various chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, lung cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Photo of Dr. Michael C. Lotspeich-Yadao along side of chart and map demonstrating of aspatial and spatial visualization of statistics on IDCFS Youth in Care

    Elevating community voices: Using GIS to think about child welfare in the State of Illinois

    What is the importance of community factors to public administrators in the child welfare system? How might different protective or risk factors influence the outcome of youth in care at various decision points?  Technical training in GIS allows public administrators to visually interpret data to understand better relationships, patterns, and trends that may have been missed in a traditional reports.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A map of Illinois Congressional Districts after the 2020 Census highlighting Disctrict 13

    The 2022 Midterm Elections and Illinois 13

    Election Day is fast approach. This year, many members of the UIS community, those who are registered to vote in Illinois’s 13th congressional district, will have the relatively unique opportunity of electing a new representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • 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.

  • ILSIP Interns in the Capitol Rotunda

    Legislative Internships and What’s Next

    Change is in the air. It’s that time of year and the UIS Campus is beginning to look like a college campus again with students coming and going in larger numbers than in over a year. Throughout this time, the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program has continued placing students with the Illinois General Assembly.

  • A PAR student completing an interview at the Illinois State Capitol

    PAR: Real journalism experience and a master’s degree without a huge student loan

    A headline in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye last week:  “Journalism schools leave graduates with hefty student loans”.  The article focused on the cost of a journalism master’s degree at well-known institutions like Northwestern University near Chicago and Columbia University in New York City – and the debt students are taking on to get those degrees.  However, not all schools will bury you in debt to provide a graduate-level education that includes a guaranteed opportunity to get professional experience.