Research for the Public Good

Many UIS faculty (and their students) apply their research and scholarly efforts to improving the public good. From inclusive education to art therapy, public finance and immigration, UIS is making a difference in the world.

Inclusive Education

Jennifer Martin, assistant professor in the Teacher Education Program, researches how to improve the K-12 school environment for transgender and gender non-conforming students. Assistant professor Sean McCandless promotes diverse voices in the Public Administration curriculum and the classroom.

Sean McCandless

Public Finance

The director of the new Institute for Illinois Public Finance, Ken Kriz (PAD), recently published two books: Capital Management and Budgeting in the Public Sector, comparing the outcomes of infrastructure investments of 12 countries, and Tax Increment Financing and Economic Development, offering case studies on the uses, structures, and impacts of TIF projects.

Ken Kriz

Art Therapy

Karen Lee

In collaboration with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Karen Lee, clinical instructor of Human Development Counseling, directs Art Express.  Along with her graduate students, they provide Alzheimer’s patients and persons with memory loss disorders an outlet to creatively express themselves without needing memory or other communication skills.  


Legal Studies faculty Deborah Anthony and Anette Sikka not only teach UIS students about immigration law, but also take them to the US/Mexican border for #ExperienceEngaged learning. They assist asylum seekers with translation work, helping them identify the parts that are going to be relevant to their cases legally.

Deborah Anthony

Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium

The Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS) starts today (4/17/19). This campus-wide, three-day program features all types of students (undergraduate, graduate, on campus, online) presenting the results of their research, scholarly, and creative activities.

Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium 2019

Experience Engaged

The projects presented at STARS are the result of faculty-mentored hands-on experiential learning by students at UIS. Our students actively pursue study abroad, service learning, case studies, as well as research, art, and music performance opportunities. Such high-impact learning practices were recently recognized in the UIS Strategic Compass as one of our strategic pillars, Experience Engaged.

UIS chemistry students conduct electrochemical experiment

Career Development

Skills developed during STARS, such as professionalism, communications, networking, and project management, prepare students for success in their future careers. Over 90% of UIS students are successful in obtaining employment or subsequent education within 12 months of graduation.

Hannah Trad (PSC ’18) shares her STARS experience.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information and a complete schedule,

UIS Students Publish

My prior blog entries have highlighted publication by UIS faculty. UIS students also publish their scholarship. In particular, this academic year, three groups of undergraduates have published:

The Capital Scholars Honors program publishes a journal of student scholarly and creative work, called Continuum. The most recent publication, Volume 6, hit the web a few days ago, and features the work of six honors students in various forms, from interdisciplinary research articles to photographs to poems.

Biology Major, Nana Quainoo, co-authored an article published in Frontiers in Genetics. The research, conducted during her internship with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine professor Andrzej Bartke, relates certain mutations in mice to long life.

Students in the Teacher Education Program wrote a peer reviewed article for Wikipedia during their “Managing the Diverse Classroom” course with assistant professor Jennifer Martin. Visit the full article to read more of their story.

Cassidy Yates, Kelly Mast, Lauren Reichert, and Ashley Brown
Teacher Education students: Cassidy Yates, Kelly Mast, Lauren Reichert, and Ashley Brown

They will present about their experience at the Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium on the campus of UIS April 17-19, 2019.  The full schedule is available at

Additional student publications include The Alchemist Review, which is launched annually at STARS.  A literary and arts magazine, written and edited by students, has been published for over thirty years.  A similar publication for graduate students is published online, called Uproot.

Other UIS student scholarly products, including Undergraduate Research Award winners, can be found on the university’s repository, IDEALS.  Search the Brookens Library – UIS/Brookens Library Undergraduate Research Award Winners.

UIS Authors Festival 2019 – faculty publish books

From poetry to political science, the history of central Illinois farms to the history of the American Revolutionary War, UIS faculty have written the book on it. And, of course, there are books on Lincoln.

Over the past two years, UIS faculty have authored or edited 24 books.  Please join us in celebrating their accomplishments with a reception at the UIS Brookens Library on Thurs, Feb. 21, 2019, from 4-6pm.  Four authors will be present to sign their books: copies will be available for purchase through the UIS bookstore. Part of the first UIS Authors Festival, the book signing reception will be proceeded by a workshop for faculty on how to publish their scholarly work.

  • Dong, L. (Ed.). (2016). Asian American culture: from anime to tiger moms. Greenwood.

Lan Dong, associate professor and chair of English, teaches about the graphic novel as a literary genre. She has also written books on the legend of Mulan and was selected as the University Scholar in 2012. She is currently the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

  • Poynter, K. J. (Ed.). (2017). Safe zones: training allies of LGBTQIA+ young adults. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

Kerry Poynter is the Director of Gender and Sexuality Student Services and UIS faculty and staff contributed to this practical volume for education professionals. The first comprehensive resource for developing Safe Zone programs and educational workshops to support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults, his program has been developed into a DVD and used in hundreds of colleges across the nation.

  • Nizamuddin, A. M. (2016). The Patenting of Life, Limiting Liberty, and the Corporate Pursuit of Seeds. Lexington Books.

Ali Nizamuddin is an associate professor in the political science department. His area of specialization is international relations with a focus in Asian studies. This, his second book, is on the global dominance of the world’s food supply.

  • Wenz, P. (2015). Functional Inefficiency: The Unexpected Benefits of Wasting Time and Money. Prometheus.

Peter S. Wenz is emeritus professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois Springfield and adjunct professor of Medical Humanities at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In 1999, he was selected the
University Scholar for UIS. This is his ninth book.

The complete list of all 24 titles is available on the UIS Research website:

International Experience in Illinois

UIS faculty bring an international experience to students and the greater Springfield community through their professional expertise, research collaborations, and life experiences.

Professor Adriana Crocker of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Springfield exemplifies the international teacher-scholar. She was selected a Presidential Fellow for the University of Illinois in 2017, the first such UIS faculty to receive that honor. Professor Crocker is an award-winning teacher who specializes in Latin American politics, with a strong background in international law and women’s rights, and she worked over the past year to help the U of I System expand its global reach.

In particular, Dr. Crocker helped lead a study abroad experience to Cuba, one of the first US teams to travel to that country in 50 years. Conor McKenzie is a senior political studies major who described the benefits of the Cuba trip.

Professor Crocker also directs the Model United Nations at UIS, an engagement experience for students of all majors who work as a team to prepare and present at the National Model United Nations in New York.

On December 12, 2018, Dr. Crocker will be part of a panel discussing Columbia After the Drug War, part of the program of the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois.

World Affairs Council

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Club Room , Hoogland Center for the Arts

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Professor Crocker, who joined the UIS faculty in 2006, is a professor of political science and teaches comparative politics and international relations courses with an emphasis on Latin American politics.  In 2016, she received the distinguished Pearson Faculty Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’s commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. Her research focuses on the role of gender quotas and other institutional mechanisms in serving the interests of women in Latin America.  Her 2017 book, Gender Quotas in South America’s Big Three: National and Subnational Impacts, focuses on policies intended to promote the inclusion of women in Latin America’s legislatures and their effects.  She has a law degree from the University of La Plata Argentina and a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.

UIS Faculty Publish Open Access

Open Access

The University of Illinois values the free exchange of ideas, and one way that value is demonstrated at UIS is through the publication of faculty research in “open access” formats.  Open Access means journals (or manuscripts in a journal) which are freely available on the internet. The Open Access movement in academia is designed to provide the broadest possible access to research and scholarship while still protecting the faculty’s right to determine how to best showcase this research and scholarship

UIS Publications

Due to additional publication costs, not all UIS faculty publications are Open Access, but an increasing number of them are. We recently produced a list of articles freely available on our Faculty Research website.

For example, Dr. Michael Lemke (BIO) and co-authors from UIS, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy, and the University of Maringa (Brazil) published a series of articles in Hydrobiologia, an international peer-reviewed journal of freshwater science. The articles describe research performed at The Emiquon Preserve in the Illinois River valley.

student sampling river water


Another way that UIS faculty and students share the results of their work is through our institutional repository, IDEALS. The Illinois Digital Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship is a permanent online resource, where UI faculty and students can post their work for no charge.  Depending upon the copyright agreements with a publisher, the work may be made freely available to the public through the IDEALS site, which is searchable.  While some faculty use professional social media sites, like ResearchGate or Academia, to share their work, IDEALS is the official source for UI publications.

For example, Dr. Karen Swan (EDL) posted a copy of her article from Internet and Higher Education, on student valuations of a survey instrument related to her Community of Inquiry research in online learning.

slide on Teaching Presence

Questions about IDEALS, how to access Journals at UIS, or the UI Open Access policy, can be addressed to Mr. H. Stephen McMinn, Director of Collections and Scholarly Communications for the UIS Brookens Library.

Advising Local Economic Policy

Two UIS faculty have been called upon to advise various local entities on economic policy to improve our region.

Glenn Cassidy, instructor of economics, was interviewed by TV Channel 20 news on Thursday, 10/18/18, about municipal pension funding, which relates to a research that he,  Beverly Bunch, and Patty Byrnes, also faculty at UIS.

Dr. Cassidy was also interviewed about Tax Increment Financing districts, another area he researches.

Bruce Sommer, instructor of entrepreneurship, was appointed the Director of Economic Development and Innovation for the University of Illinois Springfield, as reported in the State Journal-Register ( His role at the university is to help connect students and faculty with the community to promote business growth and social innovation.

Media Reports of Student Research

This past spring semester our students were busy with research accomplishments, as reported on various media sources.  Below is a partial list. We look forward to presenting our student successes this semester.

4/26/2018  WICS TV and WAND TV spots on the fifth annual UI Undergraduate Research Day, in which 12 UIS students presented at the state capitol.

4/25/2018  Council on Undergraduate Research publishes article (SPUR contents PDF) about the UIS Undergraduate Research Certificate program partnership with Students Transitioning for Academic Retention and Success.

4/16/18  WAND TV spot on Environmental Studies students cleaning up Lake Springfield as part of class project through Therkildsen Field Station.

4/9/18 UIS featured on Undergraduate Research Week page of the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Mark Dochterman, Kathryn Simpson, Rachael Mau, Daniel Rodriguez, Brian Chen, Keenan Dungey, Jacqualine Jarju at PUSH 2018

3/15/18  UIS students present on panel at the national Presidents United to Stop Hunger summit at UIUC

World Affairs Council and Global Climate Change

Despite the recent snow here in Springfield, climate change is real. Next week, as part of Earth Week, the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois will be sponsoring a presentation by Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Her presentation, “Climate Change as a Civil and Human Rights Issuewill present evidence that people of color, low income communities, and women are more vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.

World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council of Central Illinois, the local chapter of the World Affairs Councils of America,  was founded in 1986 by community members and faculty from Sangamon State University. The initial president was an SSU student, Mary Nolan.  UIS Faculty and students are still heavily involved in bringing international leaders to discuss issues locally: Hilary Frost, Associate Professor of Global Studies, is currently Vice President.  UIS continues to sponsor the Council, both as an Institutional Member and host for the meetings.  There’s still time to sign up for next week’s meeting: for the dinner, contact Michael Plog at 217-793-2509 or

The lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in Brookens Auditorium is free and open to the public, part of the UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speaker Series.

ECCE speaker series