Bill Siles

Dr. Bill SilesAnchor link to Bill Siles videoWatch Siles’ best things about UIS


Meet Bill Siles
Associate Professor,



  • B.A. History: SUNY-Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
  • M.A. History: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Ph.D. History: University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • I got involved in the study of American history in my childhood.
    When I was growing up outside of Buffalo, New York, I asked
    my neighbors who built my house;
    I asked my barber how the business A quote by Dr. Bill Siles, "We're big enough to offer a comprehensive education, but small enough to develop good relationships among students and faculty."area developed.
    I learned some very interesting answers.
    From there, I found that I had an interest in political history and I followed American history and Political history as an undergraduate in the University of Buffalo. I have side interests in the 1920s, Revivalism and American Agricultural History.

Interesting facts:

  • I like classical music, jazz, bicycling and sailing. I’ve always enjoyed sailing on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine. I like baseball and I follow the Red Sox. I also have a really strong interest in the game of squash. I usually play squash twice a week at our recreation center. I hope to get a group of undergraduates playing the game.Dr. Siles playing Squash.

    Dr. Siles playing squash at the UIS rec center.

Major project underway:

  • I have finished a first draft of a manuscript on the peopling of central and western New York after the American Revolution. That’s the part that has to do with the urban frontier—the way in which civilization moved across the country. I maintain that it is on the basis of group settlement and the actual survey of land into parcels that were designed to be villages and towns.

Learning philosophy:

  • I think the Socratic dialogue and the use of critical reading skills are foremost, then our discussion based on understandings gleaned from the reading, and then the application of those understandings.

Community Connections:

  • I have sat on a variety of boards for the community such as the Springfield Art Association, the Museum of Funeral Customs, and others. In the fall, I hope to teach squash at TRAC, our recreation center on campus.

Advice to prospective students:

  • Be able to study and socialize. The very best students are those who can get good grades and still enjoy the undergraduate experience. That is a trick that requires self discipline and ruthless organization. Be very well organized and manage your time well. If you can be organized, you can devote certain amounts of your time to your studies and being a good student, yet still have time for social activities. Get As in both areas.

Best things about UIS and the History program: