Blake Wood
Publish Date

Sean McCandless, Ph.D., assistant professor of public administration at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2021. The award, considered the university system’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship. Only one faculty member receives the annual award at UIS.

McCandless has gained a national reputation in the discipline of public administration with particular emphases on social equity, policing, critical pedagogy and studies on underrepresented populations. His research resides at the intersections of law, public management and politics. In the classroom, he employs techniques such as the “flipped classroom” where lectures are provided online prior to class time, which is used for students to apply the material through case studies. He also allows students to rewrite assignments to improve their understanding of the material.

With Mary Guy, professor of public affairs at the University of Colorado Denver, he co-edited the book “Achieving Social Equity: From Problems to Solutions.” He is also currently editing other scholarly book volumes and journal symposia focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in public administration. He is also co-editor of Routledge Publishing’s social equity in public administration book series. His research is published in Public Administration Review, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Public Integrity, the Journal of Public Affairs Education and several edited volumes.

McCandless serves on several journal editorial boards, including serving as a managing editor (Public Integrity), case study editor (Journal of Public Affairs Education) and associate editor (Administrative Theory & Praxis). He currently serves as chair of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA)’s section on democracy and social justice and is a past ASPA Founders Fellow and International Young Scholar.

He received his doctorate in Public Affairs from the School of Public Affairs of the University of Colorado Denver. In addition to working as an assistant professor at UIS, he serves as associate director of the Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA) program.

As University Scholar, McCandless will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

For more information on the award, contact Blake Wood, UIS assistant director of public relations, at 217-206-6716 or