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Public Affairs Reporting program director Jason Piscia was honored this week with the University of Illinois Springfield's Spencer Faculty Service Award for his work in and outside the university to strengthen and serve the journalism profession.

Chancellor Gooch posing with Jason Piscia who is holding an award.
UIS Chancellor Janet Gooch, left, and PAR director Jason Piscia.

Honoring Robert Spencer, founding president of Sangamon State University, the award recognizes faculty who best exemplify the ideal of the “professor-citizen” through public service and service to the academic community.

Piscia came to UIS in 2019 to lead the highly successful PAR program. He has already made a significant impact with 31 service activities across multiple levels since joining UIS. Piscia has engaged in service focusing on the promotion of journalism’s role in a democratic society, informing others on current student journalism and educating the public on current governmental issues. 

Among his activities, Piscia:

  • Served on the Illinois Journalism Task Force, which recommended policy changes intended to restore strong journalism to underserved areas of Illinois. Some of the recommendations have been written into legislation that is under review at the Statehouse;
  • Serves as president of the Vidette Publication Board to help manage the vision for Illinois State University’s student newspaper;
  • Serves at recording secretary of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and helps plan the organization's biannual conventions;
  • Serves on the Illinois Press Foundation board, which supports Capitol News Illinois, a wire service that provides Statehouse coverage to media outlets throughout the state;
  • Secured a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to supplement the salaries of PAR students while they're working as Statehouse reporting interns;
  • Co-directs UIS' Journalism and Podcasting Camp for high school students during the summer and secured an Illinois Press Foundation grant to help support the event;
  • Frequently appears as a source or guest on news reports or talk shows to speak about journalism issues, including on WSIU's CapitolView television show;
  • Led educational sessions and reviewed student journalism at the annual Illinois College Press Association convention;
  • Serves as a judge for several journalism-related contests, including the Iowa College Media Association, Illinois Press Association, Association of Alternative News Media and State Education Association Communicators;
  • Guest lectures for courses at UIS, Illinois State University and high schools about journalism and media literacy.

Read more about other UIS faculty who were honored with awards this year.