Spring 2021 Events


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Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis and restrictions on large gatherings,  ECCE Speaker Series will not host any live events during the Spring 2021 semester.

Instead, all Spring 2021 events will be pre-recorded and available on our Video on Demand page.    A listing of the Spring 2021 ECCE Speaker Series pre-recorded events, as well as the dates those recordings will be available, are listed below and can also be found in our Spring 2021 ECCE Speaker Series (Virtual) Schedule .

Recordings of ECCE Speaker Series events from previous semesters are also available on our  Video on Demand page.

Live ECCE Speaker Series events will resume in a future semester once Illinois enters Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan when large gatherings are again permitted.

Spring 2021 ECCE Speaker Series Event Schedule

The Status of Black Lives Matter:  A Shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform | Panel | Recording Available February 8

As part of Black History Month, this panel discussion will encourage students and the general audience to learn about the societal issues that inform and led to the formation and evolution of the Black Lives Matter Movement.  This event will help students recognize their social responsibility by highlighting issues related to policing, healthcare, housing, and other economic disparities in the African American community, in twenty-first century America.

Tessica Dooley is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield.  She also serves as Director of the Pre-Law Center. She has been a licensed attorney for 14 years, and is recognized for excellence in her area of practice, Employee Benefits law.  She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the William H. Bowen School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Arkansas. Her dedication to social justice and racial equity is evidenced by her engagement, encouragement, and mentoring of first-generation college students, as well as community initiatives that bring light to racial inequalities.

Ty Dooley is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas, a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Memphis, and he received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Central Arkansas. Dr. Dooley’s research areas include: social justice, critical race, social equity and community development. Previously, Dr. Dooley has served on the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Memphis, and at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Justin J. Rose is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Illinois Springfield. Justin holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield. Rose is in progress of obtaining a doctoral degree (Ed.D), in Higher Education, at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. As a researcher, educator and scholar-practitioner in the areas of Race, Culture and Justice within higher education, Rose employs Critical Race Theory; Multicultural Education; Student-Development Theory; Education Policy & Organizational Leadership; & Persistence and Retention for Historically Underrepresented Groups into his daily work/purpose. As an active community member/activist back at home in Chicago, and currently in Springfield, Rose has been recognized by many organizations for his commitment to service. Rose, is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. and holds numerous affiliations/membership in organizations of distinction.

Tiffani Saunders is a lecturer in the departments of Sociology/Anthropology and African American Studies at UIS. Her research and teaching interests include race and ethnicity, family, mental health, African American dance, and African American comedy. She is also engaged in public sociology-using the theories and methods of the discipline to engage the surrounding community, including co-facilitating an anti-racism book club with area teachers and coordinating the Hip Hop Xpress for the Springfield area (grant-funded project).


Race, Policing, and Activism for Accountability in Black Chicago: A Black History Month Panel | Simon Balto and Andrew Baer | Recording Available February 15

Co-Sponsored by Department of Sociology and Anthropology, UIS Black History Month Ad Hoc Academic Committee, History Department, and Brookens Library

What are the roots of the current turmoil over race and policing? How have Chicago’s Black communities held law enforcement accountable? For Black History Month, we bring together in conversation two important new voices in the history of race and Chicago policing. Dr. Simon Balto introduces the development of racially repressive policing over 50 years and how Black activists have challenged police violence through a discussion of his book Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (UNC Press, 2019). Dr. Andrew Baer addresses police torture of men of color and community resistance through themes from his book Beyond the Usual Beating: The Jon Burge Police Torture Scandal and Social Movements for Police Accountability in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2020).

Following the lecture, a panel of UIS students, faculty, and staff members will address the importance of these histories to Illinois and the lessons they offer for today.

Professor Simon Balto (University of Iowa Depts. of History and African American Studies) book Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (UNC Press, 2019) explores the development of a police system in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods. With his work featured in Time Magazine and The Washington Post, he is currently writing a biography of Fred Hampton, the leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party who was assassinated by the FBI and the Chicago Police Dept. in 1969 at the age of 21.

Professor Andrew Baer (University of Alabama Birmingham Depts. of History and African American Studies) studies race and policing in the 20th Century U.S. city.  He also writes about Black capitalism and the anti-death penalty movement in Illinois (1996-2011).

Devin Hunter, Assistant Professor of History, UIS. Co-organizer and Presentation Moderator

Hinda Seif, Associate Professor of Women/Gender Studies and Sociology/Anthropology UIS. Co-organizer and Panel Moderator

Discussion Panelists: 

Robert Dixon, Director of Government Affairs, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and UIS graduate (B.S. 2013 Political Science, M.P.A 2017)

Ty Dooley, Associate Professor of Public Administration, UIS

Justin Rose, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, UIS

Aislinn Diaz​, UIS Student

Sierra Roberts, UIS Student

Briana Rodriguez, UIS Student


Immigration and Detention Centers: The Trauma They Live In | Panel | Recording Available March 8

Co-Sponsored by Women’s Center, Child Advocacy Studies, Department of Legal Studies, Department of Political Science Diversity Center, Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), and Students Helping Detention Centers

Join us for a dynamic panel discussion on the impact of detention centers on the women and children housed within. The policies of family separation and detention of asylum speakers have been publicized and politicized. In this panel, we will discuss what that trauma actually means for the real people it effects every day. What can it mean for a child to be separated from parents at a young age? Why would mothers and families risk separation at the border? From what are they fleeing? How can our immigration laws and policies be changed in ways that are more meaningful and humane?

Deborah Anthony is a professor of Legal Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. She previously practiced law representing low-income clients in the areas of domestic violence, divorce, housing, employment, civil rights, and discrimination.  She conducts research in modern and historical gender law and politics, constitutional law, family law, employment discrimination, and the legality of the current practices of the U.S. Border Patrol. In her work with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, she visited multiple Border Patrol detention centers and interviewed children detained there to assess whether they are being treated humanely and according to existing legal requirements. She has traveled to Texas on several occasions to represent women and children asylum seekers in privately-owned detention centers.

Betsy Goulet is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the UIS Child Advocacy Studies Program (CAST) in the College of Public Affairs and Administration. For over thirty years, Dr. Goulet has worked in child protection, serving as the founding director of the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center and working as the Children’s Policy Advisor to the Illinois Attorney General. She also started the State Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers in Illinois and served as the organization’s first president.

Tiffany Nielson, Ph.D., LPC is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development Counseling Department and co-coordinates the marriage, couple, and family concentration. She teaches courses in topics including child and adult abuse and trauma, family dynamics, couple counseling, and child and adolescent counseling. She has clinical experience in working with child survivors of sexual abuse and their families, adults, and couple counseling.


What Could It Mean to Say,  “Capitalism Causes Sexism and Racism?” | Vanessa Wills | Recording Available March 15

Co-Sponsored by UIS New Voices in Racial Justice, Department of Philosophy, Department of Political Science, Diversity Center, & Women’s Center

Political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist, Dr. Vanessa Wills will present What Could It Mean to Say, “Capitalism Causes Sexism and Racism?” The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with philosophers of race and gender.

Marxism is often understood as class reductionism that erases the significance of race and gender in themselves. But Wills forcefully argues that an accurate analysis of the relationships amongst capitalism, racism, and sexism reveals the crucial causal role each plays in the existence of the others. Thus, a struggle against one of these is central “to the struggles against any of the others.”  As social and political beings in a world in which economic factors shape our race, sex and class, this means that we create the world in which oppression happens.  So, we can change the world to make antisexist and antiracist efforts more successful to better pursue a just and equitable society.

Vanessa Wills is a political philosopher, ethicist, educator, and activist working in Washington, DC as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The George Washington University. In 2019/20, she was the DAAD Visiting Chair in Ethics and Practice at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität’s Munich Center for Ethics.  Her areas of specialization are moral, social, and political philosophy, nineteenth century German philosophy, and philosophy of race. Her research is importantly informed by Karl Marx’s work, and focuses on the ways in which economic and social arrangements can inhibit or promote the realization of values such as freedom, equality, and human development.  Dr. Wills is on the editorial board of Spectre Journal, a journal of Marxist theory, strategy, and analysis. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of Pittsburgh in 2011, conducted dissertation research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar, and received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Princeton University in 2002.

Roxanne Marie Kurtz, UIS Associate Professor of Philosophy will moderate the panel discussion that will follow the presentation.


Musings of a Black Girl: The Poetry & Insights of Brittany Marshall | Brittany Marshall | Recording Available March 22

Co-Sponsored by the Shelterbelt Reading Series and the Department of English and Modern Languages

Brittany Marshall’s creative work is centered on themes of mental health, joy, and Blackness, specifically Black womanhood. As part of her feature in the Shelterbelt reading series Brittany Marshall will read and perform some of her renowned original poetry.

Marshall’s evocative poems reflect on legacies of trauma in homes and homelands, traumas of the black body and the religious body and the body politic.  Her “musings” offer meditations on attempting to grow out of those legacies and charter a new birthright.  Her writing is distilled and unapologetic, saturated with melanin magic, a garden of words like seeds that float your fears and your wishes in the wind, seeds that attempt to grow the world into something like a flower.

Brittany Marshall was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is a high school English teacher and a queer Black woman poet.  Marshall published her first book of poetry, Musings of a Black Girl, in 2017. She is currently the Poet Laureate of Baton Rouge (2020-2021).

This event is part of the UIS Shelterbelt Reading Series, which brings writers of national reputation to UIS each semester.  To learn more about the series visit https://www.uis.edu/englishmodernlanguages/students/shelterbelt/


Climate Change Action: A Civic Responsibility | Don Wuebbles | Julie Maldonado | Debra Jacobson | Recording Available April 5

Co-Sponsored by UIS Department of Environmental Science, UIS Sustainability Committee, and World Affairs Council of Central Illinois

What is climate change and how serious is it? How do I know climate change is real? How will climate change impact me, my and other communities, the economy, Illinois, the U.S., and our planet? I’m only one person… How can what I do make any difference?

UIS welcomes Professor Don Wuebbles (Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois and White House expert on climate science under the Obama administration), Dr. Julie Maldonado (Associate Director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network), and Debra Jacobson (Associate Director, Prairie Research Institute) who together will provide answers to these and other questions raised about climate change, its impacts on society and ecosystems, and the need for climate change adaptation and mitigation response.

Don Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. He has led international and national scientific assessments, including as Coordinating Lead Author on several international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that resulted in IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dr. Wuebbles is a recipient of the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award from the American Geophysical Union.

Julie Maldonado is a public anthropologist who has consulted for the UN Development Programme and World Bank on resettlement, post-disaster needs assessments, and climate change. She worked for the US Global Change Research Program and is an author on the 3rd and 4th US National Climate Assessments. Her book, Seeking Justice in an Energy Sacrifice Zone: Standing on Vanishing Land in Coastal Louisiana, and co-edited volume, Challenging the Prevailing Paradigm of Displacement and Resettlement: Risks, Impoverishment, Legacies, Solutions, were released in 2018. Dr. Maldonado is a Lecturer at UC Santa Barbara (Environmental Studies Program).

Debra Jacobson, an environmental engineer, leads the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center’s (ISTC) Technical Assistance Program and serves as the Operations Director for the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the Illinois State Water Survey. Ms. Jacobson provides technical, environmental, and safety compliance assistance to industrial facilities within Illinois, and works closely with federal, state, and local government agencies and industry trade groups on environmental matters affecting industry.

Julia Wasik will serve as the student moderator for this event.  Julia is a UIS sophomore in the Capital Scholars Honors Program majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Legal Studies.  Julia is passionate about finding inclusive, interdisciplinary solutions for global climate change.​


Weaving Conservation Into the Tapestry of Our Lives: A Forest Ecologist’s Perspective | Nalini Nadkarni | Recording Available April 12

Co-Sponsored by UIS Sustainability Committee, Brookens Library, College of Business and Management, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation

Nalini Nadkarni’s work has taken her from rainforest canopies on four continents to prison cellblocks across the nation. As an advocate for inclusive environmental stewardship, her lifelong concern for trees has allowed her to commune with wildlife like Bill Nye the Science Guy, corporate executives, and rap singers, as well as more traditional forest fauna. Her engagement with non-traditional public groups has fostered two TED talks and articles in journals from Science to Playboy Magazine. She has innovated hands-on conservation programs that partner with incarcerated populations. She has conveyed ecological messages into spiritual discourse through guest sermons to diverse faith-based congregations.

In her Earth Week keynote address, Dr. Nadkarni will speak about engaging audiences outside traditional realms of the scientific enterprise. Her experiences will launch question & answer sessions to empower students to engage with their broader communities to both provide and receive information and ideas about our world.


Talking Black in America | Walt Wolfram | Recording Available April 23

Co-Sponsored by Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS) and Department of English & Modern Languages

NOTE:  It is suggested that viewers first watch the film before watching the recording of the keynote address.  The film can be viewed for free at:  https://vimeo.com/288596262 Password: TBiA DVD

Serving as the keynote address at the 2021 Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS), this film and discussion addresses the creativity and resilience of people living through oppression, segregation and the fight for equality, and the powerful identity forged by a shared heritage are all expressed inthe ways African Americans communicate. TALKING BLACK in AMERICA chronicles the incredible impact of African American English on American language and culture. Filmed across the United States and beyond, this documentary is a revelation of language as legacy, identity and triumph over adversity. The executive producer, Professor Walt Wolfram, a world-renowned sociolinguistics researcher and educator, will answer questions and discuss African American language variation and its social implications.

Walt Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, where he also directs the North Carolina Language and Life Project. He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s and published 23 books and over 300 articles. Over the last two decades, he and his students have conducted more than 3,500 sociolinguistic interviews with residents of North Carolina and beyond, primarily under funding from the National Science Foundation. In addition to his research interests, Professor Wolfram is particularly interested in the application of sociolinguistic information to the public, including the production of a number of television documentaries, the construction of museum exhibits, and the development of an innovative formal and informal materials related to language diversity. He has received numerous awards, including the North Carolina Award (the highest award given to a citizen of North Carolina), Caldwell Humanities Laureate from the NC Humanities Council, the Holladay Medal at NC State, the Linguistics, Language and the Public Award from the Linguistic Society of America and the Board of Governors’ Holshauser Award for Public Service. He has also served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.