Executive Summary – Center for State Policy and Leadership

**The below information is from the 2006-2016 UIS Strategic Plan. For information on the current 2018-2028 Strategic Compass, visit https://www.uis.edu/strategiccompass/ **

The Center for State Policy and Leadership has been the central focus of public affairs research and service and citizen education at the University of Illinois at Springfield for more than 25 years. The Center’s policy units, the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies and the Institute for Legislative Studies, conduct policy and evaluation research and provide training and leadership development programs for a wide range of state agencies, foundations, associations and nonprofit organizations. Illinois Issues and WUIS are nationally recognized leaders in citizen education and public affairs communication. The Office of Electronic Media and the Survey Research Office provide services to academic and administrative units of UIS, state agencies, and a wide variety of nonprofit clients. The Center administers two nationally recognized internship programs. The Graduate Public Service Internship Program places over 100 graduate interns with over 20 state agencies, while the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program places 24 graduate interns with the policy staffs of the Illinois General Assembly. The Center also maintains a strong link with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum through its co-sponsorship of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.

UIS has embarked on a new era. Through its new strategic plan, it aspires to be one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the United States. The Center will play a key role in that future. We will continue to give focus and strength to the unique public affairs dimension of UIS, which is expressed in the “Making a Difference in the World” goal within the UIS strategic plan. At the same time we will continue to contribute to the core academic mission of UIS through the Center’s key role in public affairs education. The Center’s graduate internships play a major role in recruiting and supporting high quality graduate students at UIS. The Center will be an essential partner with academic units in the development and the delivery of the public affairs activities, public policy forums, lecture series, internship opportunities and policy research that will provide structure and content for the “Engaged Citizenship Common Experience” component of our new general education curriculum.

Mission Statement

The Center for State Policy and Leadership, located in the Illinois state capital, emphasizes policy and state governance.  The Center identifies and addresses public policy issues at all levels of government, promotes governmental effectiveness, fosters leadership development, engages in citizen education, and contributes to the dialogue on matters of significant public concern. Working in partnership with government, local communities, citizens, and the nonprofit sector, the Center contributes to the core mission of the University of Illinois at Springfield by mobilizing the expertise of its faculty, staff, students, and media units to carry out public affairs programs, research and dissemination, professional development and training, civic engagement, technical assistance, and public service activities.

Vision Statement

The Center for State Policy and Leadership will be an independent and nationally recognized resource for scholars and state policymakers, opinion leaders, and citizens.  The Center will be known for its high-quality, nonpartisan public policy research, innovative leadership and training programs, and timely and thought-provoking educational forums, publications, media productions and public radio broadcasts.

The Center will take an active role in the development of ethical, competent, and engaged students, faculty, staff, citizens, and community and government leaders by providing intern, civic engagement, and professional development opportunities, not only in-person but through the use of multi-media and on-line technologies.

Statement of Strategic Intent

The Center for State Policy and Leadership will build on its record of excellence in policy research, service, and media outreach and on its location in the state capital to become a premier public affairs resource while making an integral contribution to the academic mission of UIS.

Strategic Goals

Goal #1 Inform public policy and improve policy processes

The Center will inform public policy development and analysis and improve the policy process through its research, programs, and activities. This will be accomplished by pursuing a public policy research agenda that will increase understanding of public policy issues and an application/outreach agenda that will increase the knowledge and awareness of public policy issues by decision makers and opinion leaders.

Selected Programs and Initiatives: Illinois Democracy Project, Public Policy Briefings, State Capitol Report, Illinois Issues, WUIS

Goal #2 Improve public sector performance

The Center will improve public sector performance through its training and leadership programs and contract funded program evaluation research. By providing training and support for public officials, the Center will enhance the quality of public leadership and promote ethical conduct in the public and nonprofit sectors. By providing objective evaluations of public programs, the Center will improve the quality of public programs.

Selected Programs and Initiatives: Certified Public Managers Program in Illinois, Public Affairs Reporting Internship Hall of Fame

Goal #3 Increase civic knowledge and promote civic engagement

The Center will increase civic knowledge and promote civic engagement through its programs, activities, and research. Through its publications, policy forums, Website and media units, the Center will disseminate information on public policy to general audiences. Through policy summits, policy research conferences, and lecture series, the Center will foster dialogue on public affairs issues among students, staff, alumni, faculty, and other scholars and experts representing diverse perspectives. The Center will also provide opportunities and support for civic engagement for students, staff, faculty, alumni and citizens, and support scholarship on civic engagement.

Selected Programs and Initiatives: annual public policy summits, Downstate Innocence Project, Advocacy Academy, UIS Campus Channel, WUIS, Illinois Issues

Goal #4 Support of the core academic mission of UIS

The Center will play a critical support role in the core academic mission of UIS. As the focal point for public affairs at UIS, the Center’s programs and activities enhance the overall educational climate at UIS. The Center will support and enhance the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) component of the undergraduate general education curriculum through policy summits, public forums, and lecture series. Through the Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI) and the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program (ILSIP), the Center will provide and support experiential learning opportunities for graduate students. Through grant and contract funded research and graduate assistantships, the Center will provide public affairs research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.  Through the application of communication technology, the Center will extend the reach and usefulness of campus educational activities.

Selected Programs and Initiatives: Illinois Democracy Project, Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, Graduate Public Service Internship program, Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program, policy summits and public forums.

Goal #5 Increase the service and outreach of the Center

The Center will provide service to the University and outreach to the state and community through its programs and activities and through the efforts and expertise of individual faculty and staff.  The Center will seek partnerships and cooperative relations with the Illinois State government, the City of Springfield, and community and nonprofit organizations.

Selected Programs and Initiatives: Papers of Abraham Lincoln project with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Goal #6 Build the capacity and maintain the performance of the Center

The Center will build the capacity and maintain the high level of performance of the Center by adding the faculty and staff within the units necessary to achieve a critical mass of human resources. The Center will partner with other public affairs centers and institutes and academic programs to leverage center resources to better provide policy conferences, conduct collaborative research and training and professional development activities. As a highly functional and effective organization, the Center will build on existing strengths of positive interactions and support within and between units. The Center will aggressively seek to improve physical work space and upgrade technology within the Center units.

Key Initiatives and Programs: Add a research professor position, a marketing position and a development position within the central office

Resource Needs

To meet the Center’s current mission, a total of $495,370 is needed annually, plus a total of $323,000 in one-time technology and equipment upgrades.

To accomplish the Center’s stretch ideas, a total of $620,000 is requested from the University in Year 1.  This includes $325,000 in annual costs for all stretch ideas except the State Capitol Report, plus an additional $295,000 to fund the State Capitol Report in Year 1.  Year 2 costs would be $325,000 for all stretch ideas plus $270,000 for State Capitol Report.

Resource Procurement Strategy

UIS general revenue funds and UIS annual reallocation

The Center must be aggressive in securing the appropriated funds necessary to meet its obligations under the UIS strategic plan. The Center’s activities and programs contribute directly to the Making a Difference in the World goal in the UIS strategic plan.  Those activities and programs are also essential to the success of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience component of the new UIS general education curriculum.

Recapture actual costs of services provided by the Center to other campus units

Services provided by the Center to other campus units at below cost should be reimbursed at their actual costs, or appropriated dollar should be provided to off set the losses.

Grants and contracts

The Center will aggressively pursue grants and contracts to support ongoing activities and to support new initiatives consistent with its mission and the mission of UIS.


The Center will aggressively pursue private donors to meet its needs and be an essential part of the upcoming UIS capital campaign to market these needs.