University of Illinois at Springfield
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Cheryl Peck

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This Year



Institute director at UIS accepts position in California

July 19, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - Ernest L. Cowles, director of the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will become director of the Institute for Social Research and professor of sociology at California State University at Sacramento. He will leave UIS in mid-August after being in his current position for the last 10 years.

The Institute is located in UIS’ Center for State Policy and Leadership under the interim directorship of Barbara E. Ferrara.  Dr. Cowles also served as interim executive director of the Institute for Public Affairs and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center for Governmental Studies, precursors to the Center for State Policy and Leadership.  His specialization is criminology and he has worked extensively with law enforcement, corrections and community groups on issues involving drug law enforcement and drug treatment, prison and youth programs, and community policing.

Before coming to UIS, Dr. Cowles was a faculty member and researcher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.  He has also taught at Truman State University in Missouri and served as a deputy director of corrections and human services in that state.

Carol Esarey, senior training coordinator in the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies for the past 14 years, will serve as interim director during fall semester.  Nancy Ford, professor of legal studies and jointly appointed faculty member in the Institute, will serve as interim director beginning January 1, 2005, and continue until a permanent director is hired.  Professor Ford, who joined the faculty in 1979, previously served as director of the Center for Legal Studies and the Institute for Public Affairs at UIS.

The Institute for Legal and Policy Studies conducts projects and programs that contribute to the understanding and improvement of the legal system and executive branch of government in ways accessible to scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and the general public.  Faculty and professional staff direct a variety of activities, including research, training, technical assistance, public service and education.

Originally developed as the Center for Legal Studies in 1977, the Institute broadened its focus to include administrative and policy studies in 2002.  Over the years, the Institute has become known for its applied research work, including program evaluation and policy impact assessment in the justice, human services delivery and community development areas.  Its long-standing training programs in the adult and juvenile probation fields and with DUI assessment demonstrate the Institute’s commitment to connection scholarly research with informed decision-making by community and governmental leaders.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.