Monday, May 3, 2010

UIS to host national State Politics and Policy Conference in Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield will host the 10th annual State Politics and Policy Conference (SPPC) from June 3-5 with the theme “Political Scientists Meet Political Practitioners in the States – How Can We Help?” The core of the SPPC will be a series of 20 panels of political scientists presenting their cutting edge research on state legislatures, governors, policy, federalism, and more. These scholars will come from around the country and even overseas. Approximately 150 people will attend. This annual national conference is hosted by a different university every year; this is the first time the event has been held in Illinois.

“UIS was chosen to host this special 10th anniversary SPPC because it has been the focal point of the renaissance of scholarship into state politics and policy in political science over the past decade,” said Chris Mooney, UIS political science professor and co-chair of the event.

An opening reception and roundtable featuring former governors from four different states, entitled “How Can Political Scientists Contribute to Politics and Government?”, will kick-off the conference on Thursday, June 3. Former Governors Jim Edgar (R) of Illinois (1991-1999), Madeleine Kunin (D) of Vermont (1985-1991), Parris Glendening (D) of Maryland (1995-2003), and Bob Taft (R) of Ohio (1999-2007) will take part in the discussion; Dr. Robert Rich, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, will moderate. The event will be held at the Old State Capitol. Guests may start to arrive at 7 p.m., with the round table discussion taking place from 8 to 10 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and no registration is required. Media may arrive starting at 7 p.m. for individual interviews before the event.

“The assembly of so many and so diverse a group of former state leaders is a rare event, and it will be held in an historic setting-- the Hall of Representatives of the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield,” said Mooney.

On Friday, June 4 the SPPC will host a banquet in the rotunda of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Alan Ehrenhalt, Director of Information for the Pew Center on the States will be speaking on the topic of “Governors: Success and Failure”. A reception begins at 6 p.m. and Ehrenhalt will take the stage at 8 p.m. The banquet is only open to conference registrants. The media are welcome to attend the presentation and may arrive between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for individual interviews.

Twenty panel discussions are scheduled on the UIS campus on Friday, June 4, and Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a full list of topics, paper presenters, and times visit the conference’s website at These panels are free and open to the public with no registration required.

Mooney helped establish the annual SPPCs in 2001, when he founded what has become the most important academic journal in the field, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, in partnership with the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership. The conference began as a way to support and augment the journal.

“Hosting the 10th Annual State Politics and Policy Conference is a major boost to the prestige and national standing of UIS,” said Mooney. “For UIS to be selected as the first small university to host the SPPC is a significant honor.”

Previous hosts have included the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Arizona, and Michigan State University, among other large, research-oriented universities. Last year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University co-hosted the SPPC, and next year, it will be held at Dartmouth College.

The SPPC conference sponsors include the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration.

For more information visit the conference’s website at Contact information for Chris Mooney is 217/206-6573 or and Barbara Ferrara at 217/206-7094 or

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