Section 1


Advisory Committee


Director: Scott Althaus

Scott Althaus

Scott Althaus [email:]  joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1996 with a joint appointment in the departments of Political Science and Communication. He is currently the Charles J. and Ethel S. Merriam Professor of Political Science and Professor of Communication at the University of Illinois. He is also a faculty affiliate of the School of Information Sciences, the National Center for Supercomputer Applications, the Illinois Informatics Institute, and the Institute for Computing in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Professor Althaus's research and teaching interests explore the communication processes that support political accountability in democratic societies and that empower political discontent in non-democratic societies. His interests focus on four areas of inquiry: (1) how journalists construct news coverage about public affairs, (2) how leaders attempt to shape news coverage for political advantage, (3) how citizens use news coverage for making sense of public affairs, and (4) how the opinions of citizens are communicated to leaders through collective preferences, such as the results of opinion polls, and through collective behaviors, such as civil unrest. He has particular interests in popular support for war, data science methods for extreme-scale analysis of news coverage, cross-national comparative research on political communication, the psychology of information processing, and communication concepts in democratic theory. Professor Althaus serves on the editorial boards of Critical Review, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Political Communication, and Public Opinion Quarterly. His research has appeared in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, Communication Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Political Communication. His book on the political uses of opinion surveys in democratic societies, Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics: Opinion Surveys and the Will of the People (Cambridge University Press, 2003) , was awarded a 2004 Goldsmith Book Prize by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and a 2004 David Easton Book Prize by the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association. He was named 2014-15 Faculty Fellow at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC, a 2004-5 Beckman Associate by the UIUC Center for Advanced Studies, and a 2003-4 Helen Corley Petit Scholar by the UIUC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2013, he was honored with a Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIUC, and his undergraduate and graduate courses regularly appear on the university's "List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students.

You can visit Director Althaus's website here:



Catherine Blake

Donna Cox

Catherine Blake[email:] is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with affiliate appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Medical Information Science. At the iSchool, she serves as associate director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship and is an active member of the Socio-technical Data Analytics group.

Her primary research goal is to accelerate scientific discovery by synthesizing evidence from text. Her techniques embrace both automated and human approaches that are required to resolve contradictions and redundancies that are inevitable in an information-intensive world.

Blake earned master’s and doctoral degrees in information and computer science at the University of California, Irvine and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science at the University of Wollongong.

You can visit Professor Cox's website here:



Dov Cohen

Dov Cohen

Dov Cohen [email:] has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois and the University of Waterloo in Canada. He is currently professor of psychology with affiliations in the College of Law and the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies.  He is the co-author or co-editor of the books: Handbook of Cultural Psychology, Culture of Honor, and Culture and Social Behavior. Among other topics, he has done research on culture; religion; language use; concepts of face, dignity, and honor; violence; and legal policy and practice.

You can visit Professor Cohen's website here:






Donna Cox

Donna Cox

Donna Cox [email:]   Donna J. Cox, MFA, PhD, is the University of Illinois’s first Michael Aiken Chair, Director of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Director of the Illinois Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media Institute (eDream), and Professor in the School of Art and Design at the College of Fine and Applied Arts. She is a member of the NCSA leadership team, and is a recognized pioneer in scientific visualization for public outreach and education and originator of the collaborative model of Renaissance Teams and the concept of visaphors (digital metaphors of computational science).

Through public outreach projects, Dr. Cox and her collaborators have inspired millions with cinematic virtual tours through astrophysics, earth sciences, engineering, and other data domains. AVL’s work is shared through venues such as international digital-dome museum shows, high-definition documentary television programs, and IMAX movies.

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry selected Dr. Cox as one of 40 modern Leonardo DaVinci’s. As Director of eDream Institute, she is working with Illinois campus leadership to build a new interdisciplinary academic research and education program that includes visualization and interactive performance.

You can visit Professor Cox's website here:



James Kuklinski

James Kuklinski

James Kuklinski [email:] is Matthew T. McClure Professor in the Department of Political Science at UIUC and also a faculty member in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. His work focuses on public opinion and political psychology, including the extent of misinformation among citizens and their interpretations of events in ways that help them maintain their existing beliefs and preferences. Recently, he and coauthors have been asking whether and how random assignment experiments can be used to study and understand a world that is not random. His recent Institute work has investigated ways to broaden citizen participation in the crucially important and poorly understood reapportionment process that occurs every ten years.

You can visit Professor Kuklinksi's website here:




Robert Lawless

Robert Lawless

Robert Lawless [email:] is the Max L. Rowe Professor of Law and co-director of the Program on Law, Behavior and Social Science. He served as the College's associate dean for research from 2013-16.

Lawless specializes in bankruptcy, consumer credit, and business law. He is a new co-author for the eighth edition of Secured Transactions: A Systems Approach, a leading textbook on secured transactions. He also joins Professors Jennifer K. Robbennolt and Thomas S. Ulen as the co-author of Empirical Methods in Law, a textbook on empirical methodologies as applied to the study of law and newly released in a second edition in 2016.

Professor Lawless administers and contributes to the blog Credit Slips, a discussion on credit, finance, and bankruptcy. He also participates in the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, a long-term research project studying persons who file bankruptcy. Professor Lawless is a member of the American Law Institute, the National Bankruptcy Conference, and the American College of Bankruptcy. He has testified before Congress, and his work has been featured in media outlets such as CNN, CNBC, NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the National Law Journal, the L.A. Times, and the Financial Times. Professor Lawless is also one of the College's regular contributors to Legal Issues in the News on WILL-AM 580.

A native Illinoisan, Professor Lawless earned both his undergraduate degree in accounting and his law degree from the University of Illinois. During law school, he served as editor-in-chief of the University of Illinois Law Review. Prior to joining the Illinois faculty in 2006, Professor Lawless was the Gordon & Silver, Ltd., Professor of Law at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law. From 1993 to 2002, he was on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and he has been a visiting faculty member at the University of Illinois, Ohio State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Lawless began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable Harlington Wood, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then practiced law in Washington, D.C., with the firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger.

You can find Professor Lawless' website here:



Ruby Mendenhall

Ruby Mendenhall

Ruby Mendenhall [email:] is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She holds joint faculty appointments in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work. She is currently a Faculty member at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and a Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Women and Gender in Global Perspective, and Gender and Women Studies. She is the recipient of the Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar for outstanding achievements in research and leadership on campus. She is also a Grand Challenge Learning Teaching Fellow in the Health Track. Mendenhall’s research focuses on racial microaggressions in higher education. She examines how living in racially segregated neighborhoods with high levels of violence affects Black mothers’ mental and physical health using qualitative, quantitative and genomic analysis. She is attempting to recover Black women’s lost history by using topic modeling and data visualization to examine over 800,000 documents from 1740 to 2014. Mendenhall also does research on racial microaggressions and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). She teaches the following courses: Research Methods; Social Stratification; Urban Communities and Public Policy; Black Women in Contemporary U.S. Society; Genes and Behavior: Black Mothers in Englewood from Science to Society; and Stress and Health in Urban Communities. Her research has appeared in academic journals such as Social Forces, Social Science Research, Demography, Housing Policy Debate, The Review of Black Political Economy, The Black Scholar, and Social Service Review. 

You can find ProfessorMendenhall's website here:



Peter F. Nardulli

Peter Nardulli

Peter F. Nardulli [email:] is Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the founding Director of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research, and the editor of a book series with the University of Illinois Press: Democracy, Free Enterprise and the Rule of Law. He has been on the faculty at UIUC since 1974 and served as department head in Political Science from 1992 until 2006. Nardulli is the author of six books on various aspects of the American legal process and empirical democratic theory; he has edited another five books. His most recent works include Popular Efficacy in the Democratic Era: A Re-examination of Electoral Accountability in the U.S., 1828-2000 (Princeton University Press, 2005); Democracy in the 21st Century: Domestic Perspectives (University of Illinois Press, 2008, editor) and Democracy in the 21st Century: International Perspectives (University of Illinois Press, 2008, editor). He has authored a number of articles in journals such at the American Political Science Review, Public Choice, Political Communication, Political Behavior and a number of law reviews. Nardulli is currently directing a global study, the Societal Infrastructures and Development Project (SID). SID uses a number of innovative methodologies to examine the impact of political, legal and economic institutions on a wide range of societal development indicators (economic growth, human rights, societal stability, environmental quality, educational attainment etc.). 

You can visit Professor Nardulli's website here:



Dan Roth

Dan Roth

Dan Roth [email:] is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a University of Illinois Scholar. He is the director of the DHS funded Center for Multimodal Information Access & Synthesis (MIAS) and has faculty positions also at the Statistics and Linguistics Departments and at the graduate School of Library and Information Science. Roth is a Fellow of the ACM, AAAI, and ACL, for his contributions to the foundations of machine learning and inference and for developing learning centered solutions for natural language processing problems.

He has published broadly in machine learning, natural language processing, knowledge representation and reasoning and learning theory, and has developed advanced machine learning based tools for natural language applications that are being used widely by the research community. Prof. Roth has given keynote talks in major conferences, including AAAI, The Conference of the American Association Artificial Intelligence; EMNLP, The Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, and ECML & PKDD, the European Conference on Machine Learning and the Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases. He has also presented several tutorials in universities and conferences including at ACL and the European ACL and has won several teaching and best paper awards.

Roth was the program chair of AAAI'11 and was the program chair of CoNLL'02 and of ACL'03; he has served as an area chair and senior program committee member on all major conferences in his research areas, and has been on the editorial board of several journals in his research areas. Roth is currently the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) and will serve as Editor-in-Chief for a two-year term beginning in 2015.

Prof. Roth got his B.A Summa cum laude in Mathematics from the Technion, Israel and his Ph.D in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1995.

You can visit Professor Roth's website here:



Shaowen Wang


Shaowen Wang [email:] is a Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science (Primary), Computer Science, Library and Information Science, and Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he is named a Centennial Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is also Associate Director for CyberGIS and a Senior Research Scientist of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and Founding Director of the CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies and CyberInfrastructure and Geospatial Information Laboratory. He holds affiliate appointments within UIUC’s Computational Science and Engineering Graduate Program and Illinois Informatics Institute. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from Tianjin University in 1995, MS in Geography from Peking University in 1998, and MS of Computer Science and PhD in Geography from the University of Iowa in 2002 and 2004 respectively. His research and teaching interests center on three interrelated themes: 1) computational and geographic information sciences; 2) advanced cyberinfrastructure, cyberGIS, and geospatial data science; and 3) multi-scale geospatial problem solving and spatiotemporal analytics. His research has been actively supported by multiple US government agencies and industry. He has published a number of peer-reviewed papers including articles in more than 15 journals. He has served as an Action Editor of GeoInformatica, and guest editor or editorial board member for seven other journals, book series and proceedings. He is serving as the President of the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences. He served on the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science Board of Directors from 2009 to 2012, and was appointed two terms as a Councilor of the Open Science Grid Consortium. He was a visiting scholar at Lund University sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2006 and NCSA Fellow in 2007, and received the NSF CAREER Award in 2009.

You can find Professor Wang's website here:



Cara Wong

Cara Wong

Cara Wong [email:] is Associate Professor of Political Science and of Asian American Studies. Wong is author of Boundaries of Obligation in American Politics (2010, Cambridge University Press), and she has published numerous articles in edited volumes and journals, including the Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Political Behavior. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois. Wong holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her areas of specialization are public opinion and political behavior; political psychology; race and ethnicity; and citizenship and immigration.

You can find Professor Wong's website here: