On Friday, January 26th, LER welcomed the new Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, John Coleman, to his first visit to the School. He was joined by his leadership team (including LER alumna and Vice-Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategy, Reitumetse Mabokela). Provost Coleman joined the campus in July 2023 from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and spoke highly of the university and his excitement for the future. Read on to see the showcase of the School …

Faculty Research:

Professor Richard Benton, Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Illinois Climate Jobs Institute, reviewed his shared research with Professor Eunmi Mun on the annual Illinois Corporate Board Diversity Reports. He also gave a brief overview of the new Illinois Climate Jobs Institute, which he and Associate Director for Research, Linda Larsen, are working towards in the coming months.

Professor Simon Restubog spoke about his current research that examines the impact of HIV stigma on emotional response (i.e., fear and shame) and how these emotional responses subsequently predict work effectiveness. This study has specifically taken place in the Philippines, the country with the highest HIV infection growth rate in Asia.

Assistant Professor Augustus Wood presented his research in his book Class Warfare in Black Atlanta: African American Grassroots Struggles, Power, and Repression Under Gentrification. This focuses on the violent process of gentrification being more than a “housing crisis” and, first and foremost, a labor crisis.

Assistant Professor Tingting Zhang spoke about her research about the power resources workers activate in their social media discussions and whether their voice can lead to workplace changes. Zhang used tech workers in China as her research setting, examining the overworking of developers who work long hours to the detriment of their health.


Professor Emily E. LB. Twarog, Associate Professor and Director of the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference, spoke about the Polk School and its successes in the past years. She also gave insight into the research conducted by her and Stephanie Fortado, Co-Director of the Women’s Leadership Conference, on women’s leadership in labor unions, with data collected from alumni of the school.

Student Profiles:

Third-year PhD student Kwon Hee Han introduced the Doctoral Program in LER. He stated that the program’s defining qualities were unique research, workshops, conferences, and financial assistance.

MHRIR December 2024 candidates Mac Hallgren, T’Keya Hicks, and Amy La Scala told their unique stories on how they decided on a career in human resources and what they’ve accomplished in their short time on campus. Their main takeaways were the impacts of the program, their growing professional network, the travel opportunities, and the broad skills developed brought them to the School. Mac will intern at UnitedHealth Group, T’Keya with General Mills, and Amy with PepsiCo this summer.

Thank you to the Provost for learning about our School and what we provide for students, as well as the accomplishments made by faculty, staff, and alumni. We look forward to the impact that Provost Coleman and the rest of the organization will make in years to come.