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James Nowlan


Jim is a jack-of-all-trades in Illinois public affairs. He has been an Illinois legislator, statewide candidate, state agency director, senior aide to three unindicted governors, campaign manager for U.S. Senate and presidential candidates, professor, newspaper publisher and columnist.

Jim received his BA, MA and PhD degrees in political science, with minors in economics, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Whenever kicked out of government or politics, Jim has taken refuge as a senior fellow at the University’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He has also taught courses in American politics at the U. of I. in both Urbana and Chicago, Northern Illinois University, and Knox College

Jim is a “foreign expert” with the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at the elite Fudan University in Shanghai, where he has taught courses in American politics on three different occasions in recent years. When in China, Jim is also invited to give lectures at major universities throughout China, including at Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Northwestern (Xian) universities.

Jim’s many awards include Educator of the Year at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (2005), from the university’ alumni association, and the 1995 Ben C. Hubbard Award from Illinois State University for “longstanding service as an effective advocate for public education.”

Jim is the author or co-author of seven books, including Illinois Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and Fixing Illinois (U. of I. Press, 2015). Jim recently completed a four-year term as member, then chair, of the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

At present, Jim is president of Stark County Communications, which publishes newspapers in his rural home county in central Illinois