Robin Fretwell Wilson named director of IGPA

Monday, February 10, 2020

Robin Fretwell Wilson named director of IGPA

Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Illinois College of Law, has been appointed director of the U of I Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA).

Photo of Robin Fretwell WilsonWilson will assume her new role at the U of I System’s public policy research institute in a designate capacity effective Feb. 16, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees at its March 12 meeting.

She succeeds Jon S. Davis, who stepped down Jan. 15 after two years as interim director. Davis shepherded IGPA through a transitional phase that launched a strategic planning effort and expanded faculty involvement in providing fact-based information to guide policymakers.

Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Barbara J. Wilson announced the appointment today. 

“Robin brings a proven track record of working productively with policymakers in state government and at the federal level,” Wilson said. “I am confident that she will successfully build off Jon’s work and empower IGPA to best serve the U of I System and the people of Illinois.” Vice President Wilson and the new IGPA director are
not related. 

The new IGPA director brings nearly two decades of experience connecting with policymakers across the country and helping them incorporate evidence-based research into their work. Most recently, she has served as chair of IGPA’s faculty working group focused on substance use disorders. 

“It’s a distinct honor to build on IGPA’s long record of serving the people of Illinois by using evidence-based, nonpartisan research to transform policy and make Illinois a better place for all of us to flourish,” said Wilson, who is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and associate dean for public engagement at the U of I College of Law. “With the combined strength of our faculty across all three universities in the U of I System, we have tremendous potential to help Illinois meet its current challenges and to make the most of its exceptional strengths and opportunities.”

Wilson has served as director of the Family Law and Policy Program, the Epstein Program in Health Law and Policy, the Fairness for All Initiative and the Tolerance Means Dialogues program. She is a founding faculty member of the Genomic Security and Privacy Research Theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. She is also a professor in the in the Department of Biomedical and Translational Sciences at Carle Illinois College of Medicine in Urbana, and a professor in the Department of Pathology at the Urbana regional campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Her teaching and research focus on issues related to family law, health care law and bioethics.

Wilson earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Created pursuant to a 1947 resolution of the Illinois General Assembly, IGPA is a public policy research organization based in all three communities served by the U of I System – Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. 

IGPA mobilizes the U of I System’s vast faculty talent and expertise to generate research, analysis and information that are essential to thoughtful and effective public policy discussion in Illinois and beyond. As questions arise in both the public sphere and academia, IGPA scholars use the latest research methods and work together to evaluate current affairs, ask tough questions, and pinpoint possible solutions.