Our Leadership

IGPA’s leadership team uses their experience and expertise in the policy world to lift the work of scholars from across the University of Illinois System.

Robin Fretwell Wilson

Director of Institute of Government and Public Affairs 

Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) for the University of Illinois System and the Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law at the University of Illinois College of Law.  Professor Wilson co-leads IGPA’s Equity, Justice and Human Flourishing Working Group. A prolific scholar, Professor Wilson is a member of the American Law Institute, a MacArthur grant co-investigator, a Fulbright scholar, a Visiting Plumer Fellow at Oxford University, and has thrice been honored for her work with lawmakers on innovative laws that address thorny questions, such as how to mesh LGBT rights with protections for religious belief and practice.

Senior Staff

Brenda Hixson is the Director of Strategic Operations at the University of Illinois System Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). Before coming to IGPA, Brenda was the Director of Strategic Program Planning in the office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Illinois System.

217-300-2365

bwaller7@uillinois.edu

Brenda Hixson

Director for Strategic Operations

Alyssa began working as Coordinator of Collaborations at IGPA in October 2021. Before IGPA, Alyssa worked as an Urban Planner and in Economic Development in Bloomington-Normal. Alyssa earned her Master’s in Economics and Community Development from Illinois State University, her Bachelor’s from SIU Carbondale, and is a 2x AmeriCorps Alum.

217-333-3438
acoope7@illinois.edu

Alyssa Cooper

Coordinator of IGPA Collaborations

Kyle Peebles is the Coordinator of External Relations at IGPA. Previously, Kyle served as the communications manager for the Illinois State Library. He spent four years on the House speaker’s issues staff in Springfield while also working on state legislative campaigns. Kyle holds a B.A. in administration of justice from SIU Carbondale.

217-333-5102
kpeeb2@uillinois.edu

Kyle Peebles

Coordinator of External Relations

Jake is the Research Initiative and Policy Specialist, focused on the policy implications of IGPA research. Prior to joining IGPA, he worked at the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, Division of Banking, as an administrative assistant and lead researcher for special projects. He specialized in financial technology and blockchain applications in banking. Jake has a master’s in public administration and political science from EIU and a B.A. in history from UIUC.

312-668-9089

hamilt13@uillinois.edu

Jake Hamilton

Research Initiative and Policy Specialist

Brenda Hixson is the Director of Strategic Operations at the University of Illinois System Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). Before coming to IGPA, Brenda was the Director of Strategic Program Planning in the office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Illinois System.

217-300-2365

bwaller7@uillinois.edu

Harriet Erickson

Vice President, Student Affairs

Wesley Clarke

Senior Advisor to the President

Kyle Peebles is the Coordinator of External Relations at IGPA. Previously, Kyle served as the communications manager for the Illinois State Library. He spent four years on the House speaker’s issues staff in Springfield while also working on state legislative campaigns. Kyle holds a B.A. in administration of justice from SIU Carbondale.

217-333-5102
kpeeb2@uillinois.edu

Betty Bowman

Acting Vice President for Finance

Alyssa began working as Coordinator of Collaborations at IGPA in October 2021. Before IGPA, Alyssa worked as an Urban Planner and in Economic Development in Bloomington-Normal. Alyssa earned her Master’s in Economics and Community Development from Illinois State University, her Bachelor’s from SIU Carbondale, and is a 2x AmeriCorps Alum.

217-333-3438
acoope7@illinois.edu

Johnny Jones

Dean, Diversity and Compliance

Dennis Ruiz was a member of the faculty at Texas Tech University School of Law, where she held the Alvin R. Allison Distinguished Professorship and received every teaching award the law school and the University conferred. She was the Distinguished Fulbright Professor of American Constitutional Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Greece in 1992.

Contacts:

Dennis Ruiz

Acting Vice President of Administration

Vernon Lowe first joined the University in 2006 as Assistant Dean for Academic Support Programs. He served as Assistant Dean until 2013, when he became a full time lecturer at the College. He teaches classes relating to legal theory and reasoning, race and law, gender and law, and in the area of commercial transactions. 

Contacts:

Vernon Lowe

Assistant Vice President for Communications