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Charles N. Wheeler III headshot

Charles N. Wheeler III

Analyst

The director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III,  a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wheeler covered state government and politics for the Sun-Times since 1970, when he covered the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention. For the last 19 years of his Sun-Times tenure, Wheeler was assigned to the newspaper’s Statehouse bureau. During that time, he was elected to 16 consecutive one-year terms as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association and served for many years on the PAR program and admissions committees.

Since 1984, he has written a monthly column for Illinois Issues magazine, which has won five Capitolbeat awards for magazine commentary/analysis. In 2006, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association inducted him into The Lincoln League of Journalists, which honors men and women who have provided exemplary service to other journalists and to daily newspapers published in Illinois. In 2013, he was chosen as the Journalist of the Year by the Journalism Department at Eastern Illinois University.  He is also a regular on the panel for State Week, WUIS' weekly political analysis program that airs on public radio stations across Illinois.

Before joining the Sun-Times in 1969, Wheeler served more than three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, majoring in English, and received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Wheeler draws on the talents of many UIS faculty with expertise in such fields as public budgeting, political science, and communication, as well as professional journalists and state officials, to present students with a well-rounded program to bridge the academic and professional areas.

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  • There was a court ruling and more legal challenges to Illinois Democrats' effort at crafting new state legislative and congressional boundaries. Our panel discusses the latest happenings surrounding the once-a-decade redistricting process and why Republicans are likely to wind up on the short end.
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  • The NFL's Chicago Bears announced this week an agreement to purchase the former Arlington International Racecourse in the northwest suburbs. The decision could potentially lead the team to move away from Soldier Field. Gov. J.B. Pritzker downplayed any rumblings of state financial incentives to keep the Bears in Chicago or help build a new multi-billion dollar facility.
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  • A new vaccine requirement for teachers and health care workers, as well as university employees and students, is now in effect. For those who choose to avoid getting the shots, they will need to be tested weekly. But the testing rollout has been bumpy. Also, some are pushing back on the mandate, with some even going to court.