F. Erik Brooks
Dr. F. Erik Brooks is a professor and associate
director of the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University
(WIU). He is originally from Montgomery, AL. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy
from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia
Commonwealth University in 2002. He holds three master’s degrees. He earned a
Master of Science in counseling and human development from Troy State
University in 1992, a master of public administration from Auburn University
Montgomery in 1998 and a master of education from Alabama State University in
1999. Dr. Brooks earned a bachelor of science in journalism and art from Troy
State University in 1989.
Previously, he was the chair of the WIU
Department of African American Studies and the interim director of the
Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center at Western Illinois University. Prior to
coming to WIU, he taught political science and public administration at
Georgia Southern University from 2002-2012. Also while at Georgia Southern
University, he served as the director of the Master of Public Administration
Program from 2004-2008, interim chair of the Department of Political Science,
and an assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social
Sciences from 2011-2012. He has held adjunct teaching positions at the
University of Richmond from 2001-2002 and Alabama State University from
Dr. Brooks is a renaissance man and a holistic academician,
having served on both the academic and student affairs sides of the academy.
Dr. Brooks has held mid-level administrative positions in student affairs at
Virginia Commonwealth University from 1999- 2002 and Alabama State University
from 1992-1999. Dr. Brooks has written extensively in the areas of African
American history, public administration and American politics with his work
appearing in scholarly journals, encyclopedias, academic guides, and books.
Since 2006, he has authored or edited 10 books. Currently, he is working a
manuscript about the Obama presidency. Dr. Brooks is a member of Kappa Alpha
Psi Fraternity, Inc. When not working, he enjoys watching sports, traveling to
sporting events, and traveling to Civil Rights and Civil War museums.
Richard O. Musser
Dr. Richard O. Musser is the Western Illinois
University Department of Biological Sciences interim chair. He started
at WIU in 2003, and has been a full professor since Fall 2012.
Musser has been successful at obtaining National Science Foundation grants and
variety of other grants totaling nearly $750,000 dollars. These grants have
helped him promote department scholarship through numerous research
assistantships and modern research tools such as a microarray scanner and
During his 14 years at WIU, Dr. Musser has also supervised
the completion of nearly 30 graduate students. In addition he has had over 20
publications, including in the prestigious British Journal “Nature.”
His research focuses on the transcriptomic gene expression of plants and
herbivore interactions. Currently Dr. Musser is helping investigate gene
expression related to ovarian cancer. In addition, Dr. Musser is committed to
the Macomb community as board member of the YMCA and the president of the
McDonough County Dolphin Swim Team.
Hum-Musser is an associate professor in the WIU College of Biological
Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics
from Park University in Parkville, MO; her master’s degree in biology from
Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO and her doctoral
degree in plant sciences from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.
Dr. Hum-Musser has been teaching and conducting research at Western for 13
years, spending her first year at Spoon River College.
undergraduate and graduate-level courses in cell and molecular biology and her
research interest include examination of the molecular responses of
agricultural crop plants (e.g. corn, soybean, tomato) that are fed on by
insect pests (e.g. corn earworm) and also the corresponding insect responses
to feeding on toxic plant defenses. This work deals with bioassays and
examination of gene expression using RNA and protein assays.
Hum-Musser also works on plant beneficial microbes and natural insect
pathogens that relate to this plant-insect interaction research.
obtained several grants including a sizeable Natural Science Foundation (NSF)
grant and has published several articles on this work in peer-reviewed
journals, including notably an article in the journal “Nature.”
Hum-Musser works closely with her husband, Dr. Richard Musser, in teaching and
research at Western. Together they have three children, Marc, 13, Madelin, 10
and Samantha, 5.
Paul A. Schlag
Dr. Paul A. Schlag is the chief of staff at Western
Illinois University. Previously, he served as the associate director of the
Centennial Honors College and the assistant department chair of the
Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) Department. At Western, he
was the recipient of the Provost’s Award of Excellence in Teaching with
Technology and the College of Education and
Human Services Faculty Teaching
Dr. Schlag earned a B.S. in recreational management
and youth leadership from Brigham Young University (2000), a master of public
administration from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (2001), an
MEd with distinction in instructional technology from the University of
Georgia (2005), and a PhD in recreation and leisure studies from the
University of Georgia (2007). He and his wife, Abigail are the proud parents
of Rebekah, Spencer, Hunter and Taylor Schlag.